Zoom, Team4Tech & PSYDEH
USA-based Zoom company has made a sustainable impact on PSYDEH thanks to our multi-phased, partnership since March 2021. Starting with a significant donation by Zoom’s Latinx employee resource group Somos in the 1st quarter in honor of International Women’s Day, our relationship deepened in the 2nd quarter thanks to a powerful interactive session hosted by Somos.
In the 3rd quarter, our alliance grew further with Zoom’s Head of Social Impact, Roxana Shirkhoda, inviting PSYDEH to participate in their Zoom Cares pro bono initiative, a part of which is facilitated by USA-based nonprofit Team4Tech (T4T).
What is the program
T4T facilitates Design for Impact Workshop (DIW) programming for corporate partners like Zoom interested in making a measurable social impact. These workshops link corporate professionals from sponsoring companies with non-profit leaders to solve a business challenge presented by the non-profit. T4T guides this public-private sector collaboration through their unique methodology based on Design Thinking, with their goal of producing actionable ideas to address the challenge.
How we collaborated
To garner interest among Zoom employees, PSYDEH hosted an information session with the full company about our work and the forthcoming workshop, offering an interactive experience with voices from PSYDEH’s staff and Zoom Somos Global Co-lead Anabel Guevara Pozzi, and Zoom Somos member, Diana Castro. It was well-received, with attendance remaining over 100 Zoom employees for the entire hour, and resulting in a team of twelve professionals signing up for our DIW.
Organized into three teams, these Zoom employees attended four DIW sessions at one and a half hours per day facilitated by T4T Program Director Chris Meehan. They were charged with presenting three different actionable ideas to address PSYDEH’s “How might we” challenge:
“How might we utilize technology to share PSYDEH’s stories and to promote the voices of Indigenous women in Hidalgo, Mexico?”
Over these four days, PSYDEH served our Zoom friends by reminding them of three contextual points to consider when ideating solutions: (1) there is limited-to-no access, let alone use, of information and communications technology in the areas in which we work, (2) the organization operates on a shoe-string budget with limited to no flexible funding, and (3) Indigenous women partners have limited access to and awareness of internet-based platforms from which they can relay their voices.
As Katie Freund, PSYDEH strategic consultant states, “We wanted to present this challenge to Zoom because an internet-based platform that amplifies a women’s voice achieves two outcomes. First, it draws attention to a woman leader, creating a type of “social currency” (notoriety), that, second, allows her to better negotiate or renegotiate existing power structures. We went on to imagine with our Zoom friends how women can use a digital platform to reach local and state communities and governments, national company partners and government, and the global private and public marketplace.”
PSYDEH development officer and T4T-Zoom partnership lead, Ryan Lavigne, goes on to explain,
“We cannot be passive beneficiaries of Zoom’s significant investment. Their services and time are valuable. Because we all want the same thing–to make a measurable impact–PSYDEH staff who attended breakout sessions with the Zoom teams came up with four questions to occasionally raise with the aim of helping the teams to deliver actionable solutions:
(1) Does this solution facilitate the kind of information sharing that rebalances power for women partners?
(2) Does this solution involve a platform that increases the number of eyeballs on women’s work?
(3) How does the suggested platform amplify womens’ and PSYDEH’s voices such that the “person” at local, state, national, global levels cannot ignore these voices?
(4) Can and how can the suggested platform result in concrete measurable impact for women and PSYDEH?”
In the end, we were thrilled to receive three unique and actionable ideas we’ll pursue in the coming years.
Zoom then went above and beyond anything we’ve experienced with other corporate partners. With guidance from T4T, Zoom committed six DIW participants to invest work time over a subsequent 10-week period to implement the one actionable idea PSYDEH felt was most ripe for immediate use.
Going above and beyond
PSYDEH opted for Team one’s actionable idea around how women can use a digital platform to break away from the “single story” narrative in which most are stuck, in part by communicating to the world who they are as individuals while promoting/selling their high-quality artisanal and local goods.
Zoom’s employees created an e-commerce website that will be folded into 2022-2024 programming to organize women artisan and producers leaders into a network of cooperatives we call Sierra Madre Network. The deliverable would have three interrelated elements focused on short-and medium-term impact: (1) structure for an interactive e-commerce website, (2) a website page with a business plan (and business research) for how women artisans and producers use this digital platform to tell their story to buyers in target countries, and (3) a cloud-based platform either part of the website or linked to the website with a visual manual, for example, a series of “how-to” videos on accessing/using the website and business plan for their sustained benefit.
Over the subsequent ten weeks, PSYDEH staff and the Zoom team met weekly, with T4T leadership supporting all via a separate workstream.
During the engagement, T4T and PSYDEH organized a special cultural session around the tradition of “Dia de Muertos” whereby PSYDEH staff shared how the local communities across the areas in which we work celebrate the tradition. We then collaboratively decorated a digital altar with the traditional Mexican goods used during the holiday as well as images of loved ones who are no longer with us.
This phase of our relationship concluded with a final meeting where Zoom presented and turned over their deliverables, while also expressing a strong desire to continue to support PSYDEH and women partners when implementing their ideas in 2022.
Our partnership produces an important impact
In 2022-2023, the website and related tools delivered by Zoom will be strategically integrated into our incubation phase of the cooperative building process. Women, with increased technology access and understanding thanks to our multi-year partnership with T4T, will learn about the website, how to use it, and how it can be an essential marketing and sales-making tool when paired with social media.
In the medium-term of 2023-2024, the women’s cooperatives themselves will take full ownership of the website, using it as any vendor would. They will also benefit from the forward-looking strategic thinking tools already delivered by Zoom, e.g., how to construct a global network of allies promoting their work or how NFTs can be an income stream.
Over the longer term, PSYDEH and our nascent network of Indigenous women cooperatives leave this engagement with a blue ribbon example of what is possible with global corporate and non-profit partners.
Who is Team4Tech
T4T is a US-based nonprofit advancing progress around United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.4 – “ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. They do this by partnering with global technology companies like Adobe, Cadence, HPE, Intel, and Zoom to build and implement social impact projects that provide ICT technology grants and training to nonprofit partners with the aim to build their capacities to better educate underserved learners.
Who is Zoom
This publically traded USA company helps its clients to express ideas, connect to others, and build toward a future limited only by imagination. Zoom is the only communications platform that started with video as its foundation, catering to large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals alike.