OpenComp’s new VP of social impact shares the early startup’s 3-pillar plan for spurring change

By Emily Sweet, Jun 7, 2022 8:49:27 AM

How we’re integrating our vision across everything we do.

 

What does your company stand for?

That’s the question at the forefront for investors, consumers, and employees who demand that organizations do better than publish empty tweets and hashtags — and instead take real action on the world’s most urgent social and environmental issues.

At OpenComp, we believe startups can make an impact early, scaling socially responsible best practices as they grow. From the very beginning, OpenComp has intended to operate as a social enterprise, doing good as we do good business.

Six months ago, I joined OpenComp as executive in residence to help launch OPEN Imperative, a coalition of high-growth leaders with a moonshot goal of ending gender pay disparity by 2027. It’s been astonishing and delightful to watch the coalition grow to 250+ members since our March 2022 launch.

Now, in the newly formed role of vice president of social impact, I’m proud to lead OpenComp’s social impact strategies as we formalize our commitment to build a social enterprise focused on solving complex inequalities in the workplace.

I’ll lead how we’ll integrate our mission into every facet of our company, embedding good best practices into our infrastructure and exploring ways we can expand our influence.

 

Real social impact change needs company builders

I’ve spent my entire career working to address gender and racial equity through nonprofits, government, and philanthropy. And throughout this time, it’s become more and more apparent that these sectors cannot change the status quo on their own.

To truly accelerate progress, we need company builders and leaders to play a bigger role in bringing about the advances that we need within our society. We need more businesses doing good during the course of doing good business. We need to prove that the two are actually synonymous.

Early on, OpenComp’s co-founders Thanh Nguyen and Nancy Connery, realized our compensation data technology could be a real driver of transformation around pay equity. As early HR leaders at Salesforce, they draw inspiration from Salesforce’s model of business and philanthropy, and we plan to adopt a similar multi-pronged approach to this work. To learn more about what being a social enterprise means to us, read “Outcomes Over Intentions: OpenComp’s Commitment to Building A Social Enterprise.”

 

The startups model for change

This is about being intentional and integrating mission-driven values into every aspect of our work and business. To start - we will focus on three core pillars:

Pillar 1: Company

As a company, it’s imperative our mission-driven values show up in everything we do.

This includes ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices and policies are fully integrated and incorporated throughout the company and are reflected in our hiring, culture, and employee benefits and experience. This is particularly important right now, as underrepresented groups are disproportionately impacted by company decisions in response to economic uncertainty.

We’ll develop social impact-focused action plans for each department including HR, Finance, Marketing, and Product to ensure we aren’t leaving any stones unturned.

A large related priority is having employees play a role in our social impact work. We will expand volunteering benefits and have a longer term vision of implementing an employee giving program.

 

Pillar 2: Product

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and OpenComp’s platform provides companies with a simple but powerful way to address pay inequity head on.

With our data tools, customers are already solving real problems and have reduced pay gaps by 75% within their organizations. If you haven’t signed up for free, you can do so here.

As the product continues to roll out new features, we’re actively working to expand our diversity, equity & inclusion monitoring and reporting capabilities, so customers can quickly track progress and course-correct as needed.

Looking ahead, we aim to expand our product’s ability to reach more sectors and industries including nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations.

 

Pillar 3: Community

We’re continuing to grow OPEN Imperative and ensure that startups have the tools, resources, and data to close gender pay gaps within their organizations. Our members are leaders who aren’t just building companies; they’re committed to building a better future, and we’re excited for others to join us.

Over time, we’ll build on the model being created through our new partnership with JP Morgan Capital Connect, and identify ways we can further support NGOs that have been leading this work in communities across the country.

As OPEN Imperative Advisory Board member, Dr. C. Nicole Mason, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, observed, “businesses are on the frontlines of making decisions every day that impact women’s lives.” By furthering our investment and commitment to this work, OpenComp will play a critical role in solving workplace inequity today and in the future. I could not be more thrilled to be a part of it.

Join us!

 

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Emily Sweet is the vice president of social impact. Previously, she was OpenComp’s executive in residence and OPEN Imperative lead. A board member of the National Council of Jewish Women, Emily was a 2013 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and the 2013 recipient of the Jewish Federation of Chicago’s Samuel A. Goldsmith Award. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn here.