A Call to Action for the B Corp, Conscious Capitalism and Social Impact Community

Connected Organization Diversity and Inclusion Work Culture

It’s Time to Commit to the Work for Racial Justice—and Here Is Our Plan for Change

Future State is a woman-owned, 100% ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), Certified B Corporation and has been in business for nearly 40 years. We provide transformation consulting and coaching services to over 30 active clients in life sciences, technology, health care, government agencies, and nonprofits. We are growing, and approaching 100 active team members (about 40% are salaried members, about 60% are hourly members). All team members are owners, but some of the other benefits vary depending on hourly or salaried status.

Our Actions for Racial Justice

We are deeply committed to social justice, and there is work for us to do. The act of dismantling white supremacy, confronting white fragility, and building a company that is diverse, inclusive, equitable, and a place where all belong takes work. We have invested, and will continue to invest to do better, both internally and in the work we do with clients. The following are the actions we have taken, as well as the future actions we are committed to taking.

Currently, what we have in place:

      • We have a stated preference in our purchasing policy for minority- and women-owned businesses and enterprises, B Corps and local vendors.
      • We donate to and volunteer with nonprofits doing work to eradicate injustice and inequality.
      • Future State houses within our offices and free of charge a nonprofit working on racial justice.
      • We offer our Oakland headquarters space, free of charge, to local nonprofits.
      • We have conducted anti-harassment training for all employees.
      • C-Suite leaders have invested personal time and work in understanding systemic racism, white fragility, and the ways to dismantle it. Leaders have developed greater fluency and resilience in speaking and listening to feedback about how we can improve.
      • We established a Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (DIEB) committee, with team members that are compensated for their work.
      • Paid volunteer hours are in place for all salaried team members, and we’ve always done our best to meet the complex needs of all team members. To that end, we have flexible work from home policies (pre-COVID-19) and flexibility in work schedules for nearly all of our team members. Our PTO policies are generous, and we pay a fair living wage to all team members.
      • Shannon Adkins, our CEO, serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Alliance and serves/has served on the Fundraising Committees for Just Cities, Moving Forward Education, Family Builders, and The Future Leaders Institute. All leaders and team members are encouraged to participate on boards, and many leverage their paid volunteer hours to do so.
      • As 100% ESOP (employee-owned), all team members participate in the program in an equitable and transparent way.
      • We have a commitment to equity in pay and incentives, regular assessment of any potential inequities, and resolution of these inequities.
      • Annual employee survey questions include a focus on diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging, with actions taken as a result.
      • Future State deeply commits to transparency and dialog. We leverage a web-based platform for transparent communication and feedback, and public dashboards that show the organization’s goals and results in real-time. We make time for frequent opportunities for ideation, shared learning, brainstorming, and feedback for all team members.
      • The company holds one internal employee paid seat on the board of directors to represent employee voice.

Additionally, we have taken these incremental actions in response to current events and employee voice:

      • Increased internal investment in DIEB activities by $250,000, a bit more than 1% of our projected 2020 revenue. This includes increasing our giving to $50,000 and adding $80,000 in paid volunteer time for our hourly team members to participate in DIEB activities, education, and engagement. We have increased our budget to hire external DIEB coaches and advisors to support ongoing learning.
      • We have set aside money to be placed in an emergency fund for employees experiencing housing insecurity, unexpected and uncovered costs due to COVID-19, or a potential recession.
      • We’ve presented, published, and openly discussed our employee diversity data with the company, and track on an ongoing basis.
      • CEO added weekly office hours to provide pro bono consulting for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs and leaders.
      • We are using our influence to encourage our buyers/clients to expand their commitment to supplier diversity.
      • We are listening deeply and bringing forth frequent communication and the opportunity to reflect, process, and discuss with all employees.
      • We have publicly and unequivocally stated our commitment to continue to develop as an anti-racist organization, and as anti-racist leaders and team members.
      • We have committed to quarterly DIEB updates for the entire company.

A number of next steps have emerged that leadership must take with the input and guidance of our DIEB committee. As we continue the actions above and expand them over time, we will begin these new efforts this month:

      • Our employee population and leadership team has remained predominately white, despite our desire to bring forth a diverse set of candidates. There is more that we can and must do here, and we will continue to invest in reducing bias in our recruiting process, management, and leadership mechanisms, and across our culture. We also commit to leading by example with clients by presenting and advocating diverse candidates to lead their initiatives.
      • We will develop a program to develop the next generation of leaders for our firm, with a focus on BIPOC team members.
      • We will develop clear and defined career paths and provide clarity on the emerging leadership roles that we anticipate as we continue to grow. We will clarify expectations for ascending to leadership positions, and improve how we develop, coach, and provide feedback to all team members.
      • We will develop succession plans for our C-Suite leaders and other key roles in the firm.
      • We will further research the possibility of integrating DIEB work into our coaching and consulting practice and build alliances with key partner organizations. We will integrate DIEB coaching into the work we do with our current coaching clients, and train our coaches to facilitate and hold space for crucial dialog with the teams we serve.
      • We have budgeted for the addition of a minimum of two paid board seats, and we will recruit new board members with a commitment to a diverse slate of board candidates. The internal board seat will a rotating seat on the board, with a clarified charter, remit, and process for representing employee voice.

Join us in making your actions and commitments known.