For many companies, “social justice” and “diversity and inclusion” are buzzwords whose usage has only increased since 2020 and its various movements. For GOOD WORX founder Kirstyn Nimmo, however, it’s been a way of life since before it was cool to do so.
“We specialize in social innovation consultancy,” she told AfroTech in an exclusive interview. “We engage with brands — either for the long-term, or the short-term — and we encourage them to use their influence to address some of society’s most pressing issues. Now, however, it’s taken on additional tones as well.”
According to the company’s website, Nimmo’s work has been steadily increasing amongst corporate entities for more than ten years. She’s been recognized by the Obama administration for her past work, and even won a Shorty Award for her efforts as well.
However, GOOD WORX — and Nimmo’s efforts — seem to be more salient in 2021, especially since many “big tech” companies like Google are facing their own watershed moments when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
Nimmo, however, doesn’t look at these watershed moments as a bad thing. In fact, her programs create a sense of accountability with these companies and others.
“One thing that we always instruct our partners [which include, most recently, Yahoo] to do is to take a stand and convey their values — not just to the public, but to their employees,” she said. “Consumers need that for a brand to be strong, and resilient. But at the same time, brands need to take an internal look at themselves, before they take that stand.”
Certainly, we’ve seen what happens to companies who make promises “on paper” but fail to deliver in real life. For instance, Google’s CEO is currently facing his own call for accountability by HBCU presidents after the accusations of racism became too loud for him to ignore.
In Nimmo’s eyes, however, this type of accountability requires not only periodic internal “audits” to see if the company’s walk matches the talk, but to ensure that they can “proudly stand up for these issues” that are currently plaguing the corporate workplace today.
Addressing what she calls a company’s “blind spots,” GOOD WORX is taking extra steps to ensure that companies feel comfortable, not only holding themselves accountable but continuing to question their commitment to the greater good.
“We cannot continue to allow these companies to conduct ‘business as normal’ simply because it’s always been done that way,” Nimmo said. “But it’s not about punishment. It’s about them taking responsibility for the things that they’ve done in their past to make it better for them, and others, in the present and in the future. [GOOD WORX], in particular, is helping to educate people about the pasts of certain industries — yes, including the tech sector — and about certain brands. [We] really need to get a great understanding of the impact that these brands have had in the past, and what needs to be done to correct whatever negative damage has been inflicted as a result of that.”
Editorial Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity, and updated to reflect the brand names.