I’ve come into equity/D+I work through an extremely non-traditional route, which is founding a company and then self-nominating to do it. This leaves me ill-prepared for some questions, like “how do I get into a career doing culture/HR/equity work”?
Specifically, a friend who has been exec-team/leadership type at non-profits has become deeply invested in culture/D+I/equity issues in recent years. They’ve been very active in pushing a couple of orgs to do great trainings, hiring work, etc. And it has come to the point where they want to step away from an executive (non-people/HR, but senior management) role at their current institution and dive into this full-time.
I admit I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to advise them - in the orgs I’ve been in, when we’ve hired for a role like this, it has usually been someone who was either an internal activist on the issue, moving laterally into a people group, or someone with a more traditional HR background who was hired or promoted into the role. Neither of those would apply to this friend - but they are a deeply, extremely capable person who inspires amazing personal loyalty and is deeply committed to change. They’d be amazing - if they can get their foot in the door.
Some suggestions I have made to them:
- be open to a COO-type role at a startup, that would include people-oriented work
- look at consulting groups like Paradigm that might be more open to bringing in someone from a non-traditional background
I’m racking my brain for other ideas, and thought this group my have some so here it is Thanks in advance!