Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conversations at Forward
June 24, 2021 | Company News
June 22, 2021 – Over the past year, Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements have changed the way that we talk about race and racism in the workplace. Understanding that we have a responsibility to make sure all team members feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work, we wanted to know how we could make Forward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.
“One of the first things we did in response to hearing from our team’s feedback was to create the interdepartmental DEI Committee. We have about 15 team members who meet on a biweekly basis to discuss what’s going well and how we can improve in terms of DEI,” said Sr. Director of People and Culture, Shannon Braley.
The company’s DEI mission statement is, “Forward Financing actively promotes a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do. We are committed to creating a workplace where trust and respect are paramount and all employees feel valued, heard, and accepted. By embracing diversity of thought, background, and identity, we will continue to become a stronger team and a better organization.”
The Committee has organized several company-wide virtual training sessions. For example, we heard from Dr. Rhonda Jones, a cultural archivist dedicated to preserving underrepresented communities, and Victoria Alexander, who spoke about implicit bias and racism.
We planned employee-led coffee chats about how we can make Forward a more diverse and inclusive environment. Team members volunteered to lead conversations about a topic meaningful to them, including Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility; female leaders in history to celebrate Women’s History Month; and the importance of sharing pronouns to recognize Pride Month.
In addition to organizing speakers for the entire team, Forward hosted several training sessions with She+ Geeks Out about reducing bias in the hiring process for all team members who lead interviews. The Talent Acquisition team has also recently started using a new writing platform that utilizes AI to analyze job descriptions and other recruitment messaging. It provides insights on potential biases and suggests word changes to appeal to more diverse candidate pools.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past year to make the hiring process and company culture more inclusive, and we look forward to adding new initiatives and training that will make Forward an even better place to work,” said Braley.
About Forward Financing
Forward Financing is a Boston-based financial technology company that provides fast, flexible working capital to small businesses nationwide. Their dedicated account representatives and advanced proprietary technology help customers spend less time finding capital and more time growing their businesses. With a simple online application, business owners can trust that Forward Financing works to get them approvals within minutes, funding within hours, and personalized support when they need it most.
Since 2012, Forward Financing has expanded Main Street’s access to capital by providing over $1 billion in funding to nearly 30,000 small businesses. The company is A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau and ‘Excellent / 4.9 stars’ on Trustpilot.com. Forward Financing was named a Best Place to Work by both the Boston Business Journal and Built In Boston, and has been named by both Inc. Magazine and the Boston Business Journal as one of Massachusetts’ fastest-growing companies each year since 2017. Forward Financing is committed to helping more small business owners succeed and achieve their full potential. To learn more, visit www.forwardfinancing.com.