Asana, the team productivity software that’s raised $38.2 million from high-profile investors like Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, just got called out on Twitter for its lack of diversity. Asana CEO Dustin Moskovitz (pictured above) was quick to respond and he handled it well. In fact, he says Asana is actively working to create a more diverse workforce.
Here’s the tweet that started the exchange:
. @moskov major fan of your software. but your site show 140 Engineers & only 1 visible African American. What are you doing to change that?
— BlackGuyCoding (@blackguycoding) July 31, 2015
BlackGuyCoding is referring to Asana’s team page, which shows very few black employees. Moskovitz replied that “there are actually 2 African American’s on that page, fwiw (and that’s the whole company, not just engs).” Moskovitz also mentioned that Asana currently has an aggressive offer out to a potential diversity lead who is both black and female. Asana is also working with Paradigm, the startup that both Pinterest and Slack are using to foster diversity, and its CEO Joelle Emerson.
“I can’t think of another company of a similar size that has invested in a diversity-specific role. We know that the earlier a company prioritizes diversity, and embeds the right structures and processes to minimize bias and cultivate an inclusive culture, the better,” Emerson says. “While Asana, like all other tech companies, has a long way to go, I’m heartened by their commitment to focus on and invest in diversity at this stage.”
Moskovitz’s awareness of its lack of diversity and willingness to talk about it is refreshing. And it’s nice to see that Asana was already actively working to address those issues, even before anyone said anything to the company.
“The team at Asana is passionate about creating a culture that’s diverse in thought, experience, and identity,” Moskovitz told me in an email. “Like most tech companies, we already have some catching up to do, but we also know it will be much easier to build the environment we want in the long run if we start while we’re small — currently we have ~140 employees — so we’re investing in this very early. We’re big admirers of the program created at Pinterest and by the time we are their size, we hope to be even further along. Some Asanas have already been catalyzing change in our culture, and we are also currently seeking a full time Diversity Lead. Joelle has been clear that the most important factor in creating a successful diversity program is having a strong DRI (directly responsible individual), so that’s a key next step for us.”