In 2022 Athennian’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee refined its mandate in four key areas:
Our DEI Vision: Product
We will continuously innovate toward product accessibility. We will uphold diversity by design as a key tenant in our product design processes. We will actively seek input from our customers and other stakeholders as our products evolve. We will identify and address our biases in product design and development.
Our development teams are working hard to make accessibility considerations and inclusive language the norm in coding practices, including implementing an Accessibility Checklist for pull requests and experimenting with language linters.
"I'm proud of my contributions toward implementing inclusive language in our codebase, and contributing to an improved work environment. Everyone deserves to feel welcome and comfortable at work."
“As a first step to making accessibility a concrete part of our process, we have added automatic tasks on pull requests, along with a small checklist of accessibility criteria to reference. We’re enabling a feature in our editor in order to make our backend inclusive as well. It will flag words like ‘blacklist’ and ‘whitelist’ and suggest replacements, such as ‘blocklist’ and ‘allowlist’.We have a long way to go,, but we’re doing our best to fit in fixes during our day-to-day work.
Our DEI Vision: People
We will create and maintain hiring and retention practices that continually push towards greater diversity, with a special focus on hiring and retaining women in technical roles. We will identify and address our inherent biases and ensure our processes and procedures are fair, documented and communicated. We will ensure our team members are supported and can access the resources they need to be successful. We will identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of our colleagues in the workplace.
We hired a new Director of People & Culture who has a passion for DEI work!
“As soon as I joined Athennian and even throughout the hiring process, I was struck by the authenticity of the team members I met. I knew Athennian would be a place where I could be my authentic self… The DEI initiatives that our team works on aren’t just motions we go through - everyone is committed and passionate about making Athennian a more equitable and safe space for everyone.”
We delivered valuable leadership training to our Management Team, and unconscious bias training at our Developer Summit.
“I never knew about unconscious bias until I attended a seminar about it. It was an eye-opener for me and I realized that I was also guilty of it sometimes. Now, working with multiple teams that consist of diverse individuals, I always make sure to remember what I learned when interacting with my colleagues.”
We established an official budget strictly for DEI initiatives and supporting our people and communities.
“Having a budget dedicated specifically to supporting our DEI goals enables us to support the grassroots employee-led initiatives important to our colleagues and their communities. It’s been energizing to be able to empower our team members to take action in ways that are meaningful to them.”
Our DEI Vision: Culture
We will actively learn about our colleagues and celebrate what matters to them. We will create venues and vehicles to share our stories, identities, cultures, beliefs, talents, values, and dreams. We will ensure fresh perspectives regularly inform DEI Committee initiatives. We’ll continue to foster awareness of our DEI work across the org.
We partnered with GetREAL Movement for a virtual, company-wide training to increase our knowledge of 2SLGBTQ+ terminology, identities and language, and to learn practical everyday strategies to be more inclusive with our language and behaviours both at home and at work.
“The GetREAL workshop was an incredible learning opportunity for our team and the company as a whole. We must thoughtfully work to ensure we foster an environment that exemplifies the values of inclusivity and breaking down societal prejudice. Success in creating this environment will benefit not only our enterprise but the communities we are a part of.”
We’re launching a community calendar Slackbot, where colleagues can easily let the organization know when a cultural or social event is happening that reflects their unique cultural experience.
“It’s hard to learn about other cultures without including people from that culture. Obviously, it’s best to learn about every culture, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s start with our diverse teams to strengthen our bonds. Personally, I am excited about sharing with everyone why the Winter Solstice is important to my Cantonese heritage.”
Our DEI Vision: Community
We will contribute time and money to combat injustice and raise awareness on issues important to our colleagues, customers, and communities. We will practice allyship and amplify oppressed voices. We will participate in active and fulsome ways to address systemic discrimination and marginalization.
Members of the Athennian team joined together to complete a 5k Pride Ride in support of Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian charitable organization that helps LGBTQ+ individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries. We raised over $1,500 together!
“I appreciate that Athennian supports the LGBTQIA+ community both internally and outside of our organization and I enjoy having opportunities to give back to the community in a meaningful way.”
Athennian sponsored and participated in the 2022 Toronto Pride Parade to celebrate our diversity, but also to take the time to recognize how far we still have to go to support and fight for 2SLGBTQ+ rights.
“Celebrating our pride at one of the biggest Pride Parades in the world was freeing, and fun! It’s really the bare minimum to work at a company that values inclusivity and diversity, but at Athennian, we are steps ahead of that.”
Progress takes not only listening but action. We’re committed to moving toward positive progress.