Back in February, Twitter lost both it’s VP of Diversity and Inclusion AND it’s Chief Human Resources Officer. Those positions are tied very closely, in my opinion. Or at least they should be. I write a lot about diversity and inclusion. But I also think about it even more. I tend to think about how organizational and political systems are constructed and why they don’t tend to favour either diversity or inclusion. For a company to lose employees in both of these positions, around the same time can be devastating. Specifically from a diversity/inclusion perspective. What is interesting is that these two positions leaving Twitter came on the heels of the 2016 diversity report. Which showed some progress for hiring underrepresented minorities. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you will know that I don’t favour this type of push.
I think companies, like Twitter should be as diverse as the people they serve. But I’m not convinced that organization’s know how to do that. Further, this article isn’t about what Twitter did earlier this year, but rather to talk about what it just did.
And that is – Twitter has hired Candi Castleberry Singleton as their new VP of Diversity and Inclusion. Why is this so amazing? Well, she is the founder of Dignity and Respect Campaign. What is that, you ask? According to their website they aim to make the world a better place for everyone, which includes embracing the differences. Their website states: “Every day we have the opportunity to test our commitment to dignity and respect through our behavior. The Campaign helps individuals and organizations reinforce their commitment to creating environments for ALL to work, live, learn, and play—with ALL of our differences.”
If you have a chance, check out their website and review the page called “Practice Tips”. It outlines small, but meaningful ways that people can make a difference when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This, to me, is what organizations are missing. I work in a sub-set of this field, and I find that the biggest barrier to inclusion is people’s attitudes. It’s very hard to get people to change how they perceive something that is “different”. Which is why this website is of particular interest to me. How can we change the minds of people who view the world in such black and white terms? Literally. The website speaks to getting to know the individual to try to learn about their backgrounds. Asking questions isn’t the wrong thing to do. In fact, it’s what you should do. But, you have to do it in a way that is respectful. Which I think some people forget.
Getting back to why this is good for Twitter. It would seem that I’ve already answered that, but I’ll say it again. Twitter is getting a leader in the diversity and inclusion world. They are getting someone who is going to create an environment that is as diverse as the people it serves. I tend to be hard on organizations when they can’t figure out how to make these changes, but I don’t think it will be difficult now with Candi Castleberry Singleton in charge of diversity and inclusion. I look forward to reading their 2017 diversity report to see if anything has changed. But I’m sure it will. And I would urge other organizations to think in these terms as well to come up with a diversity strategy that fosters inclusion.