Last year, The Orchard got serious about prioritizing the support of employees with an intentional emphasis on equity for Black, Indigenous, Asian, People of Color and other underrepresented communities. As part of this important work, The Orchard formed CEPA, a Council for Equity and Progressive Action.
CEPA began with nine members including employees from New York City, Stockholm and London. The Council met weekly over the past year to develop an actionable roadmap to maintain racial equity and belonging at The Orchard, within the music industry, and greater society as a whole. A number of these meetings would also include The Orchard’s leadership; CEO Brad Navin and COO Colleen Theis. Together, they collaborate with the council, gain insight and unify plans across the organization.
Now, we’re looking back at a year of CEPA and the incredible progress this group has achieved together. Since formation, CEPA has presented to the global company more than five times, sharing goals, resources and opportunities to help strengthen our community as a whole. Using The Orchard’s internal company site, CEPA created their own page to make all documents and resources easily accessible to The Orchard global employees. One of these documents includes a Hiring Manager Toolkit developed to avoid bias in hiring decisions. Additionally, employees have compiled favorite books, articles, podcasts, videos and documentaries that they have found informative in their personal antiracist development.
One of the largest undertakings of the Council thus far has been the implementation of company-wide inclusivity trainings hosted by Brave Trainings Founder and CEO, Cornell Verdeja-Woodson. Broken up into seven cohorts, each group was invited to share their own stories in two engaging workshops titled, “Building a Culture of Belonging” and “Authentic Allyship vs. Performative Allyship.” With over 300 participants, across 14 sessions, these sessions fostered a safe space for individuals to reflect and listen to their coworkers, share their experiences, and learn how they can become better, authentic allies.
Recently, The Orchard also welcomed Naledi Nyahuma Seck in the newly created role of Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As part of her role, Naledi will lead the CEPA Council and implement her expertise throughout the organization and community.
Overall, CEPA will continue to amplify the voices of people of color with an emphasis on Black employees, strive to increase representation in hiring across all levels and elevate and retain current employees. Through these changes at The Orchard and additional community action, CEPA is making strides to implement positive social reform.
As the first year of CEPA comes to a close, we thank our founding members wholeheartedly for their time and generous support, and welcome a new class of volunteers. Meet our 2021/2022 council below, all eager to support diversity and create an environment of belonging for our employees, community and beyond.