Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are at the heart of Copperleaf’s culture and play a vital role in our growth strategy and success. Meet Chantelle Beaudette, Sara Dal-Santo, Rochelle Hardiman, Ricard Kelly, Luiz Lins, and Megan Wing—key members of our DE&I team, a group of 25 volunteer members from different countries, departments, and backgrounds with a passion for cultivating an inclusive and equitable workplace where diversity in all forms can thrive.
What inspired you to join the DE&I team?
Luiz: "When I first joined Copperleaf®, I thought it was just another company. After a few months, I realized how wrong I was! The people here really do 'walk the talk'. Since I felt so welcomed and included, I wanted to give back and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the DE&I team—not only to share my personal experiences as a neurodiverse person and immigrant, but also to help Copperleaf become an even better place to work."
Sara: "I wanted to take an active role in making a difference in the community. Making day-to-day changes in the workplace can create a domino effect that grows into changes for the larger community and it's wonderful to be a part of that!"
Ricard: "As a species, we are facing some of the greatest challenges in our history. I believe Copperleaf’s vision to ‘transform how the world sees value' is key. I joined the team to help ensure that Copperleaf attracts, develops, and retains the talents of all who can assist us, because we need 'all hands on deck' to solve these challenges."
I wanted to give back and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the DE&I team—not only to share my personal experiences as a neurodiverse person and immigrant, but also to help Copperleaf become an even better place to work.
How did the team get off the ground?
Chantelle: "Back in 2018, a group of volunteers at Copperleaf created ‘Women in Tech’—a safe space for women to discuss their experiences in the tech industry and receive support from others. Over time, this group began discussing broader DE&I topics that fell outside of the group’s original mandate.
In response to growing interest and advocacy for DE&I, the Employee Experience team held focus groups to discuss issues, ideas for improvement, and goals. We then formed a team of volunteers to action these ideas, which included ensuring these goals were included in our company-wide culture refresh project. DE&I is something we stand behind and want to continuously improve on, so it was important that it was embedded in our cultural tenets. From there, we could really start to action improvements."
Does the team have an overarching goal?
Megan: "We have a lot of exciting things that we would like to achieve! A few of our high-level goals are to:
- Ensure diversity extends across all levels of the organization
- Measure ourselves year-over-year to see where we are improving and where we need to focus more effort
- Create an environment where every employee feels safe bringing their true selves to work
- Share knowledge through training and events"
What kind of initiatives has the team started?
Chantelle: "We ran a diversity benchmarking survey last year as part of the HR Tech Group Diversity & Inclusion Project to measure our progress over time and help set goals for the following year. We launched a "Speakers from Underrepresented Groups" series that has featured a member of the Tahltan Nation, speakers from the LGBTQ2S+ community, and a panel of experts on neurodiversity.
Employees also organized a Black Lives Matter panel discussion, which included participation from our global clients, to learn more about the history behind the BLM movement and the actions we can take. We have continued our support by forming ongoing small discussion groups and organizing a series of film screenings to learn more about the Black experience."
Megan: "We rolled out company-wide unconscious bias interview training, implemented a buddy system to help new hires feel welcome, and set up optional pronoun disclosure to signal respect for gender identity and enable Copperleafers to be their true selves. We celebrated Mental Health Week to increase awareness and help reduce stigma, and fellow employees shared their experiences and tips for self-care and preventing burnout. Additionally, we have improved Canadian workplace policies such as enhanced mental health allowance and increased paid parental leave (up to 18 weeks) for both birthing and non-birthing parents. We are currently working on enhancing our benefits programs in all countries in which we operate."
Rochelle: "This year, we are focused on improving our recruitment process. This includes creating a more diverse candidate pool, improving our interview process to remove unconscious bias, partnering with Indigenous programs for hiring, and much more!"
The ultimate goal for the DE&I team is to create a workforce and leadership team that reflect society’s demographics. We want Copperleaf to be a place where people have a sense of belonging and can contribute their maximum potential.
How do you come up with new initiatives?
Chantelle: "We use a collaborative process where everyone contributes ideas and improvements to vote on—shout out to our Director of Product Design, Ian Muirhead, who walked our team through a design thinking exercise to help us come up with our annual initiatives! Using Mural, we plotted out all possible action items into a value/effort matrix to evaluate where we should invest our time and budget to make the most impact. Teams were then formed to work on action items each quarter."
Why is DE&I important to Copperleaf?
Megan: "We know that a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is not only critical to our success as a business, but also to the well-being of our people. Additionally, research has shown that diverse organizations are more innovative and tend to financially outperform their less diverse peers."
Chantelle: "Diverse backgrounds bring diversity of thought, which allows us to learn and improve every day. Through the work we do, we hope to attract, retain, and support the career development of people from all groups."
What are the team's goals and how do you measure success in these areas?
Rochelle: "The ultimate goal for the DE&I team is to create a workforce and leadership team that reflect society’s demographics. We want Copperleaf to be a place where people have a sense of belonging and can contribute their maximum potential.
We are following best practices when measuring DE&I quantitatively. Here are some of the ways we have started to measure success:
- Benchmarking: we distribute an optional DE&I benchmarking survey annually to understand our existing structure and identify areas for improvement across the company
- Talent acquisition: we have implemented an optional DE&I survey for job applicants and have set diversity targets for our candidate pool
- Co-op hiring: we recognize that talent comes in many forms beyond formal education. For 2021, our Product Development department has set a goal of hiring 10% of co-ops from non-university-educated backgrounds
- Employee engagement: we send out an annual company-wide pulse survey to help us measure employee inclusion"
What can we do as individuals to be more inclusive?
Sara: "Learn from everyone. Every individual has a unique set of experiences and there’s an immense amount of value in hearing, understanding, and empathizing with other people’s stories. The more stories you’re able to learn from, the more perspectives you’re able to gain."
Luiz: "One of Copperleaf's cultural tenets is to “be open”. Listening and being open to people with diverse backgrounds can help us understand different ways of perceiving the world and consequently, create a more complete view of it. It also helps us learn about our own internal biases and prejudices and how they prevent us from seeing situations clearly."
Ricard: "Seek out and recognize what each person in the team needs to bring their whole self, individual aspirations, and unique perspectives to the challenges that Copperleaf is attempting to solve."
Copperleaf is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we’re always seeking talented individuals to join our growing team! Check out our current job openings here.
About the AuthorFollow on Linkedin More Content by Copperleaf Marketing