In the loop with equity, diversity and inclusion

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Man working on a laptop and the Loopio logo

By: Namish Modi (he/him)

Loopio believes in creating an equitable and safe space for all employees to grow, no matter their background.

University of Waterloo co-op students are a big part of the tech organization’s workforce and contribute to the development of an inclusive culture. 

A wall with images of various Loopio employees at different team building activities“Co-op students bring diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints to the workspace, so we always like that fresh perspective,” says Benita Foo (she/her), manager of talent experience at Loopio.

“They have the opportunities to engage in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) related programs and workshops such as contributing to our employee resource groups, and training programs offered by the company.”

With headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Loopio is a remote-first company. They help clients streamline their response process for request for proposals (RFPs), due diligence questionnaires (DDQs), security questionnaires (SQs), and any sales request that comes their way.  

The multi-national has more than 1 500 customers and operates out of Canada, the United Kingdom and India. Laura Antonescu (she/her) is a software development manager at Loopio who works with co-op students. Both Antonescu and Foo understand first-hand the importance of representation in the workplace. They want to make a difference and ensure that Loopio’s culture resonates with both employers and students.

Employer Impact Award diamond shaped glass trophy and the Loopio logo

“As a woman in tech, where women are underrepresented, [working in this role] helps provide me with not only a voice, but also a better understanding of how I can champion for others,” says Laura Antonescu.

Loopio is the 2022 recipient of the Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) Employer Impact Award for Impact in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). 

The company received the award for the important and impactful DEI initiatives and experiences it offers to co-op students and employers. 

 

Opening quotation marksLoopio has built a strong foundation for inclusion and belonging within their organization. We were truly impressed with the resources Loopio provided to next generation talent like co-op students, as well as the opportunities for mentorship and to have their voices heard.

- Colleen Phillips-Davis, associate director of equity, diversity and anti-racism at CEE



Creating an open environment

Loopio believes in creating a safe workplace where employees from all backgrounds and identities feel respected, valued and have opportunities to grow. As a co-op student manager, Antonescu wants to ensure students from underrepresented groups feel confident in communicating their struggles to team members.

“It’s not always going to be an easy conversation, and those difficult conversations are definitely something we want our teams, our employees, our students to navigate expertly in the future,” says Antonescu. Loopio has several diversity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives including  behaviour of inclusion, feedback skills and inclusive interview workshops for managers. “[The training] allows us to create an open environment that’s safe for every person that we have working for us here at Loopio.”

Placard at the Loopio offices that highlights an office space for different employee needs such as prayer time.

Open workspace at Loopio offices with big windows and relaxed seating

 

The company publishes an annual DEIB report online and hosts listening labs where consultants come in and speak to each department, without management present, to learn about the employee experience. Loopio also has partnerships with equity-diverse groups like Queertech. Loopio’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are focused on women, BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+ and mental health advocacy.

The ERGs work to create opportunities for employees to connect in a safe space, amplify underrepresented voices internationally, share educational resources and receive support. They are also involved in workshop implementation and play an important role in delivering workshop topics like “Cultivating black leadership through mobilizing resources” and “allyship training.”

“We hope that from working at Loopio, people develop a better understanding of the importance of DEI so they can be more aware of unconscious biases, can be more empathetic and learn how to foster an inclusive work environment,” says Foo.

Opening quotation marksWinning this award really helps validate the time, resources and the effort we have invested in fostering diversity and inclusion within our organization. It showcases Loopio’s commitment to create an environment where all individuals are valued, respected and empowered.

- Benita Foo, manager of talent experience at Loopio


Canvas board with notes from Loopio employees describing why they love about Loopio

Loopio employee sitting infront of a desktop with a huge sign that reads 'Make time for what matters'

 

How do students contribute?

In 2022, Loopio hired six students as part of the software development team. The company has an in-depth and streamlined process to hire co-op students that also intentionally looks to eliminate unconscious bias. Afraz Hemraj (he/him), a Mechatronics Engineering student who worked at Loopio in spring 2023 as a software developer intern, speaks highly about the organization’s DEIB initiatives, including onboarding.

“They are constantly taking input from all their employees regarding the current strategy they have in place,” says Hemraj, who adds that the company sends out a survey to all employees for their input on equity.

“When you’re open to your employees, and clear about your processes, then they are more willing to provide feedback and the organization can use that feedback to implement a good EDI strategy.”

Following a detailed onboarding process, Loopio encourages students to also participate in ERG initiatives and have their voices heard, just like their fellow employees.

Three Loopio employees working at desktops

 

“Co-op students come with a different set of experiences and knowledge that they have gained from academic studies,” says Antonescu. “They bring to Loopio innovative ideas and solutions to existing challenges while helping our company approach problems from a different angle.”

Opening quotation marksLoopio's commitment to not only DEIB initiatives in the workplace, but the importance surrounding the transparency into those decisions, is something I value so strongly as a Looper! Loopio is the first organization in my career where I feel empowered to show up as my true and authentic self each and every day.

- Steve Ulrich, ERG co-chair at Loopio


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