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Equality Allies: Building inclusion in tech

We at Capital One prioritize a community that creates welcoming spaces for all associates to learn, grow and celebrate one another. Equality Allies is one of many Capital One associate-led groups that fosters community, career building and connections. See how Equality Allies is empowering associates and creating a culture of belonging.

Graeme Crawford no longer wants to observe injustice and exclusion from the sidelines.

He has written about doubling down on his privilege to fight injustice, participated in summits on diversity, inclusion and belonging and pointed colleagues to resources on how to be a good ally. Graeme, Director of External Affairs, Strategy and Engagement, developed the confidence to put allyship into action through Equality Allies, a community group that helps Tech associates create an environment that is approachable and welcoming to all.

“It’s very easy to sit on the sidelines thinking that your lack of negative intent is enough to make a difference. It doesn’t,” said Graeme, now a National Business Resource Group Engagement Lead for Equality Allies. “Equality Allies helps associates understand that not having to care about issues because they don’t suffer from them is the very definition of privilege. We show them ways to instead use that privilege to tackle and act on systemic elements that exist in all work environments that make it harder for historically excluded groups to succeed and feel like they belong.”

Equality Allies assists associates with becoming allies who call attention to bias and marginalization, mitigate unconscious bias and use their privilege to uplift others.

Learn how the group is empowering associates to help foster inclusive and equitable experiences and empower actions that address issues head-on.

Capital One associate Graeme C., Director of External Affairs, Strategy and Engagement, sitting in front of a window and a tree

An inclusive space for growth

The Equality Allies experience begins with education. The Business Resource Group provides internal and external resources for associates to learn about race and gender equity, steps to be an ally and perspectives from various Capital One leaders and colleagues.

Equality Allies hosts symposiums about intersectionality, town halls in which associates speak about allyship, discussions about civil rights and sessions with diversity and inclusion facilitators.

The group has chapters in 10 cities across three countries and a vibrant virtual presence to keep associates engaged around the world. Each chapter maintains a Slack channel where associates can pass along articles, volunteer opportunities and diversity, inclusion and belonging events within Capital One.

“We have an opportunity to teach folks about situational privilege and create a safe space for folks to be vulnerable, emotional and have honest conversations,” said Joakim, a Director of Software Engineering and National Allies External Engagement Lead. “Hopefully, we will enable more folks to utilize their privilege to elevate others and to shine the spotlight on others.”

A meaningful moment for Graeme was the 2019 Allies as Partners summit. The summit explored the workplace experiences of under-represented populations in tech and the role allies can play to help challenge the status quo and create a more inclusive culture.

“I have substantially benefited from Equality Allies’ engagement,” Graeme said. “This has advanced my education, comfort with difficult conversations and ability to make tangible efforts to try to address the unique issues that historically excluded groups face in our workplace.”

A picture of Capital One Director of Software Engineering Jonathan K. with a quote that says, “We have an opportunity to teach folks about situational privilege and create a safe space for folks to be vulnerable, emotional and have honest conversations,” said Joakim, a Director of Software Engineering and National Allies External Engagement Lead.

Support for other Business Resource Groups

While Joakim enjoys the resources Equality Allies curates, one of his favorite things to do is listen to others. Equality Allies partners with the Blacks in Tech, Women in Tech and Hispanics in Tech Business Resource Groups to support and amplify their conferences, discussions and other events.

“Being a part of these discussions has completely changed my perspective on all topics related to diversity, inclusion and belonging and has made me even more passionate about the topic,” Joakim said. “I find myself searching for podcasts, books and documentaries to continue my education on topics like social justice, women's rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Continuous learning for everyone

Being an ally is an ongoing journey that requires individuals to make space for others, support diverse perspectives and provide opportunities for everyone.

Joakim said Equality Allies will continue to provide associates the tools to shed light on the systemic inequalities that many still face today and create opportunities for associates to educate themselves and lean into change.

"To be completely honest, the more I educate myself, the more I realize that these topics are hard, the conversations can be uncomfortable and we won’t create change overnight,” Joakim said. “That being said, it fuels me to constantly try to create change where I can and hold myself and the folks around me accountable for creating a more inclusive environment.”

Equality Allies provides the groundwork for Tech associates to begin their paths on becoming a strong ally and building a work environment where everyone feels valued.

Copyright © 2024 Opinions are those of the individual author. Statements are deemed accurate at the time of posting. Unless otherwise noted, Capital One is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, any company mentioned. All trademarks and intellectual property used or displayed are the property of their respective owners.

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