Kirstyn Nimmo on Fighting for Brand Allyship Through GOOD WORX

Photo: Kirstyn Nimmo.

( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Nimmo Is The Founder Of Social Innovation Consultancy GOOD WORX And Has Worked With Major Brands on Developing Anti-Racism And Allyship Programs

ENSPIRE Contributor: Re’Dreyona Walker

Having launched this past summer during the height of the nation’s fight for social and racial injustice, Black-owned social innovation consultancy GOOD WORX has been dedicated to ensuring that Black and communities of color are equally represented while building anti-racism programs and allyships with major brands.

Led by social impact strategist Kirstyn Nimmo, GOOD WORX has worked with major brands from the inside and out to ensure that they take the right steps towards racial equity. From understanding the history of each brand’s inclusion of the Black community to developing impactful allyship actions that move all communities of color forward. 

Photo: GOOD WORX logo.

Nimmo is an expert in brand purpose and social impact and has built several campaigns for brands that worked to shift cultural conversations and drive real impact prior to GOOD WORX—such as the White House-recognized #IAmAMan campaign for justice reform, the Maternity Morality campaign with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mental Health in the Wake of COVID-19 campaign with HBO.

Nimmo believes since the social justice protests last year stirred needed conversations, the nation is moving towards making better strides in 2021. With companies now partnering with GOOD WORX to develop brand inclusiveness, such as Yahoo and their new Yahoo Allyship Pledge, she wants to ensure that the momentum continues beyond 2021. 

Photo: Kirstyn Nimmo

“The racial justice movements have created an environment where more brands are ready to focus on allyship and anti-racism,” Nimmo said. “Since the launch of GOOD WORX, we’ve supported several brand partners with accomplishing internal work prior to taking external allyship actions, and are in discussions with new clients to launch allyship campaigns.”

Nimmo spoke with ENSPIRE Magazine on what moment inspired her to create GOOD WORX, the steps she takes to ensure racial equity through allyship and anti-racism programs, how she thinks her efforts have impacted Black and brown communities and how future brands can ensure they are socially and racially inclusive of all people.

What exact moment during the height of the nation’s fight against social and racial injustice led you to create GOOD WORX?

Kirstyn:In the wake of the 2020 racial justice protests, as people stood up for Black lives on a global scale, I was quarantined in Brooklyn, NY and emotionally exhausted from the pain my community was enduring. While toggling between news footage and conversations with members in my social media network, I clearly saw a huge need for education about the Black experience in America. 

That was the moment when I recognized the role that I could play in helping the country move forward. I decided to evolve my social impact consulting practice into a social innovation consultancy with deep expertise in allyship and anti-racism—concepts that I had always been applying to my work! I made a pact with myself by:

  • Promising that I would use my professional expertise to continue to drive equity, equality and opportunity for the Black community, especially now that the world was recognizing the urgency of the issues facing our community. 
  • Emphasizing that Black people needed to lead the narrative about our demands to a country that has long undervalued our inherent value, talent and contributions. (To support this, GOOD WORX launched a Creator Network and is growing a community of leading Black creators that we tap as we take on clients, ensuring those creating program content are authentically connected to the Black experience in America.)
  • Promising that Black people would profit from these efforts to support wealth generation for the Black community. (The Black leaders and creators we work with are paid for their talent and contributions – we wouldn’t  have it any other way.)

And with that, GOOD WORX was born.

GOOD WORX has recently partnered with Yahoo on developing the #YahooAllyshipPledge—which is a six-month immersive education program built to prepare nonprofit, business and cultural leaders for a more socially responsible future. What kind of strategies do you implement when working with these brands on ensuring they take the right step towards racial equity?

Kirstyn:We begin our work with clients with our Brand Purpose Audit—which will help them understand where they stand regarding social impact and what opportunities are available to them as a result of their current position.

We then guide partners through our five-step allyship mindset to ensure they are taking steps that can lead to real and lasting change. Our process emphasizes education, accountability, navigating discomfort, developing measurable goals and continuing to optimize as clients learn.

Our team curates this approach to each client to ensure that the resulting work, which is typically a campaign, training/employee program or brand building assignment fits their brand identity and goals.

What exactly does the anti-racism and allyship programs entail to ensure equality? Who is responsible for making sure they are followed properly?

Kirstyn:In building allyship solutions, these two metrics are the most important to GOOD WORX to ensure impact and equality: 

  • REPRESENTATION: GOOD WORX puts leading Black voices in front of and behind the camera. Our partnership with Yahoo includes Dr. Cornel West, Sonya Renee Taylor, Frederick Joseph and more), and was built by an all-Black creative team (including video editors, producers, motion graphic designers and more).  
  • IMPACT: GOOD WORX builds data-backed strategies and believes in the power of metrics. Actionable impact is at the heart of our allyship programs and we’re constantly tracking campaign performance to ensure actions are being taken. For example, in honor of Black History Month, the Yahoo Allyship Pledge will focus on the inequality of Black History education across the United States’ school systems and will be helping Yahoo’s community understand their state’s education requirements, demand changes, start Black Lives Matter at School chapters, and more. Allyship is only impactful when it is actionable!

By ensuring the Black community is leading this conversation and actions are being taken for impact, GOOD WORX is creating progress toward increased equity for the Black community. The GOOD WORX team is available to all clients to ensure programs are implemented in a way that resonates for the communities they aim to support and to manage measurement to confirm success.

How do you think your efforts in creating change through programs and ally ships will impact Black and brown communities in being equally represented?

Kirstyn: “Through our campaign work, we elevate Black and brown voices and expose them to audiences that are unfamiliar with them. For example, the Yahoo Allyship Pledge reaches Yahoo’s 800MM+ unique monthly visitors (many in places that lack diversity) and is bringing the voices of Dr. Cornel West, Sonya Renee Taylor, Frederick Joseph and more to many Americans that are not often confronted with views similar to what these leaders typically express.

Through our employee programs, training and workshops, we elevate the Black and brown employee experience, identifying opportunities to promote these diverse talents and helping non-Black team members understand how they can be allies to their Black and brown coworkers. 

Finally, companies have the opportunity to exponentially influence culture. By shifting internal culture at organizations, and partnering with brands to share messages of equality and equity for Black and brown communities, we’re able to inspire and impact change in the US and beyond.

With having years of experience in social impact strategy, how do you think future brands can ensure they are inclusive of the Black and brown community?

Kirstyn:To ensure inclusivity of the Black and Brown community, I have three initial suggestions:

  • Take a look at your teams. Are they inclusive, across disciplines and across levels? Once that is complete, those team members will ensure Black and Brown perspectives and consumers are taken into account across the operation.
  • Speak up. Consumers spend money with brands that are aligned with their values. Be vocal about the issues that your brand is committed to and use your influence to create change in issues that underrepresented communities face. Ensure those areas are issues your brand can commit to long-term. 
  • Acknowledge blindspots. Create opportunities for Black and Brown members of your team to contribute to inclusivity efforts — many companies do this through ERG or affinity groups. However, do not place the responsibility of that work on Black and Brown members of your teams. Instead, rely on a social impact company with a proven expertise (like GOOD WORX!) Once your support team is in motion, be open to learning how your brand can improve and put metrics in place to help you track your progress!