Celebrating Black History Month with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Here at WISE, we often turn to our favorite motto: “DEI is a movement, not a moment.” As we celebrate Black History Month, this statement feels more meaningful and relevant than ever.

This February, we want to shine a spotlight on one company that is exemplifying how the adoption of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) practices can be impactful company-wide. 

Udemy, a leader in the online learning space and WISE sponsor, has created a diverse and inclusive environment for its employees through the implementation of its BEDI division and initiatives.

Headed up by Constance Wilson, the Udemy BEDI team gave us an inside look at why their DEI initiatives are successful, and the “why” behind creating them. 

What does BEDI stand for and why did Udemy decide to create a BEDI division?

“DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. At Udemy, we added a ‘B’ for Belonging – creating, ‘BEDI.” We made this addition to nurture a diverse environment where everyone is treated equitably, feels included, and like they belong.”

What types of programming has the BEDI team developed for employees?

“We’ve been intentional around fostering an inclusive environment. For example, we have established 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), convened a BEDI council, and created learning paths to help our employees have foundational knowledge around BEDI topics. As a result, we have almost 600 people affiliated with our ERGs – about half of our employee population.”

The road to creating an organization that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, where people feel they belong is a long one. We’re excited to experience the effect these initiatives will have for our entire employee-base. We recognize that the changes we are seeking won’t happen overnight and we will proceed until they are realized.” – Constance Wilson 

An inside look into some of Udemy’s BEDI initiatives: 

  • Global BEDI Council: This council is an advisory board to our executive staff and seeks to embed BEDI in every aspect of Udemy. 
  • The “Be Represented” Initiative: Our self-identification initiative in which we ask employees to volunteer their demographic information in efforts to create additional programs and policies to provide more equity at Udemy. 
  • The “Be Heard: Ask Us Anything” Initiative: This initiative allows employees to anonymously submit questions to be addressed by our executive staff with the goal of continued trust and psychological safety.
  • The “Be Respectful” Initiative: This fosters belonging by providing employees with the ability to record a pronunciation of their names which encourages folks to say their names correctly.

How can you inspire change in your own workplace?

In the words of Udemy’s team, “The mission of BEDI is to create an equitable, inclusive and culturally aware environment where all Udemates model behavior and actions that foster belonging.”  

By showcasing how diversity, equity and inclusion practices and programming can be effective and meaningful, we hope that companies and leaders will continue to adapt and build on their own DEI initiatives. For employees who currently have access to ERGs or DEI programs, you can make a difference by simply getting involved! 

Thank you to Udemy and its BEDI Team for sharing this insight into its mission to cultivate and maintain a work environment that fosters belonging. To learn more about Udemy, visit their website here.

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