Our Commitment to Investing in our Black Colleagues and Communities
This afternoon, Todd sent the email below to all Okta employees, and wanted to share it with our customers and partners here.
In the wake of recent racial injustice and tragic violence, and the conversations they continue to spark throughout the company, Freddy and I want to thank you for your open feedback and clear desire for action. I care deeply about Black lives, and being actively anti-racist. I use my voice externally to advocate for Okta employees and support equal rights and civil liberties. But I know there is a lot more work to do both within Okta and outside of it. I believe how we build Okta is as important as what we build.
As we’ve discussed many times, we know that diverse and balanced teams create more value, have better ideas, are smarter and more inventive, and build better products, leading to more customer success. We value diverse identities: Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) belong at Okta. We are still early in our journey, but are committed to doing the work and making progress.
Okta’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB)
Our overall DIB strategy focuses on our workplace, the workforce, and the marketplace. You can find more on our strategy and commitments here, but over the next year, we are focused on:
- Continuing to invest in inclusion and belonging as a key driver of our company VMT, Thriving at Okta
- Releasing a public State of Inclusion with Okta’s progress on diversity in the Fall of 2020 and increasing diversity at Okta at every level
- Invest in retention plan and clear leadership paths for Black and diverse talent at Okta
- ERG leadership as a recognized competency for career paths
- Investing in our communities through Okta for Good, with a focus on racial justice and workforce development organizations
- Increasing diversity within our investment portfolio through Okta Ventures
How we’re supporting each other
How we show up and stand up for each other right now matters. We are offering mental health support, hosted sessions to provide a safe space for affected communities, and resources to educate allies. I’ve been conducting a listening tour around Okta to hear stories, perspectives, and feedback from our Black employees. It hits close to home for me and for us, these are our friends, colleagues and customers. I encourage all of you to continue to attend these sessions and talk with each other.
You can also come together to take action. POC@Okta is leading an effort to support causes fighting for racial justice. Through Okta for Good, POC@Okta has directed $10,000 to Black Lives Matter, and O4G is matching 100% of employee donations to a fund benefiting the ACLU, Equal Justice Initiative, Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP. To date, we’ve raised nearly $60,000. On top of that, Freddy and I are committing to personally match any employee donation to the fund (so $100 donated means $300).
How we’re investing in our communities
It's not just about what we do internally at Okta: it's also how we empower our communities to drive systemic change. To that end, we are committing $3 million to racial justice and workforce development organizations over the next three years. This will be a combination of personal philanthropic commitments from Freddy and myself, and $1 million in funds from Okta for Good. We’ve learned from our early work, that one of the best ways we can support long-term change is to invest more in programs that develop tech talent from underrepresented communities. We are also forming a Racial Justice and Equity Employee Advisory Board, in partnership with our DIB and POC leaders, to determine where new Okta for Good grants will go.
Freddy and I are in this for the long run. I want to acknowledge that “talk is cheap”! Words must be followed up with action, and those actions should be measurable and far-reaching. That’s why we’ll be sharing regular updates on everything I’ve discussed here, as well as our ongoing efforts toward fighting racial inequality. Freddy and I will continue in our attempts to be transparent, and I’m confident the Okta family will continue to hold us accountable.