“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good” – Minor Myers Jr.
Impact has been a part of the Concentric mission set since the company was founded in 2005. We are extremely proud knowing that through our excellent support to our clients around the world, our existing resources, experience, and capabilities can provide even greater impact, beyond our service offerings. From supporting a high profile client in their vaccine operations in high risk areas in Nigeria controlled by Islamic militants in 2013, to a prominent 19-year old activist in her security requirements while in Africa in 2016, and a security assessment of Belize reforestation efforts and ranger operations utilizing technical surveillance to enable domain awareness in 2017, we’ve always prioritized providing security in impactful ways and are continuing to expand that reach.
To us, “impact” broadly includes our philanthropic, environmental, and social efforts across the organization.
188 Foundation: Rescuing One Impacts Many
188 comes from the number of Afghan citizens manifested on our chartered flight out of Afghanistan in August of 2021. Our flight was the last civilian plane to leave Afghanistan before the US military redeployed. Our Concentric team is made up of prior service members, government servants, and non-profit enablers that have personal and direct ties around the world. When the fall of Afghanistan became imminent in August of 2021, it was personal to many of us. We knew that we should–and could–assist in the larger response, and are proud of what small contribution we were able to make to the larger efforts. This event was the culmination of years of knowing there was a space for the private sector in these world wide events through a philanthropic solution.
“Inherently American is the tendency to choose action in the face of crisis instead of passively admiring the problem.” -Roderick Jones, Concentric Owner and 188 Foundation Founder
We immediately founded The 188 Foundation and just six months later, found ourselves in a similar opportunity to rescue civilians in Ukraine. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, our first rescue operation was within days of the initial invasion and, since, we have conducted 37 unique rescue operations from throughout Ukraine to neighboring countries resulting in the evacuation of 66 people, five dogs, two cats and various logistical deliveries such as medicinal supplies, satellite phones, pallets of food, and solar panels. We also supported 11 Ukrainian organizations such as a Women’s shelter in Lviv, a food bank in Kyiv, and an education program for displaced children in Prague with the generous donations from our network.
In addition to the two large-scale rescue and response efforts, we believe working to make the world a better place, shouldn’t be in exchange for personal safety. We’ve donated close protection agent services to escort vulnerable guests at high profile events, provided digital privacy assessments and services to recently-returned American hostages, and have funded the exfiltration of families pivotal to the Afghanistan rescue efforts who were targeted by the Taliban themselves.
Our philanthropic work and impact through 188 is just getting started.
Testament to the caliber of our employees and their dedication to the foundation, our own CIO, Casey Allen, has taken it upon himself to climb 188,000’ for the 188 Foundation. About 37 percent of the way through as of winter of 2023, Casey will take the next 18 months to mountaineer his way to new heights, raising awareness about-and funds for-the foundation along the way. You can learn more about his efforts here and follow our LinkedIn for updates.
Sustainability: Less Trace. More Impact.
Climate change is a human security risk1. As a “threat multiplier” according to the UN Secretary General, it’s a significant aggravating factor for instability, conflict, and terrorism. Factors such as the demand for safe water exceeding supply, diminishing arable land sources, rising temperatures, drought, and reduced crop yields are all contributing to social unrest, inter/intra-communal conflict, migration, and armed conflict. The current and forthcoming implications of climate change on the environment, on the populace, and the world have justified our own efforts in the field. In 2019, we became the nation’s first green security company and worked with Carbon Fund to become carbon neutral. In 2021, we signed The Climate Pledge, pledging to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040 or sooner. We are a Platinum member of the Green Business Bureau and joined their Member’s Advisory Council to continue our participation in the conversation.
Our next step is integrating our sustainability initiatives into our services offerings. We’re currently researching forestation and sea-forestation projects that we could include as part of some of our delivery offerings at no extra cost to our customer. We are also in the research phase of pre-emptively identifying carbon output for specific service offerings so we can educate both ourselves and our clients, while offering efficient offset opportunities that benefit all. We know our clients are looking for value alignment, without compromising excellence, when they choose service providers.
Sustainability and DEI Interconnectedness
We also see how interconnected our sustainability efforts are with our DEI mission. At its core, climate change is inequitable in how it affects specific demographics, locations, and populations more than others. The world’s collective response to addressing climate change has been managed by an internationally non-diverse group of practitioners2, even in its historical roots3. In fact, Policy Exchange shows sustainability to be the least diverse occupation after farming4. Climate change disproportionately affects low-socioeconomic status communities and vulnerable populations, including women and girls. Bottom line, current sustainability efforts don’t represent the most environmentally affected communities it’s working to serve.
Closer to home, we’ve identified just how much work we have to do internally, both within our own company but also within the security industry. Across the board, the security industry is lacking diverse voices, especially women and people of color, in leadership roles. “Data from SMR Group showed that 94 percent of their candidates for security, risk, and resiliency roles globally were men, and 70 percent came from a former government background— generally military, police or intelligence5.” We inherently know that staying at the peak of security innovation and evolution requires diversified thought. In 2019, when our internal DEIB group was established, only 19 percent of our staff self-identified as non-white. While above average for the industry6, we knew we wanted to be better; we owed it to ourselves, our clients, and our industry. We admittedly fell short of our goal to reach 35 percent by 2023 but we continue to strive for that ratio goal and beyond. Currently, 34 percent of our staff identify as nonwhite and 30 percent are female. We realize the challenge is twofold:
- Identifying diverse talent within the security industry to promote within
- The security industry is struggling to attract diversity at the entry level
We’ve taken a trifurcated approach with our DEIB efforts: education, recruitment, and retention.
For education, we initiated a grass roots working group that is employee-led and whose mission is profoundly supported by leadership. This group organizes events such as community volunteering or book clubs that support crucial conversations, sponsor influential speakers, and not only focus on education, but also promote empathy and deeper appreciation of Concentric employees’ own unique experiences.
We’ve committed to selecting an organization each year with whom we can partner, support financially and with volunteer efforts, and from whom we can educate ourselves on their mission and evolve our own DEIB efforts.
- In 2020, we worked with Future for Us which supports professional womxn of color through community, culture and career development – a key strategy to achieve equity of opportunity for all womxn in work.
- In 2021, we partnered with Cindi Bright who had recently released her book, The Colour of Courage, and encouraged fundamental hiring and recruiting changes to ensure inclusion.
- In 2022, we worked with HBCU First, to enable a student challenge and provide summer internship opportunities for interested students.
- In 2023, we selected two organizations: NAMI and Stolen Youth. Through NAMI, we benefited from their education and awareness programs on mental health. With Stolen Youth, we continue to support their efforts to combat Seattle-based child sexual exploitation.
- This year, we selected Guardian Group which crowdsources the identification of sex traffickers and sex trafficking cases within the US.
- In addition to our annual commitments, we have worked with Diverse City to assist us with an objective perspective on our current internal mechanisms and where we could improve, hosted Coffee with A Black Guy who provided an engaging talk on race biases and cultural integration, and are providing ongoing support to The Honor Foundation, hosting a cohort and discussing supporting transitioning veterans from the Special Operations Community.
These initiatives require support from throughout the company. Our leadership team believes in supporting these organizations financially but also enabling our employees to choose the organizations that resonate most with them, supporting the belonging culture for which we are striving.
Recruitment and Retention
Our recruitment team is consistently self-monitoring and evaluating external tools to ensure our efforts are reaching a diverse audience. We do that through the language used in our job descriptions using tools like Textio, which utilizes AI to analyze job descriptions and highlight inequities or unconscious biases. Leadership internal discussions occur on job requirements to evaluate if we’re unnecessarily excluding diverse backgrounds from applying based on unintentional barriers such as degree requirements. We actively research job boards that specialize in reaching the demographics we’re lacking within the security industry. Our intent is to ensure that our language and our jobs are being as inclusive as possible while attracting the maximum potential talent.
In 2021, we formally launched our internship program that recruits from colleges, universities, and trade schools across the country. By hosting 3-5 interns per year in various departments throughout the organization, we are able to not only provide great exposure for those considering entering the security industry, but also benefit from the fresh perspectives that these internships bring. We are also proud hosts of Skillbridge interns, having worked with most branches of the Department of Defense to host transitioning service members, providing them real-world experience and exposure for their next professional career. We are actively hiring for our internship program right now!
Outside of these diversification efforts inherently raising the bar internally and within the security industry, we know these efforts also help to attract – and retain – talent. Here’s what the data tells us:
- According to a recent study, 70 percent of job seekers consider diversity a factor in evaluating a prospective employer. That number is even higher among Gen Z job seekers7.
- Millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, said they would stay longer with firms that appreciate the demands of a diversified workforce8.
- Over one-third of workers also said they’d change jobs to join a more inclusive team9.
- 91% of employees intend to stay when working in a highly inclusive environment10
Inclusion includes employee wellness
Concentric is extremely proud of our top-shelf benefits package which includes 100 percent employer-paid medical and dental plans, 401k matching, generous PTO, and a monthly wellness stipend, among other details. Recently, we initiated an additional benefit through Maven which significantly subsidizes the cost of fertility treatments in addition to providing educational resources and immediate outreach to medical professionals. To ensure pay equality, Concentric works with Compensation Works to provide an external and unbiased perspective of pay bands for all of our roles based on job description and requirements. We also regularly poll our corporate and embedded employees to better understand how we’re doing in their eyes: are we walking the walk?
Our “Concentric Next Gen” program enables internal and external mentoring for the next generation of security leaders. We benefit from our Concentric leadership coming from high levels of the private and public sector including the DoD, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, law enforcement, and corporate private security companies. The inherent symbiotic relationship between the private and public security sectors benefits from the fostering of talent between the two. Concentric prioritizes supporting employees in their next career step through providing mentoring and professional development and has benefited repeatedly from Concentric employees coming back to us after enriching their experiences elsewhere! Our employees also participate in external mentoring programs to uplift the community including Girl Security, IOBSE, and The COMMIT Foundation.
We have demonstrated our commitment more recently with the creation of a Chief Impact Officer role. By not only acknowledging the benefit of the role but elevating it to the C-suite level, Concentric is clear in our commitment. Our Chief Impact Officer, Laura Hoffner, will be focused on synchronizing and expanding the ongoing efforts, identifying and vetting opportunities for increased impact, and communicating the impact both internally and externally using data and metrics. The first report will be in Concentric’s new Corporate Social and Environmental Report that will be released Q1 2024.
By no means is Concentric saying we’ve “figured it out”, but rather we know it’s worth prioritizing, supporting, and engaging in the conversation for the betterment of ourselves, our support to clients, and the industry as a whole.
- https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/climate-issues/human-security#:~:text=Climate%20change%20intensifies%20competition%20over,resources%20are%20getting%20increasingly%20scarce. ↩︎
- https://www.diversityinsustainability.com/why ↩︎
- https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/environmentalisms-racist-history ↩︎
- https://policyexchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/The-two-sides-of-diversity-2.pdf ↩︎
- https://www.asisonline.org/globalassets/foundation/documents/research/asis-foundation-dei-executive-summary.pdf ↩︎
- https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/94307-creating-a-diverse-and-inclusive-workplace-within-security ↩︎
- https://shiftelt.com/what-is-dei-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-company-culture/ ↩︎
- https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/deloitte-2020-millennial-survey.pdf ↩︎
- https://www.questionpro.com/diversity-equity-inclusion-study.html ↩︎
- https://www.kincentric.com/insights/inclusive-culture-study ↩︎