Creating Access for Historically Excluded Groups — Gary Davis of Greenhouse

AllVoices Team
AllVoices Team
October 26, 2020
5 Min Read
Creating Access for Historically Excluded Groups — Gary Davis of Greenhouse

This post is a part of our series, Culture Champions — Spotlighting the actionable advice, tips, tricks and learnings from top ERG leaders who are making a difference in their workplaces and communities.

Meet Gary L. Davis (he/him), DE&I Advisory Director at Greenhouse. Gary is a talent management and diversity leader with 10 years of expertise in strategy, engagement, and program management in tech, nonprofit, and education advocacy landscapes. He is passionate about integrating DE&I across the employee lifecycle to maximize engagement and organizational effectiveness.

As Greenhouse’s DE&I Advisory Director, what has best prepared you for this role and to be a people manager? 

My career is dedicated to creating access for historically excluded groups. I’ve been fortunate to find roles that position me to develop talent and connect them to opportunities that lead to sustaining career pathways. I spent almost 10 years in the education and workforce development nonprofit space and two years ago pivoted to Greenhouse where I help employers redefine what  “qualified” looks like and build processes that are inclusive, skills-centric, and fair.

What was your journey to becoming an employee resource group (ERG) leader of Blackhouse at Greenhouse? 

When I joined Greenhouse in the summer of 2019, Blackhouse was a small but mighty Slack community eager to leap off the screen to create more impact and community across the business. I stepped into my role at the beginning of 2020 (pre-quarantine) and since then, our team tried our best to create safety for Black employees as we all navigated periods of angst, confusion, and unrest with Covid-19 and our country’s problem with racial injustice.

What are the goals of Blackhouse? (i.e. internal, external, community, professional development, recruitment, inclusive product design, programming) 

We want to create a welcoming community for Black employees to reach their highest potential. We partner with our people team to improve outcomes related to Black staff and ensure that our talent management principles affirm and accentuate the experiences of Black employees.   

What were some of your accomplishments over the past year in the employee experience and how would you measure your impact? 

I’m really proud of how we’ve built relationships internally and externally with partners like HealHaus and Black Professionals in Tech Network, who’ve respectively helped our employees develop across lines of mindfulness and career development. We also hosted a daily challenge during the week of Juneteenth where we invited our peers to support Black-owned businesses, support organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Bail Project, watch projects that highlight Black LGBTQ+ people, and share personal commitments for fighting racial injustice. 

How are you celebrated and compensated as an ERG leader? 

Greenhouse recently launched a new equity program for ERG leaders that acknowledges our contributions to the greater organization and our service to the communities we serve internally. 

What advice do you have for folks looking to start or lead an ERG within their organization?

Remember who you are designing for and keep intersectionality at the core of everything you do. Regardless of the community you are creating space for, don’t forget to elevate the experiences of women, queer, non-binary, or trans people, people from different generations, abilities, languages, nationalities, or caregiving statuses, to name a few. 

What is your call to action for leaders (executives and decision-makers in general at a company) to support the work of ERGs? 

See ERGs as partners, not surrogates or competitors to your People teams. We have an experience and perspective that positions us to define opportunities or problems within the employee experience and can co-design solutions that promote true inclusion. 

What is one of your proudest moments and why? 

Seeing how employees from across the business engaged with our daily Black History Month facts via our diversity channel in Slack this past February. We were intentional about highlighting Black leaders across the globe that perhaps the general public may not be familiar with like Kwame Nkrumah, Joan Higginbotham, and Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable and the excitement was empowering. 

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