Last year we celebrated Juneteenth with the debut of our Champions of Change list. We've seen how Champions of Change can have lasting impacts on their organizations – unlocking greater innovation, accelerating success in new communities, and providing a healthier environment for people to thrive. This year, in continued celebration of Juneteenth, we wanted to go a little deeper to share three in-depth stories of Champions of Change as they work to shape a more equitable world.

Third in our Champions of Change spotlight series is a conversation with Siobhan Randell, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Multiverse. Multiverse is building career-focused apprenticeships as an alternative to the traditional college system, both for non-graduate talent, and those in need of reskilling. In just three years, the company has experienced exceptional growth, growing their community to more than 8,000 apprentices and alumni.

The Multiverse mission is inspiring: creating a more diverse group of future leaders. The company creates ways for talent in underrepresented and underserved communities to have direct routes into top jobs and at the same time, makes it easier for companies to build a future workforce representative of lived experience.

Siobhan's passion lies in creating equitable routes into the future of work. The impact of Covid-19 pushed companies to evolve faster than they were planning and, as a result, many have talent shortages. As Siobhan says, "There are so many reasons why building a diverse workforce are important, but we also have this huge tech talent shortage, and a skills-first approach can really solve that," she says.

This skills-first approach can train people in the most in-demand skills to contribute meaningfully to the workplace, without requiring a 4 year college degree. And when you think about historically underrepresented groups who have been excluded from educational opportunities or the workforce, this approach can result in access to higher paying jobs and family-sustaining careers.

With scaling this ambitious mission in mind, we asked Siobhan about roadblocks she has encountered and what she's done to overcome them. Her advice:

  • Practice accountability: Multiverse ensures it's accountable by creating the change it wants to see in the outside world inside the company first. "We want to make sure the increase in public commitments results in tangible opportunities," she advises. "Businesses need both internal and external accountability."

  • Leverage intersectional data: Multiverse works closely with senior leadership to build an accountable data tracking system on metrics around representation, inclusion, and equitable access to opportunities to hold themselves accountable to their mission.

  • Create executive-level EDI ownership: Siobhan sits on the leadership team and works very closely with the CEO and president – a best practice we recommend to our portfolio companies that are serious about doing this work. She notes this empowers the executive team to truly lead, have meaningful discussions and develop clear plans on what they will invest in as a company and also in their individual business areas. Siobhan then plays the role of partner and advisor, co-designing strategy, sharing data and best practices.

  • Build intentional programs: Siobhan built a program with the senior leadership team for internal progression. The leaders provide mentoring and sponsorship for people from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented within the leadership team, in addition to group coaching sessions over the course of 12 months.

At the close of our conversation, we reflected on misconceptions about equity, diversity, and inclusion work. One primary misconception is that our work is reactive and de-scoped to isolated moments such as cultural inclusion events. But the work is much more strategic – developing a long-term, global EDI strategy builds resilience between triggering world events and cultural celebration moments. It allows for initiatives to center on specific groups while remaining connected to a global set of principles.

Siobhan sees her role as supporting her executive peers' ability to create an inclusive environment all year round and to best meet the company's powerful mission.