The Most Difficult Assignment: Putting Wordsmithie’s Diversity/Equity/Inclusion mindset into words

Wordsmithie has created a DEI statement

Crafting words is our business. We jump into our clients’ minds, sponging up brands, products, and features in a flash. We wrap our heads around business goals and customer needs (or identify them if a brand is at Square One) to come up with the strategies, headlines, and stories that’ll move our clients’ businesses forward. 

Putting the spotlight on ourselves can be a whole other matter, however. With our newly accredited status as a Woman-owned Business and traversing the business world through that lens, it was critical that we put pen to paper about Wordsmithie’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It was also an important exercise as we continue our heady growth and contemplate how to maintain the lightning-in-a-bottle that’s our company culture. 

Baring your company’s soul on such a significant and sensitive question—and doing so authentically—can feel like a highwire act. Friendly or formal? Ceremonial or chatty? Hallowed or happy dance? If it’s misinterpreted that you’re just checking the DEI box, it can tarnish a brand and efforts of the well-meaning people behind it. 

The blank sheet of paper at the start of any assignment always lends a little terror, and over the years I’ve learned that it doesn’t get much easier. But as for ‘smithing our DEI statement, how can we put into words the strong DEI values that have always been a primary strand of Wordsmithie’s DNA? How do we reflect the values that emanate from the heart of our founder and shape the diverse team that has found a home under her leadership? When it comes to DEI, we take the old adage of “be it, don’t say it” deeper. We feel it.  

There’s so much heavy lifting a DEI statement has to do, much more so than a mission statement (what we do and hope to achieve by doing it) or a vision statement (how we see the future, our place in it, and our role in shaping it). Our words need to be multipurpose and omnidirectional, showing an intimate glimpse of the Wordsmithie Way of fairness, empowerment, curiosity, and empathy. And our DEI oath goes beyond cultivating and nurturing a team with diverse ethnicities, generations, gender identities, and sexual orientation that reflect those who will commission, create, and consume our output.  It’s a promise to our team members that they are welcome, safe, and heard.

Most importantly, our DEI pledge shows we’re committed to learning and growing, to seeking and welcoming change. Were I to give anyone grappling with their own DEI statement just one bit of advice, it’s that what you create needs to live and breathe. There’s no set-it-and-forget-it here. Your words need to be at the center of ongoing conversations, tended and tweaked and wordsmithed over time so that your pledge evolves with ever greater awareness, always striving to honestly reflect our vast, diverse world.

May your words speak loudly and inspire even bolder actions. 

Our DEI pledge

The Wordsmithie Way: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Embracing the broadest range of ideas, identities, and experiences as we attract and nurture talent is not just something we do, it’s who we’ve always been. We’re committed to fostering new perspectives and making Wordsmithie ever more diverse, continuously widening our view of the world. This enriches the work that we do for our clients and helps our audiences see themselves in the words and designs that we craft. Most importantly, diversity forms the bedrock of an equitable and safe environment for Wordsmithies of all stripes to be themselves. 

ABOUT Michael Gaylord

Prior to moving to Madrid in 2011, Michael served as Vice President, Digital for MTV Networks’ cable brands Nick at Nite and TV Land. He began his career in the digital shops of downtown Manhattan, and has extensive experience in creative direction, user experience, convergent programming, integrated marketing and web analytics.