It’s been more than five years since I started working professionally to help the tech industry become the meritocracy it’s long believed itself to be. Like many people, I got into this work by accident and circumstance: I was passionate and already a person underrepresented across multiple dimensions in tech and the broader business community.
A lot has changed since 2014 when Google released the industry’s first external report on the demographics of their workforce. More companies are hiring Chief Diversity Officers and many organizations are embracing a data-informed approach. But despite endless pledges to do better and billions of dollars spent on diversity and inclusion initiatives, people around the world are reporting an epidemic of “diversity fatigue” and few companies have meaningfully moved the needle.
As I looked at these trends, it became clear that things have to change if we’re going to make real, collective progress.
Change starts within
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the luck to collaborate with people across the tech industry to define new ways to build an equitable workplace as Atlassian’s Global Head of Diversity & Belonging. I was lucky to work across more than just the People Team while Atlassian has scaled to more than 4,100 employees: from re-thinking how people are visually represented and designing an ‘anti-brilliant jerk’ performance assessment process to launching a product for team-level diversity insights that builds belonging and supporting a new product accessibility program, I’ve had a bit of everything in my career.
Some things haven’t changed but were important as I considered what the next five years were going to look like: I wanted to get deeply involved in the messy (and fun!) work of building, and work for values-aligned leaders that have a vision for what culture can do for an organization. I wanted to be in a space that was constantly changing so that I could never get bored or stop learning new things. And I really, really didn’t want to give up the incredible food in Australia.
While I’ve loved the work I’ve done and am incredibly grateful for the people I’ve collaborated with, after five years my goals and vision for what I wanted to work on have shifted. I’ve been itching to work on tech products that align with my philosophies on building structurally equitable companies while continuing to do “R&D” within a People org. I’m ready to lead a team, which gives me the opportunity to closely mentor and support the development of even more practitioners in the space.
I realized that that was a tall order, but it turns out, not an impossible one.
The new thing
When I was looking for a new opportunity it became clear pretty quickly that Culture Amp was not only an incredible place to work but that the opportunity to impact the way businesses think about and build culture was a can’t miss.
Every member of the Culture Amp team I’ve met has been impressive: kind, candid, and obviously passionate about making work work better for people. I’ve gotten to hear first-hand about Culture Amp CEO Didier’s vision: to build a business in an entirely different way (that’s Culture First!) and fundamentally change the way other businesses run is a major inspiration. That’s something I want to contribute to. And I couldn’t pass up in the opportunity to collaborate with Steven Huang, Equitable Design & Impact Lead, to evolve and scale his efforts to build a world-class culture of belonging.
I’ve been a user and an enormous fan of Culture Amp’s products for years, and understand how foundational measuring culture and performance is to an employee’s experience. I worked on a (very) early version of the industry-standard Inclusion Survey, and am excited to dig deeper into the possibilities of such powerful datasets. I’ve been a vocal advocate for the performance (formerly Zugata) platform for years, and believe that the team’s understanding of how bias impacts feedback - and how to design to mitigate it - is on the bleeding edge of how to create structurally equitable systems and measure their effectiveness.
I’m a serious nerd at heart (and pretty much everywhere else), and the “data and people” people are definitely my people. I’ve had the luck to attend multiple events for Culture Amp, where I’ve met members of the People Geek community around the world. These folks are insightful, passionate, and are literally creating the future of business. That’s a community I want to be a part of, and an incredible platform to help accelerate their efforts to build the future of business.
All of these things add up to the single thing I care most about in my work: impact. That’s why today, I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined Culture Amp this week as their first Global Head of Equitable Design & Impact. What, exactly, does that entail? Basically, I’ll be helping Culture Amp think about how they’re designing processes, programs, and products to promote fairness and a sense of belonging.
In my new role, I’m going to focus on:
- Enabling leaders and managers to set their goals while proactively identifying and removing barriers to equity and belonging
- Empowering employees to build and advocate for their communities
- Supporting the product teams in thinking about and designing novel solutions to issues of fairness, bias, accessibility, and more
- Collaborating with the People Geek community to ensure that we’re discovering new ways to build Culture First organizations, and sharing those insights in ways that enable everyone to have an incredible experience in their work lives
While I’m still nursing some first-week jitters and am rightfully humbled by the opportunity to join such an amazing team, I can’t wait to get started. Watch this space.