Zest AI’s Commitment To Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Last updated October 2022

The founding of Zest in 2009 established a mission to make fair and transparent credit available for all. This pursuit is informed by a deep understanding of how centuries of systemic racism and discrimination have led to an inequitable financial system for many people, and threatens the American economy by limiting access to economic opportunity for underbanked and underserved populations. We see evidence of unfair treatment in the data that flows through the consumer lending industry today, and Zest AI works to eliminate that bias using machine learning and data science.

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.

Zest continues to build and celebrate a more diverse and inclusive workforce, an environment where every Zesty can do their best work and shine, 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 are proud of our gender pay equity for all comparable roles and will continue to do so into the future. There is so much more we can accomplish. Here are our 2022 plans:

Hiring goals:

Diverse Workforce:
By end of 2023, we aim to double our percentage of Black employees and increase our minority diversity by 30%, creating a workforce that exceeds in-state (California) averages for non-white representation by at least 50%

Internship Program: Increase representation of Black and Hispanic students by 25% for 2023 Internship Program. 

With a focus on diversity we currently:
- Promote diversity in leadership roles (whether by promotion or external hiring)
- Ensure our job descriptions are inclusive and welcome diversity
- Ensure each hiring panel is 50% diverse

Recruitment goals:

- Ensure a more diverse candidate pipeline by presenting at least 30% diverse candidates for every open role
- Purposefully expand relationships with diversity-focused recruitment partners including PledgeLA, the Society of Hispanic Engineers (LA), and Women Who Code LA  
- Expand our recruitment to include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Historically Hispanic Universities
- Work with career development organizations and job boards such as SEO, WayUp, Diversity.io, Handshake, 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 that are black-, minority-, or women-owned businesses. 

Policy: Advocate for strong fair lending policies and laws, ensuring that rigorous enforcement and auditing standards carry forward as the industry moves to further utilize machine learning credit models.

Improving access to financial services: Develop better race and gender proxying algorithms for lenders and regulators so the industry can measure fair outcomes with a more accurate representation of the people they serve. Educate and advise 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.


Pew Research Center’s analysis of 2017-2019 American Community Survey found the following racial representation within computer technology: 3% Other, 7% Black or African American, 8% Hispanic, 20% Asian, and 62% White.