Pinterest announces their new Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity
Nichole Barnes Marshall will be the second person to be in this role since the company faced accusations of racial and gender discrimination in 2020.
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Pinterest announced on Jan. 7, 2022, that Nichole Barnes Marshall will be replacing Tyi McCray as the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity.
Her role at Pinterest will include leading the I&D team and partnering with the co-founder and CEO, Ben Silbermann, to “drive accountability, adoption and strategies for workplace, culture and marketplace programs.”
Barnes Marshall comes to Pinterest from Bath and Body Works, where she was the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for seven months.
Her arrival to Pinterest is at a much calmer time for the company than when McCray, who left after about a year with the company, did. By the time McCray joined at the end of August 2020, three former employees had called Pinterest out for discrimination.
Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma, former public policy and social impact managers, left the company in May. On June 15, 2020, they tweeted about their experiences in response to Pinterest’s tweet supporting Black Lives Matter and its black employees. Banks and Ozoma, who are both Black women, shared the racism and discrimination they faced while working there. Things got so bad that Banks actually had to start using antidepressants. When the news first broke, Pinterest told CNN that they had found that both women had been “treated fairly.”
The third woman to speak out was the former chief operating officer, Francoise Brougher. Brougher was fired in April 2020 after speaking up about the gender discrimination she faced. She filed a $22.5 million lawsuit against Pinterest in August 2020 for gender discrimination and retaliation. She won the case and was awarded $20 million. The other $2.5 million was given to organizations that help women and minorities in tech.
In response to the three women sharing their stories, employees at Pinterest staged a virtual walk-out on August 14, 2020.
Despite earlier assertions that their former employees received fair treatment, Pinterest brought in lawyers from WilmerHale to review their company culture and make suggestions on how to improve it. They presented Pinterest with their 18-page report in Dec. 2020. Suggestions included investing in the Inclusion and Diversity department.
As part of the settlement, Pinterest pledged to spend $50 million on improving its diversity and equity efforts. The company also agreed to create an office of an ombudsman to respond to employee complaints, conduct two pay equity audits across gender and race a year and take additional steps to maintain equity.