“Equity Over Equality,” Says PLUS ONE Founder Kristen Ingram
The TripActions team thinks a lot about how we can use our platform to uplift our communities, fellow colleagues, and consciousness. In an effort to broaden our perspectives and adapt new practices, we take every opportunity we can to learn from those leaders who have made an enormous impact through their work.
So it was a pleasure to have Kristen Ingram join the TripActions team for a special conversation led by TripActions Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Shaka Senghor right before the start of Women’s History Month.
Kristen Ingram is the award-winning CEO & Executive Producer at PLUS ONE society—a Black woman-owned event production and marketing agency specializing in social justice and racial equity servicing sports, entertainment, and media industries.
Prior to launching PLUS ONE, Kristen was the Head of Affiliate Marketing for NFL NETWORK where she oversaw strategic partnerships, creative campaigns, and experiential events for all NFL calendar initiatives. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is how Kristen leveraged her leadership position to become an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion and Social Responsibility.
Inspired by the power of sports and its ability to connect cultures and provoke progressive action, Kristen launched PLUS ONE with the intent to directly uplift and amplify social justice movements that influence positive change within the culture. She talked to the TripActions team about her experiences organizing events like the 2017 historic production of IMAGINE JUSTICE with Common and J. Cole on the steps of the CA state Capitol in Sacramento and the 2018 HOPE & REDEMPTION PRISON TOUR—a series of live concerts in various correctional facilities featuring Common and Talib Kweli.
Shaka asked Kristen to share some of her learnings from the NFL and PLUS ONE and how it could apply to the culture at TripActions.
“As a company that really thinks about equality when it comes to women and people of color in leadership, what are some things that we should think about as we create a culture of oneness?,” he asked. “The way that I’ve approached DE&I is not from a formulaic or program perspective, but from a culture perspective. How do we build those muscles into the cultural fabric of our company?”
“You’re absolutely correct,” responded Kristen. “It’s not about programming. I think that’s where we’re falling short. We’re getting into a space where we have DE&I programming and women leadership courses. That’s not the thing. What’s important is the embedded culture. However your leadership feels—their beliefs and the unsaid things—is what’s going to permeate throughout the organization. It’s about having leadership align with the core values of the company and then having them walk that out. That will be picked up more than a program ever could.”
The TripActions team members also asked Kristen questions about how she found her purpose, balancing her drive at work and leading a family, microaggressions versus agressions, and equity versus equality.
“We have to get to equity,” replied Kristen.
“When we talk about equity, what we’re talking about is filling the gap for everybody—whether the gap is large or small—so that everyone is on the same playing field. Once we’re there, now we’re equal. That’s how the model should work. When you say equality, you’re talking about how people think and the system based on those thoughts. I’m going to take the equity play, because I can’t change how people think. It feels impossible and I’m about taking the quick, direct approach. We need the equity and equality approach.”
Shaka’s conversation with Kristen Ingram is part of an ongoing series of discussions at TripActions held to ensure that the organization is held accountable to its values of diversity and inclusion in every sense. From partnering with local organizations to provide laptops and mentorship opportunities to ensuring inclusive language across communication and understanding the foundational values that drive our leadership, TripActions is proud to be a diverse and inclusive workplace.