Channeling Innovation Through Diversity

BY Katie Posocco

| September 8, 2021

Cultivating diversity of thought through diversity of people

 

How our team finds strength and inspiration in different backgrounds and skill sets

“Diversity of thought through diversity of people.”

It’s one of our core values at Orum, and it infuses every aspect of our work—but what does it really mean, and what does it look like in practice?

We believe that, if you want to build innovative and industry-defining products, you need to first build a multidimensional team that can tackle problems from many different angles. Studies have consistently shown that teams that bring diverse identities and perspectives to the table outperform their non-diverse peers across key business metrics.

Cultivating an equitable and inclusive work environment involves more than just checking a few boxes. It means investing in the right tools, roles, and partnerships from day one and making them an integral part of your organizational structure and growth.

Here are some of the ways we’re making representation a company-wide priority and creating an intentional community at every turn.

Leveling the cap table

Diversity gaps aren’t just an issue for tech startups—they’re also an ongoing problem among the VC firms and investment groups that support them.

Orum is inspired by the Cap Table Coalition, an organization that opens venture opportunities for BIPOC,  LGBTQ+, and other historically marginalized investors. Over 10% of our recent Series B funding came from non-white and women investors.

We’re excited to ramp up these efforts in future rounds as we set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to bring even more emerging voices to the table and tap into the Cap Table Coalition’s vast investment network.

One of our earliest angel investors and advisors, Roli Saxena, is a co-founder of the Neythri Futures Fund, which connects exceptional founders with a community of South Asian women operators for roles at the executive and board level. Her expertise has been pivotal in optimizing Orum’s hiring practices for diversity and inclusion.

“If you start with diverse investors who have access to a diverse talent pool, the equation changes dramatically,” said Saxena. “It allows founders to go beyond intent and actually execute on their diversity goals.”

Putting people first

At Orum, we established a people-first approach early on. As we began to lay the foundations for our product vision, we simultaneously invested in a people operations strategy to ensure our values would infuse every aspect of our work. The policies and practices we’ve since put in place have allowed us to bring in talented, diverse team members that reflect the wider public we serve.

Most startups don’t hire in people operations until they’re close to 100+ employees. Orum brought on our Head of People, Sarah Flaherty, as one of our first 15 recruits.

“It really highlights how Orum is taking a proactive stance and intentionally building a people-first organization,” said Flaherty. “That starts by thinking about how we hire, engage, and retain diverse talent.”

One of her first moves was to partner with a DEI consultant to tackle these topics head-on. Together, they’re auditing policies and procedures, conducting round tables, designing an employee engagement survey, and collecting qualitative data to align with DEI best practices.

With these tools in place, Orum will have a great platform to assess team happiness and identify ways we can boost every employee’s sense of belonging, fellowship, and worth.

Going remote—not distant

One of the most remarkable ways we’ve expanded our notion of diversity is through a fully remote workplace.

Transforming age-old money movement platforms is a monumental task, and we need a best-in-class team to get it done. From engineers and data scientists to product managers and sales teams, implementing a remote-first model has allowed us to attract and recruit top talent across geographies, personal and professional circumstances, and demographics.

Letting you work remotely and investing in remote work are two different things,” said Orum’s CEO Stephany Kirkpatrick. “We believe a consistent, long-term remote work strategy is the best way to support a truly diverse team.”

That means normalizing benefits like home office stipends, flexible hours, and meeting-free work days and fostering a strong company culture. 

While our staff is dispersed, they’re never disconnected. We offer regular team-building events like biweekly stand-ups and expensed lunches, virtual coffee dates, and biannual offsites to maintain a dynamic sense of community and bring our core values to life.

Calling all talent

Want to learn more about Orum’s approach to employment? Visit our careers page to view a full list of current job openings.

Or reach out to our team to discuss what our remote-first work environment has to offer.

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