Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/876458

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 29 Lyft's head of inclusion and diversity is determined to tackle Silicon Valley's inclusion challenges head-on TARIQ MEYERS Driving Diversity Men at Work By Kimberly Olson L ast year, Tariq Meyers, not long out of college, became the first head of inclusion and diversity at Lyft, the peer-to-peer ride-sharing company whose vehicles initially became recogniz- able for their furry pink mustaches. Meyers was hired as a community af- fairs organizer and was quickly promoted to community affairs manager, develop- ing inclusion programs and working with Lyft leadership to address issues affecting employees in underrepresented groups. Since his promotion in September of 2016, he has helped Lyft power up its commitment to diversity and inclusion on various fronts. e month Meyers became head of inclusion and diversity, the com- pany chartered its eight employee resource groups (ERGs), including UpLyft Women, UpLyft Unidos, and UpLyft Veterans. It has also formalized its support of transgender employees with manager education and training, an ERG, a health coverage option for transitioning-related care, and support while transitioning on the job. In June of 2016, Lyft signed the White House's Tech Inclusion Pledge, vowing to implement specific goals to recruit and retain diverse employees, and measure its progress. Now Meyers is taking the company's commitment up a notch, with a focus on transforming the culture from within. From a young age, Meyers had instincts toward social justice and bringing people together. While at Boston College High School, his research on cultural identity— particularly of African American and Jewish youth—garnered a prestigious Certificate of Accomplishment from the Princeton University Prize in Race Relations. At Ithaca College, where he was a Mar- tin Luther King Jr. Scholar, Meyers earned a BA in political science and government, with a minor in African diaspora studies. He served in student government and was one of 40 students in the country selected as a 2011 Freedom Rider, retracing the route on the 50th anniversary of the ride for PBS's American Experience. Meyers served as an Economic Equity Fellow at the Greenlining Institute, advo- cating for a more diverse, inclusive policy- making process at the federal financial regulatory agencies to help reverse the impacts of the 2008 financial crisis on un- derserved communities. Diversity Woman talked to Meyers about his vision for Lyft, and why he's not interested in candy-coating the com- pany's diversity numbers. Diversity Woman: During childhood, were there any clues that you might end up working in diversity? Tariq Meyers: As a young black man growing up in Boston, I saw my friends not being able to achieve their dreams be- cause of systemic problems. So that sense of justice and advocacy has always been part of who I am. I was socialized in a Jesuit all-boys high school in Boston where social justice was core. Whether I was doing academic re- search or grassroots activism, I thought that advocacy was my calling. DW: What did you take from the experi- ence of retracing the journey of the 1961 Freedom Riders? TM: "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" ose are the words I heard [renowned civil rights leader and US Rep- resentative] John Lewis speak to a group of 40 wide-eyed college students with a hope to change the world. We were in We Mean Business >

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