ProsperCity is shining a light on inclusive leaders who are doing their part to close wage gaps, end salary discrimination, and diversify workplace teams. In this ongoing content series, you’ll meet the folks who are bravely shaping culture. Listen to and share their stories, tips and resources. Keep the conversation going. Do you know a pay equity champion? Click here to nominate.

Leslie Yan



Director of Administration

Open Signal: Portland Community Media Centre

Portland, OR

Founded 1981

Media Arts


Leslie Yan, Director of Administration

What resources influenced and/or changed your mind?

In regards to pay equity, a couple of resources that got me thinking were a webinar I attended about the Pay Equity Act hosted by the Society of Human Resources Management; as well as this article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review about building equity into every aspect of your organization.

How does Open Signal operationalize its commitment to pay equity?

Open Signal is completely committed to equity. Our Executive Director prioritizes paying people adequately, so addressing pay equity was and is important to us. In the past year, we have gone through a full process of reviewing all our salaries and making sure that our salaries are fair. It resulted in a pay increase for everyone on our team.

The first step we took was to review all staff job descriptions to ensure the pay was the same for similar jobs. Next, we contracted with a company called PayScale to complete a salary study for all positions on our team. Based on the information from the study, we then identified compensation for each staff member, based on the market range, the job requirements and seniority.

Finally, we met individually with each staff member to discuss their compensation and present the salary study report. We made an initial bump in pay within three months and then made another bump six months later to truly get everyone up to the correct range.

It’s been a long process to trim other expenses in order to make room to increase salaries. We cut down on building maintenance costs as well as training and travel, but it has been worth it. We also revisited our benefits and we asked the staff to help us choose which medical and dental plans to adopt, which cut way down on costs, but didn’t cut down much at all in terms of the benefits that really mattered to our staff.

Ultimately, everyone got an increase and we were transparent about how and why we made those increases.

What sparked the decision to implement these practices, policies or other actions?

We have a really good leadership team and all our team members are devoted to creating an equitable and inclusive organizational culture.

How do these actions connect to Open Signal’s values and commitment to diversity and inclusion?

We are a media arts center and our goal is to help underserved individuals build confidence by providing a media platform for them to connect with the community, and to voice their stories. I feel that if we want the community to see the values of the organization, we have to start building our values from the inside.

How have these actions had a positive impact on you, Open Signal and its employees? 

I see our staff are much happier and this action boosted morale within the organization overall, because they see the leadership team putting our values into action.

If you were to mentor another business leader in making a similar change, what would you say?

1) Evaluate the organization’s values to make sure the internal values are aligned with the external.

2) Make sure to gain support across the organization.

I would start from the top management because if the staff see what is important to the leadership, it will be easier for them to buy in.

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