Learning to Build For Everyone

L’écrivain américain James Baldwin by Micheline PELLETIER

“You always told me ‘It takes time.’ It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time. How much time do you want for your progress?”- James Baldwin

I’m wrapping this week with a singular thought: I need to accelerate my impact on progress.

Annie Jean-Baptiste said to me once, “The equation is simple. When you provide voice, visibility, and validation to underrepresented groups, more value is created for everyone”.

It clicked for me how incomplete my conversations around Diversity and Inclusion were. Annie continues to introduce me to a broader set of ideas and understanding, as I often lose my footing.

I’d, in my heart of hearts, always been committed to words like Equality, Inclusion, and Diversity.

I said things on stage like, “Losing on D&I in the AI era, is the greatest existential threat to this planet, much more than climate change”.

I’d worn my wokeness and allyship as a badges of honor, even as I continued to gain access to all white spaces, specifically with the incumbent executive crowd.

I had to ask myself:

“So you know all of the words, but are you doing the work?”.

Partnering with Tani Brown, Porter Braswell, and Ryan Williams on this 5 years ago, opened my eyes to the harder part of this journey. It’s after you convince the team to come join you. It’s constantly curating and grooming the space to be safe and empowering for everyone, all of the time.

That’s the task I’ve found most challenging as we continue to build 3 businesses globally.

We were very fortunate to have Chad Sanders join us this week, in conversation with our very own Monica Brown and Zuri Stanback to discuss Trauma and Triumph in their journey as Black leaders. I was reminded of how privilege is a cloak that so often robs me of perspective and nuance. It was a reminder for me to lean further into kinship, even as we are moving fast.

I’m still learning everyday, but the thing I know to be true is that I have to wake up every single morning and be intentional.

To decide to be part of the progress.

I’m writing this in public as much for me, as for you. To hold ourselves accountable.

Build teams that are purpose built to Build For Everyone, Everywhere.

Start tomorrow.

Chief Product Officer @tucows . Previously Verizon, ASAPP, Macquarium, Arke. Founder Focus Health, G7 Labs, Qstir.