Increasing Equity and Diversity, “Shark Tank” Style

Beyond the day-to-day meetings, tasks, and projects interns are assigned, they are also increasing equity and diversity in the cycling industry through a summer-long group project.

At QBP, every employee is working towards a greater purpose. Whether it’s a distribution center employee packing new products to ship to a bike shop, an engineer and industrial designer collaborating on a new bike design, or the sales team designing a new strategy to reach more retailers, every employee has an active role in getting more butts on bikes. The 2019 interns are no exception.

Beyond the day-to-day meetings, tasks, and projects interns are assigned, they’re also responsible for helping increase equity and diversity in the cycling industry through a summer-long group project. The project consists of research on industry barriers, idea development of a realistic way to reduce those barriers, and a 15-minute “Shark Tank” style idea pitch on something QBP could do to increase equity and diversity.

To kick off the project, a brainstorm session was held to identify the biggest barriers to entry in the cycling industry. Barriers like time, money, knowledge, safe areas to bike, access to youth programming, and misconstrued stereotypes are just a few of many reasons why someone may not be able to get on a bike. The group was split into three smaller groups and got to work on choosing which barrier they wanted to help tackle.

“Choosing the barrier that we wanted to tackle was difficult – there are many ways our group felt we could help get butts on bikes. At the end of the day though, we had to be realistic and recognize that even just one small change can make a big impact” – Kristina Swenson, Social Media intern.

Over the course of 8 weeks, each group developed a central focus on how a program, event, or campaign could realistically be implemented at QBP to help break down some of the industry barriers. The groups were assigned a stakeholder (employee) at QBP who, based on their prior experience and current role, would be able to offer advice and ultimately buy-in to the pitch so it could be implemented in the future.

“It is really helpful to have someone who has deep knowledge and rich experience as an adviser for our pitch. Our stakeholder lets us know that what we are doing won't just end up as what could've been, but something that is going to be.” - Suk Tsendjav, IT intern

While this project provides QBP three unique ways it can continue breaking down barriers to entry in the cycling industry, it also provides interns with valuable group project experience at work.

“We wanted to challenge you to work with people who have different values, different work styles, and different priorities. This is a lifelong skill. You won’t always get to pick your partners in work projects, but you will need to figure out how to work with them” – Kim Marek, Vendor Sales Manager and 2019 Intern Coordinator.

The intern pitches for 2019 focused on reducing barriers for women, adaptive cyclists, and those applying for jobs in the cycling industry without prior industry experience. While creating more equity and diversity in the cycling industry isn’t easy, it’s important work that needs to be done.

“Cycling, with all the types and styles of bicycles, should be a super accessible sport for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. QBP, because of its position in the industry, has an opportunity to help make that happen.” - Michelle Johnson, Legal intern

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