In March and April 2020, Tango Card joined the rest of the world in an effort to slow the trajectory of COVID-19. Our focus was on staying healthy and keeping our families and friends healthy, and after we had time to stabilize our personal lives, we shifted our focus to learning how to adapt to a 100% remote and work-from-home reality.
Now, our focus has shifted again.
The death of George Floyd and the protests that followed have shined a light on the reality of racism in this country—including racial injustice in policing—that has led to the unjust deaths of Black people in this country and continues to threaten Black lives.
I firmly believe Black lives matter and understand the importance of publicly stating that I stand in solidarity with the voices denouncing racism and police brutality.
Let’s Talk about What We Can Do
I want to go beyond adding my voice to this conversation and talk about action. The friends, family, colleagues, and others in my community that I lean on and admire have been clear about two things:
• They feel hope for real change. They see the sheer numbers and diversity of people protesting in the US and across the globe, and it gives them hope.
• They fear the current energy, protests, and broad coalition won’t lead to real and lasting change without ever-growing buy-in from individuals and companies.
There’s a real need for action. As such, I’m sharing what we’re doing today at Tango Card in the hopes that it will influence others to act. I also hope this will inspire others to share what they’re doing, so we can continue to learn.
The Actions We’re Taking Now
Reckoning with my Personal Privilege
I’m the CEO and founder of Tango Card, a 150-person company with offices in Seattle, Boise, and Omaha. I’m also a white, middle-age, male. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve made the conscious decision to actively interrupt my normal way of operating. Some of the ways I’ve done that include:
• Acknowledging—to myself, my friends and family, and those I work with—my privilege and understanding that’s only the beginning of this work
• Reading extensively–including books like So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo, a local Seattle writer; Four Days to Change by Michael Welp; and White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
• Having conversations about these topics with others in my community
• Engaging with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioners
Hosting Company-Wide Discussions
I’ve hosted open and transparent discussions about diversity at Tango Card, recently amplified by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. These discussions have been challenging and uncomfortable, but I’m reminding myself and my team that we need to get used to being uncomfortable because these conversations need to happen.
Supporting Employees Who Protest
We’re supporting anyone who chooses to participate in protests during standard work hours. We’ve told every employee—both in emails and company meetings—that we support their participation in protests; our only ask is that they let their manager and colleagues know when they’ll be away.
To make our support even more explicit, we’ve added a ‘Community Good’ PTO designation—although we’ve made it clear that employees aren’t obligated to use this label when requesting time off.
Donating to Non-Profit Organizations
We’ve donated to non-profit organizations in two ways:
• As a company, we’ve donated directly to the NAACP.
• Every employee received a $25 non-profit Reward Link that enables them to donate to a non-profit of their choosing, including the NAACP and the Equal Justice Initiative. Our team make their own choices and Tango Card amplifies the impact of those choices.
The Actions We’ll Take into the Future
We’ll continue to focus on this work as long as it needs to be done. We might not have a formal roadmap yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start working. We’re focusing on these areas, specifically around our business:
Championing Diversity & Equal Treatment
• Attract and retain the best people in the world• Improve our decision-making processes• Broaden our market and our revenue opportunity
Not recognizing this fact is a critical business miscalculation.
Engaging a DEI Consultant
We’re engaging experts to help with DEI initiatives. We recognize we aren’t the experts here. Others are, so we need their help establishing a foundation that we can build on.
Choosing DEI-focused Objectives & Key Results
We use objectives and key results (OKRs) to drive results in our company. We already have a quarterly OKR tied to DEI, and I plan to continue this on a quarterly basis. By placing a DEI-focused OKR on the same level as product-development and financial goals, we ensure accountability.
On an individual level, I want to be part of the solution to end racial injustice. And as a leader at Tango Card—a growing technology company that’s part of the economic institutions of this country—we’re committed to helping economic institutions drive sustained change, now and for the next generation.
To sustained action!
CEO & Founder, Tango Card