Creating Inclusive Cultures that are Sustainable and Accountable
You know you’re a rockstar when you leave your last company for a startup and the Wall Street Journal treats it as headline news. That’s what happened when Dane Holmes left Goldman Sachs to co-found and lead Eskalera, an employee experience and organizational platform designed to drive high performance by boosting inclusion. According to Dane, when employees feel included, their morale, productivity, and performance improve.
Dane describes his life as filled with twists and turns, but when he hit Wall Street his career skyrocketed. He spent 19 years at Goldman Sachs and much of that time in HR, where he prioritized leadership development and diversity. Along the way, he noticed major gaps in human resource practices. He says his career has been both traditional and non-traditional, and meeting Ulupreneur Tom Chavez was a turning point for him to depart from the traditional and launch Eskalera with Tolanda Tolbert and Debra Kadner.
As an African-American, he was deeply impacted by recent societal events, including the murder of George Floyd, but believes the outcome has been to galvanize energy around racial justice. Before 2020, he saw many companies just paying lip service to diversity and inclusion, viewing them merely as obligations. Now people are changing the way they are prioritizing DEI and making it a part of their business strategy.
Dane is driven by a passion to create tools that drive performance while simultaneously improving people’s lives and careers. He says Eskalera’s platform promotes both sustainability and accountability. He’s working on what might be a new category—people analytics. It’s a big idea with a high degree of difficulty, something that’s right in Dane’s sweet spot.
Dane E. Holmes is co-founder and CEO of Eskalera. Dane is also on the board of directors of KKR & Co, Inc. and serves as Board Chair for two non-profits: Ron Brown Scholars and StoryCorps. He came to Eskalera after 19 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was the head of Human Capital Management and head of Pine Street for Goldman Sachs. He served as a member of the firm’s Management Committee and Partnership Committee and spent the last few years leading Goldman’s HR division, where he prioritized leadership development, diversity, and employee and manager experience. Through these efforts, he noticed a massive gap in many HR practices—the lack of employee-centric solutions that help organizations scale, sustain, and measure their efforts. Now, he’s leading Eskalera’s efforts to help organizations elevate their people, companies, and cultures through greater employee empowerment. The reward is greater productivity and growth at all levels, with a more inclusive environment serving as one of its superpowers. Throughout Dane’s long career, his one constant has been having a passion for the work and passion for the people!
Here’s an interview we did with Dane in the summer of 2020. You can watch or listen.
Rusty Dornin is the director of marketing and communications for Ulu Ventures. An award-winning radio and television journalist, she was a CNN correspondent for nearly 18 years covering domestic and world news ranging from war to natural disasters and tales of crime and politics