“It started with a powerful question on Slack.” Ian, our Frontend Engineer, remembers back to Spring 2015. “Some great ground organizers and social-justice-minded people created a thread and asked: ‘How can we make tech equitable, more diverse, more representative?’ We need to do something, and we have both a platform and a responsibility to do so.” Late night Slack-ing turned into a Meetup group, the Meetup spawned a panel discussion during Tech EQuity Week, and all of that foundational legwork gave rise to the TechEquity Collaborative.
At the helm was and is civic policy powerhouse Catherine Bracy. Tapping into her past experiences at Code for America and Tech4Obama, she and her team are carving out the why and how of inclusive tech. “Our goal in participating,” Comfy President Lindsay Baker starts, “is to provide an example for how tech companies can interact better with their community. Comfy, Catherine, Clef, and Captricity are quantifying, measuring, and assigning accountability for the impact our company (and companies like ours) have on Oakland.”
Each of our member companies agrees to do four standard things:
- Submit demographic data: Collect and share data about the diversity of the staff and the hiring pool
- Be transparent: Publish an annual report about progress towards their TechEquity commitments and participate in an ongoing way in public dialogue about successes, challenges, and learnings
- Engage at the highest levels of the company: Mandate from the most senior level of the company to invest in meeting commitments and participation from senior staff on an ongoing basis throughout the year
- Invite participation from across the company: Creating broad awareness across the company about membership in TechEquity and creating invitations for all staff members to participate
In addition to the standard commitments, each company makes at least three additional commitments that reinforce the principles outlined in the statement of values above. We work with each company to craft a set of commitments that aligns with their size, specific challenges, unique identity, and growth trajectory. Here are the commitments made by our founding members:
Comfy is a company on the rise. Currently with 40 employees they plan to add several positions this year. As such, their commitments focus on both hiring and developing an inclusive company culture as they grow. Comfy has committed to:
- Hold training for all staff on unconscious bias and inclusiveness in the workplace
- Spend 50% of procurement budget for food and supplies at local Oakland businesses
- Adopt a candidate sourcing and hiring process that increases number of hires from underrepresented communities and communities of color in Oakland into open positions
- Develop a plan for creating entry-level positions and apprenticeships across the organization; apply aforementioned candidate sourcing and hiring process to filling these new positions
Oakland is a place like no other. It’s a nest of political change, grassroots activism, art, culture, and the Comfy team is proud to call it home. And just as you would treat a home, it is critical that tech companies remain thoughtful about how we exist in this space, how we conduct business, and the impact we have. At Comfy, we keep people at the center of everything we do—with our product, on our teams, and right outside our doors. That is our anchor, our mission, our north star and we look forward to a bright (and equitable) future.
We are growing and hiring. If you dig what we’re about, apply here.