By Andrea Perdomo, Network Catalyst, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Techstars
April is Celebrate Diversity Month, so we wanted to share one of the ways we celebrate diversity at Techstars every day!
Diversity is about reflecting the mixture of differences and similarities found in the world and acknowledging the related tensions as we strive to develop more inclusive and high performing environments. We live in an increasingly interconnected world and it’s more important now than ever to learn openness and appreciate our differences.
At Techstars we implemented a tradition to celebrate diversity that started at our weekly all-company standup meetings on Mondays. At every weekly standup, two employees volunteer to either lead the call or do a deep dive on a useful topic. In both cases, every presenter starts with Techstars Includes Y.O.U.
Techstars Includes Y.O.U. is an acronym for:
Y: Your Younger self - share something about your younger self
O: Share One thing about your culture
U: Share something Unique about yourself
Today, the tradition of Techstars Includes Y.O.U. has expanded and teams are using it in their offsites, team meetings and 1-1s. Since this tradition began, we have heard a Techstars Includes Y.O.U. from over 150 employees. recognition of employees’ humanity and individuality is the first step in the celebration of our differences — differences that inform our cultures, our values, our minds, and all our ways of being in the world.
In the workplace it is easy to create solely transactional relationships. We have all been there: working with someone and only ever talking about projects and deadlines, never really getting to know that person. In place of getting to know them as they are, we imagine those people according to our own assumptions, stereotypes, and biases. This is a loss: one of the great opportunities that work gives us is the chance to make human connections with people we otherwise might not have met.
As human beings, we are revealed and make ourselves known to one another by infinite varieties of intelligence, language, ethnicity, values, politics, religion, national service, gender presentation, philosophy, and a host of other elements common to humankind. By providing a venue where diverse perspectives, cultures, and values are accepted, appreciated and celebrated we are building authentic and honest connections.
When you look at the Techstars Code of Conduct, you will see that the principle of inclusion has been part of Techstars since day one. We believe that to develop an inclusive environment we give first, we act with integrity, and we treat others with respect.
Feel free to use the format of Techstars Includes Y.O.U. at your organization — and feel free to make it your own!
Andrea Perdomo is the Network Catalyst, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Techstars. Before joining Techstars, she was the co-founder and CMO at Revolar a 2015 & 2016 Techstars company. While at Revolar Andrea built a full stack team of hardware, software, sales and operations members that successfully launched 2 hardware products and sold over 20,000 units in 16 months. Andrea is a Graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.