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Diversity Is the Only Way Forward

René, Founders for Change

I grew up in a home where both my parents and my grandparents were working together on businesses as equal partners. My mom and my grandma’s points of view and contributions carried as much weight as my dad or grandad’s—perhaps even more. Witnessing the dynamics of these partnerships, I saw the value of men and women working together and approaching problems from different perspectives.

At my company, I find the best problem-solving comes from teams composed of people from diverse backgrounds. If every member of a team comes from a similar origin, the dialogue is centered around a set of common experiences. As a result, the team’s thinking rarely goes beyond the obvious. This stifles creativity.

Diversity in gender, race or ethnicity, religious background, region of upbringing, or political beliefs all contribute to making a team more effective. This effectiveness is a result of bringing different experiences and perspectives to the table. When solving problems, the more viewpoints the better. At Bill.com, this means we are more likely to build something that connects with our customers—who are naturally diverse.

The #MeToo movement has shed light on the discrimination and harassment in many industries, and that has been a great catalyst for change. Over the last few years, there have been a number of high profile cases of discrimination and harassment in the tech industry and in the Silicon Valley community. These events have reminded me how important it is to push for increasing diversity in the tech industry, especially in leadership positions, whether at a venture capital firm or in an executive role.

It is unacceptable to think that we can’t have more diversity, giving women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups a seat at the table. It is especially unacceptable to think we can’t have more diversity in tech. With this in mind, I like many other executives in Silicon Valley, have joined Founders for Change.

Founders for Change is a coalition of industry leaders that believe in a more diverse and inclusive workplace in tech. The group of over 700 founders and CEOs is dedicated to having diverse teams and boards. Industry-wide change starts on the funding level, so, when provided with a choice of investment partners in the future, members of the coalition are dedicated to making the diversity of an investment firm an important consideration.

Now is the time to ditch the boys club and embrace the thinking and experiences of all when it comes to filling leadership positions in our economy. It is time to encourage our industry to change for the better. Greater diversity leads to better business with better ideas and more successful company cultures. Joining this coalition will continue to enhance the voice for change and will serve as a reminder to those who I work with at Bill.com and elsewhere that we can make a difference. I learned from my folks that one of the best leadership tools available is leading by example. It’s time for the tech community to proactively lead and bring more diversity into the community.  

April 24, 2018
René Lacerte
CEO and Founder, Bill.com
René founded Bill.com in 2006, bringing with him more than 20 years experience in the finance, software and payments industries. He is a fourth generation entrepreneur and holds a MS in Industrial Engineering and a BS in Quantitative Economics from Stanford University.