Stacy Brown-Philpot was recently promoted to CEO of TaskRabbit, making history as one of a very short list of African American and female leaders of multimillion-dollar tech companies. Previously, she held the title of COO. Within days of her newly appointed position, Brown-Philpot made headlines again, announcing TaskRabbit’s commitment to increasing diversity in tech by being the first tech company to adopt an African American inclusion plan in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus’ CBC Tech 2020 initiative.
The CBC’s initiative focuses on increasing African American talent and representation within technology at all levels of the industry by partnering with companies and organizations to develop strategic recruiting and retention plans for this demographic.
“Building a strong, diverse and inclusive community is key to any sector’s growth, and teaming up with CBC Tech 2020 is a natural step for TaskRabbit to re-confirm our commitment to being an open, forward-thinking and innovative organization in Silicon Valley,” Brown-Philpot said in a press statement.
“We’re proud of our efforts around diversity where our approach has always been to partner and build relationships with groups that can help us connect with underrepresented candidates, mentor those candidates once they join the team, and support our employees to maintain an active presence in the community. This plan recognizes TaskRabbit’s diversity as a huge asset aiming to break down barriers while shining a light on ways to expand the great talent of black individuals.”
Guided by four primary initiatives, the African American Inclusion plan will:
- Increase representation of African American talent in the company from 11 percent to 13 percent by the end of 2016 in order to reflect the population in the United States.
- Retain African American employees by developing a supportive, diversity-friendly culture.
- Increase awareness and educate employees on the importance of diversity and understanding unconscious bias to support the recruitment and retention of African Americans.
- Strengthen awareness around the importance of increasing diversity within the technology industry by sharing the initiatives and results of their efforts with the public.
During a live chat on Product Hunt with CBC’s chairman, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Brown-Philpot also said the head for diversity should be shaped by leaders starting from the beginning with diversity as a core value.
Of TaskRabbit’s over 70 employees, 11 percent are African American; 5 percent are Latino; 11 percent are Asian; 11 percent are LGBTQ; and 58 percent are female.
TaskRabbit’s employee diversity statistics skew surprisingly healthy compared to many other large companies in tech, where people of color represent a mere 3 percent or less of the employee population and just 23 percent of employees are women.
“The community we represent as a company is the United States of America. Our company should represent the USA as well,” Brown-Philpot opined.
She continued to share how companies can begin to adopt and shape cultural values for their organizations as part of the DNA of their brands early on in the process — not just an afterthought or publicity initiative after the company has grown into a large company.
“Allow these things to be grassroots and organic. When you’re making your early hires, make sure it’s people who reflect the values of the company. Do they reflect the importance of diversity and inclusion?”
Image courtesy of TaskRabbit