We’re announcing today the hire of civil rights attorney Megan Cacace as Airbnb’s new Director of Anti-Discrimination Policy & Equity Programs, where she will oversee the team responsible for driving research, supporting the development of inclusive products and driving policies that fight bias and discrimination on Airbnb’s platform.
Following allegations in 2016 by Black guests who felt discriminated against by white Hosts, Airbnb commissioned an outside audit into discrimination amongst users on the platform in 2016, led by ex-ACLU official Laura Murphy. That report led to significant changes at the time, including a new Anti-Discrimination policy and the launch of a new Anti-Discrimination Product Team, a permanent team dedicated to trying to identify and root out bias. The team, the first of its kind within the technology industry, has now expanded to the Anti-Discrimination & Platform Equity Programs team, and consults with business units across the business to help them build products and policies that lead to equitable outcomes. The company has stood up groundbreaking initiatives such as Project Lighthouse, which was launched in partnership with Color Of Change to help uncover, measure, and overcome discrimination when booking or hosting on Airbnb.
Megan’s hire signifies the company’s continuing investment into anti-discrimination work and policies, and adds to a number of key leaders on teams across the company who are working collectively to advance this important work, including the following:
- Janaye Ingram, the former Executive Director of the National Action Network and Head of Logistics for the 2017 Women’s March who oversees Airbnb’s partnerships and relationships with key civil rights leaders and organizations
- Maria Cuba, Airbnb’s Director of Community Partnerships, who manages many of Airbnb’s relationships with a variety of external stakeholders and communities
- Kristen Jarvis West, the former Deputy Senior Advisor and Director of External Relations for former First Lady Michelle Obama, who now serves as Airbnb’s Senior Manager of Stakeholder Initiatives
- Crystal Brown, the former White House Senior Director for Cabinet Affairs and Associate Deputy Attorney General who now guides Airbnb’s efforts throughout the business to establish and embed anti-discrimination and inclusion standards
- Anne Diaz, Airbnb’s Head of Platform Equity who oversees the development and operationalization of tools like Project Lighthouse
Megan is also the latest senior addition to Airbnb’s Trust team, reporting to VP Donald Hicks, who joined the company in February. And most recently, Airbnb announced the hire of Juniper Downs – the company’s new Global Head of Community Policy and Partnerships – who also reports to Hicks.
Megan joins us following 13 years at the law firm of Relman Colfax, where she served as a partner practicing civil rights counseling and litigation. Her work included Facebook’s 2020 civil rights audit with Laura Murphy, who continues to advise Airbnb.
Megan is perhaps best known for her work conducting such audits and advising companies on anti-discrimination policies and practices such as creating internal systems for civil rights compliance.