Earlier in June, we made five commitments to become better allies to the Black community in a statement listed below. As we approach our self-imposed June 30th deadline, we have made good progress on two of our five commitments, and are excited to be partnering with the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI), an educational organization that provides innovative leadership development to Canadian youth of Jamaican, African-Caribbean, and Black heritage.
Taking the last month to listen to Black employees at Wave has allowed us to learn more about how we can address anti-blackness, both inside and outside our company. To help, these employees have provided actionable recommendations we are investigating and working to put in place.
What we’re working on
In terms of our commitments around Recruitment, Internships, and our Bias Training & Policy Review, we are slowing down our approach. It has become increasingly clear that despite the amazing efforts of many volunteers within Wave and our People & Culture team, the best way to proceed is to ensure Black voices are centered and enlist outside assistance to address anti-blackness as effectively as possible.
We will be partnering with Diversity & Inclusion experts who can guide us as we look to provide more meaningful changes. Outside assistance allows Wave to avoid bias, incorporate external knowledge, and elevate the collective understanding. Rest assured, we are not abandoning these commitments. Instead, we are taking the time to identify where we need assistance, connect with experts, and implement sustainable plans.
What we’ve done
For our supporting entrepreneurship in the Black community initiative, Wave will be sharing our expertise in various aspects of business management—from accounting and tax, to sales, marketing, and social media—with Black entrepreneurs and students pursuing business opportunities. We are also working with LLI to engage entrepreneurs in the Black community and better understand their challenges.
For our Volunteering initiative, we are investigating mentorship opportunities for students involved with LLI, as well as establishing opportunities for Wave employees to provide specific career coaching and job shadowing to LLI participants.
Meanwhile, Wave has made donations to the organizations as promised, and in total our fellow Wavers have donated almost $15,000 to BLM causes they believe in.
We will continue to provide updates on our progress here. And we encourage our employees, customers, partners, and local community to continue holding us accountable.
Kirk Simpson -Co-Founder, CEO
Our June 4 Statement:
We know we must do more to become better allies to the Black community. We waited to
put out a statement until we had specific actions and commitments in place.
We will hold ourselves accountable to these statements and by making them public we encourage you to hold us accountable as well.
1. We will look at our HR protocols & aim to bring our percent of Black employees up from 4% to match or exceed our community in Toronto at 8%. We have made great strides at Wave with gender, LGBTQ & minority diversity but we are behind with regards to hiring Black employees
2. We will go deeper on our bias training and policies in an effort to ensure systemic racism is better identified and driven out of our work environment.
3. We will investigate the creation of an annual paid internship program to increase access for Black youth into the tech industry across a variety of roles. We will announce this program on or before June 30th.
4. Wave employees have five paid personal days each year that can be used for volunteering or community service. We will identify and organize opportunities for Wavers to support programs within our local Black community.
5. We believe in the freedom and economic mobility small business ownership can provide. We will discuss within the organization the best ways we can encourage and support entrepreneurship in the Black community and we will post our plan here by June 30th.
Finally, to support those who are pushing for reform, we will donate $2,500 to the Bail Project. And to support Black entrepreneurs, we will donate $2,500 to the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA).
We will also match any employee donations to organizations fighting systemic racism and racial injustice, up to a total of an additional $5,000.
We are committed to listening, educating ourselves, speaking out, and being allies however we can. And we welcome any feedback on how we can best make a difference. Black Lives Matter.
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