Horrible events like the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, and too many others provide a spotlight to motivate change. These events have helped us become more aware of injustice and inspire us to support our communities better. Increased awareness and initial responses are only the beginning, however. Real systemic change requires conscious effort over an extended period. To that end, I’d like to share a checkpoint of Skytap’s efforts to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and acknowledge that we have a ways to go. My goal is to keep this topic and our collective effort top of mind. 

Skytap is committed to fighting racism, injustice, and inequality in our workplace and communities. We recognize that Black Lives Matter. We realize we must be anti-racist rather than just not racist. We understand that diversity is not only just; it fosters success. We know that speaking up is not enough and that we must also act. Here are some of the actions we’ve taken to date:

  • Gave funds to every Skytap employee to put towards various causes including NAACP LDF, Black Lives Matter, Black Girls Code, Ada Developers Academy, and more
  • Published internal diversity metrics of our organization, that highlighted we are not very diverse
  • Provided training on implicit bias and discrimination
  • Supported our employees in protests for these causes, including the Washington state BLM general strike
  • Actively hiring from, mentoring, and supporting organizations that are increasing representation within the software industry
  • Added Juneteenth as an official company holiday
  • Enhanced internal tracking and enforcement of equal pay for equal roles. That takes more effort than you’d expect in a small company like Skytap which has lacked crisply defined roles and levels
  • Reviewed job postings to remove exclusionary language and racial jargon
  • Formed internal “Employee Resource Groups” to drive further change inside and outside Skytap 

Skytap is in an industry that struggles with diversity, and we are not yet an exception. To improve our company, our industry, and our communities, we will prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion over the long term. Our Employee Resource Groups will focus on mentorship, continued education, inclusion, and hiring and onboarding. We also are working to clearly define what we’ll measure to determine the success of our efforts. I look forward to sharing our progress.

(Thanks to Alice Christenson, Vivian Su, Sarah Ammons, Michele Costello, Lara Martin, and Nick Astete for driving Skytap’s efforts and helping with this update.)