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Allyship amplified: Building bridges & fostering inclusivity

Sandra Masiliso
Sandra Masiliso
Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead
4 min read
28 February 2024

As part of our celebration of Black History Month, our Global DE&I Lead, Sandra Masiliso, sat down with MaKenzie Beard and Rob Murray to discuss promoting DE&I in the workplace and the role of allyship.

Rob and MaKenzie helped pilot a number of initiatives within their team at DEPT®—including the formation of BLA3Q, DEPT® US’s Black ERG (Employee Resource Group), as well as regular employee-wide town halls—that successfully set new standards for their team’s recruitment process and for how they could better support Black employees. 

During Rob and MaKenzie’s conversation with Sandra, she encouraged them to share their experiences in promoting allyship, from Rob’s perspective as a business executive and from Makenzie’s as a Black employee and ERG leader. 

Most importantly, Rob and MaKenzie also shared their advice for what approaches and techniques other businesses should implement to further their own DE&I journey. 

Tune in to the full recording or, alternatively, read a sampling below!

Sandra Masiliso:
How can allies navigate the potential discomfort of accountability in DE&I initiatives?

Rob Murray:
For me, accountability requires transparency. For our team, in the first year of our DE&I journey, we created a Diversity Report, which we published to Linkedin…

When you’re willing to put that lens and that level of accountability out to the general public, you put yourself in a position where you are now obligated to move the needle and make change.

So, for me, accountability started with that. But you’ve got to be willing to share the data that you have… it took us going through our census data and comparing that to the general population to start to think about that context. How do we represent ourselves versus the general population? 

At that point I thought, wow, you know, we have to do better. So, for me, it all starts with just being transparent…

We could say it’s good, we could say it’s bad, but it is what it is, and all we can do is make it better from here.

Sandra Masiliso:
MaKenzie, as someone who is part of the Black community, I would love to know how that felt for you throughout that experience. What does accountability mean to you?

MaKenzie Beard: 
Transparency is always great in situations. I think that just being at a company that is transparent about their numbers and things like that helps.

I think anything that we strongly believe in–you have to just stand on it, right? You remain open. You step back. You listen. You acknowledge. 

I think Rob and I have had conversations where his response is like, “Yeah, we messed up,” and I love that about him. I love that he can be honest and say we must make it right. I think, as a Black person, that comforts me to know that someone can be honest and acknowledge their mistakes, and try to create plans to move forward in a more positive way. 

And it makes me feel good to be at a company like that—because I’ve been at companies where they didn’t care. So it feels good to be here at a company where leadership acknowledges these things.

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