ZBiotics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge


Commitment to Amplifying Diverse Voices

ZBiotics and everyone on our team are members of the scientific, startup, and tech communities – communities that continue to suffer from an underrepresentation of certain populations and a consequential scarcity of diverse voices.

ZBiotics is committed to thoughtful and ongoing efforts to combat systemic racism and sexism, gender discrimination, ableism, and social injustice and to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. We pledge to not only strive to avoid being part of the problem but also to be an active part of the solution.

Therefore, we commit to elevating and amplifying marginalized voices and causes in these fields and others by taking the following steps:

☐ Incorporating our commitment to DEI and social justice into our digital footprint

  ZBiotics will publish a stand-alone webpage on zbiotics.com. This page will contain a description of our stance against injustice, ZBiotics’ policies, our ongoing efforts to combat injustice, and content amplifying diverse voices in our communities. It will highlight opportunities for change within our communities, specifically within science, tech, synthetic biology, and startups.

  ZBiotics will celebrate diverse scientists, technologists, artists, and thinkers by reposting or highlighting their voices on our appropriate social channels.

☐ Participating in at least one company program dedicated to racial and social justice

  As a company entity, ZBiotics will participate in at least one externally sponsored program or event each year focused on racial or social justice issues. This is distinct in that it will not be the action of individuals within the company, but the company itself. Examples include career development and training programs (e.g., Code2040); sponsorship and leadership in a science fair in an underserved community; and/or contribution of materials, know-how, training, etc. to a youth education program targeted towards underserved communities; etc.

Commitment to Education

ZBiotics recognizes that creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization requires us to continuously educate ourselves, and there will always be more to learn. We, therefore, commit to ongoing education on these issues as a cornerstone of being a member of the ZBiotics team.

☐ Quarterly employee education events

  ZBiotics team members will participate in at least one employee education event per quarter, led by an issue expert, one of which will include participation in annual anti-bias training. The educational events will take place during work hours (or equivalent working hours will be made a holiday). Specific event examples include individual or group training on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics led by a professional; guest speakers sharing their experiences as people of color; and experts presenting on a topic related to building diverse teams and fostering inclusive cultures.

  A volunteer-action event dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Examples include Prison Mail Night; various activities sponsored or inspired by Color of Change; an elementary school beautification workday; a community beautification workday, etc.

  Individual/small group working day (a total of 8 hours) related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This work will be self-determined by employees, and can take many forms including discussion of current events and issues; digestion of relevant media (e.g., documentaries, movies, articles, and research); signing petitions, etc. Diverse working groups will be encouraged to have as much diversity of thought as possible when discussing DEI challenges. This work can be related to the employee’s function at ZBiotics (e.g., a marketing associate searching for women-owned businesses providing marketing services) or it can be unrelated. These sessions can be combined with other activities (e.g., a 4-hour working session following a morning presentation by an expert on a topic relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion). Participants will record their individual/small group working day activities on the DEI accountability card. These opportunities will be presented with a mentality that “this is part of your job at ZBiotics,” not a token effort.

☐ Quarterly diversity newsletter

  The ZBiotics team, with guidance from program leaders, will produce and distribute a quarterly internal email newsletter covering the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion and sharing opportunities to volunteer, articles on current events, notes on issues, profiles of diverse scientists, and more. Priority will be given to diverse-authored content.

Commitment to Diversity

ZBiotics is committed to building a workforce and leadership team that reflects the diversity of our community. At this early stage of the company’s development, we will prioritize maximizing the opportunity to seed the company with diversity -- especially in leadership positions -- to ensure a foundation that puts us in the best position to build a diverse company.

With this in mind, ZBiotics commits to creating these critical support pieces:

☐ Inclusive hiring training

  Implement a training program, to include best practices for interviewing, for all hiring managers to enhance their understanding of inclusive hiring practices.

☐ Hiring protocols document

  Develop a recruitment toolkit that actively works to counteract any unintentional or intentional biases.

  This document will include guidance for identifying BIPOC networks and databases that will help assist in developing diverse candidate pools; tips ensuring that candidates are not dismissed or not further considered due to reasons related to their race, gender, sexual orientation, or culture; protocols for evaluating candidates to avoid “gut decisions” or other intangible methods that could be affected by bias; etc.

☐ Vendor selection guidance document

  Create a questionnaire with specific questions to ask when engaging with and selecting vendors to learn more about a company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

☐ New employee onboarding

  Require new employees to participate in an onboarding process as a condition for employment educating them about ZBiotics’ policies around diversity and inclusion. We will embed this into the interview and onboarding process by sharing our commitment to DE&I, ensuring that the people added to the team understand and are aligned with the company’s values.

Commitment to Action

☐ ZBiotics company donations

  ZBiotics will donate up to $300 annually per employee to a nonprofit organization of the employee's choice. Inclusive of donations made on each employee’s behalf, ZBiotics’ donations as a whole will total a minimum of $5,000 annually to organizations and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. This threshold is a minimum, and we will continue to evaluate other opportunities where a financial contribution would be meaningful and in line with ZBiotics' mission and values.

Program Leadership Commitment to Action

☐ Zack Abbott and Stephen Lamb will oversee the program but will encourage other DEI champions to engage in the implementation of the program components.

  A yearly internal leadership meeting will be held to evaluate the pledge, take stock of progress, and reappoint the program leader(s).

At this meeting, a report summarizing the efforts of the past year and recommendations for the next year will be presented by the program leader(s).

Once the report is approved by leadership, it will be shared with all employees in the organization.