Madeline Enos is a marketing leader and advocate for equitable workplaces. Madeline has experience in non-profit industries and tech start ups and is passionate about combining the two to help small businesses elevate their DEI. She is currently the head of marketing and communications at included.ai, a software that uses AI to make HR data intuitive.
How I Work, Episode 38 with Madeline Enos (Included.ai)
Madeline joins Josh Becerra to discuss DEI in the workplace. More specifically, using data to help inform your decisions and help answer the question – am I building an equitable organization? She touches on topics such as:
- Ways to introduce DEI practices in small and large organizations
- Diverse teams driving innovation: Recruitment and Retention Tips
- How to advertise with DEI in mind
To learn more about included.ai visit: https://www.included.ai/
Transcription: How I Work, Episode 38 (Madeline Enos)
Josh Becerra: Hi everybody, this is Josh Becerra from Augurian. In this episode of How I Work, I’m excited to have Madeline Enos with me today. Madeline is a marketing leader with over a decade in tech. She’s an advocate for equitable workplaces, currently the head of marketing at the HR startup included.ai. Previously, she led global marketing teams at the international research and consulting firm Gartner. Madeline, thanks for being here.
Madeline Enos: My pleasure, thanks Josh.
Josh: I wanted to just kind of start by giving you a little time to tell us your story and how you kind of arrived at this intersection of marketing and DEI. So take us back a little bit to Gartner or previous kind of and where your interests aligned and now how you’re here doing these things.
Madeline: Yeah, well, the beginning of my story really starts in the nonprofit sector. After college, I worked for a regional food bank for many years. areas of social impact really feel like you’re making a direct difference in the community that you’re working in.
When I moved to Austin, Texas, however, I did a big career pivot. Tech was booming at the time and I was able to get in with a small tech startup called Software Advice, which was quickly acquired by Gartner. And then I ended up working with the Gartner Digital Markets mid-sized businesses that adopt technology to be more efficient and grow. So I loved helping small businesses and creating thought leadership and research reports on that topic. And I started getting really involved with Gartner’s employee resource groups, Women at Gartner Mosaic. They have some really strong programming there and it’s an international firm. So I got to work with colleagues all over the world and really think about how we could partner, more inclusive and equitable workplace.
So I’m very passionate about that topic and started posting about it a lot on LinkedIn. And a former student or a former university student, Laura Close, who I went to Portland State University with reached out and she said, “Hey, we used to, you know, volunteer together in the equity space back in our college days, disrupting how HR professionals and executives can shape a more inclusive culture using data and AI. Are you interested in chatting?” Obviously very intrigued with that. And I’m excited to have been with the included team since March. High growth company. It’s been a wild ride. Just kind of entering the startup space again. Very different from Enterprise Gartner. speaking with our customers and HR leaders about what strategies they’re utilizing that are working and then how big data and predictive analytics can support those efforts.
Josh: Wow, yeah, that’s very cool. I mean, I feel like big data and predictive analytics is getting into every aspect of not only business, but our lives. And yeah, I think at Augurian here, we’ve been on a journey, equity inclusion and we actually add the B, belonging. So we have a D and a B.
Madeline: I love the B.
Josh: Yeah, I love the B too. So we’ve been on that journey ourselves and have some employee resource groups for a 30 person agency. You know, it’s not easy work to do and you just have to kind of stay committed. You know, one of the things that is interesting to me as a whole or kind of, you know, we’re an marketing agency so looking at marketing agencies, but in the marketing field in general, like representation in the field and recruiting strategies for DEI have been kind of a challenge, I would say, I think, for companies in our industry. Recruiting challenges?
Madeline: Yeah. Well, I was just checking out some recent stats from the marketing and advertising field. And although there are some sunny stories there around gender representation, there’s a lot of women in marketing, a lot of women in marketing leadership. From a race and ethnicity standpoint, it’s still very white. I think over 70% of marketing professionals are white in the US. from marketing agencies that are on the smaller side who are looking to diversify their workforce because they know that there’s a positive business impact for this. If you have a staff that represents your customers or the people you’re advertising to, you can be much stronger. And there’s a lot of research around diverse teams driving innovation because there’s a diversity of thought. I think using some research back tactics can be really helpful.
One is a diverse slate of candidates, making a commitment to, you know, not just looking at the candidate to apply within the first week. But having some intentionality saying I really want a diverse pool of candidates to choose the folks who are and if on that kind of first application wave, you’re not really seeing that, being proactive about doing outreach to specific groups or professional organizations that might have candidates that are in those kinds of target demographics, I think that can be really powerful. And then diverse interview panels can also be really great. That shows prospective employees there are people on the team that look like them, that people are, that there is diversity within the organization. Now, obviously that’s a challenge if you don’t already have that representation, but that can be really powerful when top candidates are making their decision about what organizations they want to align with.
So those are two things that don’t necessarily require an extra budget, but do require some intention and some time, to be really effective in transforming your organization.
Josh: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. One of the things that we’ve tried to do is find where those points of intersection that we can leverage to uncover some diverse candidates. And more and more, I think, those points of intersection are starting to become more I don’t know, ubiquitous in the sense that like, there are groups that exist out there that, you know, you can go to and say, hey, we have this job posting and we are seeking, you know, more diverse candidates.
One of our most recent hires, we actually put the post on a site called Bus Stop Mamas, which is a local Twin Cities startup, which is really cool. It’s what it says, right? It’s basically people who have been kind of dedicated to their family and are now looking to kind of re-enter the workforce, you know, they’re a little bit different age demographic than, you know, maybe some of the typical applicants, right? And so there’s just, there are kind of places, but it does take a little bit of effort to like uncover right?
Madeline: Yeah, yeah. And I love the example you brought up. It’s easy to think about diversity in just a very visual way, like a snapshot way, but there’s intersectional identities, right? So being a parent, you know, disabled, veteran status, whatever the case may be, you know, really thinking through that and how you can, yeah, invite these great candidates. And then something I’m not sure if you’ve done this already, but I’ve seen it become more popular is actually in job descriptions to have a statement around DEI, you know, encouraging candidates of all backgrounds to apply, or having a very clearly articulated statement on your website on the about page.
I think people really look at this stuff, especially if they are a competitive candidate, if they, you know, have a great skill set and a lot of experience and established success, they can be choosy about who they work for. So make yourself a place that’s attractive.
Josh: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s great too. Yeah, and just in Q3 of this last year, we redid all of those job descriptions and our careers page to include some of those things. And that actually was an initiative that kind of pulled out of our women’s ERG. So that group, one of their things was, hey, I think we could do better and here’s how, and they gave us some ideas and we went ahead and executed. So it’s pretty cool to see, like I said, we’re on a journey, we’re not perfect by any means, but things are getting done and those conversations are unfolding. And I think it’s just more about having that commitment.
So we’ve been talking about recruitment and I think you were alluding to candidates who are going on your website and kind of having a look around to see, you know, what did the pictures of the people on the existing team look like? You know, what is that statement on the job description? Is there kind of a value statement around DEI initiative? So, you know, recruitment is just kind of the first step. Then comes the retention side of things. And I know you talk about how organizations that are creating an inclusive culture, especially for marketing organizations, thoughts on that?
Madeline: Yeah, I’m not the first person to observe this, but I think there’s a big difference between a welcoming culture and an inclusive culture, right? You can kind of bring out the welcome wagon when new hires arrive and have a great onboarding program and have a happy hour, a coffee chat with teammates. That’s all great. That’s best practice. It’s a little different than really encouraging people to bring their whole selves to work and know that that will be accepted and celebrated. And so being explicit about that in, you know, any onboarding materials or information on your website is helpful, certainly, but also kind of hiring for those qualities as well. Knowing that you want to invite people of backgrounds, but also who value that as well and will be inclusive with their colleagues. So I think that’s helpful.
And then exactly what you’re doing with the ERGs, the kind of ground swell of people who are doing the day-to-day job and see things that executives or leadership might not, those things can be brought to the table and actioned on without concern of it being perceived the wrong way or something like that. Knowing that everyone is committed to these positive outcomes and good ideas can come from anywhere.
Josh: Yeah, I definitely believe one of the tenants that we try to… Well, one of our core values is to live honest, be our true selves and be our best selves. But then, you know, one of the major tenants that we try to uphold is around radical candor. Maybe you know all about that concept too, but yeah.
Madeline: Love the book, love the podcast.
Josh: Yeah, exactly. And I do think it is important that people can have the kind of psychological safety to be able to share things and their opinions without having the feelings of retribution or something. So yeah. And that’s where that B part really lives, right? Beyond just creating an inclusive environment, you really want people to feel like they belong and are seen as their true selves. So again, it takes work, but it’s, they’re great outcomes worth committing to for sure.
Madeline: Yeah. And I did want to bring in a data piece to the conversation. So something we’re doing with our solution, which has been a really interesting perspective with our current customers, is creating dashboards to really support retention and engagement. So you can see, you know, how employee sentiment is tracking regrettable attrition and identify what are the factors that are really driving attrition, you know, is it kind of overall sentiment scores and NPS score something on a survey. Is it kind of time and role without progressing. And you can look at that from a demographic perspective and really do some self reflection and analysis, like have we built an equitable organization where everyone who is meeting and exceeding performance goals can grow and thrive in their career here. important for those huge organizations where like, it’s very hard to kind of keep track of the individual. I think the situation is a little different, perhaps, for a smaller org where everyone kind of knows each other and, you know, the executives and leaders probably know everyone by name and their story, and can really keep a closer eye on that.
But it’s really interesting to think about that from a retention perspective, especially as you know, the hiring landscape is a little volatile, you know, some companies are still high growth in hiring, but some are really just looking at retention strategies right now for their top performers. They might not be doing a lot of hiring. So people are very interested in this topic from a kind of big data perspective.
Josh: Yeah, I love that. I mean, like I said at the beginning, like this idea of applying data and AI to every aspect of our life, I think, yeah, it provides information for leaders. I mean, I am leading an organization, like you said, where I know everybody by their first name, I know their story. So it is different, but I can definitely see where in large organizations, having a handle on this from a data perspective really would at least give you those early kind of indicators like, are we doing things right? Or do we have a problem? Can we course correct? How do we do that? that your tool is focused on that.
So another thing that we kind of touched on earlier, but it’s this idea that, you know, if you have a more diverse workforce, and especially in marketing, the people that we are advertising to, you know, are diverse, right? And so it’s how it is that you can ensure the advertising, messaging, and content that you’re producing through that D&I lens. And so what advice would you have for teams on trying to help them, you know, ensure that that D&I lens exists when they are producing the advertising messaging and content?
Madeline: Yeah, well, I have a question for you. Does your team have any kind of checklist or core things you look at before you would consider, you know, sharing creative with a client. Because if you do, you might consider adding that as part of the checklist. Of course, marketing is all about customer segmentation. And of course, there are going to be campaigns where you’re really honing in on specific demographics. But for the most part, the better reach you can have, the more you can sell whatever your product is. So it’s really for clients to consider that and certainly your staff.
So I think I also really like to look at some of the leaders in this space and how their campaigns have gone beyond just selling soap or body wash and turned into a cultural moment, which is what we probably go for as marketers and advertisers.
Josh: Give us an example.
Madeline: Dove is a classic. I feel like they changed everything. And then just in the beauty and kind of skincare and wellness space in general, really diversity inclusion is at the forefront, which I think is interesting, at least with the companies that I’m keeping track of, inspired by, and want to support. I love seeing what Fenty Beauty has been doing. And even mainstream kind of cosmetics companies are expanding their line to support more skin tones. I think consumers are demanding it, right? So great to see companies that are stepping up and kind of doing things right.
Josh: Yeah. And it’s also good business. Like that’s the other thing that I think we need to really understand is like not only is it the right thing, but it’s also good business. Like you have a whole set of consumers that you know you can bring into the fold by doing some of these things. So it’s pretty cool. So you mentioned inspiration. So we’re kind of getting close on time and I love to ask this as kind of a last question; who’s been inspiring you lately? What just for the audience, you know, who are you listening to right now?
Madeline: Yeah, well, I am a big book club person. I kind of became one over the pandemic. So I just finished up, it’s on my desk, The Go-Giver. And had the opportunity to actually engage with one of the authors, Bob Berg, on LinkedIn, which was so cool. I posted a recap of the book club discussion around how really giving and supporting others is good for business, good for culture. Things we kind of know, but had some good kind of business cases for people who might not be convinced. So it was really amazing to post something on LinkedIn, tag the author, and then have a full on dialogue in the comments. about how the book has impacted people and I felt like I was having a LinkedIn moment. It was really funny. And then in terms of podcasts, I continue to come back to Tim Ferriss. Like I really liked him back in the day with his kind of wacky four hour work week stuff before remote work was super popular. But now and then I’ll tune back in. And I really appreciate the thoughtful interview style he’s cultivated and just the diversity of his guests.
Josh: Yeah, well, that’s very cool. Well, I’m definitely a big believer in kind of business karma, like you say, with the go-giver, you know, approaching every conversation about things like, how I can help them? And I think, I do feel like business is kind of moving in that direction generally. And that fills me with a kind of hope and optimism. So I’m excited about that. I’m also really thankful to you for taking your time to be here with me today. So Madeline, thanks and super excited to see included.ai in the world and helping people DEI objectives. So thanks for your time.
Madeline: Great conversation. Thank you, Josh.