Celebrating a year of learning and growth

Elise Smith, Co-founder & CEO

Elise Smith, Co-founder & CEO

In April 2021, we launched our flagship learning journey, Pivotal Experiences. We were just 7 people who shared a mission for making society more equitable. And since raising our Series A last fall, we’ve seen some incredible growth. 

In what has felt like a blink of an eye, we’ve gone from 2 to 10 enterprise clients, 0 to over 5,000 learners, and 7 to over 40 diverse and brilliant people who make up our team.

We’re incredibly proud and excited about the progress we’ve made and the opportunities to drive a truly equitable and inclusive future of work with our clients, learners, and partners. 

Praxis Labs Team Retreat
The Praxis Labs team gathered in person for our April 2022 retreat.

Pioneering a new future for DEIJ training

By now, we’ve all seen articles and studies that say diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) trainings don’t work. We wanted to build a something different.

We reached out to experts in behavior change, social psychology, learning design, and DEIJ to inform our course content and product development. That’s how me and my Co-founder Heather Shen came up with our immersive learning solution, Praxis Labs: an end-to-end listening, learning, and actioning platform that builds the empathy and confidence in every employee so they can identify and address incidents of bias when they happen. 

Our clients are doing just that. As Lara Avisov, senior diversity and inclusion business partner at Uber, shares, “The Praxis Labs learning platform gives learners a research-backed experience that allows them to be successful in not only recalling and integrating their learning, but doing so in a way that impacts their day to day activities and in the work they do.” 

More than 80% of learners across leading brands like Google, Uber, and Ebay feel more confident in identifying and taking action against bias. Another 84% see how Pivotal Experiences has deepened their empathy and understanding of historically underrepresented groups (HUGs). 

Driving outcomes through behavior change

This growth is made possible by our theory of behavior change. Through radical self-awareness and perspective-taking, learners gain a deep understanding of the systemic nature of workplace power and privilege, and the interpersonal dynamics that sustain inequity. 

“Now we’re able to leverage technology to understand the perspective of a marginalized person experiencing bias in the workplace,” explains Abraham Gin, senior manager of DEI at ServiceNow, on WorkLife with Adam Grant. “Praxis Labs’ immersive learning didn’t just elicit emotions and just keep it there, it gave me opportunities to take action.” Within our immerse environments learners practice making decisions that directly impact workplace equity and inclusion.

When learners understand that they can effect change, it empowers them to make a difference both in and outside the platform. Beyond equipping learners with the resources, skills, and support they need to take action, we hope to recognize and validate the experiences of people who systemically encounter workplace bias every day.

“Praxis Labs’ immersive learning didn’t just elicit emotions and just keep it there, it gave me opportunities to take action.

Abraham Gin, Senior Manager of DEI at ServiceNow, on WorkLife with Adam Grant

Scaling our product and team 

In October 2021, we announced our Series A, led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective. Since then, we’ve been scaling our platform, expanding our learning library, and growing our team. Here are some key developments:

  • Employee lifecycle curriculums: our courses take learners through scenarios where they practice responding to incidents of bias during core employee lifecycle milestones like interviewing and hiring, performance evaluation, project delegation, and more. Since our launch, we’ve added six more learning modules spanning neurodiversity, pay equity, and gender-affirming pronoun usage. We are continuing to add to our library with “just-in-time” training, additional people manager and soft skills training, and more opportunities to practice inclusive leadership. 
  • Driving Business ROI: our Pivotal Insights dashboard aggregates learner data to provide administrators with actionable insights and targeted interventions to improve workplace diversity and inclusion. Beyond our learner and client dashboards, we’re partnering with our clients to prove the business value of investing in our learning journeys as it pertains to employee engagement, inclusion, and long term retention.
  • Hiring: we have open positions throughout our company. Join us on our mission to build more equitable and inclusive workplaces. 

Meet our new executives

Praxis Labs exists to build more equitable and inclusive organizations, and that starts with building our own. We’ve added two new members to our leadership team who bring the functional and leadership expertise to take our company to even greater heights. 

Sabrina Ronningen joins us as Head of Client Impact where she is building out Praxis Labs’ Client Impact Function and Operations. Sabrina is a tenured client impact leader, bringing a depth of experience in Talent Management, Professional Consulting, and Client Delivery in SaaS organizations to our team. Sabrina serves on the client advisory board at Involve.Ai and joins us from the employee engagement space, where she spent the last five years leading and scaling Glint’s Client Success team, which was acquired by LinkedIn/Microsoft in 2018. She takes a data-driven approach to Client Success and believes that client intelligence is the future of the function. In addition to her career in SaaS, Sabrina is a proud mother, an advocate for fairness and justice, and an active leadership coach and mentor in the CSM community. Sabrina believes that leading with authenticity, transparency, and equitability is the path to a more diverse and inclusive world.

Theresa Vu joins us as Chief Technology Officer. In this role, she leads the engineering teams in their mission to build impactful DEIJ learning solutions that can scale at the enterprise level. As an executive, Theresa specializes in leading teams and platforms through eras of hyper-growth and loves to be at the intersection of technology, art, and social justice. Formerly, she worked at AppNexus where she built the now largest independent ad tech platform in the world and grew her initial team of one into an engineering org of 500. When she is not focusing on technology, Tvu is part of the hip hop group Magnetic North & Taiyo Na, whose album “Home:Word” hit #3 on the Japanese hip hop charts. 

Praxis Labs leadership team
Praxis Labs Leadership Team (from left to right: Sabrina Ronningen, Heather Shen, Elise Smith, and Theresa Vu).

We’re expanding our leadership team with open roles in Sales and Finance

Expressing gratitude

Given the current climate and deep divisions in society, we believe that building empathy and understanding of others’ perspectives, as well as a knowledge of how to intervene in the moment, is vital to increasing equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. Our clients are proof that we can all make our workplaces — and ultimately, society — more equitable and inclusive.

We’re so grateful for our clients, our learners, our team, and our investors who inspire and energize us on our mission. 

It’s for you that we keep building. 

Interested in Praxis Labs training?