Digging into DEI with Kanarys Founder, Mandy Price

In 2021, almost every company says they value diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

They appoint DEI chairpersons, host quarterly DEI trainings, and establish DEI committees.

Yet this doesn’t mean that these companies truly incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in their business model. It doesn’t mean that their initiatives are marking their workplace better for underrepresented employees.

How can you find out whether a company really prioritizes DEI before you apply? One word: Kanarys.

Kanarys is a groundbreaking online platform that uses data to track and measure companies' DEI. Kanarys not only partners with companies to improve their DEI strategies, but they also allow employees to anonymously review and rate their company's workplace culture and DEI efforts.

In other words, Kanarys is providing the receipts… literally. The average job searcher can use Kanarys to get the “411” on a company before applying, including reviews of its culture, demographic information, and DEI ratings.

This month, TCHS caught up with Mandy Price, Co-Founder, and CEO of Kanarys, to talk candidly about why she started Kanarys, what DEI at work actually looks like, and where most companies miss the mark when it comes to creating inclusive work cultures.

Outside of Kanarys, who is Mandy Price?

M: If you asked me a year ago, I would say I'm a travel fanatic, and I love to eat out. My husband’s and my favorite thing to do was to take trips for birthdays and anniversaries. A large part of why we loved traveling was because we liked to go to different restaurants and explore new foods and cultures.

But, all the things I liked to do have been stopped because of the pandemic. My hobbies now consist of trying to find something on Netflix that we haven't watched and praying that something new has come out on Disney+ so I can keep my kids entertained.

What is Kanarys?

M: Kanarys is a way to measure and track companies' diversity, equity, and inclusion. We created Kanarys as a way for DEI to be treated the same as every other business priority.

We wanted to create a way for employees to communicate their lived experiences and challenges in a safe and anonymous way. We know it's difficult for employees to talk about race, gender, or religion in the workplace. So Kanarys is that safe space where they can elevate any issues, anonymously.

Another big component of Kanarys is helping organizations think of DEI as a long-term strategy that has to be incorporated into the company's fabric and DNA at every level.

Where did the idea to create Kanarys come from?

M: It came from my own experiences in the workplace. I'm a Black woman, and I had many challenges that didn't go away as I became more senior. I wanted to create something that addressed these issues from a systems-based level.

I felt that many of the DEI initiatives were well-intentioned but weren't doing things to move the needle. A lot of what I hear when it comes to DEI is that it's about fixing people. For example, companies will say, "we need more training" or "we need mentorship for people of color." While those are important, I don't think that's the root of the issue.

The root of these issues is the systems that are in place. We know so many inequities stem from the way our talent acquisition and performance management systems operate. So we wanted to make sure Kanarys brought in a systems-based approach because that's what will result in long-term change.