Cassie Myers, Founder and CEO of Lunaria tells us how they combine intuitive training and analytics for organizations to implement and grow diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Cassie Myers: I am lucky that, for the most part, my family has been safe during these times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lunaria.
Cassie Myers: Lunaria is a diversity, equity, and inclusion technology company. We combine intuitive training and analytics to help companies implement and grow a DEI initiative. Our clients complete an audit of their DEI work on our platform, which reveals recommendations to complete in their organizations. Clients then get matched with education units to grow employee capacity and pulse surveys to track progress.
I founded the company in 2019. We were completing impact evaluations for nonprofits working in gender justice and found our work converging around a theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I am a Black woman, and from my personal experiences, the importance of equity and inclusion was not new to me. In doing more research and analyzing the kind of data we were collecting from our evaluations, I noticed a gap in the kind of analytic tools we could apply to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Data and evaluations were being applied to other aspects of a business, but not DEI. I found that there was an opportunity to take a people-feedback and data-centered approach to DEI to ensure the initiatives being implemented matched the unique needs of employees.
How does Lunaria innovate?
Cassie Myers: We’re really lucky to be an evaluation company. In that nature of our work, we constantly receive feedback either intentionally in conversations with our customers or passively in the feedback provided through our customers’ DE surveys. We base our improvements and innovations on feedback directly through this feedback. In response to the pandemic, we created free support hours for people leaders to have a sounding board for anything DEI. We also launched a sample of a program called Flourish, which people leaders could use to get started on a DEI initiative. More recently, in the spirit of creating resources that support our customers and ones that are free for the wider community, we created a series of free education units on gender and sexuality. For this initiative, we partnered with a local nonprofit, OK2BME, and were able to create quality education for our community and support an incredible nonprofit in the process.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Cassie Myers: For us, when the pandemic hit, we needed to really think critically about how we could continue to support the businesses we serve and provide more value so that, even in tough times, Lunaria was an important resource. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become an even more important initiative for people leaders as employees need more support than ever. Inequities are publicized more than ever before, people’s livelihoods are in flux as businesses try to survive, the lockdown has resulted in heightened mental health issues, and the pandemic has impacted people’s physical health. People leaders are navigating the diversity in the experience of the pandemic, and employees need their employers to respond to the inequities around them. Amid these unprecedented times, diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to creating a place where people feel like they belong and can contribute. This key value and purpose of DEI in all aspects of the business have enabled us to survive.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Cassie Myers: We were an in-person team before the pandemic. I spent a lot of time refining my own management skills, as working as a virtual team was a little bit different. I invested more time in conversation with team members. We implemented more regular, flexible meetings. We implemented daily standup twice daily, once at the beginning and once at the end of the day. We have personal development meetings in which we evaluate how team member feels about their role and personal growth. The pandemic, and virtual working, have enabled me to grow my managerial mind and be a better leader. We are lucky to be in an ecosystem where others have created additional virtual communities for us to engage. We are a part of the Peace Incubator, where other organizations committed to justice grow their initiatives. We have weekly coffee breaks that have been incredibly helpful to stay in the community during an isolating time.
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