“If we (minorities) didn’t have to worry about our safety of surviving, dealing, with extreme poverty and an unjust system. . . (basic necessities) then we should be able to reinvest that part of our mind to improving ourselves and focus on things such as economic development and financial literacy.”
— Davas Wright
In the midst of our country’s social climate, LaunchSource wants to continue the conversation about Diversity, Racism, and Inclusion in the workplace. Emerging Black Leaders of LaunchSource is a webinar series that’s meant to be an outlet for Black sales professionals to share their journey through sales, the tech industry, and life. On July 15, 2020, our first webinar was held with Davas Wright, one of the first 100 people placed by LaunchSource into the BDR/SDR role. During the webinar, our CEO and Co-founder, Sasanka Atapattu, asked him questions about his experiences, and in the end, the audience got to ask their own.
While many companies and people are talking about Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) in the workplace, this is a topic rarely spoken about by salespeople and sales leaders. This is likely due to the fact that sales is notoriously known for being homogeneous, so insights from people like Wright are relevant and essential if we’re to increase diversity in all areas.
At an early age, Wright had the drive to succeed. He grew up with a single mother and 5 siblings who inspired and pushed him to strive for more. He attended private school through sponsorship and went on to earn his Bachelor’s at Endicott College. After going through the LaunchSource program, he was placed at SnapApp as a BDR. From there, he continued his journey as a BDR at ServiceNow, and is currently an Account Executive at Rapid7.
One of the biggest obstacles for Wright was this lack of diversity in many sales teams. At SnapApp, he was the first Black BDR, and at ServiceNow, he was the only Black rep on the Boston team. Because there was no one with a similar background to himself or anyone that looked like him, reaching out and connecting with others was overwhelming. While many organizations preach Diversity and Inclusion, minority candidates can feel isolated because of the lack of it. Wright says organizations can tackle this issue and improve inclusivity by continuing to stay educated and cognizant of race/cultural issues and maintaining awareness of unconscious bias.
Although there are many areas where sales teams can become more inclusive, one strength and area to focus on is teamwork. Although it was initially overwhelming to be the only Black candidate, Wright mentions that being a part of a team with a common goal does break down those barriers, increases collaboration, and fosters inclusion.
Organizations that put in the effort to understand race/cultural issues, increase awareness around biases, and focus on teamwork can make it easier for people from different walks of life to engage and connect. Particularly in sales, this is something that should not be difficult. It’s a salesperson’s job to be proficient in understanding other people who, more often than not, have different backgrounds, experiences, and ways of viewing the world. Outside of internal relationships, this is something that sales leaders should care about because as organizations become more diverse, the more likely your prospects and customers will have a different background.