Last year, Dawn Whaley, Sharecare’s president and chief marketing officer, reached out to me with a sincere, yet urgent call: We need to do more – now.
Where we’ve been
For years, Sharecare’s diversity program had been successful by more than a few standards. We encourage diversity in our hiring practices. We track and support diversity and inclusivity in our vendor procurement. We publish content aimed directly at promoting equity through awareness and action. We even focus research efforts to understand the issues affecting community well-being across various populations. Yet still, her message was simple, but poignant: “It’s not enough.”
Even in recent memory alone, our nation has endured significant turmoil – global lockdowns due to the pandemic, protests and repeated calls for social justice, and more political division than I recall seeing in my lifetime. Among our Sharecare executive team, we saw a call to take a more active role for our colleagues, friends, and neighbors; and, I was invited to commission a diversity council that transforms our existing efforts to meet the needs of our communities – both internal and external. This was a task that I most graciously accepted.
It gets personal
At home, I was accepting the same challenge. My nine-year-old daughter was observing the societal unrest and asking big questions: Why are people protesting? Why are people bothered that my friend has two mommies? Why are so many without homes, or food, or the necessities that we all take for granted? Why can’t people just help one another? My best response was that it just isn’t that simple.
However, our mission for the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program at Sharecare is simple – promote DEI in all that we do. To put Dawn’s sentiment into actionable words, do better, and do more. That has been our rallying cry this past year. To move our new plan into action, we launched a few foundational initiatives:
- Benchmarking: This enables us to assess not only areas of strength and others needing improvement, but also the ongoing progress and efficacy of our initiatives. Around the turn of the year, we conducted Sharecare’s first DEI survey to gain perspective and establish a benchmark in order to influence, define focus, and drive positive progress in our company’s diversity efforts.
- Implicit Bias Education and Training: We recognize that all of us carry unconscious bias regarding any number of things; however, the understanding of this bias empowers us to better understand and mitigate the ways they unknowingly affect our actions – including our work product. We believe that training in this area helps us be better teammates, partners, and community members while nurturing our own empathy and understanding. To unlock this power, we have partnered with leaders of organizational change, continuous improvement, DEI, and unconscious bias, and are offering courses and seminars for all employees.
- A Health Equity Hub: At Sharecare, we know intimately how our work across functions and sectors contributes to inclusivity and equity within healthcare; yet, as part of our extended Sharecare family, we recognize the value of sharing this with you too. To that end, we have created a new online hub that not only expresses our vision and perspectives around the intersection of our work with the promotion of equity and inclusivity in healthcare, but also provides a picture of the expansive content, research, and resources we’re delivering to achieve this goal.
Most importantly, we’re just getting started. We will continue to speak up for those whose voices may not be heard. We will advocate for equity in healthcare, social justice, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion. We know that recognizing our differences, such as gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation, physical ability, experiences, and thinking style, have the power to make Sharecare and the world more, creative, innovative, compassionate, and simply better. We also know that our company is uniquely positioned with the tools and platform to advance DEI both in and beyond healthcare. We have a responsibility to the communities that we serve to use them to create change and healthier futures in which equity and inclusivity – foundational tenants of optimal well-being – are cultivated on everyone’s behalf.
Sharecare is ready
Early in my tenure at Sharecare, I listened to our founder and CEO, Jeff Arnold, describe the genesis of Sharecare. He said he believed that the greatest healing device the world has ever seen is being carried every day by most of us – the smartphone. One of his goals was for Sharecare to leverage and harness that healing power to make the world a better place. And while that goal remains the same, we all know that health and well-being are so much more than fitness, healthy living, and medication adherence. It includes closing the disparity gap between populations so that all of us can achieve and realize the benefits of a population rich with the benefits of diverse perspectives and ideas; it also includes equal access to opportunity, care, and support, and the ability to live secure in our confidence that we are who we are, and that is good enough.
If there is one true mission of our efforts, this is it. By working together for the good of all, we can live up to embody Sharecare’s mantra. We are All Together Better.