MESH/diversity: Creating Inclusive and Safe Workplaces
Director of Investments
MESH/diversity is a Saint John-based start-up that recently closed a $750,000 funding round to accelerate its growth, led by NBIF and our friends at Concrete Ventures. MESH/diversity uses behavioral metrics to help organizations create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
We recently caught up with Mike Wright, the company’s CEO, to discuss the company’s mission and future.
Tell us what MESH/diversity does?
Our Diversity IntelligenceTM Platform leverages the power of behavioral science, providing organizations an outcome based, metrics drive Diversity and Inclusion program. Our co-founder, Dr. Leeno Karumanchery has worked in this field for over two decades and is widely respected as a thought leader in this space. We are systematizing his learnings on a SaaS platform to help businesses move the needle in allowing organizations to put real metrics on safety, belonging and inclusion and providing them actionable insights to drive their culture forward.
Is there a business case for diversity and inclusion?
There is absolutely a business case for diversity and inclusion. We put metrics and KPI’s on all areas of our businesses, we track and analyze metrics to see if there are trends and areas for improvement but because D&I is approached as a soft skills problem, it is rarely attended to with rigour. Good D&I is about so much more than counting heads and telling stories. Marrying science, technology and business imperatives will allow us to make thoughtful choices that are both impactful and fundamentally conducive for our people and for the bottom-line.
How does it work?
There is a real science to nurturing inclusion in a workplace – it’s not an ethereal concept. We use behavioral data to develop baseline metrics for things like psychological safety and belonging. That tells you where your organization is today. Then we set targets and help organizations achieve them through training and engagement with our Diversity IntelligenceTM Platform. It’s about the science of driving sustainable inclusive change.
What companies are you trying to reach?
We are focused on helping those companies that already recognize of the benefits and advantages of an inclusive workplace. We are not in the business of convincing those executive teams who are still unsure about the need for diversity and inclusion initiatives. There are plenty of companies out there that see the value and competitive advantage that an inclusive approach brings. Those companies and those leaders are where we place our focus.
Where does opposition to diversity come from in an organization?
We all have blind-spots. We can get stuck in groupthink, and too often we rely on what we know. Not because it works, but simply because it’s what we’ve always done…and familiarity breeds comfort. Building a culture of inclusion is a change process and we might want to let science and research guide us. Experience shows us that diversity projects always come with their fair share of resistance. Resistance to difference. Resistance to change. Fear of the unknown. The key is whether leaders bend to the opposition or manage through it. We take the fear and guess work out of the process.
Who uses your platform today?
MESH/diversity has clients leveraging their platform and services across the globe. One great example is OSL Retail Services. They are a large, multinational sales organization that wanted to grow their culture with a focus on inclusion.
What’s next for MESH/diversity?
We’re grateful to NBIF and Concrete Ventures for leading our latest investment round. We are going to put that funding to work expanding our product offering, telling our story to prospective customers around the world and helping our current customers succeed with the MESH/diversity platform. We’re just getting started.
To read the official media release for this funding announcement click here.