A Cultural Style Guide (with Anna Schaum of Straub Collaborative)

Anna Schaum

Anna Schaum
Director of Ecosocial Development

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Podcast Episode 67


DEI has been a topic on this podcast before, we've recorded 3 episodes on the topic with Jessica Lopez in episode 52, with Karen Williams in Episode 47, and way back in episode 8 with Clair Carter-Ginn. While we were recording the live the episode at the Henry Stewart Photo Studio ops event in New York, we heard again during the Q&A session that this topic is still top of mind for many studio professionals. After our recording session in NY, Marc Katzin of Straub Collaborative told Daniel about an effort that Straub was undertaking, a cultural style guide that defines DEI for Straub. Marc put Daniel in contact with Anna Schaum and they sat down to discuss this document, and what Straub is doing supports DEI efforts across the organization, and how it impacts each employees' day to day.

Key Takeaways

  • Straub Collaborative has been developing a "Culture Style Guide" since 2020 to help guide the cultural values of Straub and its employees.
  • The process truly started in 2016 with the presidential election in the United States. The result of that election was a significant departure for contemporary American politics and created a lot of feelings in people across the political spectrum.
  • Straub noticed tensions in the workplace increasing, and experienced an uptick in negative interactions.
  • Anna's background as a therapist helped her identify the need to give the team at Straub tools they could use to communicate and interact more effectively.
  • As this was in progress, during the summer of 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. This event precipitated a long, global conversation about race and racism, and we saw many brands and retailers expressing support for black Americans.
  • Following these events, Straub's customers were asking about DEI statements and to express their values.
  • The project really took off when Elizabeth Semple joined the Straub team as VP of Human Resources.
  • The culture team at Straub was developed out of interviews with employees around the mission and values of Straub.
  • The Cultural Style Guide is in 3 parts - Part 1 outlines how straub defines DEI. Part 2 covers inclusive language and part 3 covers diversity in model casting.

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