Zest AI’s Commitment To Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Last updated october 1, 2020


Since Zest was founded in 2009, our mission has been to make fair and transparent credit available to all. Our pursuit is informed and impelled by our deep understanding of how centuries of racism and discrimination have led to deeply inequitable financial outcomes for too many Americans. We see this dark legacy in the data that flows through the consumer lending industry, and work every day to eliminate that bias using machine learning and data science. 


And just as we know people are more than a three-digit score, we know you cannot build fair technologies and great companies without a workplace that encourages and celebrates diversity. We are the sum of our perspectives, experiences, expressions, and wisdom. It’s what makes our company strong and powers products that enable greater economic fairness and inclusivity on a national scale.


Today we recommit to building and celebrating an even more diverse and inclusive workforce, an environment where every Zestian can do their best work, irrespective of color, race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. It’s not enough to say these words if we don’t act. We’re proud that we’ve already achieved gender pay equity for all comparable roles and will continue to do so into the future. There is so much more we can do. Here are our plans:


Hiring goal:

Double our number of Black employees by the end of 2021

Increase our minority diversity by 30% by the end of 2021, creating a workforce that exceeds in-state (California) averages for non-white representation by 50%

Ensure next year’s intern class has at least 25% Black students (2021)

For future hiring with a focus on diversity we will:

  1. Present at least 30-40% diverse candidates for every open role
  2. Have each hiring panel be 50% diverse
  3. Promote diversity to leadership roles (whether by promotion or external hiring) 
  4. Ensure our job descriptions are inclusive and welcome diversity

Recruitment goals:

  1. Ensure a more diverse candidate pipeline
  2. Expanding the number of local diversity groups we hire from including PledgeLA, the Society of Hispanic Engineers (LA), and Women Who Code LA  
  3. Expand our recruitment to include placement programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Historically Hispanic Universities
  4. Work with career development organizations and job boards such as SEO, WayUp, Diversity.io, and BlackJobs with proven ability to source quality talent with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

External activity goals:

  • Supply chain: Increase the number of our vendors who are  black, minority-, or female- owned businesses.
  • Policy: Advocating for strong fair lending policies and laws, ensuring that rigorous enforcement and auditing standards carry forward as the industry moves to machine learning credit models
  • Improving access to financial services:
  1. Developing better race and gender proxying algorithms for lenders and regulators so the industry has a better yardstick for measuring their performance against fair lending laws 
  2. Educating and advising minority-owned and community banks on using data science to improve credit access to customers


This is a living document that we will continue to add to as we go. We will report on these on an annual basis and publish our metrics.

Notes 


US Census Bureau estimates, California's population was 59.5% White (36.6% Non-Hispanic White), 14.7% Asian, 13.8% Some Other Race, 5.8% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.4% Pacific Islander and 5.1% from two or more races.