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Culture Champions: How GPO Fosters Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At GPO, creating an inclusive workplace is a team effort that starts with Culture Champions. This employee-led committee drives DEI initiatives at GPO.

It’s been two years since GPO has gone fully virtual. And while we love the WFH life, it came with its own set of challenges. How do you maintain a strong company culture when your team is spread across the country?  How can you ensure a sense of community and belonging from afar?Give me breakfast tacos or give me death small marquee sign

Enter: GPO Culture Champions. Culture Champions was formed in 2020 as a response to a shift in both our work and home lives.

We created an internal Unity Plan in 2020 as a commitment to:

  • Create a sense of belonging for employees
  • Maximize connection in an increasingly digital workplace
  • Commit to top-down and bottom-up transparency
  • Hire, retain, and grow employees and business
  • Commit to unity — hence, Culture Champs was born!

What is GPO Culture Champions?

Culture Champions is comprised of employee-led committees looking to further our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Additionally, Culture Champions seeks to uphold our core values and create a positive community providing accountability and camaraderie.

Who is a Culture Champion?

A culture champion is someone who believes in, supports, and cultivates a positive workplace culture. At GPO, that means getting involved in employee-led meetings and initiatives.

What Do Culture Champions Do?

Encourage Diversity

The Diversity Committee ensures we not only celebrate our existing diversity within our company and local communities but to find opportunities to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment. The Diversity committee fosters conversation and knowledge sharing by hosting book clubs, TED talk clubs, Netflix clubs, round tables, jeopardy games, and more.

Take a peek at some of this year’s diversity initiatives:

Black History Month

The GPO team met for Netflix club to enjoy Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History. Our team cozied up on the couch with their families over the weekend to watch the short, one-hour comedy and educational special to learn more about Black History’s unsung heroes. Then, we met for a virtual get-together to flex our newfound knowledge with a game of jeopardy and to chat about the film.

Additionally, Diversity Committee provided Slack and meeting updates calling out Black achievements in tech and local Black-owned businesses.

Women’s History Month

For women’s history month, Diversity Committee compiled and presented both a list of empowering women in the workplace and dove into a timeline of women’s history in the US.

GPO is home to some truly kick-ass women in tech. How better to celebrate the women on our team than by getting to know them? Diversity Committee organized a blog post in which the women of GPO describe their passions, challenges, and how they’ve made their way in the tech industry.

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

GPO celebrated AAPI month with a presentation on AAPI month’s history, AAPI heritage, AAPI heroes, and how GPOers could engage and support their local AAPI communities. We’re all about furthering our knowledge and met to discuss an article on this year’s AAPI theme during our bi-weekly Happy Half Hour.

Pride Month

June marks Pride Month and Diversity Committee celebrated with a Netflix/TED talk and roundtable discussion. We learned from Ash Beckham’s TED Talk how to tackle hard conversations head-on and how to back up our words with action and accountability. We also enjoyed a brief comedic history of Pride from Wanda Sykes.

Juneteenth

As an Austin, Texas-based company, GPO observes Juneteenth and recognizes Juneteenth as an opportunity to reflect on the past and celebrate Black lives, Black futures, and Black success. GPOers get the day off to observe this holiday.

Foster Work-Life Balance

GPO Yeti tumbler on a river cruiseThe GPO team is always excited to work together to collaborate, hustle, and create incredible content technology that helps our partner brands meet their goals. But, we know that work-life balance is the key to excellent performance, employee happiness, and general quality of life.

GPO doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to work-life balance. Here’s how Culture Champions ensures you’re able to work hard and play hard:

Mental Health Days

Find your zen (and don’t check your email)! Twice a year, our entire team gets a full paid day off to unplug, relax, and recharge.

Wellness Initiatives

Our team is comprised of go-getters who set big goals for themselves both in and out of the office. We participated in a wellness challenge where each participating team member was able to set their own wellness goal, track it, and receive support and accountability.

Multicultural / Flex Holidays

Take the time you need to honor your culture, religion, birthday, or whatever is important to you.

Summer Fridays

This year GPO introduced Summer Fridays! We’re OOO on Friday afternoons to soak up a bit of extra summer sun and fun.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

We’re all about efficiency and self-accountably here and have created an environment of trust. If your work is getting done it’s a-okay to take a long lunch with friends, leave early for a workout class, or to close your laptop to catch your kiddo’s little league game.

Promote Inclusion

Coffee Talk

At GPO, you can choose to jumpstart your Tuesday and Thursday mornings with lively conversations about current events, pop culture, or random topics. This is a great opportunity for our cross-department team members to connect, chat, and get to know one another on a personal level.

Virtual Happy Half Hour

Every other Thursday, GPOers meet for an optional virtual Happy-Half Hour to enjoy a cool beverage, hang out, and unwind as the workweek comes to a close.

Celebrate With One Another

Virtual Holiday Party and Gift Exchange

Our virtual White Elephant party is always a hit. Our team has a blast exchanging — and stealing — gifts from one another. Sandwich makers, tortilla blankets, Death Charades, fermentation kits, healing crystals and more… you never know what you’re going to bring home!

#goGPO Days

True team bonding doesn’t just happen — it needs to be fostered! At GPO we’ve started #goGPO day to create hours of time dedicated solely to kicking back, relaxing, and bonding over an exciting shared experience.

We’ve tapped into our creative side with a virtual paint party with Painting With a Twist and also teamed up to solve a murder — a virtual murder mystery, that is.

Team Lunches

Our teams in Austin, Nashville, and Dallas will meet up to see each other face-to-face and enjoy lunch at our favorite local spots.

Pursue Knowledge

Paid Professional Development Opportunities

Knowledge is power. As one of our core values, we encourage and support our team members in pursuing professional development.Haley S. Collins and Erika DeVerter at the NTC Summit

At GPO, you can choose to take advantage of paid:

  • Certifications
  • Credentials
  • Conferences
  • Trainings

Lunch & Learns

From “Connotation, Punctuation, and Written Communication” to “Artificial Intelligence and SEO”, our voluntary Lunch & Learns give each member of GPO a chance to demonstrate their in-depth industry knowledge.

Book Club

From brushing up on our leadership skills to exploring ways we can create an inspiring workplace culture, our Book Club has given GPO team members self-development opportunities.

Some of our favorite learnings and discussions stemmed from:

  • Netflix No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention
  • Radical Candor
  • Dare to Lead
  • Wolfpack

Mentorship

GPO creates mentorship, transparency, and cross-department conversation through GPO Buddies. The GPO Buddy system provides a chance for us to connect one-on-one with people we don’t usually connect with and allows for senior members to share their best career experiences and advice.

Have What it Takes to Be a GPO Culture Champion?

We want our team to have a voice and a seat at the table when it comes to designing a workplace culture. Culture doesn’t just happen — it takes work. At GPO, we value the time it takes to create an inviting, inclusive place for professionals. We don’t always get it right, but we’re committed to the work it takes to pave an inclusive path for our team.

Interested in becoming a GPO Culture Champion? Come work with us!

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