So much of the work we do at ScribeConcepts is about making the world a better place. We often say, if we’re going to work this hard, at least we get to work on the side of angels. Many of our clients are passionate curriculum developers, intent on reshaping education in ways that make rich content accessible and inclusive. We help them do that, and providing our expertise to this good work is deeply satisfying.
But if we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that background affiliation with good causes is not enough. Clear, effective, applied advocacy is what the world needs. Anyone can say, for instance, they’re open to diversity on their teams, but merely being open to it doesn’t make it so. Diversity doesn’t “just happen,” no matter how good the intentions are.
We saw this disconnect—between good intentions and effective advocacy—play out internally in the spring, when the world was rocked by George Floyd’s death. Our team wanted to put out a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, but we quickly stumbled as we tried to draft it. Everything we wrote was hobbled by our limited lens, shaped by white guilt, privilege, and, we realized, the shortage of BIPOC voices on our teams and relationships. We shared others’ posts on social media, but we were literally paralyzed, unprepared to put our own voice and action into the fray.
Clearly, we had work to do.
Later in the summer, we found ourselves in a conversation with a new curriculum developer. Part of their mission is to create curricula for children of color, and they want to make it with BIPOC talent.
We can certainly assemble project and production support teams that match the children they are trying to reach. But again, we couldn’t immediately speak to the exact makeup of our existing teams, or what we were doing to recruit, support, and develop diverse talent. We have some thoughts about that, and some initiatives we’ve set in motion for the first time this year, but we have a long way to go.
We share this in the spirit of one of our core project management tenets: Transparency enhances accountability. Transparency may sometimes be uncomfortable, but it can show us where we are, and where we need to go.
In the coming months, ScribeConcepts is committed to defining, articulating, and acting on its social mission. We don’t know exactly what shape it will take, but we know a few things are on our agenda to explore:
Diversity recruitment and leadership cultivation, including evaluation of tools and technologies used throughout the hiring and promotion process
How to develop our nascent Inclusion & Diversity Specialist’s role to advise curriculum developers on how to write inclusive curriculum, provide accessible student-facing materials, and handle “sensitive” topics
Ensuring we are welcoming, inclusive, and supportive to our talent resources who are transgender
Recruiting, training, and supporting talent resources who are neurodiverse, on the Autism spectrum, or differently abled
Accessibility tagging of educational curriculum, building on work we are already doing to ensure rich content reaches every student
Other areas of focus may come to light as we embark on this process. Check back with us to see where we are on the journey. Challenge us. Hold us accountable.
Hopefully, next time we want to send a missive into the world, we’ll already have it written into our every operation. Because that’s the kind of company we want to be.