Life at Blue State isn’t like working at your typical digital agency. Sure there are puppies and free beer, but our political roots and purpose-driven mission mean we hold ourselves accountable for creating change both inside and outside of the office.
Each January we like to take a look back at the progress we’ve made, reflect on what we’re grateful for, and set goals for the year ahead. Here are the top reasons we were proud to come to work each day in 2016, and why we’re fired up to keep fighting in 2017:
In 2016 we celebrated 23 promotions and welcomed 53 new hires, eight spouses, seven babies, and two new cats to the BSD fam. We’re grateful for our comprehensive parental leave policy (which ought to be the law, not an optional benefit for companies), unlimited vacation time, and how much our coworkers love visits from kids and furry friends alike.
Separate BSD teams worked for the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and 106 Democratic candidates including Bernie and Hillary.
Many of us were also involved outside of the office as well, taking time off where possible around the election to volunteer and get out the vote by phone banking and knocking on doors in swing states. In London, team members volunteered for the Labour Party and helped launch More United after Brexit—a people-powered movement for more tolerant politics.
Thanks to the efforts of our employee-created Women’s Council, Blue State achieved a balanced workforce of 50% male and female employees and pay equity back in 2015. Today, women are pulling ahead: in 2016 women made up 52% of our workforce and actually earned 3% more than men at Blue State.
In 2017, our Women’s Council will continue to lead the charge in selecting more cause-related work such as Equality Now, U.N. Women, and the Women’s March on Washington (we’ll see you in DC on January 21!)
Achieving greater diversity in all aspects of our business was a major goal in 2016. We formed a chapter of Project Include and went through unbiasing training, which led to the rethinking of our hiring practices. And, we partnered with organizations such as All Star Code and MAIP to increase diversity in our industry as a whole.
We held celebrations around LGBT History and Black History months, and inspirational BSDers led talks on being out in the workplace, women and money, and non-binary gender identity all in an effort to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere for all. Diversity will stay top of mind in 2017 as we roll out a new diversity page on our website, which will include a commitment to holding ourselves accountable and striving to be the first truly diverse tech organization.
To stay sharp and keep the creative juices flowing, we look for any opportunity to hone our craft and have fun doing it. BSDers are each granted a significant professional development budget each year, and whether it was through our Hackathon, indigo dyeing at our design retreat, BSD swag arts and craft days, the BSD writing lab, or visits from guest speakers, there were countless ways to stay sharp while at the office too.
Beyond politics, we believe it’s important to be active and positive forces within our communities. During our second-annual BSD Volunteer Week in September we made thousands of meals for God’s Love We Deliver in New York and DC Central Kitchen in Washington, picked up 500 pieces of trash from Venice beach with Heal the Bay, mosaiced trash cans to beautify Oakland.
The day after the election, we gathered as a company to remind ourselves what we are thankful for—and that is our clients and the incredible work we partner with them on to change the world. Sierra Club, Partners in Health, Howard University, Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Heifer International, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, NAACP, HOPE Not Hate, Organizing for Action, Bronx Freedom Fund, United Way Worldwide, UNCF, and Special Olympics are the real reasons we come to work each day.