A Year in Reflection

Kyndra Countryman

By Kyndra Countryman

May 25, 2021
Today marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.

It was a day in an already tumultuous year that seemed to change the world forever. Tensions were already high with the Covid pandemic kicking into high gear and with countless stories of unarmed, murdered black people. We were all still trying to wrap our heads around the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor when the video of Mr. Floyd’s murder went viral.

Despite all the ugliness and heartbreak that this video revealed, one thing is certain: the movement for police reform, accountability and racial equity it created is one of the most powerful forces modern day history has seen!

I’m sure you all remember how many companies pushed Black Lives Matter statements and expressed how they were going to do their part in fighting for racial equity. We were one of those companies. So, to commemorate Mr. Floyd this year, I wanted to report back on how Ideas Collide has changed for the better.

One of my favorite experiences from my time at the agency is how natural our Black Lives Matter statement took shape. It was written in true collaboration style with input, edits and rewrites from several team members. Just like many companies, the entire movement forced us to take a hard look inside — we had hard conversations about who we were, what we looked like and what we stood for. From this, we officially created what we now call our “Diversity Collaboration Team” after even more team members raised their hands asking to take part once our statement was released. Here’s what the team has accomplished in the last year:

  • Established diversity sub-teams focused on Goals, Commitment, Communication, Recruitment, Giving Back, and Training
  • Organized monetary donations to organizations such as Campaign Zero, the NAACP Portland Branch, Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, and the National Bail Fund Network
  • Appointed a Senior Advisor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Developed and shared our internal diversity breakdown regarding race, gender and age
  • Added Juneteenth to our list of paid company holidays
  • Assigned diversity training to all team members
  • Interviewed and hired an outside diversity trainer who completed three virtual diversity training sessions with our team (topics covered: workplace diversity, implicit bias, microaggressions)
  • Participated in the CEO Pledge
  • Created and distributed an internal diversity pledge for team members to sign and contribute their own personal statement
  • Published several blogs and posted about several key diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) dates through our social channels
  • Shared numerous media resources for our team and followers to leverage when continuing their own DEI education
  • Leveraged several different job boards for diverse communities to promote new positions at Ideas Collide
  • Encouraged uncomfortable conversations in agency forums, meetings and via a virtual feedback & comment box
  • Updated the language of our employee handbook to be more inclusive
  • Participated in diversity panels for the Greater Phoenix Chamber and Local First Arizona
  • Championed and supported with funding Local First’s “We Rise” accelerator, powering Arizona’s Black entrepreneurs
  • Volunteered on the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Greater Phoenix Chamber and helped developed the Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit for businesses
  • Advanced and appointed two Latina female leaders to the agency executive team

And we’ve only just begun. We have so many great ideas that surface every day on how we, Ideas Collide, can help make institutional change in the world around us. When we invested a more concentrated and organized effort on diversity, equity and inclusion, we invited our community, partners and team, no matter where they were on the journey, to start from there in being more open, aware and accepting. We will continue to lead our organization and community through giving, creativity and — most importantly — love.