At Asana, we believe in the power of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): They build community, lift an organization’s collective literacy around diversity and inclusion, support attracting diverse talent, and help an organization identify future leaders. In our experience, ERGs have been paramount to creating an inclusive workplace and contributing to employee engagement and success.
This year, we were proud to officially launch Blacsana, an ERG for Black Asanas. In our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization, we recognize that focusing on Black empowerment is indispensable.
Blacsana’s mission is to create a safe community for all Black employees at Asana; a community that supports their development, celebrates their successes, and leverages their knowledge in support of Asana’s mission. When Blacsana was formed, we were experiencing a swelling of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. What started as an employee-driven Slack community coalesced into a company-sponsored ERG through the support of employees and leadership.
According to Blacsana’s co-leads, “Blacsana was created to forge a community to celebrate and uplift Black voices while at the same time fostering deep connections among Black Asanas.”
The formal launch of Blacsana took place during Black History Month. It was the perfect way to inaugurate our presence: People got to know us, engage with meaningful content, and celebrate Black excellence at Asana.
Our theme was Celebrate & Connect Our Community: Asana’s Diaspora – Past, Present, Future. In order to fulfill those themes, we curated three events for Asanas:, a Customer Spotlight with Hack The Hood, a fireside chat with Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, and a panel discussion titled, “Closing the Wealth Gap: Black in Tech.“
We chose to intentionally celebrate and connect the Black community at Asana as a way to ground us amid a turbulent year. Notwithstanding all that we experienced in 2020, we too were inspired by Amanda Gorman’s words “seeing the light, and being the light.”
Following Black History Month, we weaved together a close-knit community to ensure our work supports diversity, inclusion, and belonging at Asana through the following programs and initiatives:
Blacsanas Welcome Lunch: Monthly, we bring together new and existing folks to meet and forge new connections across our community.
Blacsana Power Hour: We host silent coworking sessions monthly to increase productivity and co-create community and belonging in the world of remote work. Blacsanas and allies come together to inspire each other and achieve focus and flow together by setting a productivity goal at the top of the hour, work in silence towards it, and share our progress at the end.
Celebrations & speaker events: In addition to Black History Month, Blacsana hosts special events throughout the year like our Juneteenth Blacsana Cookout, Real Talk events, and community forums.
Ambassadors for growing a diverse Team Asana: Blacsana members participate in Culture Chats with prospective hires, where they are able to make new connections, share their experiences, and forecast what a new hire can expect at Asana. We also host events in collaboration with Talent Acquisition to amplify our work outside of Asana’s walls. In November, we are participating in AfroTech for the third consecutive year. Come by and chat with us!
We understand that allyship is indispensable to belonging. Therefore, we co-created a shortlist of recommendations for anyone looking to stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Educate yourself: “You cannot dismantle what you cannot see. You cannot challenge what you do not understand.” – Layala F. Saad
Learn about larger systems of oppression and reflect on your own identity and privilege.
Don’t unfairly burden BIPOC folks with the labor of educating you. Leaning on them in this way is additional cognitive taxation on their already lived experience.
Lead with curiosity and appreciation if you find yourself in a conversation with a BIPOC person about their lived experiences. Be mindful of when (if at all) it is useful to share your own experiences or challenge their truth. It’s uplifting to be received with genuine interest when sharing parts of ourselves.
Leverage your power: “Revolution is not a one-time event.” – Audre Lord
Allyship is a commitment to recognize, in every interaction, where you can leverage your power to be a:
Sponsor: vocally supporting people from underrepresented communities.
Mentor: working one-on-one to support someone’s career growth and opportunities.
Champion: sending powerful messages of inclusion to large audiences by deferring to colleagues from underrepresented communities.
Advocate: calling for diversity and inclusion in whatever spaces you participate in.
Amplifier: amplifying underrepresented voices by publicly acknowledging and celebrating their work.
Welcome being called in: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson
We all make mistakes, and allies must be comfortable receiving feedback.
Allies understand the difference between intent versus impact.
Everything that Blacsana has done—and will continue to do—contributes to creating a more inclusive workplace at Asana. Through our work, we can connect, empower, and celebrate Black Asanas while simultaneously supporting all Asanas to develop a more profound practice of allyship. We hope to continue centering Black joy and excellence as we support Asana’s anti-racism initiatives and strive to build a culture where all can thrive.