As a company that values our people, we make it a point to provide our employees with a safe, welcoming, and open work environment. We take diversity, equity, and mental health seriously. The tragedy with George Floyd had us asking ourselves: Are we doing enough for our employees and, furthermore, are we doing enough for our community?

We wanted to contribute to the conversation in a positive way and for that to have a lasting impact. Reflecting on how we could do that effectively, we decided that our expertise and knowledge could provide valuable insights towards helping empower others. We soon partnered up with DESTABYN and the Plank Diversity & Inclusion Mentorship Program was born.

It was really refreshing to receive an already structured program that fit well with our organization’s needs and mission. You owned the project and did not put excess work on us which was awesome. Looking forward to continuing to work together!

DESTABYN

We wanted the program to provide something positive for both mentor and mentee. Our main goal was to make sure that we could provide something of value. We also wanted this to be an opportunity for us to learn more about the specific challenges that the youth of today face, and how we can better ourselves towards helping them advance in a more fair and just world.

It forces reflection on your own experiences, and analysis of how your mistakes or achievements can benefit someone else.

Dave Kellam, Developer at Plank

Once we’d ironed out all the details, we set out to find a partner. There were many worthy local organizations throughout Montreal, but it was DESTA—a Montreal-based organization committed to supporting Black youth in reaching their educational, employability, and entrepreneurial goals—that stood out most. We just knew they would be a great fit for us given their specialty in learning programs and tech.

We began brainstorming how we could make this work within a remote framework. We divided sessions into 90-minute one-on-one chats with individual team members over the course of three days in July. Our hope was that these intimate sessions would allow both parties to speak more candidly—imparting what our work life looks like day-to-day, how we got here, but, most importantly, what we’ve learned along the way. After all, these valuable life experiences are a huge part of who we are today.

I appreciate being able to learn about skills that can help me in my own projects—such as leadership and organization skills—and that I can bring to my editor-in-chief role at my school newspaper, but also a lot of insight in the backworking of the industry and seeing how things work in real time.

Daylen, Plank’s first Diversity & Inclusion Mentorship Program mentee

We are pleased to report that our first round was a success! To be sure, there are a few kinks still to be worked out, such as tweaking the length of our sessions and potentially expanding them to include small teams, grouped by area of focus, but that’s only half the fun 🙂 Ultimately, we truly believe this to be a valuable initiative and we are fully committed to building on what we’ve learned and making it better. 

Stay tuned for more! We’ll be posting updates about this, as well as the Plank Gives Back initiative, in the coming months.