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Our journey towards becoming a more equitable organization

Author: Nicole McGuire, Vice President of People Operations & DEI Council Co-Chair

Injustice against Black Americans like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and Jacob Blake continues to happen, each one as painful as the others. As a company, I know we can do more to fight against racism inside and outside the walls of Seismic’s 14 global offices. Earlier this summer, we conducted global listening sessions to give employees the space to safely share their feelings and stories about how recent events were affecting them. No agendas, no prompts—just an opportunity to process emotions and experiences with colleagues. The stories I heard were powerful and reinforced our vision to become a fully equitable and inclusive workplace.

Diversity of thought yields greater results

We started implementing programming around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in 2019 when we provided unconscious bias training to all people managers across the globe. We partnered with an outside consulting firm, JONES, to host the training sessions. Soon after, we formed the Seismic DEI Council, which includes 20 employees at all levels, in all disciplines, in all geos, and from all backgrounds. To help form the creation of the DEI Council, we partnered with Dr. Steven Jones and Dr. Aisha Taylor of JONES to help guide our organization’s initiatives in this space. In April 2020, the DEI Council’s first virtual summit brought members together to collaborate on the development of our charter and map out the rest of the year’s plans and activities. We also closed business on Juneteenth and encouraged all employees to put work aside, reflect and self-educate on the history of systemic racism and injustice in the world. Importantly, our CEO, Doug Winter, shared messages from the top, telling employees to “Embrace activism. Take a stand. Volunteer. Peacefully protest. Find a way to support our Black community,” in one of several all-company emails concerning BLM and anti-racism.

What we’ve learned so far

We’ve learned so much in a short time and yet, we know we need to learn more. While our DEI Council continues to enact educational programming and events—such as our upcoming unconscious bias trainings for all employees, hosted by Harvard University Professor Mahzarin Banaji—we can’t place the responsibility solely on Council members who are also trying to do their day-to-day work. That’s why we have posted a new opening for the role of Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This is more than just another job listing—it serves as an important step in our organization’s journey to becoming an equitable and inclusive workplace, where everyone feels involved, accepted, and has access to the same opportunities and resources as their coworkers.

What actions we are taking going forward

By opening this VP role, we’re giving this issue the attention it deserves and elevating it all the way to our senior leadership team. Aligned with Seismic’s goals to recruit, retain and develop our inclusive workforce, this is a critical strategic leadership role accountable for driving measurable, systemic and sustainable change across the business. This new role will report directly to our CEO, and commits us to a stronger focus on our DEI efforts, executive commitment and accountability. It also cements diversity, equity and inclusion as long-term values of Seismic, not just for this moment in 2020. 

We look forward to sharing more about our journey in the months ahead. For more information, please see the full job listing for Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Seismic here and all other openings at https://seismic.com/company/careers.  

Nicole McGuire
Nicole McGuire
VP, People Operations
Nicole is the vice president of People Operations at Seismic, leading the company’s human resources team and program, including ...