As an agency, Mad Fish Digital believes that a diverse workforce offering equitable opportunities with an inclusive culture makes our work the best it can be. The fact is, though, humans are not intrinsically predisposed to build inclusive and equitable cultures. In this blog, we’re talking about how we’ve intentionally changed our hiring practices and culture to drive improvements in our EDI  efforts. 

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are all important to work culture. But let’s talk about what those words actually mean.


Equity means providing the things each individual needs to succeed. This differs from equality, which is giving everyone the same thing. By understanding that not everyone starts from the same place, we’re able to support people as individuals and provide customized support. 


Diversity means a diverse set of individuals. Race, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, economic background, schooling, disability, and more are all at play when building a diverse set of individuals on a team. It’s also important to remember that each individual on your team is diverse. They bring together a unique set of experiences and attributes that provide personal and individual perspectives to their work. 


Inclusion at Mad Fish is providing a safe space for folks to work. Whether it’s voicing opinions, socializing, or getting work done, we always want the space to be welcoming and respectful for all individuals. 

Where we started

While Mad Fish set out with a mindset to create a work environment where anyone could perform to their best potential, we were not building processes or growing our team with an intentional eye on how those actions met higher standards of diversity, equity or inclusion. Discrimination and nepotism have never been tolerated, however, we recognized that not doing something potentially damaging and hurtful wasn’t the same as actively working to make ourselves better. 

Our EDI efforts so far as a marketing agency

When we were learning about B Corps, we were also learning about EDI  work. We knew about measurement and reporting, as well as the importance of transparency from some of our partners, such as Struck and Buffer. Through trial and error, we created a poll to start measuring our demographics, as well as set targets for improving our policies. 

In addition, we decided it was time to start learning from other folks in person. We signed up a couple of our team members for a workshop facilitated by EDI  experts. These workshops taught crafting inclusion statements, bystander training, and how to have the tough conversations that come with this work.

Getting comfortable with discomfort

When we started our efforts, it was a little uncomfortable. Equity, aka giving some folks more support than others to succeed, tends to make people defensive. The important thing to remember through the process is that this work attempts to level the playing field and improve the experience for everyone in an organization.

When you’re able to explain to your team how this works (you can always use the popular diversity is being invited to the party, equity is being asked to dance analogy) they can start to reframe equity and equality in their minds. This helps you make equity a quintessential part of your EDI  efforts and invites everyone to participate in making your workplace more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. 

How we set our goals and use data to improve

As data-driven marketers, we knew just hoping our company would get more equitable, inclusive, and diverse wasn’t going to make it happen. A deck with aspirational ideas wasn’t going to make it happen. We’re performance-driven marketers who know only hard work and investment could make a difference. 

Ultimately, we know that equity is great for our growth. Here are just a few ways a diverse team will help your business.


Did you know companies with diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue than those without? It isn’t just the right thing to do for people, it’s crucial for profits. 


Innovation is one of our company values. The fact is, inclusive teams are more innovative. They feel more comfortable and safe, and thus are willing to take the risks that facilitate big ideas. 

Ethically Diverse Teams Outperform Competitors


While collaboration and growth are important, we always want to help our clients outperform their competition. A great way to do that? You guessed it: a diverse team. Companies with ethnically diverse teams outperform competitors by 35%

Here are a few of the steps we’ve taken, and a few of the goals we’ve set: 

Goal: Reaching the same demographic makeup in our office as in our city. 

Tactic: We’re setting in place hiring measures that recruit outside of referral networks and white/cisgender-dominated hiring sites. In addition, we’ve completely changed our hiring process to focus on values and eliminated “culture fit” questions, check our job descriptions with a language bias tool, and are motivated to continue modifying and refining our process to make it more inclusive and equitable. 

Goal: Improve employee experience and ensure our values are lived. 

Tactic: With accountability, collaboration, and genuineness being three of our agency values, we want to ensure they aren’t just words on a wall. We want folks to feel they’re indicative of the experience they have in the organization. To do this, we’ve instituted peer reviews and employee surveys through OfficeVibe to see how well we’re living up to an inclusive workplace. 

Goal: To ensure we all have working knowledge within the organization about our goals and DEI work. 

Tactic: Training held by accomplished facilitators who can open up the conversation and grow our understandings. It also gets our team more prepared to have the tough and often uncomfortable conversations that come with this work. Recently, we worked with 11:11 Supply and really enjoyed the experience. 

Goal: Make our EDI efforts known and understood within the community. 

Tactic: Crafting our inclusion statement, joining the B Corp movement, pro bono efforts for organizations that help underrepresented groups, and our accountability reporting

Where we want to be

As a 71% women-led organization (in an industry that averages 3% female leadership) we’re proud of how far we’ve come. However, we’re a predominantly white agency in a predominantly white state with a history of institutionalized racism. Mad Fish Digital is committed to building a more racially diverse and inclusive workplace for black, indigenous, and people of color. 

We’re still learning. This work isn’t easy or done because of a session or inclusion statement. It’s ongoing and seeks to dismantle institutional bias. Getting everyone on board has helped us build a more equitable structure, but we have to work at continuous implementation and improvement to make real change in our industry. Every member of our team has to be committed. Whether it’s recruiting methods, internal audits, or external training and communication, we’re proud to see how far we’ve come but know we’ll never be done.