I entered the software configuration workspace in 1997. At that time there were very few folks who look like me in my work areas. I noticed the same thing when I had the opportunity to visit client sites, and this is a trend that I have seen continue throughout the length of my career. Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’ve ever really felt any malice toward me, but there has always been an underlying, sometimes suppressed feeling of unease that comes with being in an environment where you are not completely comfortable. This is something I’ve dealt with since moving to the United States from Jamaica; however, the demographics in corporate America make this feeling more evident than most other places.
Starting at Duck Creek in 2010, I noticed the same thing. Only a few people looked like me. This is not to say that I am uncomfortable at Duck Creek; I love it here. This is the best company I’ve been fortunate to work for. My peers are wonderful, our clients have been nothing but accepting and courteous, and our partners have never shown any noticable issue regarding race. However, there is still the underlying feeling of isolation from the knowledge that I am one of the few. Thankfully, Duck Creek has taken strides to help me become more comfortable in my career life. Consider that we spend 8 to 10 of our waking hours per day in our work environment. That’s 1/3 to 1/2 of my life in the last 25 years in a space that is not completely comfortable to me. Yes, Duck Creek is a very welcoming company, but it is not similar in makeup to my home environment.
At Duck Creek, we have made increased strides in the last five years to prioritize employee satisfaction and cultural diversity. One of the biggest changes we have undertaken is creation of employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups are designed to not only provide support for, but also to take action to improve the lives and well-being of all Duck Creek employees regardless of demographic. In the last few years, there has been a focus on creating space for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). We’ve made strides by naming officers and departments specifically to address known diversity gaps that exist within our company, throughout our industry, and the rest of corporate America. Duck Creek’s leadership has committed to supporting our existing ERGs, as well as those that are being created. We state our commitment to DE&I on our website and other public communications. We continue to incorporate diversity into our hiring practices and encourage our ERGs to be vehicles of change. I have witnessed the influence that the Black Employee Resource Group (BRG) has had on recruiting and hiring practices in just over a year, and I look forward to more. One of the BRG’s first initiatives was to facilitate the increase in Black employees to resemble the demographics of the United States more closely. The members of our recruiting subcommittee partnered with Duck Creek’s Human Resources team to purposely reach out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities during their career fairs to introduce possible candidates to Duck Creek and diversify the recruiting candidate pool.
Duck Creek’s diversity council has been instrumental in ensuring the emotional well-being of all our employees. From bringing in facilitators to host “Courageous Conversations” after the Anti-Black and Anti-Asian violence this past summer, to inspiring employees to volunteer to help those who are homeless or transitioning to more stable lives, the diversity council and our DE&I, Culture, and Engagement office put forth every effort to support Ducks in not only aspects of life that affect us at work, but also those aspects that affect us outside of work. Truly, life operates in which one area affects others.
Duck Creek Technologies truly is a family, who sticks together and supports one another. This is our culture and our code. We intend to lead by example to show our industry and corporate America that diversity, inclusion, caring, and kindness make a successful organization. I am proud of the focus and value that Duck Creek has placed on the welfare of the individual, no matter who they are. Our leaders continue to insist on operating by our values, so our employees operate by and thrive on our values. Our family thrives on our values.