Wild Animals

How diverse is the Wild Animal Initiative team? — Wild Animal Initiative


This spring, we surveyed our staff and board anonymously to assess the distribution of people who are generally underrepresented in science. We had to assess the diversity of our team to win Candid‘s platinum seal of the Transparency designation, which was the primary determinant of the survey’s timing. But we’ve been considering a survey like this for some time, hoping the results might help inform some of our internal efforts to be a fair and just organization.

All 17 of our staff and board members completed the survey, which asked questions about their race, gender, sexuality, age and disability status. We chose to focus on race, gender, and sexuality for this analysis blog post because questions about these identities were open-ended and received the most responses.

Wild Animal Initiative seeks to have a staff and board of directors whose identities in these categories are comparable to the general population of the United States. While acknowledging that this is not the perfect benchmark, we have chosen the United States population for comparison purposes, as most of our staff and Board of Directors are currently located in the United States. United. The small sample size of our current staff and Board of Directors makes it difficult to assess how we compare now in a statistically meaningful way. But as we grow, we can look at survey data each year and determine if we are getting closer to the composition of the reference population.


“How do you identify racially?”
Open answer


“What is your gender? »
Multiple choice

“Do you identify as the same gender as the one you were assigned at birth?”


“What is your love and/or sexual orientation? »
Open answer

How we will use the survey data

This year’s survey is the first step in our plan to continuously assess whether the Wild Animal Initiative is an inclusive and equitable workplace. We plan to repeat the survey every year.

The survey asked respondents to identify their role in the organization: individual contributor, people manager, director or board member. We can use these responses to track over time whether people with different life experiences feel they belong and equally thrive. For example, if too few people from underrepresented backgrounds hold leadership positions, or if the organization becomes more homogenous over time, this could indicate inequity.

We also plan to use this data to measure our success in recruiting people from different backgrounds. We want our staff to represent a plurality of perspectives and ways of thinking so that we can make the best possible decisions to improve wildlife welfare.

Improve the survey

As this was the first version of this diversity assessment, we also asked respondents for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

  • Five people expressed overall satisfaction with the questions.

  • No one gave negative feedback.

  • Several respondents suggested that we ask about additional identities. For example: nationality, mother tongue, immigration status and parental status.

  • A few respondents suggested different ways of wording certain questions or answers.

  • A few respondents suggested changes to the privacy/anonymity settings of the survey. No names or contact information were collected as part of the survey, but the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee was able to view individual response sets.

Prior to next year’s assessment, we intend to:

  • Find out how other scientific organizations measure and assess diversity.

  • Consider what additional categories we should include in the survey, based on under-representation in science.

  • Consider how and when to measure inclusion and belonging, whether in the same survey or separately.

If you have ideas on how to measure and improve representation in our organization, or have suggested readings you would like to share, please contact our Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at [email protected].


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