Tidal Equality is the world’s leading equitable innovation company, helping impact-driven organizations build equality better with the world’s most innovative DEI solution, the Equity Sequence®. We are guided in all we do by our values: curiosity, courage, candour, empathy, and equality.
Tell us about yourself?
Like many who find themselves working to advance equity and inclusion, my lived experience, more so than my professional training, propelled me. In my former careers as a public educator and then as an academic, I experienced and observed many heartbreaking forms of discrimination and inequity related to gender, class, race, and many more dimensions of diversity. But what really catalyzed my work in this space was the ‘a-ha’ moment I had during grad school about how little we’ve managed to move the needle on equity and how, by and large, the implementations in play for the past half century and more have largely been ineffective, and, in many cases, have caused undue backlash. When I had my first child, I felt compelled to dedicate my work to making waves in this space so that, someday, my children would walk into more equitable and inclusive workplaces than the ones I had.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
“Lift your head up once in a while!” As a high-achiever and busy business owner and parent, it sometimes feels like all you have time for is the work: nurturing client relationships, advising mentees, collaborating with colleagues, etc. However, all that “heads down” work makes it difficult to make network connections beyond the immediate circle of clients and partners. It’s well documented that female entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage when it comes to network access, and yet, the network is such an important factor in gaining exposure and meeting with those who can propel your business forward. If I could go back in time, I would advise myself to carve out time to connect in meaningful ways that may not feel like they’re advancing my current situation but to make the time nonetheless for the serendipity that can come from openness and authentic engagement.
What problem does your business solve?
Our business solves the problem of “how” to go about making tangible, measurable, equitable change – or equitable innovation – to all kinds of day-to-day decisions and how to do that at scale.
Today, in 2023, many organizations and individuals have received an education on bias, inequality, and discrimination. Very few, however, have learned a scalable way to better understand the diverse needs and wants of their stakeholders (customers, employees, etc.) and how to meet those needs.
At Tidal Equality, we created a simple and effective decision-making framework, backed by science, called Equity Sequence®. We teach individuals to apply Equity Sequence® to day-to-day work, and it equips them to identify and make equitable innovations and transformations to everything from classroom curriculum to telecom pricing strategies to people policies to admissions criteria to ad campaign design to hiring practices to product design and more.
In short, it’s the tool that empowers organizations and institutions of all kinds to “walk the talk” when it comes to their ESG and DEI commitments.
How would you describe the clients you work with?
We’ve worked across sectors and regions, partnering with higher education institutions like North Carolina State University, consumer goods companies like Camelbak, financial institutions like the Royal Bank of Canada, telecom giants like Virgin Media O2, health advocacy groups like Alzheimer’s Society UK, and municipalities like the City of Los Angeles. Regardless of their size or industry, however, what our clients have in common is an entrepreneurial spirit that propels them to challenge the status quo and innovate to reach new levels of success and engagement. They aren’t content with hosting the odd inspirational brunch, putting up fancy window dressing, and calling it a day. They want to make a real difference and have a positive impact on their stakeholders and communities, and they’re willing to try something new to do it.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
In our business, we are inspired by the wisdom of the many. Whether we’re working on strategic planning for a higher education institution or we’re running an Equitable Innovation Sprint at a consumer goods company, we know that inviting new voices and perspectives into decision-making has the power to generate important and noteworthy innovations.
However, we also know that for the world to become a more equitable, just, and sustainable place, the power to make this kind of innovation needs to be accessible and practical. Those constraints have inspired the creation of Equity Sequence® and are reflected in its simplicity, its scalability, and its almost universal practicality.
We are helping everyday people as well as global organizations make the kind of process improvements that not only make their work more equitable, inclusive and innovative but just plain better.
What is your magic sauce?
To date, you can’t find anything like Equity Sequence® on the market, partly because we’ve designed it in a way that it doesn’t require our team in order for it to take on a life of its own – it has a natural network effect, which is important. If a DEI intervention requires a particular leader or consulting partner for it to carry on, that intervention necessarily has a finite life cycle. Equity Sequence®, by contrast, is a practice you learn then apply again and again throughout your career – and even into your personal life! It doesn’t require the support of a leader or consulting partner. Additionally, what sets us apart is how we equip our partner organizations and clients to make impactful change that is noteworthy; they begin generating equitable innovation during a pilot of Equity Sequence®, and that provides them their first round of case studies of equitable change that they can share and celebrate together with their customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Many organizations can talk about the programming they’ve implemented and the commitments they have to fostering equity and inclusion. Very few can point to actual changes made to their systems: policies, programs, pricing, products, services, etc.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Like LEAN or Agile, we want Equity Sequence® to be a household name – and we’re seeing early signs of that already, with Equity Sequence® popping up in all kinds of conversations in North America, the UK, Europe, and beyond. We want to see the Equity Sequence® framework become the new status quo, the new best practice when it comes to not only diversity and inclusion work but decision-making writ large. In the same way that some organizations have already baked Equity Sequence® into their governance structures, we want to see Equity Sequence® inform decisions of all kinds – at an even greater scale than it is today – so that decision by decision, the systems we live, work, and learn inside will be transformed for greater equity and inclusion. We want Equity Sequence® to help people – everyday people working on their own and large enterprises and institutions working together – transform our world into one where all people have an equal opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced so far comes down to voice. As a small woman-owned, woman-led, bootstrapped business, we don’t have a loud voice. In other words, we struggle to get the word out about Equity Sequence® inside the real operating constraints of our small business. To date, the majority of our clients and Equity Sequence® learners have come via word-of-mouth and referrals. We love that Equity Sequence® spreads this way – and it does so by design – but we can always benefit from a little spotlight or amplification.
How can people get involved?
If you’re an individual contributor and you want to learn the Equity Sequence® practice for yourself, you can join our learning community and platform. Use code FRIEND15 for a 15 per cent discount off the registration fee here: www.quest.tidalequality.com.
If you’re a decision-maker in an organization and you want to explore how Equity Sequence® can equip your people with a framework for better understanding and meeting the needs of your diverse stakeholders, you can reach out to us via our website at www.tidalequality.com.