At Personify, we’re unlearning the system approach to DEI and giving our people the chance to boldly vocalize and take action to create the environment they want to be part of.
DEI Commitment Statement: As an organization, we will continue to speak out, as we live our intentions—and we will continue our commitment to be the change we want to see in our communities, both internally and within the markets we serve.
What does DEI mean to Personify?
It’s a continuous journey and a set of goals we are striving towards. It’s a collective and conscious movement towards making ourselves better as leaders, managers, colleagues and a global organization. In order to make a true impact, the effort has to come from the top down, and as a committee, we’re the bridge that connects the intention with the message and the message with the action. Our goal is to nurture a growth mindset to encourage everyone to adopt and engage with DEI thinking on every level. Our role is to provide the resources and the pathways for every employee to feel empowered. – Ashly Stewart, Senior Marketing Manager, Crystal Faris, Director of People and Culture and Jill Nalepa, Business Solutions Team Lead
At Personify, one of our corporate values is accountability: we say what we’ll do, and we’ll do what we say. This is a guiding light for our work in diversity, equity and inclusion. We acknowledge that we have a lot to unlearn and learn; content is a method to share experiences and encourage conversation. When searching for content, we want to find engaging, authentic voices that share different perspectives, highlight the beauty or the struggles of a particular culture or group, and enlighten all of us somehow. We step up to controversial or uncomfortable topics and present them in a safe and meaningful way. – Crystal Faris and Lakshmi Subramanian, Director of Technology Solutions
Do you think DEI awareness includes uncomfortable conversations and how do you manage those?
It does, resoundingly so. That’s the point. In the broader scope, issues of DEI have only been whispered about in order not to offend anyone or to protect themselves. One of the best things we can do as an organization is to encourage people to be loud. If we open the doors widely where they were previously closed and be transparent with both the downsides and the positive changes we are making, our teams will know that we support them actively, not passively. As an Asian American female, it’s only been in the past year or so that I have started to feel comfortable voicing my experiences and observations. Silence is systemic; and at Personify, we’re not putting the onus on the individual to speak up. – Ashly Stewart
We are trying to create a safe space for conversation in what might be thought of as uncomfortable situations. Whether it’s a book study or presentation from one of our Employee Resource Groups, it’s more than a party; it’s an event that calls for thoughtful reflection and people willing to grow as a result of being open to reflecting and learning. Without the hard conversations, it can become easy to treat it as another celebration instead of an authentic learning exercise. – Greg Millette, Business Solutions Consultant
What is your biggest piece of advice for getting started with DEI?
It’s vital to approach any DEI initiative, committee or strategy by first establishing a safe place to have transparent conversations. Then, the action can take place. Furthermore, it’s essential to engage speakers and thought leaders from the communities you want to include, but not to take on the responsibility of educating, for example, the white men at the top. The onus is on the majority to learn, and as a DEI SharePoint Committee, we provide the resources to do just that. For any DEI event or initiative, it’s critical to ensure the participants and speakers are comfortable with the format and their role. – Ashly Stewart
Other members of Personify’s DEI Committee include: Jen Duffett, Senior Manager of Accounting and Blake Dean, Technical Solutions Consultant.
People of Personify
The “People of Personify” is a multi-part series featuring profiles and interviews with leaders and talented team members at Personify who are driving innovation for professional associations and event management partners.
As an organization, Personify is awarded and recognized as a best place to work. We want to ensure we are living up to the expectations of our teams. The formation of our DEI Committee and our Employee Resource Groups are a direct result of our evolving consciousness – jump-started by national and global events – and ongoing feedback from our employees on how they want to see change. As a company that builds technology to facilitate community and communication, we recognize that we have a weighty responsibility to be open internally to the possibilities, overcome the setbacks and continue to make progress. At Personify, we believe diversity, equity and inclusion need to be more than words on a career page; they need to be the foundational guidelines for every action a company makes. While that may be a lofty goal, it is one that we reach for at every opportunity.