Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) are foundational to our company.
To spark positive change, bolster employee resiliency, and strengthen our community, DIB is embedded across company programs. Our approach comprises investing in the next generation of diverse talent, increasing representation of our existing workforce, cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging, and advancing and retaining employees.
We’re designing for a future of work that is boundaryless. We believe our talent and our communities are one ecosystem. If each of us is intentional about our actions, we’ll create an environment that fuels a more equitable and inclusive future.
— Linda Rogers, Chief People Officer
Fostering Diverse Talent, Now and in the Future
We support science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education initiatives aimed at students from primary to university education. Through financial investments and skills-based employee engagement, we encourage diverse voices from the next generation to discover how the power of storytelling unites an audience in a shared human experience.
Through our Social Impact Team and The Dolby Institute, we bring technical and creative educational content to students from underrepresented backgrounds and provide educators with industry exposure and technical skills development. This enhances curriculum and provides diverse students the skills needed to enter the creative, entertainment, and technology workforce.
In 2022, we continued our investments and partnerships with organizations focused on underrepresented populations, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions, and nonprofit organizations to help develop the next generation of diverse talent.
Two of our most impactful programs were reaching over 500 HBCU students in partnership with HBCU 20x20 to explore how we can support their job search challenges and uncover employment barriers and launching the first cohort of the Dolby Graduate Onramp (GO), a program that brings early career professionals of underrepresented ethnic/racial identities to Dolby as full-time employees.
Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging
Creating a community where individual perspectives are welcomed, where everyone feels a sense of inclusion and belonging, and where we’re united in building awareness and strengthening connections, requires participation from all of our employees.
Dolby’s 14 global Employee Networks (ENs) represent multiple dimensions of diversity, with a common purpose of building a community of allies that inspire one another to thrive personally and professionally. Our Employee Networks play a leadership role in guiding the company’s development of practices and initiatives to advance diversity, inclusion, and belonging within our workplace and in our communities.
Dolby’s 14 ENs include: WE focused on Women's Empowerment, Men+ Allyship Network for men who want to improve allyship skills, Spectrum supporting LGBT+, PAX focused on the Pan-Asian Experience, Obsidian for our employees who are Black or of African descent, Mundo for our Latinx/Hispanic community, DIVE – our Dolby’s Indigenous Voices Elevated group, the Anti-Racism Community, Path for new and early-career employees, the Parents Network, INxS: Inclusion at Sydney for our Australian office, a regional network for EMEA, one for China, and AGAPE for Dolby’s Christian community. Our EN program is global, representing each region in addition to other dimensions of diversity.
“When the employee networks started, you saw a shift in Dolby’s culture. People were more engaged, more friendly. Now, you get to know people from other departments and have exposure to even more diverse ideas and experiences. There’s always something fun and meaningful happening, and it is all driven by the employees.”
– Kelsey McIntosh, Co-Leader of WE, Senior Data Analyst, Intellectual Property Protection
To foster more allyship and connection with our underrepresented communities, in 2022, we welcomed our newest group, the Men+ Allyship Network, which focuses on exploring men’s roles as allies in diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
Mentoring is an important component for our Employee Networks. In 2022, participation in Obsidian’s (our Black Employee Network) and WE’s (our Women’s Empowerment Employee Network) annual mentorship programs increased significantly.
Dolby Australia has created a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to affirm our commitment to build strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, providing a framework to be inclusive in our work, and contribute to national reconciliation.
As a leader in technological innovation and consumer experience, we recognize our responsibility extends well beyond our office walls. We take our presence in the communities in which we live and work seriously and are continually striving to find new ways to inspire and support the next generation of diverse creators, builders, and innovators.
Our most significant efforts focus on establishing more opportunities for the talent of the future—from investing science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education to early recruitment and hiring. We have long-standing partnerships with several community organizations in which we provide financial grants, technological support, and volunteer time to increase equity in education and opportunity.
“Time and time again, Dolby has demonstrated its commitment to advancing Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) through not only its financial contributions but also its leadership of other corporations, trust in our expertise, and willingness to think outside of the box. Much of WAM’s success in recent years has been because Dolby believed in us.”
– Terri Winston, WAM’s Founder and Executive Director
In 2022, we increased the representation of women at the company globally, as well as women in leadership roles. Additionally, in the United States, we increased representation amongst employees from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups.
Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are a journey. We’re committed to expanding our efforts, drawing on our successes and learnings, and challenging ourselves to accelerate progress toward a more equitable world.
Dolby GO Program
Dolby GO 2022 Cohort
Created in 2022, the Dolby Graduate Onramp (GO) Program brought early career professionals from underrepresented communities to Dolby in full-time engineering and sales positions. The employees are provided resources to support them in launching their careers, including mentoring, educational sessions on interpersonal effectiveness, leadership, financial literacy and addressing unconscious bias, as well as social and community engagement opportunities. The program also engages managers, who participate in an equitable leadership program to better understand the barriers employees from different backgrounds may face.
Keon Jukes, a Dolby GO participant, reflected that there are a lot of spaces where people from non-traditional or marginalized backgrounds feel like they don’t belong, and that having a group of people that can relate to each other is impactful and reassures everyone that they do belong.
Anita Stokes, Senior University Relations Manager is proud of the company’s commitment to going beyond a surface level early career leadership program and is excited about growing and evolving the Dolby GO program in the future.
"This strategy is forward thinking—I really like that Dolby is taking a stand and making it a priority to support employees from backgrounds like mine to give us an opportunity and help retain us."
— Keon Jukes, Associate Software Engineer and Dolby GO participant
Obsidian Partnership with Oakland Museum of California
Dolby’s Employee Networks are a critical component of our journey to foster a more welcoming, inclusive, and culturally aware professional community. They play a key role as advocates for our technology by connecting artists and content creators of every medium with the tools to share their stories as they’re meant to be told. Nearly a year in the making, Mothership: Voyage into Afrofuturism launched as a new collaborative exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California and was concepted and sponsored in part by Obsidian, the Black Employee Network at Dolby, in partnership with the Dolby Institute and our Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging team.
"The thing about sound is, even though we can’t touch it, it touches us.” – Creative Flutist & Composer, Nicole Mitchel
Celebrating the power of Black imagination and honoring the past, present, and future through a Black cultural lens, this exhibit brought together visionary artists and futurists across a variety of mediums. The exhibit included works by more than 50 artists, contemplating science, technology, and forward-thinking ideas about race and gender in a wide variety of media. One section, “Dawn,” was devoted to famed science fiction author Octavia Butler and her ideas on race, politics, morality, and feminism.
As visitors entered through planetarium-like mural by San Francisco artist Sydney Cain, they were immersed in a soundscape created by award-winning jazz flutist Nicole Mitchell. With a helping hand from Dolby's Ellis Reid, John Scanlon, and Drew Walcott, Dolby Atmos was employed in the installation to surround the listener in the resonances of African, African American, and Black culture. As Mitchell puts it, she wanted to make a sonic experience “that explores gentle aspects of Black life and joy as a way to bring people into the space.”
“Properly executed, technology is like magic.” – Leader of Obsidian, the Black Employee Network at Dolby, Ellis Reid
Learn more about this unique collaboration and go behind-the-scenes at the Oakland Museum of California’s Mothership: Voyage into Afrofuturism here.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan
The artwork “Sounds of Home” by Dennis Golding, a Kamilaroi and Gamilaraay artist, was commissioned by Dolby specifically for the RAP, to illustrate the way in which sound is visualized through traditional Indigenous motifs of place, culture and objects.
Dolby Australia has created a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to affirm our commitment to build strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, provide a framework to be inclusive in our work, and contribute to national reconciliation. Facilitated and endorsed through Reconciliation Australia, Dolby’s RAP endcaps the “Reflect” stage of considering Dolby’s role in supporting a vision of a reconciled Australia. Starting with a commitment in September 2019, our RAP Working Group of a dozen Dolby Australia employees launched our completed RAP in November 2021. The RAP includes a wide swath of actions, including establishing more opportunities for the talent of the future - from investing in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education to early career recruitment and hiring. In addition, our Employee Networks showcase and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous peoples in Australia through NAIDOC week, National Reconciliation Week, and beyond, as well as highlight Indigenous experiences around the world, through initiatives and events attended by employees globally. Through these efforts, we are supporting pathways to success for employment, partnership, representation and acknowledgement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Click here to read the Reconciliation Action Plan.
According to Tim Neal, General Manager of Dolby Australia, “With this first RAP we have a particular focus on organizational learning and relationship building. We are also looking to explore two specific areas of focus in STEAM education and content creation. We are keen to encourage the next generation of First Nations scientists and technologists. Likewise, we seek to encourage the next generation of First Nations storytellers, and content creators to grow and develop in their craft so that our nation and others will benefit from hearing their voices.”
Dolby CEO’s Kevin Yeaman speaks to the importance of this work as well. “At Dolby, we recognize that what we do and how we work both matter. Through this effort and the establishment of our Indigenous Peoples employee network, we join in creating conversation around First Nations and listening and learning about the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This is the beginning of our journey and I’m looking forward to Dolby being a part of a dialogue to create positive change."
Originally from the Midwest, Kelsey arrived at the Bay Area in 2014 and quickly found a job at Dolby. "Even though my background was in accounting and economics," Kelsey shared, "I've always loved movies and music, so Dolby's mission resonated with me."
As a Senior Data Analyst in the Intellectual Property Protection group, Kelsey works to enforce Dolby's licensing compliance and protect the Dolby brand. “In other words,” she joked, “I spend a lot of time with numbers and spreadsheets.”
Kelsey has also been an active participant in many of the Employee Networks (ENs) since their founding. “It’s a great way to get to know people you might not meet otherwise and engage with Dolby’s diverse culture. Mundo, our EN for our Latinx community, hosted Spanish lessons, and PAX, our EN for our communities of Asian descent, hosted Mandarin lessons taught by a Dolby employee. And, hands down, the Lunar New Year and Diwali celebrations hosted by PAX are the most popular and anticipated EN activities of the year, so I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to volunteer at and be a part of those events. I appreciate that the ENs are inclusive to anyone who wants to participate, so employees have the chance to learn about cultures and perspectives outside of those they personally identify with.”
Still, Kelsey's primary involvement has been with the Women's Empowerment (WE) network—first as a member, then as part of the professional development committee, and finally, as a co-lead. "I'm on a team of mostly men, so being involved in the women's network provides a different environment for me at work," she explained. "I have the opportunity to gain new skills and experiences. I get to participate in planning and strategy for WE and be creative with events and marketing materials, all while developing my executive presence and public speaking skills. Also, it's just fun to work with such a great group of women."
As part of WE’s mission, the group strives to create a space for employees to discuss the unique challenges women face in the workplace. "It’s so important to hear from other women about their experiences and know that you're not alone," Kelsey shared. "Because it's not just at Dolby—technology, in general, is very male-dominated. Women across the industry and at other companies share and face similar challenges, so having the space to talk openly about them is crucial."
Most of WE's initiatives focus on creating professional development opportunities for female employees. "We host formal and informal discussion groups, training programs, and speakers on women's leadership, mentorship, goal setting, and confidence-building. We had a professor from Stanford come and speak about negotiations because it’s such an important topic for women to understand and address—not only in the hiring process but in negotiating raises and promotions."
The group also runs company-wide campaigns, celebrates International Women’s Day, and continues to grow its influence with Dolby leadership and expand its contribution to product design and strategy decisions.
When asked what’s next for WE, Kelsey said the group is planning to focus even more on intersectionality. "We are this dimension of diversity that spans other ENs. And we include a very diverse population within ourselves. We want to make sure we continue to include more women of color and elevate as many female voices within Dolby as possible."
When Dolby moved its headquarters to the Mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco in 2015, the company worked to forge relationships within its new community. One of those became a meaningful and long-lasting partnership with Women's Audio Mission (WAM), a non-profit dedicated to women's advancement in the audio and recording arts industry.
As Terri Winston, WAM’s Founder and Executive Director, shared, fewer than five percent of those who make up the world of audio, imaging, and voice technologies are women—and for women of color, the number is significantly lower. "Without women being at the table when these messages are being created,” Winston explained, “We're missing out on over half the population's points of view, ideas, and perspectives. So equipping these girls from vulnerable populations with this hands-on training is going to radically change what we listen to every day."
Notably, WAM’s studios are the only professional recording studios in the world built and run by women and gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals.
As Joan Scott, Senior Director of Social Impact & Sustainability, said, the partnership between WAM and Dolby was natural. "Women's Audio Mission was a perfect blend of what we were looking for in a partner. Their goal is to ensure that girls, women and gender non-conforming individuals, especially those from underrepresented groups, have a role in the creation of the content we consume daily, and Dolby is committed to supporting diverse content creators and storytellers.”
To date, Dolby has provided nearly $750,000 in grants to WAM with a focus on expansion efforts and their Girls on the Mic Program (GOTM), a groundbreaking after-school training and mentoring program serving 1,400+ San Francisco Bay Area girls and gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals every year with free creative technology and digital media production training. 96% of those who participate in GOTM come from low-income families, and 92% are Black, Indigenous, girls of color.
Even more than financial contributions, WAM and Dolby are continually finding new and creative ways to work together. Over the past five years, Dolby has hired over 20 WAM graduates in part-time positions, and one in a full-time position within our Advanced Technology Group scientific assessment program, and diverse Dolby employees also serve on WAM's board.
Because of its unique partnership with WAM, Dolby now boasts an entirely balanced 50/50 gender demographic for test subjects, making it one of the only companies that can consistently provide data and feedback from female subjects.
In addition to hosting benefit concerts, sponsoring WAM’s conferences, and donating audio and computer equipment and accessories, Dolby has recently provided technical assistance to WAM as they upgrade their recording studios with the latest immersive audio technology.
"As we look to the future of our partnership with Dolby," Winston said, "One thing remains clear, you just can’t ask for better partner when you are dreaming big, taking risks and truly creating a better world for women, gender non-conforming individuals and girls, especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color in the professional audio and tech sectors. Dolby really gets what it takes to create lasting change.”