Year over year, organizations continue to give increased focus on environmental, social and governance initiatives. Along with these shifts has been the increase of discussions around company values, purpose and goals. To reach the positive change brands are striving for both internally and externally, several are noticing that they need to come together and collaborate with others to achieve common goals more effectively. Enter coalitions, in which stakeholders from corporations, nonprofits and various facets of the community come together to pursue a single goal: strengthening the impact of their advocacy. 

Amy Terpeluk, managing partner at Finn Partners, and Candice Dixon, coalition development director at NPower, work together on NPower’s Command Shift coalition — a national consortium of women and allies who advocate for strategies that invest in and inspire the advancement of young women of color in tech careers—with particular focus on women from underrepresented communities and non-traditional pathways. Command Shift launched in May 2021, and since then, the coalition has continued to attract allies, advocates and partners who share its vision to activate for substantive meaningful change in the lives of underrepresented women of color from non-traditional backgrounds through tech jobs. Terpeluk and Dixon credit a lot of that success to the research that goes into their work and the partnerships that have been created. 

“We would not be able to do the work that we’re doing without the support of strong corporate partners, without the support of strong nonprofit partners, without the support of community leaders who are providing us with insights on their experience and really helping us to navigate this process in a way that has allowed us to connect to communities and resources that we weren’t thinking about two years ago,” Dixon said. 

Throughout the episode, Terpeluk stresses the importance of research and ensuring you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. The overall mission is important, but it needs to be measurable. 

“When we’re building these coalitions, we must have quantifiable impact,” she said. “Of course, awareness is critically important. Without awareness, you’re nothing. But we stepped back and said, ‘if we’re increasing the number of women of color in technology, what is that number? How do we start with in-depth research that will give us a sense of the goals that we need to meet to create parity in the workplace,’ which was our goal. We found that the magic number was 250,000 women of color could change the dynamic of the workforce. And that’s the goal that we’ve been striving to really achieve.”

The two organization, along with their partners, have worked to identify a pipeline of 2.5 million women of color who they believe could easily transition into technology roles with just a little bit of last-mile training and bridge training. 

“That’s game changing,” Dixon said. “It dispels the myth that there aren’t talented women of color who can transition into the tech. And all of those things now would not have happened had we not taken a step back and really focused on getting a better hold on the data that was available to us.”

Key Moments
0:00 Introductions
2:48 The Importance And Business Implications Of Coalitions 
7:00 The Secret Sauce: Identify And Replicate
8:05 Coalitions Are Big, But Start Small 
15:00 Connect the Dots Back To The Business 
18:00 Communications Can Drive Systemic Change 
20:54 The Importance Of Community Work
25:49 The Biggest Indicators Of Success 
30:10 Start Small And Scale 

The PRovoke Media Podcast is produced by Markettiers.

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