As a member of PulsePoint’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, I spend a lot of time thinking about DE&I. I challenge myself by working not only towards making PulsePoint a more inclusive environment, but for my colleagues and those looking to join PulsePoint to understand that their diversity is their strength.
We invited Cheryl Contee, Chief Innovation Officer at The Impact Sheet and award-winning Founder and Chair of the mission-driven digital agency Do Big Things, to sit down and chat with us about building an inclusive culture. Through her work, Cheryl invests in the future of women of color businesses and startups, making strides towards a diverse and equitable economy. In our conversation, Cheryl tells us about her career journey, her own challenges with diversity and inclusion, and gives her advice and expertise on how to achieve equity in the workplace.
My biggest takeaway from Cheryl’s session was that diversity is an actual strategy for growth that companies can benefit from. As you read through some of the highlights from the Q&A, I challenge you to think of yours and what action you will take from it. These takeaways will move us closer to a diverse and inclusive industry and pave the way for a future of boundless innovation.
PulsePoint: The pandemic has shed a light on the long standing inequities within our healthcare system. How as a marketer at Do Big Things, did you approach building trust among underserved communities?
CC: It’s all about finding trusted messengers. We’ve partnered with leading micro-influencers that speak to our target audiences, we’ve worked with large movement orgs that represent key demographics and we are making sure that our messaging and creative is culturally relevant.
PulsePoint: What advice can you give to companies about successfully attracting and retaining diverse talent?
CC: Reach outside your current networks! We ensure that we are indicating clearly in our job descriptions and posts that we are looking for and welcome diverse talent. We also showcase our diverse team members in our blog, videos and social media so that candidates see that we value DEI.
We also work hard to find platforms and partners that have relationships with diverse professional communities and clubs. They are easy to find if you take the time to look!
PulsePoint: Why is diversity so critical in the workplace from a strategic advantage perspective?
CC: America’s demographics are changing rapidly—this is a known fact. The younger generations of millennials and zoomers are the most diverse ethnically and LGBTQ+ positive in American history. It’s vital for any business that wants to sustain viability and even experience rapid growth to make sure that it is providing the best external and internal strategy around DEI.
Studies show reliably that diverse teams are more innovative, profitable and productive than monoculture teams, which just makes intuitive sense if you think about it. If you want ROI, you want DE&I.
Cheryl Contee is The Impact Seat’s Chief Innovation Officer and award-winning Founder & Chair of the mission-driven digital agency Do Big Things. Cheryl is the Amazon bestselling author of Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success. Passionate about creating new tech and new narrative for a new era, Cheryl uses her vast experience in startup entrepreneurship and community engagement to lead our portfolio companies and fund investments to success. Previously, Cheryl was CEO of Fission Strategy, which brought Silicon Valley startup culture to the world’s leading causes and campaigns. She’s the co-founder of Attentive.ly, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, the National Board Chair for Netroots Nation, a Senior Advisor for Astia and the first portfolio company board member of New Media Ventures.