Episode Flyer for #63: How Uber is Supporting Diversity and Inclusion
Episode Flyer for #63: How Uber is Supporting Diversity and Inclusion

Guest: Doug Foresta       Guest Title: Producer of HPAW

Date: June 28, 2017            Guest Company: Stand up and be heard     


[Intro music]


Debra Ruh:                             Hello, everyone. This is Debra Ruh and you are listening to “Human Potential at Work.” Today, I’m really excited to have one of my new friends, Malcolm Glenn from Uber, joining the conversation and I’m really excited about where this conversation will go. So welcome to the show, Malcolm.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Thanks, Debra. It’s great to be here.

Debra Ruh:                             Malcolm, tell the audience a little bit about who you are also and how you fit into the Uber organization.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Absolutely, so I’ve been at Uber now for just over a year-and-a-half. I work in a Washington, D.C. office, particularly on a federal public policy team, and so we focus on outreach to a number of different parties. My particular focus is on third-party community engagements, so that means working with issue groups, nonprofits, organizations, all kinds of entities that in some way represent underserved populations. So by that I mean people who have traditionally had either sort of substandard or not great quality access to transportation or work, or both. Part of my job is also focused on making sure that from a workplace standpoint, we’re being inclusive of those same populations of people who’ve traditionally not had access to jobs in the tech industry.

Debra Ruh:                             So, of course, Uber has been in the press a lot lately, and I, like many, many other people watched what happened with Arianna Huffington, and having the conversation about sexism and somebody makes a sexist comment. I think maybe there was no ill-intent but regardless the board member resigned the next day. But one thing that I thought was very interesting was the study or the audit that was done, I believe by Eric Holder’s group?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Yeah, that’s right. Former Attorney General, Eric Holder, that’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, yeah. And so I like that Uber, like everybody else, proves that nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes but really actually I was glad that Uber put that out, made that public. Because I was looking at the report yesterday and I really liked what they were saying. For example, I like that the Chief Diversity Officer is now going to be the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. That’s a very important word for the work that I like to do, inclusion of people with disabilities. But of course, inclusion is a much bigger word than that. It’s also about including other disenfranchised groups including LGBT and others, and so I like that.

                                                      I also like that the recommendation was that position report directly to the CEO or the COO, which I think it’s past time that a position like that … Instead of being considered a middle management and having no resources, no funding, that it’s actually elevated to a position where it’s going directly to the executive board and so that hopefully we can do a better job across the board of making sure that people are fully included.

                                                      Tell us more about what’s going on, and you know what? This to me, I don’t want to talk about Uber making mistakes because we all make mistakes, I really want to talk about where we go from here. How do we make sure that people are fully included? How do we make sure that Ubers are picking up people with disabilities. I know there’s been as Uber is causing, and we talked about this before, disruption. Which by the way, we need some disruption. How do we continue to evolve and make sure that we’re adding value to society?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think I’ll start by saying at Uber, with have really sort of three constituencies. There’s the constituencies that makes up our employee population. There’s the riders that use our product every day and then very importantly, there’s the drivers without whom we would not be able to have a product. So I’ll sort of talk about each one.

                                                      I’ll start with the employees because I think that’s what’s been on folks mind, especially recently. It’s no secret that we’ve had a relatively tumultuous couple of months and I think you’re right that there are systemic issues in a lot of corporations that need to be addressed that oftentimes aren’t addressed. I think we absolutely had a lot of problems that we needed to fix. One of the things that did make me optimistic though was how quickly we did respond by asking the former Attorney General to conduct his own investigation, not just into the particular allegations that one former employee made but into the sort of company-wide processes to make sure that where we weren’t doing things right, we could improve, and we could find places where we were doing things right and apply them to other parts of the company. I was also quite pleased when the board unanimously adopted all 47 of the recommendations from Eric Holder’s report and the ones around diversity were particularly salient and I’m glad you brought them up.

                                                      As you mentioned, the Holder report suggested that we bring on a chief diversity officer, and so we’re excited that we’re going to be doing that. I think he also talked about raising the profile of our current global head of diversity and inclusion, and we’ve been really focused on that. Our current global head of diversity and inclusion, his name is Bernard Coleman. He was actually the chief diversity office for the Hillary For America campaign and he has a really strong team building out of about eight people. Not just focused in San Francisco but actually all around the world, making sure that when we’re thinking about diversity, we’re thinking about diversity in all of the different ways you talked about. Diversity by LGBTQ status, diversity for people with disabilities, people of color, women, but also diversity of where you come from, so literally geographic diversity and so that’s really important as well.

                                                      In addition to bringing on a chief diversity officer, were also going to be instituting blind resume reviews, whereby you don’t see the name of the person at the top, so you can’t necessarily have unconscious biases creeping in as you’re evaluating candidates. We’re also going to be instituting something that the NFL does, funny enough, called the Rooney Rule, where for senior level positions, we have to make sure that we’re interviewing at least one person of color and at least one woman for every single senior position. I think that’ll go a long way in making sure that we’re exposing the company to the best and brightest minds from all different walks of life.

                                                      There are a whole hosts of recommendations, again, which we’re all adopting in that report that I could go into. But I’m really excited that we have now an opportunity to sort of pivot to. As you said, not necessarily the things that we’ve been doing poorly but the ways in which we can improve. And I think, ultimately, at the end of this story, when we’re talking about Uber, I would love for folks to look at us as a true leader around diversity and inclusion, not just for Silicon Valley-based tech companies but candidly for companies all across the board. For entities all across the board, about how you can really turn things around. You can really make this commitment and you can really put forward with policies and foundations that make your workplace as diverse and inclusive as possible. So that’s the employee piece, and again, that’s the one that people have been most focused on.

                                                      We’re also really focused on being inclusive for our drivers. So for example, one of the things that we instituted a number of years ago is a series of app features that make it easier for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to drive on the Uber platform. So for example, if you’re an Uber driver now under the traditional settings, you get an audible ping when you get matched with a rider. Well obviously, that doesn’t necessarily work for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, so we changed the app whereby they see a flash on the screen instead of an audible ping. When they’re matched with that rider, the rider gets the notification that says your driver may be deaf or hard-of-hearing and the phone function is disabled. So instead of the rider trying to call their driver, they text that driver. They’re required to input their GPS so the driver doesn’t have to try to listen to instructions. Very small things but I think things that have gone a long way in making the platform more inclusive with drivers for disabilities.

                                                      And then, certainly from the rider’s standpoint, we’ve tried to make a lot of efforts to increase accessibility for riders who may have disabilities. So for example, the app is completely accessible for voiceover and talk back on iOS and Android. We’ve instituted a number of communications to drivers around the requirements to accept service animals. So every single driver, when they go on the platform gets an in-app notification reminding them of their requirements both under our own policy and under the ADA to accept all service animals. We also communicate with them quarterly via email and we have a published service animal policy that makes it very clear the requirements that all drivers have.

                                                      Now obviously, we have a lot of work to do around providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles and that’s a little bit more difficult because of the nature of our model, which is people using their own cars on their own time but we understand that it’s a problem that we still do need to solve. So right now, in about 12 different U.S. cities, we have some form of wheelchair-accessible vehicle program and that could mean partnership with taxis whereby you can request a wheelchair-accessible taxi. It may be where we partner with commercial providers and they put their cars on the platform.

                                                      But something that we’ve started to do in a handful of cities that we’re looking to hopefully scale is to institute our leasing model. So if you’re looking to drive with Uber and you don’t have a car, you can actually get a car through a leasing organization and instead of giving those folks a standard Toyota Prius or a Honda Civic, we’ve made the leasing terms for wheelchair-accessible vehicles a little bit better. So we purchase the vehicles. We allow drivers to get onto the platform of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and they can take both standard UberX rides but they’re also prioritizing wheelchair-accessible rides. And instead of us taking a cut out of the total fare, the entire fare actually goes to the drive so they make more money taking folks in their wheelchair-accessible vehicles than they do the standard X rides.

                                                      So we certainly have a lot of work to do, we know that. And I think one of the things that I’ve been really excited about is how many people across the company, whether it’s engineering or operations, or in my role as a public policy person, are really, really committed to these goals. Obviously, we have a lot more work to do but I think conversations like these and engagement with folks in the community just helps us understand how we can do better and how we can improve the service for everyone.

Debra Ruh:                             It’s just amazing what you’re doing. I love that you’re actually going to make more money by picking up passengers that are in wheelchairs. Isn’t that a disruptive idea? How amazing. It’s for a change people with disabilities actually are a priority as opposed to, yeah, we can’t do that, so that’s very exciting. I know that when talked earlier … Well, in the first place, I do want to do a shout out to a board that both of us are on. We’re both serving on the World Institute on Disability and that’s how I met you, and it’s a wonderful organization. It just shows, once again, the leadership that Uber is trying to show here by getting really involved in the community, not just trying to guess what people with disabilities need as just one segment of your passengers, your employees, your stakeholders but really listening to what the community wants. Are there other ways that … How are you figuring out some of these innovative things that you’re doing? How else are you getting involved and talking to the community?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Yeah, that’s a really good. So you know I was recently at a convening and the question came up, how can corporations and advocates better work together to maintain the dialogue around making their products more accessible? I think the key is really to listen, to be engaged. I think the nature of Uber in the past especially has largely been get into a city, build up the demand that riders have, recruit drivers, and sort of don’t necessarily ask a lot of questions. And I think that may have been very useful in the early days of the company but that’s not the way that you grow and scale, and importantly that’s not the way that you engage with community members. And so I think especially since I’ve come on, we’ve been really thoughtful about how we can have those dialogues with people in the community, and that means sometimes getting in very difficult environments.

                                                      We haven’t always gotten things right and I think it’s the imperative of people who have these lived experiences to tell us that because we will never get better unless we hear that. But I think that dialogue has to be open. That engagement has to be happening on a regular basis or neither side can improve. And one of the things that I often talk about with folks at other companies who work in the accessibility space is they always say how do you work with advocates? And how do you balance the need for companies to innovate, improve and make changes, and advocates to demand action? I always say we can’t expect, as people who work at companies, advocates not to advocate. That’s their job and that’s the reason so many great things have happened across all great social movements have happened as a result of advocates. And so the expectation that we have to have is to be willing to engage with those advocates. To be willing to take the feedback and to be willing to actually improve.

                                                      My background before Uber, my previous employer was actually Google, but before I worked at Google and got involved in the corporate world, I have a background in advocacy myself. And so I worked in Democrat politics, I worked in education reform, and I worked on behalf of and alongside, and I was one of those advocates. I understand the value and the importance of advocacy really well. I think it’s important that we ask the advocates to continue doing the work that they’re doing. I know they didn’t need my okay, they were going to do it anyway. But I also think it’s important that we have people on the inside working with these companies who are advocating from within because if you have the external pressure and you also have the internal pressure, that’s the point at which you can really hope to see improvements. And so I’m looking towards the advocates externally to continue to give us their feedback, and I’m trying to do what I can internally to push our leaders to make sure that we’re making our platform as accessible as possible or making sure that our workplace is as inclusive as possible.

Debra Ruh:                             You know you brought up some really good points just then and I wanted to go into a couple of them. One of them is … And I just want to do a shout out for Uber in one point. When I was … Because I wanted to prepare for the interview with you today, and once again, really appreciate you being on the show.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Of course.

Debra Ruh:                             But as I was doing my homework, I was looking at what was happening. I watched some of the … I read some of the things that happened with Arianna, and I’m a big fan of Arianna Huffington. One thing that I thought that was really interesting when that careless comment was made, a lot of the employees pushed back. So it wasn’t just self-awareness or anybody else figuring it out, the employees actually pushed back, and I thought that shows to me a lot of employees do care at Uber. We understand we’re …

                                                      I think times have changed over the years in that the way we’re loyal to the corporations that we work for, if we work for corporations, it’s different than it used to be in my parents’ time, even in my own time. I remember times, and quite honestly before social media, where you pretty much did what you were told to do and you did it and if you … I remember a manager saying to me one time, if you don’t like your job, I have a thousand people standing at the door that are ready to take your job. I felt very disenfranchised working for this company. I felt like I didn’t matter. Just shut up and do your job. I think that when people do that, your gifts can’t come out as well. So I really liked how the employees were the one that’s like no, not on our watch, no, no, no. So kudos to the Uber employees.

                                                      Like you said, nobody’s perfect. Lots of work to do but I do like the innovation that is happening and I like that … It’s always hard to watch a company walk what Uber’s walking right now but we might actually have some great social change because of this and that’s sort of how we learn as human beings. Tell me more about what happens inside Uber with the employees. How do the … In making sure that the advocates are heard and that you’re getting grounded information but are there other activities that are happening inside Uber so that the employees really feel that they have a voice to make Uber a better company for all of us?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Yeah, that’s a really great question. As I mentioned, my previous employer is Google, and so Google and Uber are the only two companies where I’ve ever worked. As I mentioned before, my background before that was in advocacy in the nonprofit world. But one of the most striking things that I saw as soon as I got to Google, and this is actually something that I think as a result of what Google started has spread to many other Silicon Valley companies including Uber is this culture of transparency and that’s borne out in some very specific ways. I think the most interesting and innovative of those is many of these companies, including Uber, have a weekly staff meeting where the entire leadership team gets up in front of the entire company, gives a presentation on a whole host of issues.

                                                      In our case, we do a business update. We talk about some interesting projects that folks are working on. We’ll oftentimes address sort of the news of the day, if there’s something relevant to us. But then importantly, any employee can ask any question they want and they’re not asking just their direct manager or just sort of the director of the team. They’re asking the founders, the CEOs, and in some cases the board members, any question that they want. Nothing is off-limits. I think it’s a way that helps employees feel like they really have a voice and I think it’s a way for employees to speak up for issues that are important to them.

Debra Ruh:                             You know when you said that it brought me back to … Because I worked in corporate America for many years, many years in the banking industry, and we would have a meeting like that but we did that once a quarter.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             You were encouraged to ask anything but you really weren’t. It was like you really weren’t asked, so that’s very, very cool, and that would make me feel good as an employee, so that’s very encouraging. How about … I know that you and I had talked a little bit about, once again, the disruption. And when I use the word disruption, I’m not using that in a negative way. We’re going through a lot of disruptions in the field of people with disabilities right now, making sure that people are included, that it’s a global conversation. You’ve already been talking a lot about accessibility. There’s assistive technology becoming mainstream. A lot of … Google is a perfect example that has done a lot of things to make sure that people are more fully included. Lots of interesting disruptive things happening and I’m meaning that ina positive way.

                                                      I was commenting to you that one thing that I think about that is interesting about the Uber model is that as we age, some of us trying to age in place and everything. I remember my 91-year-old father-in-law who passed this year but he, last year, got his driver’s license taken away from him by the state that he was in. And even though it was super sad for him, it really needed to happen. He had gotten to the point where it was dangerous for him to be driving and we had been trying to get him to stop driving but not having a lot of success, and so the state that he lived in, actually stepped in. And so what do we do with the aging … If we look at it just in the lens of the United States, what are we doing with the aging of the 74 million Baby Boomers? And of course, Uber isn’t just in the United States. I use Uber all over the place. I was just in Sweden and I called my Uber. Tell us more about what Uber’s doing with those kind of situations that actually is going to benefit all of society.

Malcolm Glenn:                  It’s a really great question and I think it sort of ties into our long-term goal. Folks oftentimes compare us to the way in which we disrupted an industry to start with, certainly around the taxicab industry, but I think our sights have become bigger than that and our goals have become a little bit larger and more macro scale than that. I think they really kind of boil down to believing that we can be a core part of the future of transportation and mobility, and that means the future of transportation and mobility for everyone. And so I think there are a couple things that we’re doing that I think are going to help alleviate those difficulties from a mobility standpoint for our aging population.

                                                      I think one is I think we are beginning to change the culture of how people think about getting around. Individual car ownership is such an integral part of the American lifestyle and story. People think about counting down the days if you’re a teenager until you can get your driver’s license, or the notion that besides your house, the most expensive asset you’re probably going to purchase your entire life is your car. And so as we begin to grow and scale, and as products like uberPOOL, which takes cares off the road by putting more people in fewer seats, which decreases the price, and thereby expand the pool of people who can actually use the service, we’re beginning to remind people that individual car ownership need not necessarily be this sort of thing on a pedestal that it has been in the past. And so I think as people understand that, that is not necessarily the paramount way they get around, there will be more opportunities for people to be dependent upon Uber earlier in their lives such that transition will be easier.

                                                      But for folks who are part of the aging population now, I think there are a lot of ways that we’re trying to make the app more accessible. So obviously, anyone can use Uber already and a number of people who have given up their driver’s license around the world use Uber. But a lot of people come to us and say, hey listen, I’d love to have my grandfather or my grandma use Uber but they’re not as tech savvy or they’re not as comfortable using a smartphone. So we’ve recently actually introduced a feature whereby you can request an Uber on behalf of someone who doesn’t have a smartphone. You can type in the address. It will give you the option to request the Uber for yourself or for someone else. If you request it for someone else, you simply type in their phone number or it accesses your phone book and you can pull up anyone in your phone book. Then, that person just gets a text message that simply says … For me, it would say, “Malcolm has requested this Uber for you. John, 4.8 stars, in a Camry with licensed plate XYZ will be at your location in three minutes.” Then, if John needs to call you to find out where you are or text you to make sure that you’re the right person, that message actually goes to the person who’s getting into the car, not the person who made the request.

                                                      We’ve made it a lot easier for people who may have a barrier to entry around the technology or having a smartphone or being comfortable using a smartphone. We’ve made it easier for them to be able to access the population. That’s just one thing we’ve done. Part of, I think, the goal that we have is to really educate folks and so we do a lot of roadshows whereby we go and talk to people, whether it’s at assisted living centers or whatever the case may be, to let them know Uber is easy. Uber is affordable. Uber is safe and it’s a great way for you to more efficiently get around. You know when you’re driving you have to be focused on the road. You can’t do anything else.

                                                      When you’re in an Uber, you can be thinking about someone else. You can be getting work done. You don’t necessarily have to be as present in a way that kind of gives you your time back. Making that pitch to all different populations whereby mobility is a key component of their life, I think is the best way to let people know that Uber can really be helpful in giving them their time and their independence back.

Debra Ruh:                             Which is very, very interesting. So how … Before we leave that subject because I’ve got to ask you about driverless cars but before we leave that subject, I remember when we were having this conversation and I thought I never thought about that. Once thing that I have thought about is that what Uber does is good for the environment. I’ve thought about, like you said, we’re sharing and there’s a lot of things that are good about the disruptions that have happened.

                                                      But I also thought about I recently got a new car, a Subaru Outback, and at least partially I bought it for the safety features and the driverless car type aspects. I was always Toyota before and so I’m a Subaru person now, and I love it. But I have a car payment, a big car payment, I have an insurance payment, and then of course, my gas. Wow, I spend a lot of money on my vehicle. Now, I live in a very rural part of Virginia. Beautiful, beautiful green part of Virginia but I suspect and I might be wrong that it would be difficult for me to get an Uber out there, and I might be absolutely wrong. I always use Uber when I’m traveling. I travel quite a bit. But I just thought that was such an interesting thing that … So someone like my son’s age, he might not want …

                                                      I know, for example, in New York City, a lot of people don’t have cars or driver’s license because it just doesn’t make sense to their lifestyle. So I think that’s fascinating, and also there’s real benefits not only to society but climate control and all those things as well. How does driverless cars and the future and the AI and the virtual reality, how is that tying into where you’re going? I’m sure your engineers are thinking about that but is there anything that you can really talk to us about from that perspective?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Absolutely. So self-driving cars a focal point of our attention, and I think are going to be a key component of our future, going forward. We’re in the relatively early stages of the development of our technology but we do have a couple of really, really fascinating pilots. In two cities, Tempe, Arizona, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we actually have autonomous cars on the road today. Now, they all have a person behind the wheel and they all have an engineer in the front seat taking notes and determining where the car still needs to get kicked back into manual mode and all of these different things. But if you’re in one of those cities and you get lucky enough, you can actually take a ride in an autonomous vehicle today. Obviously, they’re not fully autonomous. They can’t handle all different types of weather. They can’t handle all different types of road conditions. They can’t handle all different types of unforeseen events. But if you fast forward a number of years, and it’s anyone’s question as to whether autonomous vehicles will be on the road in a robust way in five years, 10 years, 15 years, who knows.

                                                      Our vision is the fleet model and so some people are doing development into self-driving cars but they believe that people will still purchase their own cars and that might happen, and that might happen to some degree and it’s probably not all or nothing. But we believe that the most efficient and affordable way that people will adopt self-driving cars is on top of the existing ride-hailing model that we have today. You can imagine some of the benefits of that, right? The most significant is how many lives will be saved? Over 1 million people die every single year in traffic accidents and 94% of traffic accidents are the result of human error. What if you could, obviously, completely eliminate that, that would be absolutely miraculous. But what if you could even just significantly decrease the number of people who die every year in car accidents? That would have a massive positive impact on society.

                                                      Imagine the amount of time that you would get back if instead of having to drive a certain amount of time on your commute and be alert on the road, you could get work done, you could catch up on sleep. Imagine if most of those self-driving vehicles were carrying two or three or four people. Imagine the number of cars you could take off of the road.

                                                      I think the number of possible impacts is pretty remarkable. I mean think about how much space is devoted to parking. Cars sit idle something like 95% of their lifetime. You’re almost never driving your car for the amount of time and money you spend on it. What if we could instead of pouring money into parking spaces, we could make that green space? We could make that accessible space that people could use to enjoy their city.

                                                      I think the potential possibilities for self-driving cars are immense. Obviously, we have to get the technology right. We have to get the regulatory environment to the right place and then there’s a huge cultural shift that’s going to have to take place. Not just people perhaps not thinking about buying a car or getting their driver’s license when they turn 16 but also getting people comfortable with getting into a car that doesn’t have a steering wheel, that doesn’t have a person behind that wheel. These are things that will certainly take time but we believe very deeply that the potential positive impacts far outweigh the concerns that people may have upfront once they actually try the technology, engage with technology, they’ll be much more quick to adopt the technology.

                                                      So self-driving cars are a huge, huge part of our future. We’re investing pretty heavily in that space. It remains to be seen how long it’ll take before people are zooming around in their self-driving cars on a day-to-day basis but I think once we get there, the impact on society will be quite positive.

Debra Ruh:                             For someone like my daughter, Sarah, that was born with trisomy 21, commonly called Down syndrome, not in our house but that’s okay, it would be wonderful for her not to have to rely on her parents. She hates it. She hates that she has to rely on her. I’ll tell ya, I say this … I tell the story sometimes when I’m speaking, so some people might have already heard it but it’s a ridiculous, little bit funny story.

                                                      I was driving down the expressway in Virginia and I was going obviously the speed limit. So I was driving but one of the cars on the expressway, it was weaving, and I thought to myself, stop texting, concentrate on your driving. And then, the next thought was I’m going to get around this driver because they’re scaring me. And so, obviously, they’re not watching the road and we were going 65, 70 miles per hour. It was I think four lanes of traffic. It was a really big super highway. And so I went around her, I realized it was a woman, and she was changing her shirt.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Oh boy.

Debra Ruh:                             She was changing her shirt, and I thought, oh my God, you’re going to kill yourself and somebody else. You need a driverless car. Also, like you said, the lives that are being lost through the young people, not only young people, the people we’re losing because of texting. This is the last text that they … It kills me. It’s such a sad situation.

                                                      But with my Subaru Outback, which once again it’s only a partially driverless car but I just want to address something you said. One thing that happens is when the … I have something called EyeSight and so the car has all these video cameras and it’s constantly helping me drive, which is comforting. But when the weather gets bad, which by the way is when I need you the most, you know, a driverless car. But when the weather gets bad, it turns off. When we get fog and ice in the wintertime and snow, that’s when it goes off. And when my EyeSight on the car goes off, I get nervous because I think my car doesn’t think I should be driving right now but I am still driving. So those things are going to add great benefits to society, and once again, as we’re …

                                                      So there’s great benefits to people with disabilities. I had a friend of mine once who was blind and he said being blind is not as bad as everybody makes it out. He said, but it is inconvenient. It’s inconvenient not having access to my own vehicle because it’s expected in society. So I just love that part of the disruptive model and because I think after all it’s going to be better for our environment, for society. It’s going to save lives, so I’m really glad you’re taking the time to continue to get better and look out for society.

                                                      Once again, nobody’s saying Uber is perfect but at least you’re trying to learn from your mistakes. At least you’re … Like you said, when that former engineer, female engineer posted to her blog, it was very swift. Now, should it have been done sooner? What … You know, blah, blah, blah, blah. But at least when it did get the attention, it was very swift what happened, and so I applaud Uber for doing that.

                                                      I also think that when you’re the disrupter, you’re not always the most popular person on the block. But I really appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate you, Malcolm. I know the work that you’re out there doing for Uber. You’re really trying to, as you said, you’re an advocate yourself. You’re trying to listen to the advocates.

                                                      I always say to advocates, I’m an advocate as well. That it’s very important to provide grounded comments. Don’t just be mean to be mean, provide grounded comments. I was talking to one of my clients, a new client the other day, and they introduced me to a group of people and they said, Debra Ruh is a well-known advocate. I said I am an advocate but in this case, I’m your strategist. I am here to help you come up with a strategy to more effectively include people with disabilities as your employee base, as your customers, as your stakeholders because unfortunately in the United States, advocates sue corporations. I mean not unfortunately, thank goodness that advocates have a voice but I mean the reason why I felt I needed to make the distinction was I wanted them to know my job is to make them successful so it can be more successful with my community being more appropriately included.

                                                      So I think sometimes you just have to know … I think it all works better when we are all working together. You’re learning from your mistakes, everybody else gets to learn from ’em. And sometimes when you’re running really fast, people make mistakes but it takes a lot of efforts to change the world.

                                                      Do you want to say anything else? Is there anything that you’d like to tell the audience? Is there any way the audience can learn about what Uber is doing to really try to make sure that you have a diverse workforce, that you’re really thinking about what are the needs of your customers, your drivers? Is there any special place that we can go to find out more about what Uber is doing?

Malcolm Glenn:                  Absolutely, so I encourage folks to go to uber.com/diversity to hear a little bit more about our diversity efforts, as well as to see some numbers that give something of a snapshot. It’s not comprehensive but a snapshot of what our workforce looks like across a number of different facets of the company, as well as some of the initiatives that we’re focused on and the philosophy that we have and the way that we’re thinking about diversity. I’d also encourage people to head to accessibility.uber.com. That will give folks a really good overview of our accessibility efforts to-date, how we’re trying to make the platform more accessible for people with disabilities, and some of our policies and programs around accessibility.

                                                      But really just to kind of piggyback on the point you just made, I think you’re right. We have made mistakes and I think we have grown really, really quickly, and that’s been really useful in a lot of ways in terms of building the business. But it’s also meant that we’ve stumbled a number of times along the way and we will stumble in the future, that’s absolutely the case. We will make more mistakes. But I really am genuinely excited about the number of people who work here, who are steeply and genuinely committed to making this the most inclusive workplace for everyone, making the platform as accessible as possible for everyone, and truly making a difference in the cities and the communities where we operation. And I think if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll see and you’ll hear more about the work that we’re doing around all of these things in the weeks and months to come.

Debra Ruh:                             Well, thank you for your leadership, Malcolm. I really appreciate it and we really appreciate you being on the program today. So thank you very much and I look forward to continuing to have conversations with you.

Malcolm Glenn:                  Thank you, Debra. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.


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You’ve been listening to “Human Potential at Work,” with Debra Ruh. To learn more about Debra and how she can help your organization, visit ruhglobal.com. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and you want to make sure that you don’t miss any future episodes, go to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast, “Human Potential at Work.” Thanks so much for listening and we’ll be back next week with a new episode.