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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Poppin

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Poppin

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On June 10th, 2020, Poppin made a commitment to our community to enact real change. Our team, like many others, was left feeling helpless after the death of George Floyd. How could we, as individuals and as a company, make an impact? 

"While we made donations, posted on social, and took basic actions,” says Meredith Zenkel, Poppin’s VP of Marketing, “we knew it wasn’t the hard work that we all must do to improve the cities and communities we live in.” 

After a company-wide conversation, Poppin realized the need for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council that was open to anyone who wanted to participate. The goal of the DEI Council is to build a long-term strategy for taking action and making real change—starting in our own community. 

“It was important that everybody’s voice be heard,” says Raphael Williams, Poppin’s Regional A+D Channel Manager. “I decided to join the DEI Council because I have a unique lens on solutions that will enhance our community, culture, and connections.” 

After the DEI Council was formed, its purpose was identified, initial goals were set, and group leaders were nominated. The DEI Council is now formed into four sub-groups: Recruiting, Education, Events, and Core Values. 

 

Our Commitment to Recruiting

Poppin is committed to changing our hiring practices in order to overcome unconscious biases and establish a framework for a more equitable process. 

“When we surveyed the company, a few things kept bubbling to the top,” says Williams. “Many questions were centered around bringing in more diverse talent. How might we think about creating a system that will give us a more dynamic pool of people?” 

By committing ourselves to identifying and overcoming unconscious biases in the hiring process, Poppin is making a long-term change in how we recruit for our growing team. 

 

Our Commitment to Events

Poppin is committed to building a calendar of events for Poppin employees centered on strengthening our internal community and giving back to surrounding communities. 

Poppin has always been committed to a company culture that celebrates individuals while creating a strong team bond. The DEI Council considered how to use this existing culture in order to make community-based change part of our company’s DNA. 

This year, the events team will be creating a virtual volunteering program, a book club focused on reading and discussing social justice literature, an internal mentorship program to lend support around personal and professional challenges that employees may not feel comfortable addressing with their manager, and a monthly company-wide event where an employee shares traditions from their culture aimed at strengthening connection and inclusion in our own community. 

 

Our Commitment to Education

Poppin is committed to establishing required diversity trainings and providing educational resources for employees. 

The first step to real change is acknowledging privilege, identifying existing biases, and providing resources for our team to move forward with diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our minds. Poppin has brought in external companies to host diversity trainings, and we are committed to continuing to provide resources and encouraging open and honest communication within our own team. 

“We all have our unique biases of which we may or may not be aware,” says Williams. “Educating each other is an important aspect of making change.”

 

Our Commitment to Core Values

Poppin is committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into Poppin's core values. 

Poppin's core values have remained unchanged since 2014, when they were first written. As the world evolves—and our company evolves along with it—our core values must reflect our team’s dedication to real change. 

The DEI Council will be updating our core value statements to reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our new core values will keep these issues top-of-mind, serving as guideposts along our continued journey toward change. 

 

The Change Is Just Beginning

“As a member of the leadership team at Poppin, I was having conversations with people across the organization and we all felt the same way,” says Zenkel. "It was time to stop making excuses and start laying the foundation to build something more meaningful into Poppin’s culture.” 

The DEI Council and its initial goals are just the beginning of this foundation—one that Poppin will be building on for many years to come. As we continue to make changes, we’ll keep our team and our community updated along the way. 

 

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