Creating a More Inclusive Blue State Digital

Fighting for progress is always on our minds, and progress for diversity and inclusion at Blue State Digital is no exception. We recently launched a Diversity & Inclusion page on our main website, which is an important component of our overall initiative to be more transparent and foster a more inclusive community.

We’re in the business of building movements that challenge the status quo. To do it well, we need people from all backgrounds — especially underrepresented backgrounds — putting themselves and their perspectives into the work.

We’ve been focused on a number of different opportunities to open up our community to new voices. The idea of a public page addressing our efforts at inclusivity started when a few BSD staff got together to discuss Ellen Pao’s initiative, Project Include. We wanted to unpack the recommendations outlined there and see how we could apply them to Blue State Digital.

What came out of those discussions was a keen awareness that the technology and advertising industries needed more transparency and accountability to bring underrepresented folks to the table. We wanted to start changing that dynamic, by holding ourselves accountable and being transparent about our own situation.

We have had some success in a few areas: Our gender representation has achieved balance, and we’re maintaining pay parity across the company. Both of these statistics demonstrate progress, but they’re just part of the picture. Moving forward, we wanted to expand our vision beyond just Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gender and ethnicity statistics (which are crucial!) to include representation of our vibrant LGBTQIA community, our immigrant backgrounds, and family situations.

This is an ongoing effort for us — for example, we recently added the ability for employees to include their preferred pronouns on our company directory and in Slack. Similar to many in our industries, we struggle when it comes to representation among some of those communities — but even small changes can help. We must acknowledge that problem and approach it in a clear-eyed manner if we are going to make a difference.

At the point we decided to tackle this project, we did not actually have a lot of information on the makeup of our own community. We began outreach, discussion groups, cross-office and cross-departmental huddles, and a survey to try to get as comprehensive of a look as possible at the voices informing our community.

We gathered those learnings and launched the diversity page as a way to be transparent about where we are, and where we need to go. This transparency will help keep us accountable: As we update the page and continue to monitor ourselves internally, we’ll be able to track how we’re moving the needle on including diverse voices.

Our hope is that folks will see what we’ve done and want to join our effort. With more companies participating in this campaign for inclusion, we can help boost representation and share best practices for achieving these important goals.


Does your organization have a vision for how to improve your industry? Let’s talk about it.