Arthur Woods: Management Tools to Eliminate Bias and Increase Diversity
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become empathetic entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by a character named Spiffy, with founders working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For December, the focus is on SDG 5 – Gender Equality and SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities. There is so much at stake, so let’s see what’s being done!
Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to reduce inequality. Today I’m happy to have Arthur Woods, co-founder of Mathison, with me.
Spiffy: Arthur, it’s great to have you here today. Can you get started by telling me about the inequality you’re addressing?
Arthur: Today there is a significant lack of diverse representation at the top of the vast majority of organizations, especially among management teams and boards. Despite the increased transparency surrounding this issue, organizations have a long way to go to take action. Mathison is setting out to change this.
Spiffy: Wow! What kind of diverse representation are you talking about and what exactly motivated you to branch out on your own to do this?
Arthur: Well, Spiffy, over the last 15 years, I have worked at the intersection of underrepresented communities and leadership teams of some of the most well-regarded organizations in the world. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I've faced discrimination in the workplace, and I’ve witnessed the challenges that other members of the community, particularly our transgender members, have faced at work. Much of my work in recent years has extended to the disability community, where I’ve had the chance to witness firsthand the significant unemployment rate. As I've worked with the leadership teams of many top organizations, I've noticed two things: how much they lack diversity and how they struggle to bring their diversity goals to life. At this intersection, I saw an extraordinary need that I felt compelled to address.
Spiffy: Arthur, how in the world do you address those experiences of discrimination and issues in diversity?
Arthur: It’s actually quite exciting, Spiffy. Mathison is providing employers with the first all-in-one system to manage their diversity recruiting, diversity strategy planning and reporting. Mathison centralizes hundreds of diverse talent networks and uses AI to help employers source diverse candidates for their most critical roles while minimizing bias in the hiring process.
Spiffy: That’s stellar, Arthur! What kind of impact are you having?
Arthur: We recently launched a new version of our Equal Hiring Index — the very first comprehensive assessment to help employers measure the inclusivity and accessibility of their hiring and talent process, and to determine measurable ways to level the playing field for all job seekers. This is enabling employers to take much needed action in their diversity goals. Mathison is also closing a new investment round that will enable us to scale our impact to even more employers globally in the coming year.
Arthur Woods delivering a keynote to Fortune 100 executives on steps we can take to advance diversity in the workforce. (Photo courtesy of Arthur Woods)
Spiffy: There are so many moving parts invovled. Have you encountered any failure with this start-up?
Arthur: As we were growing Mathison, we were forced to move to remote work — due to Covid-19 — at a very critical phase in our hiring and development. We faced many challenges in the process of learning to work completely virtually as a team, onboard team members without ever meeting them in person and somehow growing a strong team culture without any shared offline experiences. This was very challenging for many team members and some days it felt impossible. But everyone ultimately rose to the occasion. The mission and purpose of our work gave everyone the willpower not to give up. Today, Mathison's team is strong, committed and making a big impact together.
Spiffy: That’s great to hear, Arthur! I’m always looking for new learning opportunities. Is there anything surprising you’ve learned recently?
Arthur: I have a dear friend who is currently in law school and he recently shared insights from his constitutional law course where they have indexed the history of systemic racism in the United States. I was shocked to hear details that so many of our existing educational systems are not teaching.
Spiffy: It sounds like there are going to be more issues for you to address Arthur! Thanks so much for talking with me. It’s been a pleasure!
Arthur Woods, co-founder of Mathison, is a social entrepreneur working at the intersection of equity, inclusion and technology. He was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and 40 Under 40 by BEQ. He is a three-times TEDx speaker and has advised leading brands including Disney, Sonos, MetLife and the Smithsonian. (Nominated by Gaingels)
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.