Brooks Scott, Founder of Merging Path Coaching

How to Foster Diversity & Inclusion on Remote Teams

In this episode of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Brooks Scott, Founder of Merging Path, about how to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on remote and distributed teams.

Brooks and Jean discuss:

  • How companies commonly start and end their DEI efforts with hiring more women
  • Why it’s important to prioritize diversity and inclusion beyond the gender binary
  • The inclusion challenge as companies return to office and under-represented people face in-person micro-aggressions
  • How to build a foundation of trust in a relationship so that you can have the hard conversations when needed
  • Different ways companies and leaders can respond to terrible news events

Takeaways from Brooks

Diversity initiatives span beyond hiring more women

"A lot of companies have started and ended their diversity initiatives by just focusing on hiring more women. And I think the reason why that happens is because everyone has a woman in their life, so it makes it an easier conversation. Doesn't matter if you're gay, you're straight, you're transgender person, non-binary. Your mom, your sister, your cousin, your dentist, your barista, your attorney, your veterinarian. Everyone has a woman in their life, but not everyone has a black person in their life or transgender person or a non-binary person in their life. So if we are just focusing on the binary perspective of gender and focusing our efforts on women, a lot of companies stopped there. So you'll actually see a lot of the board mandates that happened these last couple years. The first step was requiring companies to hire more women. Very important part of this discussion and we have to continue the discussion and find other ways of building these things here together. So I think on a surface level, a lot of companies just stop from the binary gender perspective.”

Diversity and inclusion is not an easy topic to discuss

“One of my favorite comments that someone made a question in my class, there's a group of 50 people on a zoom screen, and there was a white guy and he said 'I feel really uncomfortable saying this, but I feel like this is the space to talk about this stuff. I'm an executive recruiter and whenever I'm interviewing a candidate on LinkedIn who is black, I am far less intimidated than I am if I'm interviewing the same level candidate who was white. And I don't know why that is. But I wanna ask you that here, and I feel like this is the time to talk about it." And so that question and that comment right there is exactly what we're here to talk about, and so if no one asks that question or brings a conversation there, then we're just staying at the surface level when we're trying to figure out how to become a more diverse and inclusive organization.”

Organizational changes must happen

“If we look for and start to solve and fix for all the other areas about inclusion that are broken, it will make those conversations a lot more safer and a lot more genuine for people. A lot of people from underrepresented groups don't want to have conversations with their manager, 'cause they're like, listen you wanna gimme a 4% raise, that's great. What are you doing with the board, with the C-suite, with the managers, with this person on my team who took my idea last week and turned it into a PowerPoint presentation and presented it back to the team, which actually happened to one of my clients, what are we doing for the people who didn't even notice that happened? And so I get it that managers are getting discouraged, but it's gonna take time and intention to fix a lot of the things that have been broken for decades.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and other leaders in tech to help you make remote teamwork a little bit less challenging.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps remote teams work better together — with asynchronous check-ins, integrated team-building, fewer and more effective meetings, and easy goal-tracking. When you run your team with Range, you’ll always know what’s going on — without having to be in back-to-back meetings.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team.

To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

Season 4 Episodes

» Episode 1: Najeeb Khan on Fostering Belonging on Remote Teams

» Episode 2: Hong Quan on Hiring for Remote Teams

» Episode 3: Jori Lallo on Working Effectively Across Timezones

» Episode 4: Suzan Bond on Navigating Conflict on Remote Teams

» Episode 5: Andy Detskas on Building an Inclusive Team

» Episode 6: Steph Mann on reinforcing values on remote teams

» Episode 7: Fred Plais on Globally Distributed Teams

Season 3 Episodes

» Episode 1: Jen Kim on how startups can hire better

» Episode 2: Kate Heddleston on managing burnout on your team

» Episode 3: Jessie Duan on the Chief of Staff to CTO role

» Episode 4: Dan Na on pushing through friction

» Episode 5: Pat Kua on flavors of tech leadership

» Episode 6: Anna Sulkina on Endurance Sports and Software Engineering

Season 2 Episodes

» Episode 1: Camille Fournier on making boring plans

» Episode 2: Tess Rinearson on early career engineering managers

» Episode 3: Kim Scott on building for systemic justice

» Episode 4: Sumeet Arora on moving on from a big company

» Episode 5: Rachael Stedman on IC manager work

» Episode 6: Chris Bee on Behaviors of Effective Eng Leaders

» Episode 7: Lynne Tye on the Engineering Hiring Landscape

» Episode 8: Beau Lebens on Distributed Team Meetups

» Episode 9: Indrajit Khare on Getting Acquired by Google

» Episode 10: Jack Danger on Technical Debt

» Episode 11: Sarah Milstein on Successful Remote and Hybrid Teams

Season 1 Episodes

» Episode 1: Will Larson on the path of the senior engineer

» Episode 2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

» Episode 3: Cate Huston on working with an external coach

» Episode 4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common eng manager mistakes

» Episode 5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

» Episode 6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

» Episode 7: Kaya Thomas on common early career engineer challenges

» Episode 8: Uma Chingunde on starting a VPE role in a pandemic

» Episode 9: Katie Wilde on supporting your team's mental health

» Episode 10: Akhil Gupta on navigating uncertainty in new roles

» Episode 11: Harper Reed on giving everyone a voice in team meetings

» Episode 12: Marc Hedlund on sponsorship

Brooks Scott on Diversity & Inclusion on Remote Teams
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