Aura Employee Spotlight: PR Lead Rahel Marsie-Hazen Nominated for Diversity Award

By  Aura | March 23, 2021

“One of my life mantras is to always leave a place better than you found it.” When Rahel says this, she means it—literally. In her time working at Aura, Rahel has gone way beyond her role as PR Lead to ensure the company is living its values. By investing in our culture, prioritizing diversity and inclusion, and encouraging her colleagues to do the same, Rahel has made Aura a better place to work. Largely thanks to Rahel, Aura employees have felt empowered to take a stance on social issues regardless of how it may impact the bottom line. 

We’re proud to announce Rahel’s nomination as a “Black Pioneer” finalist for PRNews’ Diversity Award. This award uplifts communicators who are making strides to better their communities and show a commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

“It’s been rewarding to join Aura and help shape the company’s culture and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging efforts as we scale up our global work.” - Rahel

Here are some of the projects Rahel has spearheaded with support from our CEO, Abdur, and Aura’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee: 

  • Change Cadet partnership: Rahel enlisted the help of Change Cadet, a DEIB consultancy, to collaborate with the company on our diversity and inclusion strategy. This spans culture, hiring and recruiting, professional development and growth, and DEIB education. Change Cadet helped us facilitate company-wide anti-racism education workshops and focus groups for the BIPOC and women at Aura. 

  • Project Include: Ellen Pao invited Aura to join its Project Include Program. As part of this program, Abdur and Rahel met with other startups to strategize and share DEIB best practices. Project Include facilitated a survey of Aura staff to help set broader benchmarks for diversity and inclusion in our industry. 

  • Committing to causes that matter: In 2020, Rahel led the charge on creating Aura’s racial justice action plan. The plan included a $10,000 donation to the National Bail Fund Network which provides legal support to civil rights protestors. Starting this year, Aura will recognize Juneteenth as a paid company holiday.

  • Photos for Food campaign: Rahel conceptualized and directed a donation matching and giveaway campaign in which we raised $43,016 for the San Francisco Marin Food Bank. Our donations provided 86,032 meals to local families in need. The campaign kicked off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when many of our neighbors were out of work; 1 in 5 people needed food assistance.

  • NAACP’s Stop Hate for Profit campaign: In July 2020, Aura joined the campaign and halted all Facebook advertising for Aura frames products. Along with 1,200 like-minded brands, we hoped to pressure the platform to stop the spread of misinformation and racist speech. We donated 10% of our savings to the Southern Poverty Law Center to help monitor and expose hate groups. This effort resulted in Facebook creating a senior role to oversee civil rights, and a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.

Big shout out to Rahel, Aura’s DEIB committee, and all those who are doing their part to create more inclusive workplaces. Keep doing what you’re doing!