Where We Are Now and Where We Are Going
Last year we hit a tipping point in the United States. The nation was jolted to action amidst a rash of very public instances of police brutality against the black community.
The glaring spotlight on the systemic racism within our American institutions caused many organizations, including Brivo, to take a hard look at ourselves. We saw the need for immediate and impactful action.
We committed internally to our employees and publicly to our customers and partners to four initiatives to address diversity, equality, and inclusion at Brivo:
- Develop an employee-led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team to educate and coordinate action
- Provide employees with a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to support causes fighting against racial injustice
- Develop a diversity and inclusion reading group with quarterly, company-wide book club meetings
- Integrate equality and diversity training into our employee onboarding process
All of these initiatives were launched last year.
Where We Are Now
This Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month are the first since the Brivo DEI committee was formed. With the events and new attention to racial injustice in the past year, the committee wanted to make sure we made a difference, no matter how small.
For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Brivo DEI committee undertook an effort to support local black-owned businesses in Montgomery County, Maryland, where the Brivo headquarters is based. Specifically, we wanted to support those in the services industry.
Many of these businesses have suffered greatly during the COVID pandemic as they have a higher dependence on foot traffic and in-person services. We focused on reaching out to salons, spas, and a massage parlor in particular.
These are the businesses that participated:
- Dee Beauty Supply & Salon, located in Germantown, MD, promotes a client testimonial that, “Ms. Dee does not disappoint!”
- Salon Obsessions, located in Silver Spring, MD, encourage you to celebrate yourself!
During the week of MLK Day, we thought it would be great for these businesses to experience a random act of kindness. We celebrated their businesses with some kind words and hand-delivered lunch sourced from another black-owned business, Negril Restaurant in Silver Spring. The DEI Committee co-chairs used the new Volunteer Time Off (VTO) benefit to take the afternoon off to deliver the food to these businesses.
The committee used this list of black-owned businesses to find these businesses and hope that others will support them throughout Black History Month and beyond.
Where We Are Going
For Black History Month, the DEI committee is also leveraging existing resources to facilitate conversations around mental health and financial wellness, and planning. The effort was supported by a Brivo Internal Employee Resource Group (ERG), known as The Shades of Brivo. This group focuses on the challenges facing Brivo’s black community.
The group believes that conversations around mental health and financial wellness often don’t occur within the black community. The Shades of Brivo goal is to start these conversations and create a space where questions regarding these topics can be answered in a comfortable setting.
A few of the high-level topics that are covered in these sessions include:
- Navigating the stock market
- The building of an emergency fund
- Dividends and Dividend Reinvestment Plan
- Estate planning: wills, trusts, power of attorney (POA)
- Saving for college
An added element to these meetings is they are made approachable and relatable. Two employees have offered to share areas where they have personal experience. Kweku Amoah, one of Brivo’s Lead Engineers, holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering and has published works on topics like Bioelectronics. He will discuss topics ranging from student loan debt to stock market investments. Kevin Gibbs, VP of Cloud Operations and Engineering and Brivo DEI Chairman, will lead a discussion on building wealth through real estate investing.
Brivo is committed to continuing on our path towards diversity, equality, and inclusivity. Through these initiatives, we will increase diversity in leadership, create and maintain safe spaces for our colleagues, and grow a stronger community by educating and empowering each other.