Rachel Williams knows what she’s doing. Whether you’re talking about our interview subjects work as Head of DEI at Google’s X, the moonshot factory, Head of D&I at StubHub, Head of Corporate Recruiting, D&I at Yelp, or her work as Chief D&I Officer at The Moley Fool… Rachel’s calling card is HOW she owns her Black Perspective.
Disclosure: I am also an employee of The Motley Fool, Inc. (TMF). This post has nothing to do with any TMF business operations or decisions – and is in no way related to my work at TMF (the same goes for this entire series and SoSoDOPE.com in general). Rachel’s comments here are her own and do not stand as any statements on behalf of TMF. There.
Introducing: Rachel Williams
SSD: Jumping right in, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
RW: I’m a SF Bay Area Black, Christian woman raised by two working-class humans who grew up in the Jim Crow South. I’ve learned to be an optimist and a skeptic. I’m someone who wants to leave the world better than I found it. Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity work is legacy work at its heart.
SSD: Can you share your personal definitions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with us? I just think it would be a nice way to level-set and get everyone speaking the same language.
RW: Diversity is simply the difference of representation in a given setting or group.
Equity is the understanding that some groups have an unearned advantage while others are disadvantaged in our society.
Inclusion is the acknowledgment and leveraging of the difference and uniqueness of an individual as added value to the whole.
SSD: What inspired you to get into what you’re doing?
RW: I was inspired to do this work after an experience I had in a start-up organization that eventually became a public company. I helped to hire hundreds of people for this company and just a year prior to its successful IPO, I was made to feel like my contributions weren’t valued and that I wasn’t valuable, so I left. Once the company went public, I realized I left millions of dollars on the table.
Bias and discrimination caused me to miss out on a wealth creation opportunity. “How many women, people of color and other marginalized folks had this happened to?” Hundreds? Thousands?
I’m determined to never let that happen to anyone again. We all deserve to be smarter, happier, and richer.
SSD: What’s a tip that you’d give someone who sees you, is inspired, and wants to follow in your footsteps?
RW: Develop a radical self-care practice. This work is to try to dismantle systems of oppression while simultaneously being harmed by the systems you seek to disrupt. It can be emotional and exhausting. For me, my spiritual practice, connection with family and friends, rest, and exercise are paramount to my endurance in this work.