At The Sound, we believe recognition shouldn’t just be a month… for anyone. Follow us over the next 12 months to explore perspectives on DIBE (Diversity Inclusion Belonging and Equity).

First up. Coming off of Black History Month, we sat down with Simon Dannatt, our CEO, to ask him some tough questions about all things DIBE.

Here’s what he had to say.

Why do you feel DIBE (Diversity Inclusion Belonging and Equity) is important in our industry (or for our business)?

It’s not just important, it’s essential. You just can’t do what we are trying to do without a breadth and depth of perspective that isn’t your own. Being open, curious and smart is important. Having great tools and approaches is too. But they are all insufficient without true embedding of diversity in all forms.

Our entire business is about engaging brands with people.

The real people out there that our clients want to serve and sell to. To do that well we have to deeply understand people who are NOT like us. They aren’t like the people who work for our clients either. 

They have different backgrounds and perspectives and different lived experiences. Sometimes vastly different. Understanding them and what they do or not do and why just doesn’t happen without a perspective that is bigger than any one person. An individual’s bias will always lead research astray if it’s not checked… and checking isn’t possible to do solo.

Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity is critically important for our industry, and for The Sound. From a principle perspective but also for true success in what we do.

What are the challenges you didn’t expect with DIBE programs (like our Jump Starter program)?

That’s really hard to answer. 

We didn’t think it would be easy, but there were (and still are) way more challenges than we expected. 

Agreeing the goal and first steps with the leadership team was easy. We were all totally on board with making things happen. 

Challenges started with the recruitment process and then just kept coming. It’s only when you are in it, trying to make change, that you start to see all the bias, in the processes we use, in the way we support and train, the schools we talk to and have relationships with etc. etc. The list is very very long.

My biggest learning is how to get past the paralysis you can experience from worrying you are about to ‘get it wrong’ and having the courage to just do it and fix it if it doesn’t work.

We have totally screwed up some things. 

But we are learning and we get to change and adjust. The amazing people on our team are helping us get better at making the right things happen.

I think we have made good progress. But we are still near the start of a journey we are going to be on for a while.

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Written By:
Simon Dannatt

With over 200 years experience, Simon joined The Sound from Cello where he was President of Cello USA and CEO of the Value Engineers US. With his English accent and silver fox hair he's known affectionately around the office as 'the old English man with grey hair'. Claims to have a limp from running marathons but we think it’s a war wound.

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