Building a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Sojern

July 27, 2022

June 24, 2022

Diversity, equity, inclusion

In the Summer of 2020 following the tragic death of George Floyd, Sojern identified a need to invest more deeply in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). “Championing diversity” had been a core value at Sojern for many years, but our focus on diversity became even more critical with so many global instances of human rights abuse, racial inequality, and discrimination—from Uyghur Muslims in China and Rohingya in Myanmar, to Black Americans dead at the hands of law enforcement. Our hearts were broken yet again and we knew that we had to act. We had to do something to make a difference in the global communities where we operate. 

We created the DEI Council to do exactly that. Consisting of 15 members across the globe, the committee focuses on helping Sojern employees understand what having a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture means and ensures the company works together to embrace and evolve such a culture. Further, we’re educating our team on the nature of discrimination around the world and creating advocates for change.

DEI MISSION: Our Sojern DEI council seeks to create a brave space that embraces the beauty of diverse thoughts, beliefs, and experiences of Sojern employees globally. They are committed to challenging the status quo and championing diversity in a way that extends past our office walls and into our partnerships and communities across the world. 

DEI VISION: Our DEI Council is a resource for all Sojern employees in engaging Sojern’s core values, Embrace Inclusion, Win As A Team, and Be Genuine. Their goals are to offer training, illumination, self-reflection, and to foster a sense of belonging and trust. With our goal of engaging Sojern employees and clients, we are searching for ways to make our world a more equitable place–removing bias barriers and promoting equity for all.

What does DEI mean at Sojern? 

  • Diversity: The practice of including Sojern employees from a range of different social, economic, ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds, as well as marginalized communities, genders, sexual orientations and identities, ages, geographies, physical and mental abilities, religions and beliefs. 
  • Equity: Establishing justice policies and practices that promote fair experiences, treatment, access, and opportunity of advancement for all Sojernistas; distributing resources dependent on need.
  • Inclusion: The policy and practice of enabling Sojernistas to be their authentic selves by creating a safe and welcoming environment that transcends differences, inspires learning, supports personal and professional development, and builds community. In short, inclusion at Sojern means putting diversity and equity into action. 

How Sojern Activated DEI Initiatives Across the Company: 

  • CEO Mark Rabe is the executive sponsor for the DEI Council, putting it front-and-center as leadership discusses Sojern’s long-term plans. Along with signing the Action Pledge, he and the wider leadership team continue to seek out education to better lead the company and put diversity first.  
  • Partnered with The Center for Leadership and Human Potential to facilitate DEI focus groups, provide a DEI Cultural baseline assessment for Sojern, and recommend next steps focused on high-impact action.  
  • Focused on building a more diverse workforce through encouraging diversity of candidate pool and retention among diverse employees.  
  • Created new, more inclusive employment policies, such as our recent updates to our Parental Leave Policy.  
  • Provide continuing education and employee training programs, such as company-wide Personal Leadership Identity Training, offering financial resources for personal development and to help employees begin a journey of understanding and allyship, hosting events, and inviting external speakers to share their experiences with our team. 
  • Partnered with Sojern’s employee resource groups such as Sojern Women’s Group, SoProud (Sojern's LGBTQ+ Affinity Group), and Sojern Gives Back (focused on giving back to communities around the world) to lead change and foster inclusion. 
  • Established measurement and benchmarking to hold ourselves accountable to achieving our goal of building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Sojern

What are some of our employees saying about Sojern’s DEI efforts? 

“Sojern continues to hire and include all in all areas of the company.” 

“Being at GloCon [Sojern’s global conference] gives me an amazing opportunity to learn and create relationships with people all over from different cultures and walks of life.” 

“Sojern hires employees of all demographics and makes a point to make sure women are represented in leadership as well.”

“Sojern creates different events that allow individuals to speak on their experience and journey which allows others to learn and understand other's ways of life.” 

We continue to implement ideas to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion within Sojern and the communities we operate in. We would love to hear your stories and goals, connect with us

Building a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Sojern
Author:
Christy Jobman

Christy is a senior marketing manager at Sojern with over seven years of digital marketing experience. She crafts and executes Sojern's strategy to support destination marketing, primarily focused on global localization, content development, and new initiatives to help destination marketers see success in the cookieless world. Through partnering with destination experts in the industry, her vision is to help the world's destination marketers find the right travelers and engage them with the right message at the right time.

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