We have work to do — TPG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

Jun 18, 2020

I started the Points Guy website 10 years ago this month.

At the time, it was just me, writing stories about earning and using points and miles on nights and weekends. TPG was a hobby, a side hustle, a small operation.

But TPG has grown into an international travel brand that employs 90 full-time employees and serves millions of readers every month. As it grew, TPG employed many distinct voices and began to highlight a broader range of topics in the travel space, well beyond just points and miles.

Now it’s 2020, and TPG, along with so many other companies and brands, is confronting the stark reality that we haven’t done enough. I haven’t done enough.

As a brand, we haven’t been inclusive enough. We haven’t sufficiently elevated the voices of people of color and we haven’t served a wide enough population of diverse travelers. Simply put, we haven’t been the anti-racist ally we want to become.

It took far too long for us to come to that realization.

We cannot change our past, but we can commit to transparency and progress from this day forward. Because the time is up for simply promising to be more inclusive, here is TPG’s concrete plan to be a part of the solution and a committed ally in the fight against racism in the travel industry and beyond.

Transparency

TPG is committing to twice-yearly public reporting on internal diversity. And while we aren’t yet where we want to be, that progress starts with releasing internal staffing numbers today, as a baseline from which to improve.

June 2020 TPG staffing by the numbers


Full-time TPG employees by self-identified race:

  • 76.7% White
  • 8.9% Black
  • 6.7% Asian
  • 2.2% Hispanic
  • 1.1% Two or more races selected
  • 4.4% Not specified

Full-time TPG employees by self-identified gender:

  • 50% Men
  • 50% Women

Current full-time paid TPG interns by self-identified race:

  • 40% White
  • 60% Person of color
  • 20% Black (included in the previous percentage)

Current full-time paid TPG interns by self-identified gender:

  • 40% Men
  • 60% Women

There have been 32 total full-time additions to the TPG team — across our editorial, technology and business development teams — in the last 12 months (June 2019 to June 2020). Here are the same statistics as they apply to our most recent hires from the last year. (The total is 100.2% because of rounding.)

TPG recent hires by self-identified race:

  • 71.9% White
  • 9.4% Black
  • 6.3% Asian
  • 6.3% Hispanic
  • 6.3% Not specified

TPG recent hires by self-identified gender:

  • 72% Men
  • 28% Women

TPG future hiring commitments

Just looking at the numbers, TPG isn’t where we want to be in order to be representative of the country at large. For context, according to 2019 Census numbers, about 40% of the U.S. comprises people of color. To break it down further, 13.4% of Americans identify as solely Black or African-American, while 2.7% identify as two or more races.

To strengthen our team, diversify our newsroom and approach parity with the population of the country at large, TPG is setting the goal of a minimum of 40% of future hires being people of color. Additionally, TPG is setting the goal of 50% of future hires being self-identifying women.

The makeup of our team will likely not change overnight, especially in the current depressed economy. But these are ongoing, long-term hiring goals that will be reported on biannually going forward.

Mirroring a disturbing trend of the lack of diverse racial and ethnic representation at the highest levels of organizations across the travel industry and beyond, TPG does not presently have a person of color employed at a director level or above. This is an additional important focus area for the company going forward and an area in which we commit to gathering and collecting additional information in advance of our next public check-in.

And, finally, TPG is in the process of conducting an internal gender and race pay equity analysis.

Community involvement

TPG recently made a $100,000 donation to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). But that’s just the beginning of that relationship. We are working to create a long-term partnership with this organization focused on recruiting efforts and funding scholarships for the next generation of Black journalists.

I also recently made a personal donation of $50,000 to Prosecutor Impact. This is an organization seeking to fundamentally change the criminal justice system by working with prosecutors and their offices across the country to ensure thoughtful, creative and empathetic approaches to sentencing that maximize family and community stability and public safety. The executive director of Prosecutor Impact recently hosted an internal discussion for the team so we could all listen and learn.

I’ve also launched a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $50,000, to the Ali Forney Center (you can still get involved in this matched-funds initiative here). This center serves the homeless LGBTQ youth community with emergency and transitional housing, on-site medical support, mental health and substance abuse services, education and employment. Of the homeless LGBTQ youth, 90% identify as people of color.

TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures, has also committed to matching every dollar donated, up to $400,000, to support organizations focused on racial justice issues and other important work within the Black community. These organizations include the NAACP, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Black Lives Matter, The Bail Project and more.

As part of our longstanding partnership with PeaceJam, we launched the TPG Global Impact Youth Fellowship in 2018 to help outstanding young leaders gain the skills and training necessary to amplify their voices and create sustainable change. Our TPG Fellows receive mentoring and financial support for higher education to become a part of an international network of inspired young people with the global awareness and skills to become peacebuilders.

We currently have 12 outstanding young adults in the fellowship program located in Ghana, South Africa, Liberia and Guatemala. Each of our TPG Fellows is paired up with two TPG employees to develop a mentorship relationship and foster intercultural communication skills for both TPG staff and fellows.

Bottom line

At TPG, we haven’t always gotten it right when it comes to racism and diversity, and we know that we probably won’t always get it right in the future. But the fear of not getting it right won’t stop me, and the entire team, from pushing forward and prioritizing the push for diversity and inclusion both internally, with the stories we tell, and our selection of partners and contributors.

The efforts outlined here are just the start, and we still have a long way to go. We are motivated to continue and expand on these efforts in partnership with our parent company, Red Ventures, and its newly implemented Diversity and Inclusion team, which we’ll work with closely.

Going forward, we commit to doing our best, being transparent and starting again if we fall short in our effort to be anti-racist allies who are part of the solution — not part of a systemic problem. We are actively committed to the fight against racial injustice, and participating in the change the world desperately needs.

Featured photo by Richard T. Nowitz/Getty Images.

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