Amy Langer: How Inclusion Helped Salo Grow
Recently, I spoke with Amy Langer—entrepreneur, board member, co-founder and former co-owner of Salo LLC talent firm—about the importance of inclusion. Here’s what she had to say.
Q. As a leader who built, scaled, and recently sold a company, how important was creating an inclusive environment to the overall success of Salo?
Langer: It is illuminating and humbling to go through a process that highlights the ways that our systems, processes, and manners were not inclusive. Ultimately, our company grew stronger when we included more diverse thoughts at the decision-making table. Our company also got stronger by making necessary changes to ensure that people of different genders, races, and backgrounds felt like Salo was a place for them. The bottom line is that Salo is in the business of people, and it was absolutely critical to our success that we be a welcoming destination for all types of people.
Q. What advice would you offer CEOs and leaders about the importance of an inclusive work environment?
Amy: We had to make inclusion a company priority that was championed at the top to witness real progress–and, to be honest, it was slower than I thought it was going to be. The key for us was understanding what our starting point was, and what gaps we needed to fill. We could not do it alone. We hired consultants to help us figure out what we didn’t know and where to begin the work. It didn’t feel good at first when we recognized the ways that we were inadvertently and sometimes overtly doing things that made others not feel included. However, it did feel good when we made progress. My advice would be to ask a lot of questions. Don’t worry about “getting it wrong.” It’s ok if you don’t know everything or even where to start. The key is starting the process and recognizing it’s a continuous journey that will continue to evolve through the life of the company.
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