An interview with Tony West, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Uber. We speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion and the launch of Black Business Direct – a new online Black-owned business directory in Canada.
Born in San Francisco, Tony West attended Stanford Law School, where he served as the President of the Stanford Law Review and went on to pursue a stellar legal career from serving as a federal prosecutor and later becoming a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP.
He was Associate Attorney General of the United States, the US Department of Justice's third‐ranking official. West worked in the Justice Department during both the Clinton and Obama administrations before leaving the government sector to join PepsiCo as General Counsel. He's also the brother-in-law of Vice President Kamala Harris.
West joined Uber in 2017 to help redress several legal issues at the tech and ride-hailing company following a string of scandals. He was then-incoming CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's first hire, a month after the latter took on the reigns following the ouster of former UBER CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.
As part of our conversation, we looked at those pivotal times for the company – when the focus was righting the corporate culture ship at Uber. West was tasked with helping steer the company's efforts in the intervening years and in the future to promote diversity and inclusion and fight systemic racism.
He shared how Uber navigates the challenges and opportunities on the path to making the company a more transparent and equitable organization.
We spoke to West on the day Uber launched Black Business Direct – Canada's newest digital directory made up of Black-owned businesses from coast to coast, in partnership with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.
The new platform's launch coincided with Canadian Black Business Week 2021. The digital directory aims to sustain a living listing of Black-owned restaurants, retail shops, vendors, and entrepreneurs.
Speaking about this initiative, West said:
"Uber is a company that powers movement, which is the essence of liberty. So it's essential that we continue to channel our global breadth and technology to confront systemic racism and step up as an ally to the communities we serve. We are proud to partner with the CBCC to launch Black Business Direct and support thousands of Black-owned businesses across the country."
Seizing on this concept of movement as representing the essence of liberty, AfroToronto.com asked West to expand on how he sees Uber's role in the dozens of countries in which it operates to connect people and address issues of systemic inequity, including in the Canadian context. He shared how the company is committed to addressing a wide range of equity issues affecting all Canadians and global citizens, such as creating opportunities for aboriginal communities and confronting anti-Asian hate.
Black Business Direct, presented by Uber
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