Our Journey to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Exabeam has always strived for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. Our philosophy is we’re better together. Our customers come from all walks of life and so do we. We aim to continually live our values and enable employees to bring their full selves to the workplace and we believe building resilient cybersecurity solutions requires a fearless team with unique perspectives. The data supports it: Diverse teams are smarter and perform significantly better. Studies also show the most diverse companies are likely to outperform their less diverse peers on profitability.
The tragic events of last year made diversity an even higher priority for us. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others before and after them, reminded us all of the ingrained racial prejudice, inequality and injustice that still exists in our society today. Our CEO, Nir Polak, was deeply affected. He wanted Exabeam to be part of the solution, to commit to more diversity on our own team and help educate and raise awareness of the issues facing minorities every day. Exabeam took action and formalized a committee of employee volunteers, with sponsorship at the executive level, to steer the company in its journey. This CommUNITY Council undertakes initiatives ranging from education and volunteering events to communications and talent acquisition, and challenges us to have these conversations, even though they may be tough.
LaChristian (LC) Taylor leads the CommUNITY Council. Her perspective, passion and drive have brought this team together and, to quote her, “This is just the start.”
We’ve had many conversations and I wanted to share how she views our diversity and inclusion initiative.
Leading the CommUNITY Council
In August of last year, Exabeam formed a new group called the CommUNITY Council to lead the company in its journey against racial inequality. Exabeam has always been inclusive, and equality for everyone has always been a core principle of our company. The CommUNITY Council came about because of the tragic events last summer that included George Floyd, the senseless killing of Breonna Taylor, and many others…the list goes on. The CommUNITY Council was built on the desire from so many employees wanting to do something actionable for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The CommUNITY Council held our first meeting at the beginning of September. One of the primary goals of the Council is to raise awareness. We want to let everyone in the company know that we are here. We are a safe space, and want to make everyone feel heard and included. This is not just external awareness, but internal (self) awareness, as well. Some of the ways we plan to bring about awareness is to bring people together, inform and educate, and allow them to get involved. The more I talk to employees, the more I hear that this cause has moved them in ways they have not felt before. I was blown away by the number of people who stepped up to volunteer and be a part of the Council. I’ve had colleagues who have reached out to me to check how I’m doing and to talk about what they can do to help change things and make a difference. It makes me want to work that much harder to make a change.
A united voice
The journey for diversity and inclusion is long, but essential. My hope for the Council is that it will give a voice and sense of community to employees who may otherwise feel isolated or underrepresented, while also holding the company accountable to goals established to improve diversity. We want employees to know they are valued and we want to foster a culture of learning.
I know from experience that, before George Floyd, social unrest and racial inequality were not discussed, especially in the workplace. For example, LinkedIn, which is a platform that’s primarily used for the corporate world, rarely brought forth anything outside of a job search, but in recent months that has completely changed. LinkedIn seems to have become more of a social tool now, and just having these initiatives, having other companies follow suit, speaks volumes to the diversity movement. It unfortunately took nationwide protests for D&I to really make it to the forefront of workplace conversations, but we have to start somewhere. The fight for racial equality and improved diversity for all underrepresented groups does not end here. So, my hope for the Council is that it will be a voice for everyone. We want to be able to share that this is who we are, this is us.
Passion for change
One important way to affect change is by starting from within. A core tenet of the Council is holding the company, including our leadership, accountable for change. As the head of executive operations and executive assistant to the CEO, I have the inside track. The fact that I was asked to lead the group shows how much the company and our leaders want to grow. Our leadership has shown time and time again who they are and what they stand for, and without a doubt, I believe, in time, we will make a difference.
The CommUNITY Council is near and dear to me. The passion I have for this cause goes way beyond myself. This is not just an initiative for the company, but the broader community as well. What we do will go beyond the workplace. Lessons learned at work can be shared in communities, at home and with friends and family!
Let’s talk about it
My experience is that equality as a whole, not just Black Lives Matter, starts with a conversation. In many situations, it is a topic that people generally find uncomfortable. For example, I would never have imagined a boss or coworker would come talk to me about police brutality, racial violence, or all of the other tragedies going on in today’s world. Having those conversations is a large part of holding people accountable, and I’m not afraid to ask those tough questions or have those difficult conversations.
If there’s one thing I want everyone to take away is to have those hard conversations.
Equality is not just a hashtag
Equality is not just a trend. It’s something that I as a Black woman and anyone who feels underrepresented thinks about every day. So, I implore everyone to keep the conversation alive. To fight the fight. That’s my main reason to continue. It’s going to be a long journey and this is just the start.
Where do we go from here?
The CommUNITY Council is not going to fix everything overnight, but it’s the beginning. We need to build the programs and measure progress: where we are now and where we’re going. It’s going to take time and a lot of work to get there, but I am so hyped for the journey.
The enthusiasm I’ve seen from the Council is both humbling and exciting. I’ve been working with the team leads and our executive leadership to understand what we want to do more of, and where we can use our resources to prompt more diversity and inclusion, and effect change. I love that the Council, and the company as a whole, sees this as a priority and the reality of the situation. It’s been a reality for me. I know we have a long way to go but, the CommUNITY Council is here — to listen, change, and to let everyone know where we stand.