Blog Image // Video: Shaka Senghor & Dulé Hill on Equity & Empowerment in the Workplace
Jan 25, 2022

Video: Shaka Senghor & Dulé Hill on Equity & Empowerment in the Workplace

The TripActions Team

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TripActions is proud of our diverse team—diverse in location, ethnicity, gender, life experience, and perspective. And we’re constantly examining ourselves for how we can do better.

As part of our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion efforts, TripActions recently gave our community a front-row seat to hear from Dulé Hill—an Emmy Award nominee best known for his time on “The West Wing,” “Psych,” “Suits,” and “The Wonder Years.” Hill was joined by TripActions Head of DEI Shaka Senghor, who is also a New York Times best-selling author and Grammy nominee.

Dulé and Shaka engaged in a fascinating conversation moderated by TripActions Senior Director of Corporate Marketing Kelly Soderlund. Together they discussed how the circumstances of the past two years have impacted equity and inclusivity in the workplace, as well as ways to increase inclusivity and employee empowerment.

Kelly kicked off the conversation by asking, “How do you think workplaces can build a culture of inclusivity and empowerment?”

Dulé spoke about how creative and professional relationships change for the better when every person feels empowered to bring their whole selves to the conversation—a sentiment that TripActions not only believes but practices. Shaka highlighted this fact by explaining the practice of really looking at who is at the table.

“One of the things that we do really well at TripActions is recognize that, as a global company, we have people with lots of different perspectives in the room. The great leaders at our company are very skilled at teasing out those skill sets. It’s not just diversity of ethnicity. It’s also diversity of thoughts, curiosity, and perspective,” said Shaka.

“At TripActions, we often say that products shouldn’t be built in silos,” said Kelly, “meaning that you need to have a diverse workplace in order to build the most inclusive products—otherwise you will be ignoring part of your audience.”

Kelly then asked about the effect of the pandemic. “The pandemic shined a light on inequity,” Dule thoughtfully shared. “I am able to sit and have this conversation with you all while my son runs around upstairs. If I didn’t have this space for me to have this moment, then it’s a way more challenging dynamic. If I didn’t have Internet speed or if there were more people, this wouldn’t be as simple. The pandemic has highlighted this.”

As Shaka puts it, we’re all in the same storm but we’re not all in the same boat. He creates spaces where our team members can come together and talk and connect about what’s going on in their lives outside of the work itself.

The conversation then shifted to financial equity. Equity—including financial equity—is a huge topic right now, driven primarily by fintech advances. We hear a lot about the democratization of banking or credit access to the stock market, but companies have a responsibility to make sure that financial equity is also present in the workplace.

The group spoke about how traditional expense programs put the responsibility on employees to front costs and later wait for reimbursement. By creating a new paradigm in which employees are empowered to consciously spend company funds, without putting pressure on their personal finances, the company as a whole benefits—often leading to tangible business growth.

“What I love about what we’ve done with TripActions Liquid is that we created a product that not just serves our clients but also makes it easier for employees to not have the stress or burden to pay out of pocket,” says Shaka. “Equity works best when we’re thinking holistically—the work experience and the life experience.”

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