Rising To The Occasion
The VICE Media Group
2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report
2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report
A Letter From Our CEO
No one could have expected the year that was 2020. We witnessed seismic cultural, political and social change, and through a global pandemic, we had to pivot the way we collaborate and begin to find our new best ways of working.
I am immensely proud not just of the work we produced, but of the new systems and cultural programming created by and for the people of VICE Media Group (VMG). This includes the hard work of our Community Groups, and the hours put in by our People, Culture and Impact team, led by our Chief People Officer (CPO), Daisy Auger-Domínguez, to continue evolving our company culture.
I’ve long known that better diversity, equity and inclusion practices are drivers of growth in a corporate environment, and I made this a priority when I had the privilege of becoming the CEO of VMG in 2018.
Seeing the results of this 2020 report has been an edifying experience: we have made great progress in diversifying thought, experience and background, but we are also aware that we cannot take our collective foot off the gas at VMG (or in the wider industry).
This year, our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) employee population increased by 3.9% in the US, where data can be collected, with 42% of US employees now identifying as BIPOC. 53.6% of our US new hires identified as BIPOC and of these new BIPOC hires, 21.3% identify as Black or African American. Globally, we now have 55.7% employees who identify as women, that is 5.8% more than in 2019.
We also made a number of important hires to elevate our brand mission. In addition to our new CPO, Daisy, joining in early 2020, we welcomed Simone Oliver as Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29, and created the Global Chief Marketing Officer role for Nadja Bellan-White, who joined near the end of the year. I am endlessly inspired by their ability to lead this company towards (and define) our North Star.
From the vital work of VICE News covering injustices across the globe, to the award winning Go Off, Sis podcast from Refinery29’s Unbothered platform, Vice World News’ Empires of Dirt, VICE’s Queers Built This digital package, and the Climate Uprise initiative, the content created at VMG continues to speak truth to power.
Looking at the year ahead, I would like to call on our entire industry to come together and understand how we can put our collective momentum behind making a permanent difference to how we show up not just for ourselves, but everyone around us. Together we can make this happen.
Nancy Dubuc, CEO
A Letter From Our Chief People Officer
At VICE Media Group, our goal is to build a company that mirrors the diversity of the world we shine a light on every day, the world our audience expects to see from us, and a workplace that is expected from our teams. While the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been well established by now, the world is now paying attention to inequity at work in a way that I haven’t seen before. And VMG is here for it.
There are no shortcuts. No silver bullet. What we know is that neatly packaged, predictable formulas or quotas for DEI have failed to deliver meaningful progress. And while workforce representation data is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story. In my first year at VMG we focused on building the right foundation by reviewing and improving upon our people processes, policies, and programs. We’ve reviewed our talent acquisition process with a new Hiring Playbook, released our second Pay Equity Report and broadened our inclusive benefits, calibrated our performance management to be more objective and reduce bias, instituted management and inclusive leadership training, and launched new Code of Conduct and Respect in the Workplace policies.
And while I know enhancing a company’s culture doesn’t happen overnight, seeing a 15+% point increase in employee sentiment of DEI, manager and leadership measures captured in our global Employee Engagement survey buoys me. A positive sign that even in these early stages, our thoughtful holistic approach has made an impact.
Because you can’t solve a complex structural problem that you don’t understand, Nancy and I also embarked on a global listening tour in July of last year to dig into the questions that mattered most to our teams. With their feedback empowering us, we focused on building our collective muscle for driving sustainable change and enabling allyship.
We are holding ourselves accountable too; we created a DEI Dashboard for all VMG staff, where every piece of work launched under our DEI strategy is clearly explained, logged and tracked in complete transparency.
Creating a culture of equity and belonging is everyone’s responsibility, particularly people managers. That is why going forward we are focusing on empowering leaders and managers to act inclusively and hold their teams to do the same. Scripts and talking points can only get you so far. This is about how to practically and intentionally be inclusive and anti-racist, and how to create conditions that enable managers, leaders and teams to stay on a consistent path, even when that means stumbling along the way.
All of this makes up the essential and timeless elements for a thriving organization.
Daisy Auger-Domínguez, CPO
Building The Infrastructure
The foundation of a healthy workplace culture is always found in how you treat your people. This year at VMG we built, and re-built, our systems and processes to formally integrate equitable and inclusive practices into how we recruit, support, and retain our teams.
"Working in media is a burden and a privilege. We have the power to affect change through the content we create. It is important to be part of a community where divergent opinions are appreciated and celebrated. I want to ensure that VICE Media Group continues to stand for truth, culture, and consciousness and that we continue to build the most diverse independent media company in the world."
Chief Marketing Officer
"In 2020, my team spearheaded VMG’s second pay equity analysis. This work is so meaningful for me, as it is at the core of why I’m in this profession – ensuring we’ve done right by our employees and we consistently have fair and equitable pay practices and policies in place. Myself and my team feel a profound sense of responsibility for the work that we do every day to help maintain our standards."
VP, Compensation & Benefits
"Since my first week after joining the R29 team, it was clear that everyone on the team is wildly talented, creative and dedicated. I have loved the brand since its beginning, so to now lead it, is a special honor. My goal is to usher in Refinery's evolution across mediums and platforms, and continue to bring Millennial, Gen Z and underrepresented voices and emerging culture to the world."
Editor in Chief, Refinery29
Speaking Truth To Power
In 2020, compounding global crises shed light on longstanding systemic inequities that our teams across VICE Media Group have been covering for years. Seeking out the unreported and underrepresented is core to our identity, and our success, and this year we leaned even further in, growing our global teams to cover even more groundbreaking scoops, rich storytelling and deep nuanced reporting all around the world.
“The Go Off Sis podcast is and will always be a labor of love. And in a year when our voices are more necessary than ever, it’s become a source of connection, creativity, and comfort for everyone involved. I'm SO proud of the Unbothered team for this work and for our ceaseless dedication to pushing conversations from and for Black women forward. Always.”
VP, Brand Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Unbothered
"Of all the projects I've worked on at VICE, Queers Built This was one of my all time favorites. It was such a pleasure to get to make something playful, interactive, and very intentionally different from what we typically see media orgs do for Pride. And the team was an absolute dream!"
Special Projects Editor, VICE
"At a time when most national media outlets were busy parachuting in—and out—of Breonna Taylor's case, we dedicated immense resources and time to actually investigate it. I think that says a lot about our commitment to social justice, and it's part of what makes me proud to work here."
VICE News Correspondent
"Somos is a dream turned reality. I wanted to create a sub-brand that recognizes and celebrates Latinx experiences and identities as a collective — and with the trust of Refinery29 and VMG, I was able to create something with the incredible Latinx staff at R29 that has been missing from the media landscape. It was important to create this safe space because of the lack of authentic representation for Latinx communities."
Senior Editor of Somos
"I grew up in a former British colony and I was shocked by Britain's rose-tinted view of its former empire. Empires of Dirt is an attempt to address that gap in knowledge and discuss the legacy of colonialism in our everyday lives. I've been really thrilled by the reception – lots of people have said they've learned something new and that it's challenged their view of history."
VICE UK’s Executive Editor
Leading The Way
Beyond engaging and educating our audiences, all teams across VICE Media Group have a responsibility to make a lasting positive impact for the next generation. This year we raised our voice externally to promote more inclusive hiring, challenge beauty standards, call out discriminatory traditions and continue our fight against climate change.
“It's been a true joy to partner with Janelle Washington in bringing The 2030 Project to life. The passion and creativity the residents have shown is inspiring as is the way they've been embraced by the VMG family. I can't wait to see the residents' impact in 2021 and onward.”
Director of Web Product
"In a year where much got thrown into disarray, it was comforting and empowering to build an initiative that brought people together. Through the Creators Summit, we bred a culture of creative activism, and built connections that led to the genesis of over a dozen climate projects across the Asia-Pacific. Looking forward to doing more of this in 2021!"
Executive Assistant & Coordinator, Office & Content Manager
"What we're building at Virtue is different. My hope is that we continue to curate a truly inclusive and equitable workplace where all talent thrives and that is the greatest career chapter in our staff's lives."
Managing Director, Virtue Americas