Startup founders aren’t afraid of lofty goals or ambitious timelines. If they were, the tech industry as we know it would look quite different.
When Fred Kneip founded CyberGRX in 2015, he had set his sights high. Five years later, the third-party cyber risk software company has raised $100 million, grown to over 125 employees and attracted big-league clients like Blackstone, ADP and Aetna. Kneip and his team have seen their big dreams materialize.
Over the summer, as the conversation around racial justice and diversity came to a head, leaders at CyberGRX began thinking seriously about what they could do to create a more equitable workplace.
We are trying to be bold in our actions and set lofty goals that can be really impactful to the company and broader community.”
This isn’t to say that D&I was a novel concept: According to the company, CyberGRX has seen nearly a 10 percent increase in gender diversity and a matching increase in racial diversity in the past two years. But for Kneip, there was more they could do.
What if they took that same ambition they had in starting the company and applied it to building a more diverse workplace? What if those actions could have wider implications in the Denver tech community?
“We admittedly have work to do in this area,” Kneip said. “But we are committed to being on the forefront as a high-growth startup.”
With a combination of internal and external initiatives, Kneip and other leaders hope CyberGRX can be an example of what allyship, inclusivity and change look like. Getting there won’t be an easy feat, but with clear action items, goals and an unwillingness to back down, Kneip said the company is ready and committed to evolve.
“We are trying to be bold in our actions and set lofty goals that can be really impactful to the company and broader community,” Kneip said.
How does your company approach intersectionality? How does that help shape your broader DEI initiatives?
This is a topic that has really come to light given the recent climate in America around race as well as a shift in our work to home environments due to COVID-19. Ensuring that all CyberGRXers feel supported and treated equitably is something we have always strived toward, but we are heavily focused on ensuring this is truly ingrained in our culture and inspecting this further and more intentionally.
It is important to recognize that although we have always strived for inclusivity, there are areas where we have fallen short. Recognizing that reality was our first step. We are committed to being on the forefront of change as a high-growth startup. For example, we have been purposeful in assessing and defining what diversity, equity and inclusion look like and how we can incorporate them at CyberGRX. We are working to address our potential gaps, and have begun implementing a variety of awareness, education and training activities throughout the organization around these topics.
We have been purposeful in assessing and defining what diversity, equity and inclusion look like and how we can incorporate them at CyberGRX.”
What has been the most impactful action your company has taken to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment for employees?
Most recently, we created an executive-level D&I committee aimed at both our external-facing and employee-centric initiatives to ensure we are impacting our company, our industry and our surrounding communities.
We set goals specifically geared toward impacting broader systemic issues to include frequent volunteer efforts in our surrounding communities, awareness training to help our team uncover unconscious bias, more aggressive diversity requirements in our hiring and promotion, and helping the next generation through mentoring and funding underprivileged children to go through coding school. We are trying to be bold in our actions and set lofty goals that can be impactful to both the company and the broader community.
What role do your employees play in leading and/or supporting DEI efforts?
We have created an internal GRX Equality Forum comprised of around 10 employees leading our own internal D&I initiatives. The group is diverse in nature, representing gender, racial, experiential and departmental diversity. They are tasked with coming up with their own mission, purpose and action plan for the company. This team reports directly to the CEO.
While the group was just recently formed, they are already feeling empowered to identify gaps in CyberGRX’s own culture of D&I as well as establish a clear path forward to fostering this type of culture.