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Feedback for all: TXI's commitment to inclusion & gender justice

Gender justice is one of TXI’s four justice pillars supporting our overall Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) efforts. We consider our work through this lens. In Q1 2024, this pillar was our focus for both internal work on developing a positive and inclusive culture of critique and external work supporting community organizations.

Culture of Critique

A strong culture of critique is essential in any healthy organization because it leads to more client value and better quality outcomes, increased innovation, more growth opportunities, and improved client satisfaction. However, through the lens of gender justice, we recognize that in some environments, gender bias may lead to unequal participation and recognition during critique sessions. People from under-represented genders may experience interruptions, dismissal of their ideas, or underestimation of their talents compared to their male counterparts. This can inhibit the open exchange of ideas and hinder the development of a diverse and inclusive culture of critique.

Of course, this is true not only for women and non-binary folks but also for people from historically excluded racial and ethnic groups or other marginalized identities, and especially so for folks with intersectional marginalized identities (for example, a Black disabled man). When we don’t take proactive steps to ensure that everyone’s feedback is heard and receives equitable feedback, we lose the real power of a true culture of critique. In fact, in environments where bias is allowed to persist unchallenged by awareness or techniques to minimize it, it can create a hostile environment where perspectives are undervalued or dismissed, impeding the development of a truly inclusive culture.

To foster this culture of critique, we are encouraging a company-wide embrace of new techniques for giving relevant, timely, actionable feedback.

We kicked things off with an interactive session in January for everyone in the company to engage in a facilitated conversation about what helped them give meaningful feedback, what barriers stood in the way, and what we might try collectively to improve our feedback culture. Afterward, we synthesized the results of those conversations and then embarked on a series of experiments to try new practices around feedback.

Why a series of experiments? Because we know that no single tool or technique is going to work for everyone in every situation - and we want to start small and learn fast. As a company, TXI embraces experimentation and a lean approach not only in the products we build for our clients but in how we grow our business and culture.

One approach we tried was embracing the concept of “10% better”, which we learned about from Dr. Rob Yeung. When we closed collaborative sessions, we’d ask “How could this be 10% better?” trying to focus on small nudges that could eventually make a big difference. One of our senior delivery managers, Hannah Green, even created a template for a 10% better retro, which we’re happy to share here in the spirit of community learning.

By focusing on this goal as a whole company, we give everyone to support in trying new things, and we’re also leaning into a critique on a meta-level by encouraging feedback on our processes and learning in the open.

Learn more about TXI's experimentation culture

Contact TXI's Chief of Staff:

Sustainable Giving Fund

TXI used our Sustainable Giving Fund to support five different organizations working in the gender justice space with continuing donations as part of multi-year commitments. Those organizations are:

Assata's Daughters is a queer Black woman-led and youth-focused organization rooted in the Black Radical Tradition. AD uses a Black queer feminist lens and relationship-based tactics to organize bases of young Black people in divested-from areas of Chicago.

Female Strong is a non-profit organization driven by a community drawn together with a common purpose: to offer hands-on programs, mentorship, and experiences that build confidence in middle and high school girls, propelling them to become future leaders. We were fortunate to be introduced to this group by our advisor Khalilah Lyons.

Girl Forward is a community of support dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced globally by conflict and persecution. GirlForward supports girls in grades 9-12 who are refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers through three core programs: Mentoring, Tutoring, and Safe Spaces. Elie Wu, our senior organizational growth consultant and DEIB education chair, previously worked with Girl Forward Austin as an education program manager.

Harbor Camps builds confidence, resilience, and community for transgender and non-binary youth and their families through camp experiences. TXI specifically supported their scholarship fund to directly support campers with financial access to camp experiences.

Third Wave Fund offers grantmaking and donor mobilizing to advance the community power, well-being, and self-determination of young Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) most directly impacted by and best positioned to end gender oppression.

We respect and appreciate the work being done directly in the community by these incredible organizations!

Published by Claire Podulka

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