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A 3-Year Update: BAM’s Commitment To Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion

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Amid a quarantined summer of 2020, we saw a lot unfold across our television screens: the COVID-19 pandemic, the unjust murder of George Floyd, and a rally of support for Black Lives Matter. The impact of that summer was undeniable, with companies spending $7.5 billion on DEI efforts in 2020 and holding a commitment to more than double that number by 2026. That included us, too. In a letter from BAM’s CEO, we committed to take steps at BAM to move the stories of underrepresented people forward and elevate all voices. We discussed our successes, shortcomings, and goals as a team before sharing six specific DEI commitments. 

And yet, three years later, we’re seeing DEI budgets and roles slashed across industries. While we can only speak for ourselves, BAM knows now is not the time to let DEI commitments fall through the cracks. In fact, it’s time to double down. In the journey to creating change, BAM shares a three-year update on our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Here’s a glimpse into what we’ve accomplished.

Representation and hiring 

In 2020, BAM’s team was 72% white and 28% BIPOC (data we weren’t proud of), while the industry was nearly 90% white. We committed to representing the diversity of the U.S. within five years, if not sooner, by changing our methods of outreach and networking more intentionally out of our known groups. We also implemented blind interview practices and provided unconscious bias training to our hiring team. While the public relations industry remains 82% white, we know the stunning lack of diversity isn’t an excuse to stay idle. Today, BAM’s team is 56% white and 44% BIPOC. We recognize that the work doesn’t end with hiring, but we see that our efforts are working. There’s a wage gap, too. And that’s why BAM offers transparent salary bands for each position in our organization, along with paid internships. 


Everything starts with education, and at BAM, education is ongoing. In 2020, we kicked off monthly one-hour DEI training with the help of external experts. Three years later, and wow, have we evolved! We have a dedicated DEI strategy team composed of Jill Veglahn, Head of People, Ramel Wallace, Senior Community Manager, and Nichole Mendez, Director of Talent Acquisition — along with a DEI collective, where wider BAM team members with a passion for DEI come together. We still hold space for monthly meetings, with a focus on psychological safety and belonging, where we’re not afraid of discussing the real-world issues that matter. We welcome difficult conversations with the guidance of BAM-4-all-agreements. Why? How can we create change in the world if we’re unwilling to talk about it? That includes our workplaces, too!


As a team of storytellers, we understand that there are limited voices without community. For us, that means allyship in and out of the workplace. To date, we still allocate a portion of our PR resources for pro bono partnerships, including BLCK VC. We still offer donation matching as a benefit to any 501c3 non-profit that focuses on racial injustice, pay equity, LGBTQ+ rights, representation, etc. We encourage our teams to dedicate their time to outside causes through paid volunteer time off. Our team are Crisis Textline and CASA volunteers, S.T.R.O.N.G advocates, and grassroots community members at Asian Solidarity Collective (and more). Through volunteering, donations, and collaboration on community projects, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to creating positive change beyond our “office walls.” (Note: we are a fully remote team).


Our hiring efforts don’t mean much if we forget to focus on continuously building an inclusive work culture. As a team, we conduct regular stay interviews to understand what keeps and drives people and what real-world issues impact our team. We’ve introduced a monthly therapy stipend, a joy stipend (the only catch is it must bring you joy. Easy enough, right?), and a 6-month parental leave policy. In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in the U.S., BAM also provides travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources for abortion care. Additionally, we switched from being a hybrid workplace to a fully remote one and implemented a four-day workweek policy. 

Continuing to do the work 

Since the inception of our DEI commitments three years ago, we have remained dedicated to fostering a workplace where every individual is valued, seen, heard, and empowered. Reflecting on our journey so far, we recognize that there is always room for more. We acknowledge that “the work” is never-ending. The past three years have shown progress, and as a team, we remain more motivated than ever to continue pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and cultivating an environment where every voice matters. 


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