2022 Updates From Our Diversity & Inclusion Council

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We’ve written about our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council here before, and we have shared with you a fraction of the work the Council and the LA Studio as a whole have engaged in as part of “Thinkwell 3.0”. Now, a few months into 2022, it’s time to take a closer look at our progress to date and plans for the future.

Thinkwell’s D&I Council is empowered to engage in three important types of work: 1) assessment, 2) identification, and 3) program development and implementation. 

The first round of assessment and identification led the Council to group issues into four categories where we could really begin our work:

  1. Recruitment and hiring
  2. Internal culture and professional development
  3. How we work and what we make 
  4. Industry pipelines

From this list, the Council was able to research best practices and begin programming for Thinkwell’s teams.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, the amount of work the Council has achieved and the way we’ve set the stage for even more impactful efforts in the future is impressive. We want to highlight some of the Council’s initiatives across the four categories above…. And these are just a few of the efforts they’ve championed:

Recruitment and Hiring

  • Training for key Thinkwellians in anti-racist recruitment, hiring, and retention practices.
  • Shifting our recruiting practice to focus on relationship building with a broader pool of schools and professional organizations that are diverse along a number of metrics.
  • Reducing or eliminating education requirements and increased options for related experience in job postings to reduce barriers.
  • Developed and deployed new tools and processes in our portfolio review system to reduce bias .

Internal Culture

  • Revised the Vision, Mission, and Values, heavily shaped by workshops with the council.
  • Launching a new segment in the Weekly All-Staff, to help engage and inform.
  • Rolling out a Salon series soon, with subject matter experts leading discussion on a variety of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) topics and their specific relevance to our industry.
  • Implemented feedback training for all LA employees as part of Thinkwell 3.0.

How We Work

  • Revising the employee handbook, with all policies being reviewed for bias and inequity.
  • Developed and deployed resources on culturally sensitive and inclusive art.
  • Increased and streamlined employee surveying and transparently reporting out results.
  • Overhauling our job descriptions.

The Industry at Large

  • Expanded our relationship with LA High School of the Arts with internships and scholarship opportunities.
  • Partnered with Ruh Global and Billion Strong, groups focused on disability inclusion across industries, to leverage our expertise to amplify their message and expand impact
  • Shared our findings and our efforts with other companies in the industry as they launched their own D&I Councils and initiatives.

It has taken the better part of a year and a half of intensive research, listening, and ideation to identify these, and many more, efforts. Now the hard work truly begins. Thinkwellians – not just D&I Council members – will help advance these and other efforts. This year will see not only the Salon and scholarship program launches, but also D&I field trips, improved processes for content review, new curriculum partnerships with universities, and continued assessment. Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access is philosophy and practice. We’re dedicated to the ongoing work.