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Aug 11, 2020

A Catalyst for Change: Jerry Sawyer, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Joins TechStyle Fashion Group

Aug 11th, 2020

Real change can only come from within. At TechStyle Fashion Group, we’ve always challenged the status quo – in business, fashion, technology, and culture – refusing to accept something just because “that’s the way things are” when we recognize opportunities for change. Recently, we pledged our total commitment to combat racism and inequality of every kind to drive permanent cultural change. Part of this commitment was our promise to continually foster a vibrant workplace culture – one that thrives on diversity and mutual respect. But that’s not just lip service. We’re committed to walking the walk.

From the moment TechStyle was founded, inclusivity has been a vital priority because we know the impact a diverse workforce has on a company’s success – from employee satisfaction to bottom line growth.  Our early prioritization of diversity led to the establishment of several D&I-focused taskforces and employee resources, all of which have helped enrich our culture and therefore accelerated our growth. But, there is still more to do. We’re determined to be a catalyst for transformation by using our public platform to combat racism through ongoing, far-reaching action that goes beyond what we’ve done to date. We started this mission with financial support, contributing $150,000 to Black Lives Matter-related causes and encouraging – and matching – all employee donations. To date, we are proud to report more than 200 employee donations totaling $50,000, as well as an additional $100,000 personally committed by our co-founders.

Our brands will also play a part. We are actively exploring opportunities to donate proceeds to similar causes and developing new products that will support the advancement of Black communities.

As part of our promise for change, one of our immediate actions was to hire a diversity leader who would act as a champion for all people of color throughout the company. Today, we are incredibly honored to introduce Jerry Sawyer as our new Head of Diversity & Inclusion. In his position, Jerry will lead TechStyle’s global D&I strategy, implementing and overseeing initiatives that are specifically designed to foster a welcoming and supportive environment for people of all ethnicities and sexual orientations.

An experienced leader, Jerry previously held a key role at Nike, working in their brand and sports marketing departments, launching campaigns for the brand’s iconic collaborations with the late basketball legend and accomplished entrepreneur Kobe Bryant.  Most recently, Jerry served as the Chief of Staff to Bryant within Kobe, Inc., where he was responsible for facilitating a series of meaningful partnerships and business ventures. With his impressive experience and creative, open mind, we are confident in his ability to find new ways to enrich our corporate culture and our communities.

In his new position, Jerry will work closely with TechStyle’s C-suite to ensure D&I remains a priority across all company operations. As part of his role as a champion for D&I, Jerry will help inform corporate recruitment process, human resources policies, and overall corporate culture, as well as external initiatives including marketing and philanthropic efforts.

Jerry will also bring a fresh perspective to prior initiatives already in place at TechStyle, including the D&I Taskforce and the Black Employees ERG. Under Jerry’s leadership, TechStyle’s internal taskforces and cultural groups will identify new opportunities to amplify, appreciate, and support the array of cultures represented throughout the company.

TechStyle is continuing to take immediate, measureable actions by:
1.  Increasing the Recruitment of Black Job Candidates: We will partner with historically black colleges and universities to ensure Black candidates are on all interview slates.
2.  Conducting Diversity, Inclusivity and Sensitivity Training: All managers and teams will be required to attend these important classes.
3.  Weaving multiculturalism into our corporate DNA: We are identifying additional trainings & literature to offer within our company programs.
4.  Engaging young adults within the Black community: This will include partnering with organizations to establish mentorship programs, internships, and more.

We continue to gain perspective and remain committed to our role as champions of change. This is a company wide effort, and change isn’t just happening at the top. The Executive Team is also conducting in-house listening sessions with the purpose of gathering employee feedback on the steps we are taking to combat racism.

At TechStyle, we know that true transformation takes time and our work toward the total eradication of racism, racial inequality, and racial injustice is not over. But, we recognize the pivotal role we can play in driving cultural change – and we’re in it for the long haul. We’re honored to welcome Jerry to the TechStyle family and are looking forward to the road ahead.

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