By Kellen Coleman
In a time where technology is key, software changing daily and automation is replacing human efforts, yet the society is still trying to figure out how to intimate with historically marginalized people. Steven Matly, founder of SM Diversity, a Seattle based staffing agency is dedicated to getting more Blacks, Muslims, Women and others into several influential roles especially in technology. Steven has been one of the newly emerging voices in diversity and inclusion being a co-creator of Hack the Diversity events and sponsoring other numerous diversity and inclusion events.
Recently, Steven spoke at Ted X UW on the topic to a majority of Caucasian audience. Growing up with his birth name – Mouhamed, taken from his father’s Islamic lineage. Steven, a native of Seattle grew up in poverty but has been able to generate six figure revenue with two businesses. Steven says, “If we don’t consciously include, we will unconsciously exclude”. His present company currently employed ten full time staff members and numerous contractors, a concept that has been the catalyst to hiring thousands of people within a short period. Mouhamed or Steven whichever he is called has served on boards with interest in Diversity and Inclusion with Boeing, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon e.t.c with over 50 speaking engagements. Steven’s company is specifically targeting minorities with the goal of including up to 90% minorities in its workforce. In Steven’s speeches, he has always stressed the need for work environment’s safety which includes psychological safety. Disengaged people will most likely not feel safe.
Steven said specifically to tech companies “If woman and people are good enough to buy your product, they better be good enough to work for your company”. We still see tech companies exclude minority during recruitment and are dominated by Caucasian males. Steven believes that Muslim’s that work during Ramadan should be able to fast without negative feelings. Steven has heard stories of Muslims not disclosing that they are fasting because their coworkers will ask them silly questions like “Can you swallow saliva while fasting? Or can you handle your workload? Even in the healthcare industry. Steven talked about Somali and other ethnic groups smelling their food because they cook with different spices and meats like goat and even sambuusas.
Steven even went as far as thinking that companies should let those who celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan take a few days off because this is similar to Christmas. Diversity in companies is just one phrase, Steven highlights the challenges of Inclusion and how companies can make small adjustments to make everybody comfortable. So many companies close down or allow holidays for Christmas, this would look cruel. This is important as ever with police shooting unarmed black males on camera almost every week on the news. In Trump’s Presidency, hatred and crimes on Muslims are on the rise and even mosque burnings and vandalism happening more regularly. Steven is one of the many voices in Seattle who aren’t just complaining about the wrongs of the world but making a conscience decision to create solutions by hiring those underserved and telling huge corporations many whom are client’s, how they cannot only hire diversity, but how to retain them and create an environment that is conducive for everybody to work, learn, and create. Steven will continue to motivate corporations and show them how to promote diversity and inclusion into the future from Seattle to San Diego. Runta news will nickname Steven, The king of diversity and inclusion of the west coast and a new leader in our community.
Contact Steven @ Stevenmatly.com
By Kellen Keche