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Announcing: The Omnibus Project

Announcing: The Omnibus Project

Today, we are proud to announce The Omnibus Project, our new initiative at Busbud to promote diversity in tech, whether it’s inside our company, in our local community, or eventually more globally through our community of millions of travellers.

Our team has been active for the past years in the local community, hosting and helping to organize dozens of events (many with a diversity focus, such as Ladies Learning Code), helping out, or sharing with others in our community. We’ve also at times taken a stance publicly to support diversity in tech.

We’ve been inspired by Airbnb’s recent efforts to promote diversity, whether it is through its product, marketing, or people operations. We’ve also been concerned by many recent articles about the state of diversity in tech (ie. The Atlantic and NY Times), and we want to be part of the solution.

Defining diversity at Busbud

As a first step in our conversation about diversity, our team felt strongly about developing our own view of what diversity means for us at Busbud specifically, and how this connects to our mission. The answer came quickly: the bus.

The bus epitomizes diversity. A group of people from different places, with different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and stories (from the young backpacker exploring the world, to the determined salesperson travelling between cities, or the senior citizen travelling to visit family), but all sharing the same physical space for a certain period of time, and all riding to a common destination.

From that starting point, we crafted our own diversity statement that I am excited to share:

“We share our planet, our communities and our workplace as we share a bus together.

Busbud believes in an open and connected world, where people can travel, move around, work and live without prejudice by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or capacity. We have different backgrounds and different dreams, but we are bound by a common destination and must learn to live together as best we can.

Our team’s strength comes from its different perspectives and backgrounds, sharing one dream together.

  • We believe our diversity improves the quality of our product.
  • We agree to promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace.
  • We try to make an impact in our community by spreading the message and helping others.”

We decided to name this The Omnibus Project, with omni meaning “all” in latin. In other words, “a bus for all”.

Our Q1 results

We decided as a group that we would commit to 5 concrete actions every quarter that would promote diversity at Busbud and beyond, and report on them regularly and publicly.

I am proud to share the results from our initial action list for Q1 2017, ending March 31st:

  1. Conduct an internal survey on our own diversity inside Busbud and share results in an internal town-hall team meeting.
    • Done.
  2. Change our open job postings to make them more inclusive.
    • Done, see example here.
  3. Highlight the importance of diversity & inclusiveness in our new employee onboarding materials.
    • Done.
  4. Participate in one diversity-focused event in our local community.
    • Done. We were extremely happy to welcome the great folks from Ladies Learning Code in the Busbud office, to host a group of girls from 13-17 years old (aka the “Teen Club”) to share how we think about building technology products at Busbud. See blog post here.
  5. Recruit a female board member to our board of directors.
    • In progress. We have committed to this. We’re currently sorting through dozens of profiles of incredibly talented women, and looking to welcome a new board member in the coming weeks.

Of course, achieving diversity and equality is not a one-time effort that we can hope to “check off” in one quarter. We understand that it will be the fruit of sustained effort over the quarters and years to come.

How we started talking about diversity

Earlier this year, I sent a quick survey to our team about how we were doing on diversity. I discovered that while we had a very diverse team (4 continents and 12+ nationalities represented), there was an overwhelming desire to contribute and to do even more – both internally and in our communities. Our team agreed we should first start internally to promote more diversity within.

As with all big projects, it’s often best to atomize it into smaller pieces. For that reason, when a few members of our team from varied backgrounds sat down together, we chose to take concrete and measurable actions toward our goal, with the hope that each item would lay an additional brick in the strong diverse house that we are building.

Why we are doing this

When managing a fast growing company with a hundred competing priorities, it can be easy to forget about diversity (or to keep pushing it to later).

However, the more our team talked about it, the more we realized that we care deeply about making Busbud an example of diversity for our community, and at the very least to be part of the solution rather than the problem. We won’t be able to support or undertake every initiative, but we can definitely play a role.

Our team cares, and we think our business partners and our customers care too.

We look forward to hear more from our amazing community of travellers. How can Busbud help to create a more open and connected world? If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them.