By Lisa Feria | November 28, 2017

A couple of years ago I got introduced to the concept of amplification. The idea and practice resonated deeply with me because it made sense and because I had experienced it in my own career.

Amplification is when people support your message or point by referring to it, crediting it, and/or building on it. For example, in a meeting someone’s point could be amplified by reference, “Marta, you made a great point about the productivity gains in co-working environments, can you expand on that?” In this way, the person gets sufficient airtime to properly lay out their thoughts, ideas, or proposals.

When each person’s contribution is marred due to explicit or implicit bias, lack of connection or ignorance, the project, and the company lose. It has been proven that diverse teams do better than homogenous ones, that diversity in the full spectrum is what drives high levels of success. Amplification is important to all of us because we’re all trying to do the best we can for the companies and organizations we work for.

The challenge, however, gets compounded when there is not enough diversity. Those voices, points, opinions, and backgrounds all get ignored because they do not exist in the room and that’s when we all lose.

As an investor, I make a point to evaluate leadership teams and am skeptical if they are all white males. If they don’t understand the value of a full diverse team to reach their objectives, I am concerned about their blind spots and lack of perception.

Minorities today will be majority tomorrow and we can’t make the mistake of missing that point of view. We cannot be effective or efficient as animal protection organizations without our leadership teams and organizations reflecting the diversity that already exists in America. We need to reflect the people we are trying to represent. We cannot be efficient without being the voice of the changing faces of America.

That’s why Encompass is so important. Aryenish is leading the strong charge to change this. We have a gap in our movement, a gap so large that if we don’t take purposeful steps to change it we could be putting at risk our ability to change the minds and hearts of people in the future.

Encompass has taken a leadership position to help pave the way and establish the paths needed for others to leverage. Aryenish has shown that not only can it be done, but that it must be done; with her guidance and the tools Encompass continues to develop, we can look forward to a near future where we can all be represented, and where we can talk and relate directly to those we are trying to influence because we are them

Lisa Feria is the CEO Stray Dog Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage, mission-driven companies that aim to take animals out of the supply. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.