Along with the rest of the world, we are disgusted and deeply saddened by the violence against Black Americans and all people of color in the US, and we stand in solidarity in the fight for equality and justice. We believe that it’s not enough to talk about equality—we are committed to action.
In July 2020, as part of the #CommitToChange movement, we publicly joined a growing list of agencies taking action to ensure that Black voices, and voices of all who are underrepresented or marginalized, are heard. We have answered Six Hundred & Rising’s Call for Change for transparency and accountability by publicly posting our diversity data and our Commitment to Change and are taking steps daily to meet the goals we’ve set.
Our values attract the kind of people who believe in equality, equity, and justice for everyone. And when we joined the S4 Capital family of companies in late 2019, we found like-minded partners who not only share our values but have joined us in committing to change. While we are working on all of our equality and inclusion initiatives, here are the areas where we’ve made clear and measurable progress to date:
Ensuring the diversity and inclusivity of our work product by continuing to train our teams and assess our creative output.
- We are continually expanding our services to clients to help them be more inclusive in their thinking and communications. As a first offering, we have developed a methodology for conducting inclusivity and representation audits of our clients’ programs and asset libraries. The audits offer tools to measure progress over time, as well as actionable insights to help guide creative development to be more inclusive.
- We’ve also created a tipsheet for both creatives and marketers, offering guidance in the conceptualization and execution of marketing programs—whether produced by internal teams or agencies—with an eye toward diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The tipsheet is being used internally at Firewood and is set for distribution to other S4 companies and clients beginning in October 2020.
- Our client teams—both on the account and creative sides—are currently undergoing accessibility training.
Staying open to learning from one another, both internally and in our industry, as we aim to improve racial and social justice for everyone.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of who we are as a company. Several of our senior leaders have penned and published op-ed pieces on DE&I topics, most recently:
- An employee-led antiracism working group helps employees explore concrete ways to become antiracist and take meaningful action.
- Our Firewood Employee Book Club chose to read and study Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and is discussing it weekly.
Continuing to build our foundation of employee training requirements with the focus on allyship, antiracism, antibias, and other initiatives that promote racial equity.
- Firewood HR created a mandatory inclusivity learning path on LinkedIn Learning for all new employees. This coursework includes content on unconscious bias, allyship, inclusive conversations, and other topics relevant to living our value of inclusivity.
- As part of our onboarding activity, an allyship challenge impresses upon our newest employees that we are committed to taking action in increasing equity and justice for all people. This challenge originated as a monthlong activity for our existing employees.
Participating in the S4 Fellowship Program and developing local internships to recruit minority graduates and nongraduates to train with us.
- The S4 Fellowship Program is in its recruitment phase to find up to four Fellows from historically Black colleges and universities to train and work for four years across the S4 family of companies.
- Firewood is partnering with Hack the Hood—an organization that introduces young, underserved people of color to tech careers—to develop an internship program with our digital marketing team at Firewood.
Increasing our involvement in organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, like the 3% Movement and ADCOLOR, to help increase visibility of their missions to boost gender and minority representation in our industry.
- Along with other S4 companies, Firewood sponsored the 2020 3% Conference and provided employee access.
- Along with S4, Firewood is an ADCOLOR partner and provided our employees access to the 2020 conference.
- Our S4 companies are also sponsors of ONE School—a free, online portfolio school for Black creatives. Our sponsorship is helping advance ONE School’s mission of bringing new Black talent into the industry. And as part of our support, several of our companies’ employees will mentor students to help them enhance their creative skills as they continue their education and eventually aim to secure employment in our industry.
Regularly assessing our culture, practices, and company policies to ensure we’re maintaining and supporting an equitable environment for all.
- Firewood partnered with a team of external workforce inclusivity consultants to help us ensure we’re promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. In October, we will have a full report of their months-long, independent assessment of Firewood’s culture, policies, and practices from a DE&I perspective. We will use their findings to develop new initiatives to enhance and continue living our DE&I values.
Conducting a gift-matching drive to contribute to some of the major US nonprofits that support racial equality and justice.
- Our S4 family raised over $408,000—both in employee donations and S4 matching funds—for the following organizations:
Since day one, our core values—humility, inclusivity, authenticity, and responsibility—have guided us in creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce, but we realize there’s more work to do. We will use data and findings from our DE&I assessment to drive future actions and will continue to update our progress on a regular basis.
We remain committed to change.
We are and will be transparent and accountable.
We’re in this for the long haul.