Beyond Diversity – Building an Inclusive Workplace Culture with Trier Bryant

Trier Bryant at the CultureLab podcast

When it comes to creating a truly just workplace, many companies today seem fixated on ticking off diversity metrics. But let’s be real, DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) is not just about numbers – it’s about creating a culture where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

As someone who’s been in the DEIB game for a while, I’ve seen firsthand the consequences of neglecting the other pieces of the puzzle – equity and inclusion. I’ve witnessed organizations that brag about their commitment to representation lose their new hires from underrepresented groups just months after they joined the company due to the non-inclusive culture they encountered.

My guest today, Trier Bryant, puts it best:

“If even your straight white men don’t have a good experience at work, increasing the diversity of your workforce will not solve the problem – it will probably make it worse.”

Trier suggests that while diversity is important, we should start with inclusion and equity to ensure that everyone in our organization is included and feels a sense of belonging. We need to have processeses and a culture that are free of bias, creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

Trier Bryant is the President of 82VS, Alloy Therapeutics’ affiliated venture studio that builds and invests in next-generation biotech companies, and the Co-Founder and CEO of Just Work, a company that helps organizations and individuals create more equitable workplaces. With over 15 years of experience in technology, Wall Street, and the military, Trier is a strategic executive and an influential DEIB practitioner.

“Diversity is about numbers, while equity and inclusion are about creating processes that are free of bias, and fostering an environment where people can thrive.”

Episode highlights
  • Understanding the difference between leadership and management and how it impacts DEI efforts.
  • The importance of creating an environment where employees can be their authentic selves.
  • The power of using “mine” when referring to team members as a way to signal ownership and protection.
  • The dangers of solely focusing on diversity metrics and the importance of also prioritizing equity and inclusion.
  • The role of culture in creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace and how to build a culture that supports it.
  • Tips for building a team that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive and how to scale that culture as the company grows.
  • Trier’s experience working with companies like Google, Airbnb, Equinox, and more, on their DEI strategies and how it has helped them improve their culture.
  • The role of the military in shaping Trier’s leadership style and how it applies to creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace.

“Inclusion has to be inclusive. And oftentimes, some of the organization’s strongest inclusion initiatives are exclusive.”

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

More about Trier Bryant

Trier (tree-air) Bryant is the President of 82VS, Alloy Therapeutics’ affiliated venture studio that builds and invests in next-generation biotech companies. She is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Just Work. She co-founded the company with Kim Scott, NYT best selling author of Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity and Just Work: How to Root Out Bias, Prejudice, and Bullying to Build a Kick-Ass Culture of Inclusivity, to help organizations and individuals create more equitable workplaces.

Trier is a strategic executive with distinctive tech, Wall Street, and military experience spanning over 15 years.  She has been featured as an influential diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner by several publications and outlets from USA Today to CNN and SXSW. Trier has an unwavering commitment to create more equitable, inclusive, and thriving workplaces that produce prosperous companies. The depth of her work ranges from recruiting, talent development, performance management, compensation, communications, and brand strategy. Additionally, Trier advises leading companies like Google, Atlassian, Equinox, Airbnb, SoundCloud, SYP, Rockefeller Foundation, and others on their talent and DEI strategies.

Previously, Trier was the first Chief People Officer (CPO) at Astra, an aerospace company building low orbital rockets to launch a new generation of services to connect and improve life on earth. She was also the VP of People and Workplace Experience at SigFig, a global FinTech company striving to empower everyone to achieve their financial goals with customer centric financial solutions. She led teams in six offices across four countries developing and operationalizing initiatives that optimize employees’ impact and experience.

Prior to leading full People/HR teams, Trier was the Global Head of Revenue, G&A (Corporate Functions), University, and Diversity Recruiting at Twitter responsible for over 70% of hires. As a member of Twitter’s People Leadership Team, Trier led multiple initiatives across various HR disciplines including compensation, L&D, mobility, and inclusion. In addition to her day-to-day Talent Acquisition responsibilities, she partnered across various teams on both Engineering, Product, Design, and Revenue (Sales & Partnerships) to provide input on product functionality and client deliverables—most notably the multi-million dollar Black Panther Twitter activation and the Twitter Safety Council to combat abuse on the platform.

Before Twitter, Trier spent three years as the VP of Global Diversity Talent Acquisition at Goldman Sachs developing and executing the firm’s diversity talent acquisition strategy across 15 functions for executive, experienced, and student hires. Goldman’s cross functional and matrixed approach allowed Trier to work across all Human Capital Management teams, bringing a diversity and inclusion perspective to all strategies. In this role she became a sought after and trusted advisor to the firm’s clients seeking to mature their own D&I and HR strategies. Additionally, Trier served as the Chief of Staff to the Global Head of Talent Acquisition for a year, leading the change management for a global reorganization.

Trier built her professional foundation as an officer in the United States Air Force across seven years of active duty service. She began her military career leading DEI efforts for the Air Force Academy in Colorado then transferred to Illinois as a network engineer leading teams responsible for the audit, compliance, and network security of Air Force’s global infrastructure. As a network engineer, Trier led teams to various combat deployment locations every six months to secure networks supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Trier also deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Computer Network Defense Chief, and Deputy Cyber Commander responsible for analyzing unauthorized cyber activity supporting the detainee mission. Prior to leaving the military, Trier was by-name-requested by the Pentagon to return to the Air Force Academy to spearhead DEI and talent development initiatives for the Air Force Academy, Air Force, and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Trier earned a B.S. in Systems Engineering with a minor in Spanish and Leadership from the United States Air Force Academy where she played Division I volleyball. She was born in Trier, Germany and lived across Europe with her family throughout primary school. In middle school, she spent a year living in Antigua, Guatemala but calls Denver, Colorado home where she completed high school followed by college in Colorado Springs. Trier enjoys spending time with her close knit family who taught her to live by the family motto “…good enough isn’t.”

Books mentioned in this episode

5: Where will you be five years from today? by Dan Zadra

Additional resources

CultureBrained® Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game.

The Culture Playbook Guide.

Discover Your Personal Values.

How to reduce bias in your workplace TED video

Trier Bryant‘s official website

Just Work

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