Netta Jenkins, vice president of Global Inclusion for Mosaic Group and Ask Applications, an IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IAC) company and author, has long worked to address issues of diversity in the workplace. Now, along with Jacinta Mathis, senior growth director of KeyMe, Jenkins is seeking to address empowerment as well. The two tech innovators are the proud founders of Dipper, a digital solutions platform that connects people of color and helps employers and employees navigate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.
Dipper enables employees of color to express workplace issues, concerns, or feedback in a safe digital space. The experiences, whether positive or negative, are recorded and then translated into meaningful data for both expectant employers and potential employees. The end result is a two-way street: a means for employees to be heard without fear of ramifications, and a way for employers to receive and address concerns from a neutral perspective.
The insight that Dipper provides could be a game changer for the workplace. A report by The Atlantic notes the negative effects of performance reviews on African American workers. It describes the ways in which such evaluations can cause scrutiny along racial lines, as well as negatively impact promotions and future opportunities. The report also reveals that such issues ultimately affect the unemployment rate of African Americans vis-a-vis their Caucasian counterparts.
Similarly, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management illustrates that Latino employees are more likely to leave a work environment where belonging, caring, and engagement are not clear components of the workplace culture. While many companies have worked to recruit more employees of color, these studies show that taking one small step forward may target only one aspect of a larger problem. Greater steps toward inclusion are also needed. After all, Jenkins believes the point of bringing more diverse people to the table may be moot, if they ultimately do not have a voice.
Jenkins and Mathis formed a collegial bond during their work in tech innovation, which was often an isolating experience for them, as women of color. They noted the impact of diversity and access while comparing experiences with career transitions, promotions, salary negotiations, motherhood, and more. Mathis, the proud daughter of two corporate executives, recalled her father’s efforts to address inclusion within the workplace.
“I saw my late father, Sam Mathis, promoted into a corporate diversity and inclusion leadership role at a Fortune 500 company. As a pioneer in the area of corporate D&I, Dad did work to make access and success attainable for so many. Now with technology, I am thrilled to continue this legacy, empower people of color, and deliver effective solutions to companies via Dipper,” Jacinta said.
Dipper’s data-oriented formula can help nurture a better workplace culture by enabling employers to gain greater insight and foster a more inclusive environment.
“I love data, because it truly tells us a story that we can measure and solve,” said Jenkins.
“A lot of the reviews on Glassdoor and some of these other employment sites, they don’t really think about what the experience is for somebody who’s diverse,” McCaskill said. “We have to share our experiences,” he added, noting the benefit of having anonymity when completing a company review.
Jenkins believes Dipper has the ability to inspire and empower a generation of workers.
“When I think of Dipper, I immediately think about the stars in the sky and opportunity. I think about my immigrant parents from Liberia who looked up in the sky at that beautiful Dipper, and dreamed about coming to America to experience the land of the free and to take advantage of opportunities that would put our family in the best position,” Jenkins said.
She also reflects upon the digital platform’s ability to transform the equity landscape based on the transparency of data points.
“Dipper has the power to change lives for the better and positively shift our work culture globally,” Jenkins said.
Ultimately, Jenkins foresees a future where Dipper creates a community that dramatically shifts the inclusion discourse. If the stars align, Dipper will become that guiding light, pointing potential employers and employees to a bright horizon in the distance.