Agent of Change: Chris Hyams

For most of my life, I took comfort in being a progressive. I was confident that because of my beliefs, I was an effective supporter and ally of marginalized people.

Shortly after the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, my wife Lize went through training with a group called Undoing White Supremacy Austin. This was just a year after George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin, and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Lize was profoundly affected by this experience and made a commitment to pursue further training and education.

She started talking about structural racism, white supremacy, and racial justice every night at the dinner table. With nearly every item in the news, every book or film, every popular culture reference, Lize found some connection to America’s history of racism.

One day after another impromptu history lesson, I found myself saying, “Do you really think everything is about racism?” Lize replied, “Yes.” It took a couple of years more of paying close attention, reading, listening, and learning for me to understand how right she was.

What I have come to realize is that as a white, straight, cisgendered, able-bodied man (plus many other qualifiers), my extraordinary position of privilege makes it impossible for me to see the world as it truly is without deliberate effort. I am firmly committed to making that effort. The more I listen, the more I read, and the more I learn – the more I realize there is so much that I don’t know.

What I do know is that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are more important than ever in the world, and especially in my work as the CEO of Indeed. This is true for any organization, for any business, for any institution. But it is vital for us.

At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs. Through that work, we know that talent is universal, but opportunity is not evenly distributed. There are significant bias and barriers in hiring. We want to use our technology to reduce that bias and lower those barriers. In order to fulfill that mission, we need to continue to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.

Indeed is a global company, but Austin is our home. In order to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, we need a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive city.

There are so many people doing the hard work to make Austin better. It will take every single one of them, and a lot more. Like every U.S. city, Austin has a history of segregation and marginalization. The success and growth of the city over the past few decades has led to rising costs, gentrification, and rising economic inequality. We have so much work to do, which is why it is so important to recognize and celebrate those who are paving the way to a better future.

Indeed is proud to support organizations like DivInc who are working to make Austin a more diverse and equitable city. It is a great honor for me to serve as Honorary Chair of the DivInc Champions of Change Awards. In any community, the people we recognize and reward sends a clear message about what we value and who we are. Events like this show all of Austin who is out there every day doing the hard work of building a more diverse and equitable city.

It is my aspiration to become an effective co-conspirator for anti-racism, along with all the other “isms” and “phobias.” My support for DivInc is an essential part of that ongoing commitment. I hope you will join me at this year’s DivInc Champions of Change Awards on April 1st

Chris Hyams, CEO, Indeed

2021 Champions of Change Awards Honorary Chair

Thursday,  April 1st

5:30pm - 8pm


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