Bravand & Anti Racism

Published 23rd June 2020

Equal rights & opportunities

For years I have considered this tiny little company as beautifully different. Part of that difference was the ever-present intent to run a team that champions
equal rights and opportunities for all.

And we’ve done okay – for a (growing) team of 9. We have strong female representation, we have both team members and clients from the LGBTQ+ community, we have a neuro-diverse talent pool. We do what we can to get out there and support charities with pro bono work, and we go to schools and colleges to help educate about digital as a career.

It’s not enough

All very worthy and all very important things to do. But I’m all too aware that it’s not enough.  I accept that whilst unintentional, if you look at the Team Bravand members currently working on paid projects, we are failing to be the diverse collective we need to be. We have no black freelancers sending us invoices at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, we have many talented black people on our radar and we are bringing them in across projects that are currently at pitch/proposal stage, but none that we are currently paying.

This is a problem – I accept and acknowledge that. I also accept that this is not just a problem for Bravand, but an industry-wide issue that Founders and CEOs, like me, need to accept as unacceptable, pledge to take action against, and to be accountable later down the line in terms of delivering against those pledges.

So, what to do?

I’ve consulted, I’ve read, I’ve reached out to experts who specialise in this area and booked sessions in with them – and last week I attended a marvellous session with MEFA (from which I am ruthlessly stealing this approach from the panel).

I see both mine and Team Bravand’s contribution to change requiring two things – time and money. I once thought it was mainly money, but last week’s seminar reminded me that time is just as important and valuable, if not more – JUST donating money does not solve the issue.

So here’s my commitment to change – a first draft towards an ever-evolving intent to make things better.

From here on:

  • We will spend a significant amount of both our own and our client’s MONEY on talented black freelancers.
  • In order to achieve this, we will spend our TIME actively seeking and meeting brilliantly talented black freelancers and adding them to our talent pool.
  • We will spend both MONEY and TIME on partnering with local (Hackney and London-based) initiatives that actively support black people looking to develop a career or a business in the tech sector.
  • In order to achieve this, we will spend TIME meeting with London-based initiatives and programmes and discussing partnership opportunities that we can commit to.
  • We will spend TIME actively nurturing our black collective members outside of paid project work so that they can better achieve their own goals.
  • In order to do this, as we do with all team members, we will spend MONEY on tools and training that they may require or desire to help develop their portfolio, skillset or stack.
  • We will spend TIME working to better educate younger black talent on the career opportunities there are in digital and how to get a leg up.
  • In order to do this, we will spend MONEY and TIME on memberships, initiatives and projects that reach out to young black people and show them the opportunities available to them.
  • We will achieve a 30% BAME representation in any of our user research initiatives (focus groups, prototype testing, surveys) so that we are truly designing interfaces and products that work for everyone.
  • In order to achieve this, we will spend TIME actively assessing and recruiting research participants to ensure that this quota is met.

I see this as a starting point;

A more than feasible and achievable set of pledges that I don’t see as too much hard work if I’m honest. This is not changing the core of what we do or how we do it, it’s just a matter of us doing it better and more inclusively.

What’s more, I have every belief that we as a business will benefit from these initiatives just as much as the people we will soon be meeting and working with, if not more. This is exciting, and I look forward to reporting back on our progress, which I will do in six months time.

Finally – this is not a letter bomb that I am putting in the room for other people to read and accept – it’s a conversation. If anyone has views, feedback, criticism, discussion, or comment, please feel free to comment here or email me at jilly@bravand.com and we can start a discussion.

All the best, JC

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2020-09-15T16:15:29+00:00