“It’s about having more representation, but not just representation; it’s about feeling like you belong and can do your best work.” – Danyelle Holmes-Lewis.
Regarding diversity and inclusion, Danyelle Holmes-Lewis is an award-winning equity changemaker. She serves as the Director of People and Culture EMEA and Sales Development at Culture Amp and brings years of experience to the employee experience software company.
Culture Amp is an employee experience technology platform leveraging psychology, statistics, user experience, and engineering knowledge to help businesses improve their internal culture and drive sustainable performance.
The former BT talent specialist and diversity leader says she embarked on her role at Culture Amp after reflecting on her career goals. With the support of a career coach, she noticed her innate need to make an impact on building diverse and inclusive high performing cultures.
“The coaching session was so powerful and helped me identify my purpose and what connects me with myself. Also the impact I want to have in this world, explicitly thinking about diversity and inclusion. Almost as if it manifested itself, the Culture Amp brand appeared on LinkedIn the next day”
As I started looking more at the company mission, product and values, It really connected with my own purpose and values. For me it was also important that a company not only had policies and career pages that were over promising but that they actually took action. We’ve all worked in toxic, non inclusive cultures, and if an organization, platform, or technology can fix that, then I want to be a part of that, “she said.
Holmes-Lewis’s approach to diversity reflects her belief that diversity is more than vanity metrics. Instead, measurable actions should create a pathway for Black professionals to have a voice and grow, which is why joining Culture Amp was important to her.
“As a mixed Black female, I wanted to ensure that this company wasn’t just lip service but that it was focused on creating equity. There was one headline that I saw that Culture Amp did, and it was that they paid the ERGs leads, and for me, that spoke volumes. Not only are they supporting communities, but they’re acknowledging the time and investment and essentially paying for that.”
BYP sat down with the diversity leader, who openly shared about her work with Culture Amp, how she learned to accept mentorship, and her plan to empower other Black professionals.
BYP: Did you have any mentors that helped you throughout your career?
Lewis: Throughout my early career, I never really asked for help or feedback. For me, having multiple intersectional identities, I felt that if I asked for help it would almost be seen as a weakness.. It was vulnerable and not something I understood in terms of how to navigate. I couldn’t see the value but also just thought if I keep my head down and work hard, all would be okay.. Promotions would come, But they didn’t. In a few moments of reflection, I started to see more of the barriers that had meant that I felt like I was standing still.
In my last two years at BT, there was a particular leader with whom I worked and they became a sponsor. They advocated for me, supported and coached me to see my strengths and development areas but most importantly they helped me realise the value of having a sponsor and that it was okay to ask for help.. I was also more intentional with creating relationships more broadly with advocates and those of my own community via our ERG’s and this was a game changer. I finally felt like I belonged but also together we were raising aspirations to create a collective empowerment to break through ceilings. From here, I no longer felt like I was standing still!
BYP: What does changing the Black narrative mean to you?
Lewis: For me, it’s making changes, big or small, and ensuring that I am a role model and using my experience to pay it back. It’s about having more representation and feeling like you can belong and thrive. Relating to Culture Amp, the ERG is one piece, but we also proactively audit and listen to ensure we have equity through our design and that we support our Black campers to belong. We also run mental wellbeing programmes for our Ethnically diverse groups alongside external racial justice initiatives.
BYP: You mentioned wellness programs. Does Culture Amp engage in other community-building initiatives for Black professionals and other minorities?Lewis: We’re an employee experience platform, understanding how people are feeling in our organization is key and enables us to be proactive if we see anything that isn’t creating equity in how we do things. It’s making sure it’s visible and part of our core strategy as a business. But then it’s also about celebrating differences, and that’s a key thing for us. We recognise that EDI is not always comfortable but that’s okay.
Find out more about Culture Amp
Meet more of the team! Culture Amp’s North America Talent Manager, Tenesha Craig-James, joined BYP Network’s CEO and founder, Kike Oniwinde Agoro, for an exclusive Instagram live on the March 15. Watch the full instagram live recap here to discover more about the company and its talented people.
Click here to find more opportunities at Culture Amp.