How GoPro makes social impact through diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
In this episode, we explore how GoPro integrates diversity, equity and inclusion throughout their business and makes a social impact.
We discuss GoPro’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives including their involvement with the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.
We talk through some best first steps to stake when launching DEI&B initiatives, how to include your global team in your efforts and more..
Watch the episode: Prefer to listen: Karl Yeh:
So, today we’re joined by two special guests.
My first guest is a guest co-host, who is Erica Graham Jordan, who is the Regional Vice President at Benevity.
And we’re also joined by Anastasia Greenmore with GoPro who is the Senior Inclusion Diversity and Cause Business Partner.
Thank you very much both for joining us.
Erica Graham Jordan:
Good to be here. Let’s jump in.
Anastasia, we are thrilled [00:01:00] to have you today.
We’re going to ask you a few questions, both on your programs and also so our listeners can get a better sense of how what you have done might inspire, excite, or serve as a framework for how they can tackle some of these areas.
So, jumping in. So, what do your purpose efforts at GoPro entail?
What do they look like?
What does GoPro’s purpose efforts look like?
Yeah. First of all I want to say thank you.
Thank you both; and good morning, good day, good evening to everyone listening. I’m really grateful that you asked me on the show. I’m really excited to share [00:01:30] this with you all.
So, at GoPro I think our purpose efforts derive directly from our mission and our values.
Our underlying mission is to be a force for positivity in the world and celebrating and inspiring people to live active lifestyles.
And with our product, I think we have a really interesting opportunity to help people get the most out of their experiences in inspiring others with their creativity.
So, it’s this awesome cycle [00:02:00] of inspiration.
And our company values run really deeply through all of our purpose efforts as well.
And the two that I constantly am thinking about in our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging programming are, Make Friends.
So, how do we collaborate?
How do we build authentic partnerships?
And Integrity Always, and how do we do that in a way that brings our integrity to the mix?
So, those guiding principles, I think, are really key to our purpose efforts [00:02:30] here at GoPro.
Erica Graham Jordan:
In our prep conversation, it was so intrinsic that you can tell the company values where it came from the inside out, right, when you think about the purpose work.
But then even when you think about how does purpose fit into your business strategy then, aligning with these company values and purpose work, how do they all kind of co-exist and/or amplify each other?
How does Purpose fit into GoPro’s business strategy and align with company values?
So, for us last year was really important in how we’d always had this diversity, these values around diversity, [00:03:00] equity, and inclusion, and really strong around belonging.
And last year the challenge was to figure out how does that fit into the overall business strategy.
How do we make this holistically run through and through the company?
And I think we’ve begun to take the steps and make the progress to do that.
One of the key things was just the sheer level of support and buy-in we had from [00:03:30] our leadership to get to invest in and to create a strategic program that really did sit throughout the business and wasn’t just on the people team or in the HR function or with a subset of employees.
So, the awareness, I think, in how it can sit in different organizations within the business has been really important for [00:04:00] us.
So, whether that’s in our big marketing org and how diversity and representation live there, or it’s something like vendors that we’re working with or accessibility efforts on campus, how do we strengthen all those business functions by looking at things with an equity lens?
Erica Graham Jordan:
That’s really hard work, and so kudos to you. I mean, that’s so thorough. It’s so detailed. It’s cross-functional.
So, I think that’s [00:04:30] a good lens for maybe some folks who are further in the journey or just starting. Right? So, that’s an interesting background for them to hear.
So, even just taking a step back, what was the impetus for launching your new diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging efforts in 2020?
And then also, can you share more about the pledge?
I know we’ve talked about this, but maybe share with the audience what that looks like and why GoPro decided to opt in.
Why launch new DEI&B initiatives in 2020? What is GoPro’s involvement withThe Pledge?
It’s been a really important tool for us this year, [00:05:00] over the last year.
But first I’m going to talk about 2020.
So, we all went through it, and I live in the United States.
Here, last summer was probably one of the most challenging, one of the most traumatic summers that I had ever experienced.
Working from home, I was living in Oakland at the time, Oakland, California.
And every day we would go out and we would see.
We would go to the protests or we would go out after the protests [00:05:30] had been at night.
Obviously, the pandemic was still… There was so much unknown.
So, being in crowds is really stressful, but I know that what I saw happening around the country, that just wasn’t something that I could sit with any longer in separating and compartmentalizing as I’m an employment employee over here and I’m a black woman over here.
I’ve always sought to try to show up in an authentic [00:06:00] way.
But I think that working from home and living at home and just sitting with all of that really inspired me to speak up in some way.
I would say we’ve had a diversity and inclusion program since about 2017, but I took a look and wanted to see, get clear about where we were just holding values and where [00:06:30] we were actually taking steps and creating action.
So, some of the first things that I did after going through this really challenging period, while I was still in it, were start to reach out to leaders, our folks on our leadership council around diversity and inclusion and say, especially after George Floyd was murdered, “Where are we? We haven’t really said anything internally.
We haven’t said anything externally.
Just it feels very confusing as an employee [00:07:00] right now.” I mean, action happened right away.
One of the things we did was to hold this three company-wide listening sessions actually to just bring employees together to just experience, listen, speak, but also just be with each other at this really tough time.
I think outside of it being really tough in the social justice space, people were just very lonely.
So, those [00:07:30] were really powerful sessions.
People spoke up who don’t always speak, and I think that was so inspiring and so powerful in so many ways that it led to some momentum for us to really take a look at what did it mean to hold values and what did it mean to bring that to life around diversity and inclusion.
So, that’s a really long answer.
Then [00:08:00] The Pledge, as an outdoor lifestyle brand, most people who are using GoPros are doing it to capture things they’re doing in the outdoors. Right?
So, this pledge run by In Solidarity, it’s called the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.
We were looking for an opportunity to make a stronger commitment and to also find a way to hold ourselves accountable to progress, because it’s not enough to just hold the values.
It’s about how [00:08:30] we’re doing at actually getting to those goals.
So the pledge gave us this wonderful tool to the commitment, the ways in which the pledge asks us to commit, are increasing representation across our marketing of BiPOC and LGBTQ folks, including on our athlete and ambassador teams, as well as hiring, so more representation in our hiring as well and training and education.
So, it [00:09:00] became this way for us to sort of, as we were already reorganizing our program, it was something that helped us create some, sorry, structure, create some structure there.
So, yeah. It’s been pretty inspiring to see what this big change management has looked like throughout the company and have this pledge and to hold [00:09:30] us to a really steady course.
Erica Graham Jordan:
That’s so helpful.
I think so many folks that are new to this work, they’re often saying like, “This is such a big, big topic. Where do I even start?”
So, I think you gave some really tangible ideas from listening circle to aspects of the pledge that highlight what exact steps to take.
Anything else you’d add to that in terms of some best next first steps to take?
What are some of the best first steps to take when launching diversity initiatives?
I think as I’ve done this work over the years, [00:10:00] I’ve seen a number… I’ve just had the opportunity to be at companies where or organizations where they were just trying to figure that out.
And everything seems huge. Right?
But how can you get clear about where you’re trying to go and know that’s a long-term vision.
But then what are those smaller steps that you can start to take around, whether it’s workplace inclusion, or hiring and retention, or [00:10:30] your education, whatever those things are?
What are those like intermittent steps that begin to tell you the key indicators that, okay, we’re moving in the right direction?
And I think that has to be right sized for your company and for the size of your team.
But I also want to talk about having, sorry, having an accountability tool like the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.
There is one for companies that are not outdoor [00:11:00] companies, don’t consider themselves in the outdoor space.
There’s a CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, which is a similar pledge that rallies the business community to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
So, how can you learn from the companies that are already doing this work?
Because, I say this all the time internally, this is not a GoPro problem we’re trying to fix.
This is something that is happening across society. We’re looking at systems that we’re trying to work to correct. [00:11:30]
So, how do you learn about what other companies are doing or find the framework out there that can really work for you?
I think another really important tool is authentic support from leadership and buy-in, and that’s make or break.
Because if you are in a grassroots situation where you’re putting in a ton of energy and investment, and oftentimes those tend to be communities that have been historically marginalized, people of color, [00:12:00] LGBTQ folks, women, doing that work, you’re putting in all this energy.
You’re invested, and you’re not going to feel the return if you don’t have that leadership support, you don’t have decision-making power.
It’s going to feel like you’re pushing. It’s going to feel like you have to work against something.
So, knowing that the company isn’t just checking a box and that the support is thorough and engaged and encouraged from leadership, I think that’s so key. [00:12:30]
You just really have to get to a place where leadership is naming it.
I think one of the pitfalls that I saw often in my previous work was people wanted to do this work without naming what they were trying to solve.
So, they felt more comfortable talking about gender diversity, not comfortable talking about race and ethnicity and being very wishy-washy around certain topics.
You’re just not going to succeed [00:13:00] when you can’t name what you’re trying to create strategies around.
So, I think that’s another thing, getting exceptionally clear about what you’re trying to do. Erica Graham Jordan:
Such a good point.
If you don’t have goals, you’ll never achieve them.
If you’re never working towards something, exactly how you are going to measure success and track it? Exactly.
One last question for me, and then I’ll kick it over to Karl.
So, you’ve given some great and very tangible ideas from those folks really wherever they are on the continuum.
But when I think about global perspective, any advice [00:13:30] that you give in terms of how you’ve included your global employees how it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
How do you include global employees in your DEI&B efforts?
Yeah. I do have some to share, and I will admit this is still a place, excuse me, where we have challenges and opportunities to do better.
We have a global staff, but a lot of our teams sit here in the US. I’m based in the US.
My experience is in the United States and around these issues.
So, what I [00:14:00] really lean into in truly trying to make this work globally, one is we have a employee engagement group that is global.
Each regional office has one called the DEIB force, and that existed before I stepped into this position.
And leaning on and working with those groups to understand what this work means to them, because the context is so different in different cultures.
We have some concepts that totally translate, [00:14:30] and then some that just don’t, given the social construct.
So, some of the things that were grassroots that happened and that we can take and learn from, in our Paris office, this was, I think, two years ago, the force there decided to do a diversity and inclusion day where they’ve made this…
It was actually one of the first things I watched when I joined. It must’ve been over two [00:15:00] years ago because I joined two years ago.
But they made this amazing video where everyone was sharing about themselves and their background and what inclusion meant to them.
They hosted several conversations, brought in food from each of the different cultures.
And it was just this day for people to come together and just explore their shared culture as Parisians, but also all the different cultures that made up that group.
Then I [00:15:30] think our team in Amsterdam was inspired to do something similar, but they took it in a different direction.
They hosted these discussions for the group.
So, I think ensuring that there’s support when those types of things are bubbling up as ways for international employees to find their connections to this work [00:16:00].
Also, a lot with the way that I look at inclusion as each of us owning that space.
Inclusion to me is not separate from me. It’s not separate from you. It is how you show up. It’s how you create space for people. It’s how you are you empathetic and have a growth mindset around relationships.
That has been really picked up quite well throughout our global population.
We’ve done trainings around, inclusion trainings around interpersonal bias, and that translates.
So, finding those things that do resonate, I think, is [00:16:30] really important; and then finding who those champions are in other countries as well.
Then the last thing I’ll say where we found success sharing back and forth between the US, Asia, or Europe is our internal communications and social platforms.
So, as a company, we use Workplace, so it’s a place that everyone can go share photos, share experiences.
For women’s month, one of the [00:17:00] groups, I think it started in Bucharest or Paris, but they decided to do this thing where they were nominating.
They would share about an important moment in their life and then nominate several people.
And it was like one of the most powerful…
I can remember logging on to Workplace several times a week and just crying in the morning, because they were just such these powerful stories.
And you started to see similarities with people who grew up in Vietnam or… It was just super inspiring. [00:17:30]
So, using the platforms that you have internally to stoke that connection between countries, when it can be really challenging to get everyone together in a certain time.
Anastasia, we’ve heard a lot of really amazing things that GoPro and yourself have been doing, but I’m sure there’s been a lot of challenges that you faced when going through that diversity and inclusion journey.
Could you speak on some of those challenges and how you actually addressed them?
What challenges have you come across in your DEIB journey?
So, I will start before GoPro because I think I touched on this a little bit. I’ve just had the opportunity over the past decade to just be coming into companies when they were trying to get this work off the ground.
And now that I look back and have more experience, I can see where some of those pitfalls were.
I’ll say that as a company who potentially is trying to do this for the first time, [00:18:30] a few of the big pitfalls I would call out is watch out for a tokenization, and whether that’s in forming partnerships or how you’re representing people.
And I’ll define that for you.
So, that’s just using someone for a singular identity.
If you took a picture of me and you’re like, that’s a black woman, and I want to put her on this cover to represent that this organization cares about black women; but you [00:19:00] didn’t know me or you didn’t ask me, that’s very tokenizing.
You could see this sometimes, unfortunately, when people really start to try to do this work, but they don’t put policies and procedures in place around hiring and recruitment.
You can actually see that starting to happen in that place, too.
Partnerships, bringing on new partners solely because of what markets or what customers they represent.
So, [00:19:30] look out for ways to find authentic partnerships, authentic relationships that do not boil people down to their identity. I think that’s really important.
And then I would say the other thing is knowing that everyone is going to make a mistake.
I think going into this with a growth mindset.
Everyone is going to make a mistake.
I say this time and time again in my bias trainings.
We all hold bias.
It doesn’t make you [00:20:00] a bad person.
The behavior that we’re trying to change with these trainings, with this knowledge is that you’re able to understand when it’s happened, own up to it, apologize, and move forward and hopefully over time, not have them as strongly.
But knowing that you’re going to make a mistake and then choose to go forward even in the face of the fear of making that mistake is really powerful.
That can’t keep you from doing the work.
So, when [00:20:30] I was mentioning maybe people not being comfortable talking about race or ethnicity as something they wanted to target even if the organization is 99% white, that is not okay.
You can’t be afraid to make a mistake there.
You have to take that personal journey and then begin to take that as an organization.
And I think some of the challenges, I don’t think they’ll pose a need for any of that.
We’ve had several years to [00:21:00] build through this journey and knowing that I feel like we’ve moved into a new phase, that’s really inspiring.
So, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have challenges either, but I think those are some of the initial challenges, I would say, to watch out for.
And it’s really interesting, too, because I know in previous organizations, when you talk about tokenization, at certain points or certain events, [00:21:30] you’re trying to be, the company or the business is trying to be mindful.
But at the same time, too, it doesn’t make any sense.
For example, I think it was a Chinese New Year, and the company I was using had a stock image of an Asian father and his son at an event.
But the funny thing is I went to the postal office, and the exact same picture was there.
Then I went to the grocery store, [00:22:00] and the exact same picture was on those dividers.
So, all three pictures were all on all…
And it was like, oh, my gosh.
It was funny at the point because I know exactly where they got this picture, and I know they’re trying.
But it’s all the same. Right?
That was a miscue from, I think, all three, the post office, the supermarket, and the company using the exact same picture.
It was a really good picture.
Don’t get me wrong. I [00:22:30] was like, it was so good that all three of them used it. Yeah.
And you touched on bias too, which is interesting because as our society moves forward and everything’s changing so fast, things that were acceptable or no one said anything about it maybe five, even 10, 20 years ago, that’s suddenly different and suddenly things are changing.
I think you’re right, though. [00:23:00] Yeah.
Different people grew up in different eras, and I think, yeah, if you can just apologize for it and just be mindful that this isn’t acceptable or something that it is offensive to people or makes them feel marginalized.
Yeah. And I think that journey is exceptionally hard for people.
It’s a personal… You have to find like cognitive safety within that journey.
If someone is calling you out on something, you’re probably immediately defensive; [00:23:30] and you don’t even know why because your brain has put you in that space. Right?
But I think the difference between people who are open to that sort of learning and people who are closed to it is once they can process that emotional reaction, then they can begin to uncover what was actually wrong with that or how did I potentially miss that.
How can I educate myself to learn here? [00:24:00]
So, I think you’re. These things change fast, so it is a constant learning journey. Yeah.
So, knowing what you know now, what recommendations or advice would you provide to a company?
I know you mentioned before, you go into organizations who are just getting their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging programs off the ground.
What kind of advice or recommendations would you have for companies that are just starting?
Recommendations for companies launching a DEIB program who are new to the space
Yeah, I think I’m going to go back to [00:24:30] a few things that I mentioned in maybe the previous answer as well, a couple previous answers.
Have allies within the organization to make a change
I think outside of the tokenization piece or the mistakes, ensuring that where you’re sitting in the organization that if you don’t have the power to help make this change, that you have the allies within, too.
Have you reached out to someone in leadership?
Have you been able to go beyond that, [00:25:00] unfortunately that barrier where there might be great ideas, great momentum, but you’re just not reaching out to leaders or reaching decision-makers?
I think that’s really, really tough; and I speak to colleagues in other companies.
And it really, something that really, I’m just going to say this, really bothers me is a lot of companies that have ERGs are really depending on ERGs [00:25:30] to be…
That’s the program.
We’ve gotten these ERGs, these people who are typically of historically marginalized backgrounds, are carrying this work for the company.
Often they’re not compensated for that time and are potentially not having as strong influence within the leadership.
There’s a power dynamic there, right?
So, I think for companies who are starting out, I’m not [00:26:00] saying ERGs are bad. ERGs are great.
But doing them in a way that actually empowers people, that is developmentally for their career a really positive force, ERGs are a fantastic space of inclusion for people who there might not be that many of us in the workplace; and we just want to not have to code switch whatever.
But a company cannot solely have their entire program and progress [00:26:30] based on having strongly ERGs that don’t really have that decision-making power.
So, I think being aware of those power dynamics as you’re starting a program.
Yeah, and I think the investments in making sure that it is someone’s job.
So, this gets back to the energy thing or the volunteer thing.
It cannot be 30 people’s job [00:27:00] to own this program.
It should be having a team that is dedicated and how do they work with those different communities or different stakeholders to create change within.
So, it was all over the place, but I had a lot of thoughts on that one.
Well, no. Now, you mentioned a little earlier about you were watching a lot of inspiring stories, and I know GoPro is [00:27:30] obviously a brand that is known for inspiring storytelling.
So, can you let me know, what are some examples of how to authentically tell stories related to diversity and impact that work?
What are some examples to authentically tell the story of your diversity and impact work?
Yeah. I think we are really lucky to have a product that’s purpose, the purpose behind the product, is to empower people to self-capture what they’re most passionate about.
So, for [00:28:00] us, I think the most authentic way to be able to tell those stories or really show other people’s stories that they’re trusting us with is to go out there and work with group of global ambassadors and open it up to other people as well to share their stories with us.
We have this wonderful global and diverse community of creators and athletes who share their lives and their stories, and that representation [00:28:30] is really important.
So, that’s a place where we obviously, as they’re advocates and they’re athletes, who have the control over, okay, if we see an opportunity to have more women or more people of color, more LGBTQ folks, how are we meeting that challenge?
But then there’s also the people who those people inspire, so this social media engagement.
But reaching out to those communities, if they see themselves, as they see themselves represented.
So, [00:29:00] how are we doing a good job in representing these communities and inviting them into our fold through storytelling? People connect so deeply with other people’s stories.
That’s just, I think, how we’re wired socially as social animals.
And then I think the other way that builds on that too, is from a partnership perspective, we have our GoPro for a Cause program, which is our nonprofit partnership program. [00:29:30]
Through this diversity and inclusion program, we have the opportunity to authentically invest in these partnerships and especially in the outdoor community, do our part in breaking those old stereotypes about who’s outdoors.
So, how are we taking care to represent people authentically based on who’s using our products and who we can be making new connections with to use the product.
Erica Graham Jordan:
[00:30:00] I love that.
I love how it all dovetails so closely and cohesively together. It is intrinsically linked with your product, just all this diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging work.
And as we wrap up our time together today, we have one final question.
As we look on the horizon for the future, we’ve talked a little bit about how diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging is a continuum. Right? And I loved how you said you have to start.
You have to hit key milestones.
But if you fail, that’s okay. If you make mistakes, apologize, acknowledge, [00:30:30] and move on. Right?
How do we keep moving this?
How do we keep moving it forward collectively?
Even thinking about this, as you think about GoPro, what would you say is the next phase of your journey around diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging.
What’s next in your journey and commitment to diversity at GoPro?
Yeah. I’ll just take that in two parts. So, [00:31:00] one of the ways in which I approach learning or journey or progress on this topic is through a continuum.
I think so often these topics can be presented in a binary; right and wrong, sexist or not sexist, racist or not racist. Whatever the thing is, it can just be either you are or you aren’t, and that’s it.
I think that’s a mistake because it’s a really intense cognitive and personal journey [00:31:30] that people have to take to even establish the psychological safety to go there, to begin to take these issues in.
So, I really like this awareness funnel that really takes people through all the way from unawareness to advocating.
So, our program’s mission is to move as many people along from that side of establishing psychological safety over to the choosing courage over comfort.
And that doesn’t mean that every single person is going to be advocating on every single issue. [00:32:00] But if they’re informed and feeling empowered based on the education and the space we create for them, I think that is what success looks like for us.
So, just to give a quick example of what some of these phases might look like. So, unawareness might look like, “It’s 2021. There’s a black vice president, sex…” Not sex looks like. “There’s a black vice president, black woman vice-president. Sexism is obviously [00:32:30] a thing of the past.”
And apathy might look like, “Well, I’ve learned a little bit about sexism, and now that is too big of a thing for me to handle. I can’t do that on my own.”
So, someone is consciously deciding to check out of that process. But when you’re establishing curiosity, you’re starting to establish that psychological safety that it takes to even say, “Well, maybe this is an issue, and I can start to learn about it.”
That’s where we want to get people. Right?
And once they’re moving [00:33:00] over from curious and starting to learn about something, how can we make sure that they’re informed and have valid data-driven information to look into?
And the last thing I’ll say about it is I think it’s important to recognize that people may be on many different parts of this continuum on different issues.
So, I think it really allows you to approach things with empathy and a growth mindset in [00:33:30] keeping that continuum in mind. Yeah. So, that’s how I think about this continuum.
And in terms of what’s next for us, we, actually, yesterday just released our first diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging report.
As part of our commitment to the Outdoor CEO pledge, we will be reporting annually; and this was our first time doing that.
That was an incredible undertaking [00:34:00] across the business trying to understand what were our key indicators for progress here; and I think looking forward, this is going to be having the pledge as a tool, having this report as a tool, this is going to be a good way for us to keep ourselves accountable to doing the work.
So, I would say that’s what’s next in our journey is keeping ourselves accountable, understanding when there needs to be shifts because things change, and [00:34:30] being accountable to if something isn’t working. So, we’re really excited. Yeah. Thank you.
Erica Graham Jordan: Thank you. That was amazing. Thank you so much for your insight, Anastasia.
Originally published at https://www.benevity.com.