At Online Optimism, we see diversity, equity, and inclusion not only as an important part of our organization, but as an essential element to our long-term success. Becoming a more equitable company is directly tied to achieving our vision. Holding ourselves to high standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion to make ourselves and our industry a better place to work is an absolute necessity.
Here’s how we aim to live up to that expectation:
Employees attend in-depth anti-racism training annually. This 8-hour training provides our team with the education, knowledge, and language necessary to have important conversations about race in an appropriate and safe environment. In 2020, our training was provided by Overcoming Racism .
Interviewers go through an annual Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace training through the Compliance Training Group .
Specialists (our paid interns) are provided tickets to at least 2 events during their program covering topics around diversity, anti-racism, and equity in marketing, advertising, or design. They are highly encouraged to attend; the events are scheduled while they’re on the clock. All attendees are tasked with collaborating on content (like this post) about what they learned.
New employees at Online Optimism are required to attend all Specialists’ events until they can attend their first anti-racism training with other full-time employees.
Through Donate, Elevate, as employees donate to their favorite US-based 501(c)(3) non-profits, Online Optimism 100% matches this donation to the same non-profit. This long-term program has an added twist: each year, our team will review local non-profits and choose one to donate to throughout the year in each city. The employee’s chosen non-profit in their city will receive the same amount of money as that being matched from the employee’s donation. In the end, we give 200% of what our employees choose to donate personally.
We select different Donate, Elevate companies for each city we’re located in. In 2021, we chose non-profits that focus on the culture and artists of New Orleans, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. While COVID-19 has negatively impacted our community in many ways, it has especially taken a toll on our local artists, musicians, and creators. Thus, we chose organizations that support groups and individuals that comprise New Orleans’, Atlanta’s, and DC’s cultures and arts: Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans , Jared’s Heart of Success , and Life Pieces to Masterpieces .
MACCNO supports and organizes with the local music and cultural community to preserve and nurture New Orleans culture, translate community vision into policy change, and create a positive economic impact. You can read more about them on our blog post or on MACCNO’s website .
Jared’s Heart of Success was created in memory of Jared L. Brown, a young man whose life was taken when he was fatally shot by a stray bullet on July 11th, 2015. Jared’s Heart of Success is a community outreach organization that educates and empowers youth through Group Violence Intervention. They offer a variety of programs that holistically work to curb gun violence in local communities. These include after school programs, grief and support services, youth and young adult advocacy, and community outreach. You can find more information about their work on Jared’s Heart of Success website .
Life Pieces to Masterpieces is a nonprofit based in Washington, DC that provides a home away from home to the hundreds of Black young men and boys growing up in Washington, DC’s most poverty-stricken and volatile neighborhoods. LPTM helps young people turn life challenges into opportunities for self-reliance, resilience, and success. Some programs they offer include a Saturday Academy for high school boys, a Summer and After-School Program for boys age 3-14, and various art workshops for the community. You can read more about their work on the Life Pieces to Masterpieces website .
Total donated by Online Optimism in 2020: $4,498.44
We have a responsibility within our community to be leaders in our industry and help the businesses surrounding us. With this in mind, we’ve gathered a set of partners dedicated to providing our expertise, services, and financial backing to support Venture to Ignite Black Entrepreneurship (VIBE), a creative marketing grant.
With this grant, a collection of local creative agencies & media companies, including Online Optimism, helps local Black-led New Orleans businesses bolster their marketing and push their organization in the right direction.
Unfortunately, Black-led businesses, as well as those led by other marginalized groups, statistically receive far less representation, support, and spending dollars than other businesses. While larger systemic changes are necessary to combat these issues, we’re committed to doing our part to make a change today. While the systemic change will take decades, we’re working to do our small part. You can learn more about the disparity between minority business owners and white business owners in New Orleans in this piece by one of our clients, The Data Center.
The Data Center reported that although Black people own 40% of businesses within New Orleans, they only receive 2% of all receipts. In the spirit of Bettering Our Community and continuing our mission to better support the Black community, we provide an annual digital creative marketing grant for Black-led businesses in New Orleans.
The 2020 winner of our VIBE grant was K. Allen Consulting, an education & management consulting firm owned by Krystal Allen. We crafted a custom campaign to fit their marketing needs; our Digital Advertising team advertised their consulting services, including DEI, along with a subscription service for other consulting firms called CATALYST. At the end of the 2-month campaign, the client was getting leads and traffic from around the country. It resulted in massively increased web traffic and was easily the source of most of their visitors.