Table XI Blog


Why Accessibility Is Part of Everything We Build

At TXI, we’re making an effort to share more information about how we think about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and how we’re taking action. To that end, we’ve been blogging about the four justice pillars that our DEIB group uses to structure our company’s efforts to create a better, more equitable workplace and ultimately, world.

We recently published an article on how DEIB approaches disability justice, and in that conversation, we touched on the idea of accessibility.

To dive deeper into this topic, we invited product designer, DEIB group member, and accessibility working group lead Alex Chen to share their thoughts on how TXI is working to make accessibility part of everything we do. Here’s what they had to say.

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Social Justice in the Workplace: Learn More About TXI’s Justice Pillars

At TXI, we structure our DEIB work around four justice pillars: racial justice, environmental justice, disability justice, and gender justice.

But what exactly is a justice pillar? And how does this framework help us work toward our goal of improving organizational diversity?

Equity Officer Lloyd Philbrook and Community Engagement Chair Kara Carrell recently shared how the idea of justice pillars came about and what rituals they lead around each of them.

“One of the points of having these pillars for our organization is to give us the scaffolding we need to think about different areas of social justice on a regular basis and own this work in the long term,” Lloyd said. “This isn’t just a quarterly endeavor; it’s something we’ll do year-over-year to grow our capacity.”

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TXI Embraces Globalization with Expansion Into Canada

TXI, a strategy and product innovation firm, today announced its expansion into Canada. With team members currently distributed across North America and Europe, TXI will further supplement its international employee base by embracing the diverse and accomplished Canadian population.

As an acute labor shortage makes it more challenging than ever for U.S.-based technology firms to recruit candidates, TXI recognized that Canada offers a hotbed of highly-skilled talent. TXI continues to broaden its recruitment pool, and Canada’s shared time zones, languages, and compatible values made it a natural fit for the firm’s expansion.

“To truly uphold TXI’s core values and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, we can’t be confined by political borders or our collective comfort zones,'' said Mark Rickmeier, chief executive officer at TXI. “Throughout 2022 and beyond, TXI will continue to find success by ignoring the rise of nationalistic rhetoric across the globe, hiring talented people with diverse backgrounds, and creating distributed environments in which they can thrive.”

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The TXI Sustainable Giving Fund

In 2020, TXI’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization coincided with extraordinary financial results, and we found ourselves with an opportunity to look at what steps we could take as an organization to sustain our commitment to community efforts over the next decade.

The owners of TXI generously set aside $250,000 to launch a Sustainable Giving Fund, which will be used to support our efforts through two types of giving:

  1. Annual donation allocations for employees
  2. Direct grants to selected organizations

This will be distributed over the next 10 years, and we've earmarked somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000 to give each year. The largest component of this program will be our direct grant program, which will be run by our DEIB Team.

As we prepared to publicly launch this fund, we sat down with Community Engagement Chair Kara Carrell and interim chief equity officer Lloyd Philbrook to learn more about how this fund will be distributed.

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Approaching environmental justice at work and in life

As part of our ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) efforts, each quarter, we select a focus area for discussion and action. For Q4 2021, the theme is environmental justice.

While we’ve had an employee interest group around environmentalism at TXI since late 2018, this quarter has been an opportunity to build off of conversations that started with our Green Team, expand this discussion across the company and turn our ideas into actions.

In adopting a focus on environmental justice, we’re not just talking about climate change or waste management. We’re asking how TXI as an organization and as a group of individuals impacts the environment and how these impacts intersect with questions of race, class, gender, etc.

Today interim chief equity officer Lloyd Philbrook and project manager of the Green Team Hannah Green are leading this initiative.

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I don’t care where you went to school

I care a lot about hiring the right people to join TXI. But I think our version of “right” differs from other companies.

First off, I don’t care what university you went to. Or if you went to university. You can just leave that part off your resume and I will never notice.

What university you went to tells me a couple of things: 1) How well you can answer standardized test questions that research has shown to be biased toward over-represented groups and 2) How much money your family was able to spend for your higher education and/or how indebted you were willing to become for the same experience.

What university you went to tells me nothing about your skills, your curiosity, your passion, your openness to new ideas, your kindness, your dedication, or anything that I vet for when hiring. 

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Why we’re engaging with counter-narratives

In June 2021, the TXI team partnered with InterAction, a Chicago-based educational nonprofit organization, for workshops on both racial justice and counter-narratives as part of our ongoing efforts to become an anti-racist organization.

Our global, national and personal histories are often dominated by narratives that serve the interests of white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy. As InterAction defines them, counter-narratives center “stories told by marginalized people to unearth and disrupt power and reveal collective experiences of oppression.” These narratives provide “a message [or] way forward” from systems of oppression, but they can be difficult for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to access.

In this article, we’ll explain why we decided to invest time and resources into a counter-narrative workshop. We’re sharing in the hopes that understanding our motivations for doing this work will help other organizations empower their BIPOC employees to tap into and tell their own counter-narrative stories.

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Client work & TXI’s commitment to justice

While much of TXI’s work toward improving our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) has to date focused on internal practices, we’ve also been privileged to work with clients whose missions align with ours.

These projects let us not only support work we believe in deeply but also expand our knowledge and understanding that we can apply in all our client work to help ensure that every project we take on helps to improve equity, access, inclusion and belonging. In this piece, we highlight work with three mission-driven clients and how it has informed and expanded our DEIB efforts.

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TXI’s community engagement is just getting started: A Q&A with Kara Carrell

This is the first segment of a series that will highlight our current Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives and the leaders on our team who make them happen.

As we begin, it feels important to acknowledge that this is just a piece of an ongoing conversation that’s happening at TXI and in workplaces all over the country, and we’re just getting started with our DEIB mission, which Kara Carrell has been instrumental in shaping.

Kara is a Black queer software engineer and the Community Engagement Chair at TXI.

We recently spoke with Kara about how she came to TXI and her work leading Community Engagement.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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How TXI approaches disability justice

When we talk about disability justice at TXI, our goal is to iterate and improve on how we prioritize accessibility, both in our development and design practices. As an organization, we seek to expand accessible practices in all parts of our business to show up for disability justice.

But what does this look like in practice?

To learn more about TXI’s work toward disability justice, we spoke with Alex Chen, Product Designer, DEIB Group member, and Accessibility Working group lead and Kara Carrell, software engineer at TXI and the chair of Community Engagement.

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