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20 GAME-CHANGING FOUNDERS OF COLOR

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OSCAR GOMEZ FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL, SOJOGO // SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA A first-generation Mexican-American, Oscar Gomez was the first of his family to attend college. Reflecting, Gomez realizes that his education and experience in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) truly began while earning his degree in international studies as one of the few Latinx students on Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus. His first job out of school was for a small nonprofit organization that worked on equity issues for migrant and seasonal farmworkers along the East Coast, and he’s been immersed in EDI issues ever since. After spending 25 years working in the community health field, 16 of which were as CEO of a national nonprofit, Gomez decided to move on to discover his next passion in life and circled back to EDI. In 2018, he launched SoJoGo, a company that partners and consults with purpose-driven organizations to deepen the impact of their EDI initiatives. The three syllables of the company’s name serve as tribute to his roots and his earliest inspiration, his parents Socorro and Jose Gomez. What role should business play in advancing racial equity? “To me, the whole Nike-Kaepernick advertising campaign provides an irrefutable business case for bringing a racial-equity lens and overall social consciousness to executive meetings and corporate board rooms. I’m sure those were incredibly difficult and challenging discussions within Nike headquarters. But in the end, it seems that Nike carefully looked at all the data about who its customer base would be for the next 30 years. As time goes on, this advertising campaign will seem less like a bold, strategic risk and more like smart, forward-thinking business. How can you argue against that decision when, within one month, Nike reported a record stock value to the tune of $6 billion, and Colin Kaepernick emerged as a civil rights leader and icon?” Advice for social entrepreneurs of color: “Seek out and build relationships with other leaders and entrepreneurs of color. Co-create mutually supportive spaces that promote vulnerability, empathy, and a sense of community. At the risk of sounding cliché, [these relationships] can lead to some powerful conversations and insights with a bit of healing in the process. Be intentional in seeking out diverse leaders of color — by gender identity, race/ethnic background, sexual orientation, and age — for those relationships. Explore, observe, and discuss the additional lenses through which you each experience your work and your intended social impact.”

Photo courtesy of Oscar Gomez

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Q2 / SPRING 2019

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CONSCIOUS COMPANY MAGAZINE

Profile for Conscious Company

Conscious Company Magazine | Spring 2019  

The Q2/Spring 2019 issue of Conscious Company is all about the racial wealth gap, diversity as a competitive differentiator, game-changing f...

Conscious Company Magazine | Spring 2019  

The Q2/Spring 2019 issue of Conscious Company is all about the racial wealth gap, diversity as a competitive differentiator, game-changing f...