When we opened a Minneapolis office this past January, little did we know that it would play witness to major events ushering in positive social change right on the street outside.
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and others are tragic, and like so many others, the situation and protests that have come forth since have made us consider the role we play in issues such as systemic inequality, social advocacy, and diversity. The exercise has also made clear to us the power, and responsibility, we have to help.
So today, we’ve decided to to lay out VNN’s starting point to ensure our company stands for equality and inclusion. As we continue to work on these initiatives we’ll create updates with specified goals and how we’re tracking toward them:
Increase Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) representation at VNN on all levels of the organization – Beyond casting a wider recruiting net to source more diverse candidates, board members, and advisors, we plan to train hiring managers on implicit bias, standardize questions and applicant scoring to avoid potential discrimination, and track demographics through the hiring process to evaluate our progress.
Make our product more accessible for all schools – Beyond programs such as our “High School Software Stimulus Package” subsidized by Chipotle, Twin City Orthopedics, Chad Greenway and a consortium of VNN technology partners, we plan to make a more concerted effort toward gathering feedback from outside our customer base and creating programs that allow us to increase the diversity of our network of schools.
Make a greater effort to feature athletes of color – Specifically, in our branded marketing materials, newsletters, website, and announcements.
Partner with and support organizations that promote BIPOC causes – We will seek out organizations making a difference and utilize our resources to support them, whether through software, time, or monetarily.
Continue to make equality and inclusion a priority – In an effort to hold ourselves accountable to the actions in this plan we have created a cross-departmental group dedicated to the topic who will meet at least bi-monthly, and help us track and communicate progress toward each of our diversity and inclusion goals.
As we develop and provide software that helps bring communities together, it’s readily apparent to us that we have an obligation to do more. At VNN, Black Lives Matter and through this plan, we hope to inspire change that ultimately creates better conversations, experiences, and technology tools for all of us.