A Message From the POC @ Okta Leadership
Okta’s diversity and inclusion efforts did not begin the day after George Floyd took his last breath. Our journey started 11 years ago when our founders Todd McKinnon (CEO) and Frederic Kerrest (COO) articulated a desire to reflect the community we serve. Within the last three years, this has led to the appointment of two Black board members, the hiring of a Diversity and Inclusion director, and the development of 3 Employee Resource Groups (ERG). This existing leadership structure has enabled Okta to quickly respond against the recent outrageous acts of racism and injustice. These structures also served to provide support to Black colleagues and to pinpoint positive actions to be taken towards diversity, racial equity and justice within and outside the Okta Community.
People of Color (POC@Okta) was launched as an Employee Resource Group in March 2018. Born from the idea of two women of color (one Black, the other Latina) who wanted a space dedicated to instilling and promoting a culture of equity, and the inclusion of all cultures, ethnicities, and genders at Okta. Their vision was to build community and support for ethnic diversity and inclusion. Over a two-year period, POC@Okta has grown to its current membership of 95+ employees which now includes regions across the U.S. and EMEA. We proudly celebrate Black, Asian, LatinX, Indian, Native American, and all other cultures represented at Okta. The POC vision is to “attract and retain people of color at Okta by creating a radically inclusive culture that fosters equity and belonging by providing visibility, support, and opportunities for growth.”
To meet this vision, POC@Okta has formed partnerships with senior leaders, from Director to Executive levels, who serve as our Executive Sponsors and Champions. We’ve also formed partnerships with other Okta ERGs, including Women at Okta (W@Okta) Pride at Okta (Pride@Okta), the Okta Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging team (DIB), as well as our Okta for Good team. Each alliance has provided visibility, support, and resources, as well as professional, educational, and social networking opportunities for people of color at Okta.
POC@Okta is organized with structured committees, each aligned to specific methods and focused on the execution of key targets. Committees are aligned with internal and external partners, as follows:
Charter: Promote cultural awareness by engaging with our internal and external communities.
Alignment: Okta for Good and external non-profit organizations
Charter: Extend ethnically diverse talent pipeline through partnerships.
Alignment: DIB, Okta recruiting team
Learning and Development
Charter: Foster connectivity and professional development for POC at Okta.
Alignment: Okta learning and development team, DIB, Corporate marketing teams
Community Outreach and Communications
Charter: Increase visibility of the Impact of POC on the working landscape at Okta.
Alignment: Okta for Good, Okta workplace and corporate marketing teams, DIB
Charter: Further the vision and mission of POC@Okta regionally, throughout all Okta offices in the U.S. and around the world.
Alignment: POC@Okta leadership and regional POC@Okta leadership
We don’t have it all figured out. Although our organization acted early to diversify its board of directors, Okta—as with many other tech companies—still has extensive work to do. From the executive to entry-level, we must continue to implement active and effective policies that drive diversification in our workforce—at all levels and functions within the company. As the leaders of POC@Okta, we can firmly attest that Okta’s commitment to diversity and equity is real. In its short history as a tech company, Okta has established systems to examine and work towards addressing its lack of diversity problem and to attract, and more importantly, retain a diverse talented workforce. These efforts will be measured and reported in our first State of Inclusion Report in the fall of 2020.
In the wake of the worldwide focus on the Black Lives Matter movement following the murders of Amahd Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, we were able to leverage our existing diversity and inclusion efforts to take a clear stand against outrageous acts of racism and injustice. Our actions demonstrate that we're not afraid of the fight and are committed to the long haul. Okta’s Executive leadership, in alignment with POC@Okta leadership, has formed allyships throughout the company. We have every confidence that our united stand will drive a radically inclusive culture, fostering equity and belonging by providing visibility, support, and opportunities for growth.