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DEI + Culture

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Come as you are.

DEI + Culture / 6.23.22 / By Jessica Savage

Our job postings could use a little something—specifically, an open invitation. Something like “We’re Dixon Schwabl + Company—proud to be a certified Great Place to Work for All and we invite you to come as you are.”

We mean it, too. As we reflect on our agency community and what it means to feel a sense of belonging here, especially during Pride Month and in recognition of Juneteenth, we acknowledge that the choices we make as leaders and the commitments we make to our culture are creating an environment where each person can show up as they are.

It’s simple, requires intention, energy and heart, and it is rooted in trust.

Being treated fairly builds trust. Trust fuels belonging. Belonging builds community. These are the building blocks of our culture. We’re a company where people are celebrated for who they are. Where we invite each other into our lives and experiences, practice standing under each other’s umbrellas, and where we express gratitude daily for showing up and supporting one another.

It’s what prompts a 16-year veteran DS+CO colleague and working mom to send a thank-you email for having the choice to work fully remote and share with us what it’s meant for her Super Mom status.

I just wanted to end the week with a note of appreciation and thanks. Thank you for trusting me to work from home and in doing so participate in literally all the things this week. Since I am only 4 minutes from the school I was able to see Emery get an award for being the classroom Citizen of the Year at the Flag Day celebration, watch Daiya’s egg in her cushioned box get thrown off the roof of the school, lasting two rounds before it broke, get Emery to lacrosse practice when surprise! the time got changed to a much earlier 5:30 start time, and lastly make it to Field Day on my lunch break for the kickball and frisbee golf events. I was able to maintain my Super Mom guise for at least one more week … I so appreciate that I had this opportunity.

These are the experience we create every day—not only on national days or months of recognition. Every day. We celebrate one another, our expressions of individuality and the vibrancy of who we are, together. We’re a company full of creative and curious people whose willingness to show up, create balance and feel alive is the open invitation we extend to each another. This is the good stuff about being part of Dixon Schwabl + Company.

We create safe spaces for each other—regardless of our role, title or position within the company—to be ourselves and to live our core values of respect, integrity, teamwork, community, fun and innovation. Through our practice of opening up courageous conversations and our willingness to ask questions, we become generous with the time we offer to one another to slow down, be present, and engage on levels that help build connection and meaningful experiences.

This is what inspired a colleague to send me this chat: “So, I did a thing …” translation, “Hi, I’d like to welcome you in …” as she opens the door to her experience as a Black transgender woman in her recent interview on the Louder Queerer podcast. When she gives me permission to share the interview with our team, I feel her trust in me build.

When our former VP of people and development shared his parting thoughts during his last agency-wide meeting with us, he said he had never felt more comfortable or accepted as a gay man in the workplace than he did at DS+CO. That’s belonging.

A newer colleague recently joined our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action) team and presented a thorough POV on diversity, equity and inclusion in media. Following his presentation, he sent the following note:

I just wanted to say thank you again for the opportunity to take the time to think about and present everything DEI + Media! I've had less than enthusiastic support in the past for this type of work, so it really means a lot to be a part of an organization that encourages working though challenging issues. Much more to come!!

We believe that the only way to make progress is to embrace all perspectives. We’re doing the work.

Our recent Great Place to Work survey results are proof.

When rating the statement “I can be myself around here,” we achieved a score of 95, matching the national benchmark.

Statements measuring fairness across age, race, gender and sexuality all scored above the national benchmarks:

  • People here are treated fairly regardless of their age: DS+CO score 98 | National Benchmark 98
  • People here are treated fairly regardless of their race: DS+CO score 99 | National Benchmark 98
  • People here are treated fairly regardless of their gender: DS+CO score 100 | National Benchmark 100
  • People here are treated fairly regardless of their sexual orientation: DS+CO Score 100 |National Benchmark 99

There is more we have to do as an organization to ensure that 100% of our colleagues feel they can be themselves around here. We’ll keep asking questions, seeking feedback and making changes that help our culture thrive. We’re imperfect, but we have a growth mindset and we can do hard things—thank you, Glennon Doyle.

Trust. Belonging. Community. We are Dixon Schwabl + Company, and we invite you to come as you are. Chances are, by joining us, you’ll make us better.

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Jessica Savage

Jessica is inspired by smart ideas, generosity—and the people all around her. At DS+CO, her leadership inspires doing good and doing good work. She sits on the SUNY Geneseo Foundation Board and is a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council and Girls on the Run of Greater Rochester Advisory Board. She’s DEI certified, has led multiple award-winning client teams and is an Urban League of Greater Rochester Power Broker. And she’s fueled by curiosity, collaboration and co-creation, helping her teams elevate brands, break down barriers and leave a mark on our community.