22 Creative Ways to Celebrate the Holidays at Work in 2021
As the year winds down and the holiday season starts to wind up, we’ve been talking to some startups, Fortune 500s, and remote-first teams about how they celebrate the holidays at work.
Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or in person, the holidays are a great way to bring your team together and celebrate each other.
Need some ideas to make a memorable holiday celebration for your team? Read on to get an inside look at the creative ways some of our partner companies are celebrating the holiday season this year.
(And if you see a holiday celebration you'd like to take part in, be sure to click the link to learn more about the company and their open roles!)
Elastic is having a virtual happy hour.
“This year Field Operations TA at Elastic has broken every hiring record out there and has just closed on a huge q2 with 120% increase in hiring QOQ. To celebrate the wins we are having a Holly Jolly Cocktail Party 'virtual holiday happy hour event.' A virtual bartender host will lead Elastic's TA team in holiday games and activities, seasonal drinking games, and cocktail making. Especially this time of year we reflect back on all the hard work and results given by this team and want to celebrate. It is also a time to be thankful for the many blessings we have including the incredible TA team we have built. We are excited for the event on 12/15 at 5 PM EST.”
Learn more about Elastic here.
Equinix is hosting inclusive faith-led events.
“This holiday season’ one of Equinix’s many Employee Resource Groups, FaithConnect, will be hosting two faith-led events. All are invited and welcome regardless of faith, non-faith or world views, including families! We will be celebrating the season of Advent via zoom, with dialog about what it means to Christians with readings from the Bible and answer questions. Additionally, FaithConnect’s founding member will be offering a virtual Christmas service to celebrate the birth of Christ. All faiths are celebrated by Equinix this holiday season.”
Learn more about Equinix here.
CDW is sending employees' kids a new furry best friend.
“Every year, CDW coworkers' kids receive a warm and cuddly stuffed animal, our holiday friends. This is one of the ways we like to say thank you to the extended families of CDW! This year, the kids got to vote on what the animal should be via our CDW Kids Club. The CDW Kids Club is a community of hopeful, expecting, and current parents and provides unique and fun virtual activities for CDW Kids. A big thank you to our Vernon Hills Distribution Center coworkers for their incredible support in helping coordinate the shipments of the holiday friends!”
Learn more about CDW here.
Gainsight is embracing hybrid events.
"Last year, when we couldn't be together for a global holiday celebration, we decided to do the next best thing: Log onto Zoom wearing our favorite holiday jammies and dance the night away! This year, we're looking forward to celebrating the holidays with some in-person and hybrid events to commemorate the child-like joy we value so much here at Gainsight."
Learn more about Gainsight here.
Moody’s is encouraging time off!
“Prioritizing our well-being and taking time off is important to ensure we can deliver our best work. Moody’s actively encourages employees to take time off at the end of the year to rest and celebrate holidays with family and friends. Alongside that, we’ll have a Recharge & Renew session for our employees in mid-December where we will share research and tips on how best to detach and recover from work.”Learn more about Moody’s here.
PagerDuty is taking a week-long break.
"At PagerDuty, we celebrate the winter holidays during HibernationDuty, which is when the whole company takes a week-long break each year. We want to allow everyone an opportunity to truly disconnect and recharge, without worrying about the emails and work piling up while away. It has been proven that when an entire company takes the same time off, it eliminates the undue stress of what you'll come back to. HibernationDuty ensures Dutonians, our employees, get the much-needed rest they need and an opportunity to spend time with their loved ones."
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Cummins is celebrating multicultural connectivity.
"Cummins employees can learn about our colleagues' cultures around the world through our network of Employee Resource Groups, some European based Christmas Holiday celebrations include:
The highly anticipated ‘Le Reveillon de Noel’ (Christmas Eve Feast) in France
Watching the ‘Queen’s Speech’ & pulling Christmas Crackers (Invented by Tom Smith a London based Confectioner in 1847).
Sinterklass (Netherlands) leaves gifts for Children inside a shoe left by a fireplace or window during the Christmas Eve Dinner on 5th December (Eve of St.Nicholas).
Swapping of Fairy Lights for Spider Webs and ornaments called ‘pavuchky’ on the Christmas trees in Ukraine.
Hiding of the German Christmas Pickle in the Christmas tree, being first to find it on Christmas morning is thought to bring luck.
Twelve days after Santa’s visit, on 5th January, Italians leave wine and sausages for ‘La Befana’, a witch who gives presents to good children and coal to naughty children.
At 3pm on Christmas Day in Sweden, Donald Duck delivers his Christmas message on the television, the tradition dates back to the 1960’s.
At Cummins we wish you all a healthy and safe Christmas and we hope you get to enjoy your Cultural Celebrations with family and friends."
Learn more about Cummins here.
SoundCloud is offering a monetary gift of gratitude (and time off!).
A screenshot of SoundCloud's virtual party a few months ago that included SoundClouder avatars, live music performances, trivia, and prizes.
"With the health and safety of our employees around the world our top priority, SoundCloud is celebrating the holidays by offering all SoundClouders a monetary gift of gratitude in lieu of in-person holiday parties. SoundCloud is also closing all offices between December 24th-31st so that everyone can relax with their loved ones and recharge for the new year ahead"
Learn more about SoundCloud here.
BlackRock is focusing on mindful and sustainable giving.
"We're focused on mindful giving this season! Here are some helpful tidbits to reduce waste and be more sustainable.
Tips for great gift giving:
1. Ask for a list -- or respect wishes for no gift
2. Generate ideas after thinking about the best and worst gifts you've received
3. If in doubt, give money or gift cards -- especially if you're not close to the person
Eco-friendly gift ideas:
1. Experience gifts (e.g., paint night or activity) to create memories and decrease physical waste
2. Consider eco-friendly items (e.g., grow kits, companies that use recycled materials)
3. Shop at thrift stores, local businesses and on Etsy
Low waste wrapping options:
1. Paper grocery bags for a rustic look
2. Old maps, magazines or newspapers (especially the comics section!)
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Turo is giving locally, celebrating locally.
"At Turo, we look forward to the holidays! Since we are now in a hybrid work model, we had the opportunity to socialize in person at our Thanksgiving get-together in our two offices–San Francisco and Phoenix. Next, we will celebrate the holidays with a night out at a lively local restaurant. Many teams will also enjoy gift exchange parties. As one of our core values is supportive, we will be bringing cheer to our local communities by participating in the Salvation Army’s Holiday Distribution Day, the local Food Drive, and Coat Drive to support the homeless."
Learn more about Turo here.
Smartsheet is giving back to employees by helping them give back to others
"We're celebrating the holidays this year primarily by supporting our employees in giving back and cultivating our employee community. For Giving Tuesday, Smartsheet empowered each of our seven employee resource groups (ERGs) to select a nonprofit organization to receive a donation of $5,000 USD. Each ERG nominated a selection of nonprofits that support the communities represented by the respective ERG and then polled employees to select one nonprofit per group. We’ve also hosted volunteer opportunities with Special Olympics International (of which we are a proud partner and sponsor), with more to come later this year and early next."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
CHG Healthcare is helping their employees make the holidays brighter for those in need.
"This year, CHG Healthcare employees are making the holidays brighter for those in need. Our organization is helping 23 families, including 17 refugee families, along with the Rape Recovery Center and the Road Home with gifts this December. In addition, several employees from our headquarters in Salt Lake City are volunteering at the Festival of Trees, which raises funds to support Primary Children’s Hospital. At CHG, we’re committed to improving the lives of our customers and the communities we serve and are proud of the impact our employees make."
Learn more about CHG Healthcare here.
Procore is partnering with Airbnb to provide end-of-year experiences that are inclusive to everyone.
"The holidays are a time to connect and celebrate everything we’ve accomplished at Procore. This year, we’ve embraced our evolving culture and acknowledged that work is something we do together, not somewhere we go.
We’ve partnered with Airbnb to provide end-of-year experiences that are inclusive to everyone. Employees could choose from a variety of global experiences in-person and virtually. From hand-pulled noodle-making to Inclusive Writing Workshops to Guided Meditation with Sleepy Sheep (yes, we said Sheep)—these experiences are intended to foster a global sense of belonging and appreciation—no matter where our employees sit in the world.”
- Georgia Dimino, Sr. Program Manager, Employee Experience
Learn more about Procore here.
Aurora Solar is hosting a virtual gift exchange.
"Our team at Aurora Solar is fully distributed but we love bringing our team members together through a variety of events and activities. We have events on both the company-wide and team level in order to provide variety and to engage as many people as possible.
This holiday season we are hosting a virtual White Elephant gift exchange and ugly sweater party as well as an in-person holiday happy hour. On the team level we have a variety of events planned including virtual holiday happy hours, Secret Santa parties, chocolate making classes, holiday charades, and wine tasting events!"
Learn more about Aurora Solar here.
Okta is showcasing employees' traditions.
"For my family, the holidays are a time to show how our differences can bring us together. We are a blended religious family, celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas. Our house is filled with the smell of pine and gentle smoke from the Menorah candles. We bake challah and sugar cookies for Santa. The floor is littered with tinsel and dreidels left temporarily abandoned. We light the Menorah together to honor life's miracles and to celebrate the light in the darkness. The holidays show us acceptance and how to find the beauty and joy in other's beliefs."
- Rachel Taylor, Compliance Manager, Auth0, Okta
Learn more about Okta here.
Waters is celebrating cultural diversity.
"At Waters, we are committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where diversity in all forms can thrive. We believe that celebrating our differences will help us to reach our full potential by harnessing the totality of the perspectives, beliefs, and backgrounds of our employees. One way we celebrate is by hosting events where employees can celebrate cultural diversity through education to create awareness and appreciation. Recently, we virtually celebrated Diwali, where our employees came together to share personal stories and family traditions. Happy Diwali to all who celebrate!"
Learn more about Waters here.
Veracode is giving back.
"Veracode has a long tradition of charitable giving, in our communities, through volunteer efforts, and through our charitable matching gift program. Throughout the year, we have several initiatives championed by Veracoders, in support of a cause they feel strongly about. One example is our sales executive administrator who has organized, for the past 9 years, an effort in partnership with our local Department of Children and Families (DCF) Social Workers to make the wishes of children and families in need come true. Since this partnership with DCF began, Veracoders have made the wishes of over 800 children come true!"
Learn more about Veracode here.
MongoDB is hosting end-of-year get-togethers.
"After a delightful Hanukkah celebration from MongoDB's Mishpacha community, employees are looking forward to end-of-year get-togethers hosted across different MongoDB offices to celebrate the holidays and end 2021 with some dances and laughs! MongoDB is also encouraging all employees to help brighten the holidays by providing toys and gifts to children in need who are supported by Save the Children and Marine Toys for Tots in our company-wide holiday giving event."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Workiva is throwing pies for a good cause.
"The holidays are the season of giving at Workiva when executives volunteer to take pies to the face to raise money for UNICEF during our Annual Giving Campaign. Employees voted with their dollars to get 10 leaders including our CEO and COO pied – raising $55,000 in the process! Throughout the campaign, employees also designated over $180,000 in donations to nine other amazing charities. The holidays at Workiva are all about giving back and employees love to throw a great pie or take their employer-sponsored volunteer time off to support a local charity!"
Learn more about Workiva here.
OfferUp is offering additional paid holidays & mandating 'Quiet Time.'
"A combination of the holidays, year-end work, and new year planning can make for a busy work season. The rush to the end can be difficult as people prepare for a much-needed work break to be with friends, family, and re-charge.
That's why this year, OfferUp employees received additional paid holidays and the company declared the last two weeks of December as 'Quiet Time.' Our office is still open for those who wish to work, but no new code will be released or projects delivered during this time. OfferUp has encouraged and created space for many to take this time off and rest after a year of work well done. This month we also have remote and in-person holiday events and contests to celebrate with our employees and partners. Gingerbread house contest, anyone?"
Learn more about OfferUp here.
GameChanger is hosting virtual team events.
"To celebrate the holidays, GameChanger has planned a variety of virtual team events. GC kicked off the season with the TeamsGiving Family Feud style game night with the winning team choosing a charity to donate to. Following that, teammates and their families can participate in festive cookie decorating and/or festive chocolate bar making, lead by a virtual instructor. Finally, GameChanger’s virtual holiday party will start with a virtual mocktail or mixology class followed by a team game night! And of course, teammates are encouraged to use some of their unlimited vacation time to disconnect from work and spend time with their loved ones."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Skedulo is hosting unique in-person celebrations.
"Each of our regional offices will be celebrating with their own unique holiday celebration. We’re excited our remote colleagues will be flying in to join the fun! Some events include a Casino Royale 007 themed party with a magician, photo booth, live jazz band/DJ and plenty of food and drinks. Other offices have an icebreaker Escape Room race or cocktail masterclass followed by three-course lunch. To celebrate and acknowledge the many festive holidays that occur in December, we have a global Holiday Spirit Photo competition inviting colleagues to show their spirit through outfit, home decor, and/or food. Winners can donate to their charity of choice."
Learn more about Skedulo here.
January is National Mentorship Month— the perfect time to focus on growing and building important relationships with mentors that will positively affect your professional career.
Research shows that mentorship greatly improves career outcomes by providing professional guidance, skill development, and support through major work and life transitions.
We asked some of our partner companies to tell us about the mentorship opportunities they offer. If you’re ready to unleash your full potential by joining an impactful mentoring program, keep reading to hear what they said. (Plus, they’re all hiring—check out their open jobs under each entry!)
“Clarus Commerce has been running a mentorship program for the last 9 years. Here is how it works:
- Senior leaders nominate mentors within their department.
- The program lasts for about 6 months.
- Those who are interested in being mentored provide 6 topics that they’d like to discuss in mentoring meetings, which help us pair people up. Mentoring topics should focus on topics such as: leadership, how to manage up, presentation skills, communication, work life balance, etc.
- We leverage our Insights and Discovery profiles that each employee has to help better understand each other’s communication styles and help facilitate great discussions.”
Learn more about Clarus Commerce here.
“PwC professionals are provided learning opportunities, supportive career growth and unique mentoring opportunities to help them to fulfill their potential. The firm has several programs that include intentional mentorship and focus on building representation, inclusion and development of their people. For example, the firm launched Enrich, an experience designed to support the development and leadership skills of high-potential female and racially and ethnically diverse senior managers and directors. There is also Thrive, an innovative two-year experience for Black and Latinx entry-level new joiners that helps lay the foundation for a successful career through culture workshops, networking, connectivity and leadership engagement.”
Learn more about PwC here.
“At CallRail we have a program called Connection Point where individual contributors are paired with members of the Senior Leadership Team. Each pair is together for a full quarter and are given topics for their meetings, topics range from; career stories, situational advice and feedback, etc. At the conclusion of the quarter the individual contributors that have been in the program have a round table lunch with the CEO. This has been a great way to foster deeper connections within the organization, demystify senior leadership and help individuals see a path forward.”
Learn more about CallRail here.
“Automattic’s Design Mentoring program is a mutually beneficial partnership providing development opportunities for all. Mentees pick up new skills or get guidance with a project. Mentors practice communication, leadership, and knowledge sharing. The organization benefits from more engaged, productive employees, who have increased job satisfaction because mentorship encourages meaningful work that aligns personal and professional goals. In our distributed work environment, mentoring provides a human connection and a trusted space to grow. Tapping into all of the design experience and skill that our organization has is a powerful way to grow individually … and collectively."
Learn more about Automattic here.
“Relativity Women of the Workplace (RelWoW) Mentorship Circles is a group mentoring program that brings together women at varying stages in their careers and from every department at Relativity. The program sessions are curated by our team and include materials, talking points and action items to help create open dialogue, build connections and develop skills for personal and professional development. The program runs around six months, and includes a kickoff, mid-point event exclusive to program members, and a closing celebration. Relativity also plans to pilot a new mentoring program with broader reach across the company in 2022.”
—Yvonne Frazier – Executive Assistant
Learn more about Relativity here.
“CDW Business Resource Groups are a key source for networking and mentoring opportunities. In 2019, our BeU BRG launched a formal mentoring program through their Project IMPACT initiative aimed at recruiting, retaining and promoting Black coworkers. It has been a successful program that has brought coworkers together across departments and roles, sharing new experiences and perspectives for both mentors and mentees.”
Learn more about CDW here.
“BRIDGE is Kinesso's reverse mentoring program bringing together senior leaders and future leaders globally. Our program pairs employees with Kinesso's Senior Leadership Team, but rather than leadership mentoring employees, our employees mentor our senior leaders!
Through mentorship programs like Bridge, Kinesso's brings together employees across generations, cultures, territories, and job levels. Giving our future leaders the opportunity to share fresh perspectives and innovative ideas allows our current leaders to look at inclusion, capabilities, collaboration, and connectivity from a completely different lens.
"(Bridge) is immensely important for many reasons, but most of all, it shows that no matter where you are in your career, you should never stop learning and growing."
—Arun Kumar, CEO at Kinesso and Global Chief Data & Marketing Technology Officer at IPG”
For more information on Kinesso, please visit Kinesso.com/careers.
Learn more about Kinesso here.
"At SoundCloud, one of our core behaviors is to embrace the challenge- but that doesn’t mean that you go at it alone. We encourage SoundClouders to ask for help and to give help to those who it need along the way. Over the past few years we have offered a mentorship program that connects rising SoundClouders with under-represented identities (gender/race/ethnicity) with more senior level employees around topics of professional branding and career growth, influencing and emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking. In 2022, we aim to launch 2 cohorts of mentorship/coaching targeting different ranks of women of color."
Learn more about SoundCloud here.
“BlackRock has nine employee networks and four professional networks – all of which offer mentorship programs or opportunities.
Our employee networks: Mosaic; Ability & Allies Network; Asian, Middle Eastern & Allies Professional Network; Black Professionals & Allies Network; Families & Allies Network; Out & Allies Network; SOMOS Latinx & Allies Network; and Women's Initiative & Allies Network.
Our professional networks: Analyst Alley, Associates Arena, Global Administrative Initiative Network, and VP Village.”
Learn more about BlackRock here.
“Having both formal and informal mentors is crucial to elevate any career. At Lockheed Martin, mentoring is the development of meaningful relationships to transfer valuable knowledge and understanding from one person to another. It is a personal enhancement strategy through which one person willingly facilitates the development of another by sharing known resources, expertise, values, skills, perspectives, attitudes, and proficiencies. Our mentoring program is tailored to the individual employee to give them the right tools, the right resources, at the right time.”
Learn more about Lockheed Martin here.
“Autodesk is a place where you can shape your future and help others do the same. The Autodesk Mentorship Program empowers employees to take ownership of their careers and build on a mindset of learning from each other by offering mentorship opportunities for professional and personal development, peer-to-peer learning, and focused networking. The program helps you identify your goals and recommends matches for a mentor or mentee to help you accomplish them. Through the Autodesk Mentorship Program, employees can make connections, grow their skills, explore opportunities and build their career paths.”
Learn more about Autodesk here.
“Cummins Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) focuses on a mission to create the right environment by advocating for equal representation, empowering women, and fostering inclusion for every employee in all work assignments at all levels.
As part of the work to achieve such a mission, WEN focuses on mentoring and development initiatives designed to foster mentoring relationships, broaden employee networks, and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Initiatives include Speed Mentoring Sessions, Personal Development & Networking Events and WEN Mentoring Circles Program. This annual Mentoring Circles Program provides a monthly opportunity for exempt employees to participate in a forum for open discussion, explore new perspectives and learn from peers and leaders.
Within the Europe region we also have the Cummins Business Services mentoring program which is open to all employees at all levels.”
Learn more about Cummins here.
“Meet a pairing in Millennium’s Mentorship Program: Cari Smalley, Co-Head HR Business Partners, Americas, and Jasmin Zirino, Operations Specialist. They say, "The mentorship program is a fantastic experience for anyone who wishes to join. It allows you to meet someone you do not directly work with and grow your network. It is invaluable to have the ability to work through solutions to problems, use one another as sounding boards, and occasionally just blow off steam in a supportive space."”
Learn more about Millennium Management here.
“Mentorship is about stepping out of our comfort zone, taking charge and acting upon our ambitions, opening doors for others and learning more about the skills that make our own success.
Expedia Group has a volunteer-led program allowing every employee to have an equal chance to grow and succeed. The program has brought together a group of 1,700 Expedians from all over the world who believe in skills development and the power to elevate others while creating Inclusion at Expedia Group. Through a self-service marketplace platform and organized meetup sessions, EG’s Mentoring Program enables all employees to ask for help and embrace their own identity while belonging to a community that thrives through diversity.”
Learn more about Expedia Group here.
“At Equinix, our employee connection networks (EECNs) play an important role in bringing together communities for learning and growth opportunities, including mentoring. While mentees gain much from mentors, we often find that mentors also discover growth opportunities.
By asking these questions, we instill best practices for a successful mentorship:
What does each party want from this experience? How often to meet? Confidentiality: What’s shareable and what isn’t?
Feedback: What are the expectations around giving and receiving feedback?
And remember, a mentoring relationship is like any other relationship—it takes time to develop. Build trust by getting to know one another.”
Learn more about Equinix here.
"At Unstoppable, it is our commitment to having a crypto forward culture. Every new team member is matched with a Crypto Buddy who acts as their first point of contact outside of their direct team, guides them down the crypto rabbit hole, and welcomes them into Unstoppable’s culture. As a fully remote company, making cross-team collaboration a key part of onboarding strengthens our community. This is also an opportunity for the buddy to hone their mentoring and teaching skills. When the new hire has been with the company for six months, they will then become a mentor themselves, driving a continuous cycle of mentorship."
Learn more about Unstoppable Domains here.
“Mentoring@Uber connects employees who are passionate about helping and up-skilling others with those who are seeking guidance and development. It is a way of connecting and sharing challenges on a mutual and reliable relationship —and trying to get another perspective from an unbiased source. It’s also an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, or collaborate together to come up with a solution to professional problems that arise. People with mentors perform better, advance in their careers faster, and even maintain more work-life balance. And mentors benefit, too.”
Learn more about Uber here.
“MongoDB has offered two pilot mentorship programs to support underrepresented groups. One program focused on promising first-line managers and ICs from underrepresented groups and the other focused on providing executive mentorship to women & nonbinary leaders at the director level and up. In both programs, participants were matched with a mentor with who they regularly met to discuss career planning and personal development. Feedback from both pilots was hugely positive with participants indicating that they received helpful support from their mentors. Members from our ERGs have also served as mentors to our summer class of interns.”
Learn more about MongoDB here.
“Our Black and Latinx ERG, Array, offers a mentorship program pairing individual contributors within Array to C-Suite and VP level mentors, including PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada. Dedicated to leveling the playing field for Black and Latinx employees, the program is structured so everyone can learn from each other. Mentees are paired with mentors from within or outside their department for a nine-month term, which includes check-ins, themed discussions, and monthly one-on-ones. Bri Solorzano, an Array mentee, explained that this mentorship program allows her to build bonds with higher level executives, and share her personal experiences as a Latinx employee and individual contributor at PagerDuty.”
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
T. Rowe Price
“Due to the highly collaborative culture at T. Rowe Price, the firm understands the value of relationships and the opportunities strong mentorship can provide. It is committed to not only developing talent within its walls but developing the next generation of talent within communities.
The firm will launch a new global mentorship program in 2022, which will offer associates the opportunity to connect with colleagues, agnostic of location or business unit. T. Rowe Price also provides leadership development to youth in the community through strategic partnerships such as the Baltimore Ravens Leadership Institute, a program aimed at high school students.”
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
“At Pluralsight, we take growth seriously. Which is why we offer a six-month long mentorship program for all of our employees. Our mentorship program is facilitated bi-annually by Women@Pluralsight, one of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and aims to empower participants to recognize their full potential. We intentionally pair mentors and mentees to create connections that encourage the development of skills crucial to success, and foster personal and professional growth. In our most recent cycle we paired nearly 200 participants and have plans to continue growing that number. Because at Pluralsight, your growth is our growth, and vice versa.”
Learn more about Pluralsight here.
“At Yelp, we value and actively foster an environment focused on learning and development. There are a variety of mentorship opportunities available, such as:
- New Hire Mentors — new employees are paired with a team mentor to help them onboard and get settled in.
- Engineering Mentorship Program — any IC engineer can sign up to become or get a mentor within Yelp Engineering.
- Manager Mentorship Program — new engineering managers or proto-managers can get support from experienced managers at Yelp.
- Awesome Women in Engineering — This employee resource group’s mentorship program helps AWE members find mentors or mentee within the group.”
Learn more about Yelp here.
“At Turo, we help each other. We collaborate. We challenge each other. And we create the tools to succeed independently and as a team.
When you join Turo engineering, you’re assigned a mentor, a reliable, single point-of-contact to help you set up your environment, navigate the codebase, and acclimate to Turo’s culture and workplace. Mentors have a great responsibility to ensure new Turists feel welcome, offer encouragement, and provide advice and guidance on complex matters of systems and architecture. Engineers who demonstrate our core values of efficiency, pioneering, and being down-to-earth and supportive have an opportunity to mentor new engineers. Mentoring engineers is a great way to build the skills necessary to further your career at Turo.”
“Mentoring has allowed me to deepen my technical understanding and team connections.”
– Lauren Kroner, Senior Software Engineer
Learn more about Turo here.
“In the US, Moody’s has an intergenerational mentoring program, our Pride BRG members coach youth in the Queer Coders program. Our Women’s, Veterans, and Multicultural BRGs have a variety of mentoring programs, including summer intern mentorship, our Asian Leadership Initiative and our ConectaMos Hispanic/Latinx 1:1 mentoring program. Our Women’s Group Mentoring Program just celebrated its 10th anniversary with over 800 mentor-mentee participants over 10 years. In EMEA, Moody’s offers Power to Act reverse mentoring, mentoring through the Women’s and Pride BRGs, and a parental leave mentoring scheme. In APAC, Moody’s has various cross-BRG and cross-department mentoring programs.”
Learn more about Moody’s here.
“At Condé Nast, we are focused on providing positive career development opportunities. We recently launched a Global Mentorship Program as an option for employees to connect and learn from one another. For six months, employees participate as a mentor and/or mentee to develop their careers, grow their skills and guide one another. The structured framework creates and sustains an inclusive experience that empowers everyone’s growth.
The MentorcliQ platform we use lets us create mentoring pairs based on their interests, experiences and personality compatibility. To date we have had 473 active mentorship pairs.”
Learn more about Condé Nast here.
“Thornburg Small Group Mentor Program was created to bring employees of various tenures and experience levels together in order to cultivate organic relationships and opportunities for influence in a low-pressure environment.
The program consists of six small groups comprised of one mentor and three to six mentees. These groups meet for one hour every month for six months. The series concludes with a virtual event where all participants from every group can meet and share takeaways from their experiences.
- Small group format (not one-on-one)
- Low cost, low maintenance, light structure
- Flexibility for mentors to lead through individual style"
Learn more about Thornburg here.
“Women@Okta’s upcoming mentorship program:
W@Okta’s vision for the year is to empower, develop and support women-identified employees in order to ultimately improve gender diversity at Okta. One of our key methods is to empower the next generation of female leadership by providing a platform for women to connect and learn from one another through group and 1:1 mentorship opportunities. Our Professional Development branch is launching a pilot mentorship program with an initial cohort of 32 mentors and mentees.
Goals: Career, personal and organizational
Share your needs, desires, goals, and challenges; career choice and mobility.
Explore people, resources, information, expertise you need – but don’t have – to speed up, enhance, and ensure your results.”
—Professional Development Lead Christina Ghallagher (Senior Sales Development Representative) & Partnerships Co-Lead Sarah Schiff (Senior Manager, Customer First Recruiting)
Learn more about Okta here.
Remote Work Tips: Fostering Belonging in a Distributed Environment
💎 We’re living in times when remote work is becoming more and more typical for employees. And many companies have organized hybrid workplaces, with some people coming to the office and some working from home. How can teams foster belonging in this kind of distributed environment?
📼 Play this video to get three top remote work tips on how to foster belonging in a distributed environment. You'll hear from Phylicia Jones (“PJ”), Senior Director of People Development at PagerDuty, who shares her experience when it comes to connecting and staying engaged on a distributed team (like the one at PagerDuty).
👉Want to work at PagerDuty? They’re hiring! Check out the company’s open jobs:
Senior Engineering Manager (Lisbon) https://bit.ly/PagerDutySrEngManagerPTF
Senior Software Engineer - Platform (remote!) https://bit.ly/PagerDutySrSoftwareEngPTF
VP Partnerships (remote!) https://bit.ly/PagerDutyVPPartnershipsPTF
📼 Tip #1: Share Your Story. In a remote work or hybrid environment, you may find it challenging to build a genuine connection with your team. So you should find ways and opportunities to share pieces of yourself with others so they can see and know your whole self at work. Each time you connect with others, it's an opportunity to share a story, whether it's in an interview, a one-on-one, or in a team meeting. Share a piece of your life! What makes you “you” outside of your role? What experiences energize you? Share how you are really feeling, versus always saying, “I’m fine,” so you can be more present at work. That’s how you humanize moments that matter and connect with others.
📼 Tip #2: Be Curious, Always. Now with remote work, most of our interactions are behind a screen. To help foster belonging within your team, take a genuine interest in understanding how people think and feel. Remember, a lot happens that we can't see or read. So ask more questions! You can reach better decisions, outcomes, and ideas when everyone can have a voice, share a point of view, and give input in a way to move forward. Invite people in by asking for their opinions. That way, you’ll open up a powerful dialogue that includes people and creates an engaging and healthy debate.
Tips for Remote Work Team Connections: Be Present
Phylicia advises to be present and always listen. The more aware we are of our actions and how we impact others, we can better connect and engage with everyone. But this requires us to be present in each interaction. We must listen to what is said, along with what is not said.
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Get to Know PJ
Phylicia “PJ” Jones is a driven global talent and organizational development professional with 12+ years of experience advising and working for organizations in the areas of organizational and talent development and transformation. PJ has expertise in managing projects, collaborating and leading teams, executing programs and processes in employee and leadership development, training facilitation and delivery, learning content development, communications, and change management. In addition, she’s passionate about implementing solutions to improve talent performance and business operations to achieve organizational goals.
More About PagerDuty
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PagerDuty was founded in 2009 by three innovative software developers who knew what it was like to carry the pager for “always-on” cloud services. What started as automating on-call rotations has evolved into a multi-product platform that helps companies of all sizes proactively manage their digital operations so their teams can spend less time reacting to incidents and more time building for the future.
As an instructor of other scuba diving instructors, Diane Tetrault knows how to convey life-saving lessons in a way that encourages and supports her students. And as it turns out, that skill is highly transferable to two other key roles in her life: manager and mother.
Diane is the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Elastic and is also a mom of two sons. In the water, at work, and with her family, she’s gotten plenty of practice creating the right environment for other people to learn and enjoy.
“Scuba diving is something lots of people have on their bucket list, where they say, ‘Oh, I wish I could do that, but I’m too afraid.’ But I know lots of people would love it if they tried.”
Diane’s not one to shy away from new experiences, even when it seems like they’d be hard to work into her packed life. As a working mom, for example, she still makes time to travel and dive, this time bringing her kids along with her and giving them a taste for the adventure that she and her husband so love. Her eldest son, now 8, had visited 11 countries by the time he was 14 months old!
We sat down with Diane to learn more about how she balances her passions, her career, and her family, including how her role at Elastic makes all of that possible.
An Intersection of Interests
“There's probably not a product marketer alive who woke up one day and said, ‘I'm gonna be a product marketer when I grow up,’” says Diane about how she got into her role. “It’s rare that I meet someone who doesn’t have a curvy, wavy road into product marketing—and I think that’s a good thing.”
Her own role looks like this: she got a programming job right after university and immediately realized the heads-down work with little to no human involvement wasn’t for her.
She moved into technical project management, where she got to interact with customers and still deal with engineering topics. Diane stayed in that role until she was promoted into product management, where her work shifted from outward-focused to more inwards, figuring out what her company wanted to build and what it should look like.
But her sense of adventure pushed her to live abroad, so she decided to move to England. Her company didn’t have a product management job open there, but wanted to keep her as part of the team, so they offered her a role backfilling a marketing director who was out on maternity leave. Diane stepped up into a completely new field, picking up demand generation across events, PR, and advertising. She ended up building a life in England and staying for seven years before returning to her home country of Canada.
“Once I had experience in product, experience in marketing, and experience in sales—because I had sales people reporting to me and I spent a lot of time in the field—I understood that there was something we needed to do in the middle,” says Diane.
Enter product marketing.
She leans on three key skills in her current role, and suggests that anyone else interested in product marketing work to develop the same ones:
- Technical inclination. “I started off life as a developer, so with that technical aptitude, I can hold my own talking to deeply technical people.”
- Customer focus. “You need customer-facing experience so you can understand what they’re trying to achieve. You need empathy for what the customer’s trying to do.”
- Domain expertise. Diane describes a lot of what she does as translating, and credits her years in the industry to giving her the right background of knowledge that makes that translation possible. “If you’re translating to something you don’t already understand, that’s hard,” she says.
When Diane had her first face-to-face exposure to Elastic, she had already heard of them years before. Her current company was trying to compete with Elasticsearch, so they sent Diane to attend Elasticon in San Francisco in 2018.
“I was just blown away by the culture—and particularly by the women of Elastic,” says Diane, who went to a breakfast hosted by the ERG and was shocked to see the company’s CEO there, fully engaged and listening. “He wasn’t presenting, but he wasn’t playing on his phone, either. He was nodding away, really engaged in everything. I was really amazed by the fact that it didn’t seem like lip service. It seemed like the company really did value diversity and inclusion.”
Experiencing the Elastic environment made Diane want to work for them. And that’s what still motivates her the most. “I came for the culture, and I stayed for the culture,” she says. “When I interview people, I’m always looking for cultural fit. We’re fiercely protective of our culture, because that’s what makes people stay.”
Here are Diane’s favorite ways that Elastic’s culture manifests itself:
- Respect, not deference. “I used to work in a company where we had to call the CEO 'monsieur,’” says Diane. “Here, you can just say ‘hi’ to people in the hallway.”
- Distributed, not remote. But those hallway run-ins are few and far between, because Elastic is designed to be a distributed company. “We’re distributed by design. Everything is optimized for that. And notice I didn’t say ‘remote,’ because that implies a center where people who are working outside are remote. At Elastic, we’re all over.”
- Flexibility first. “When you have small kids, flexibility is unbelievably important,” says Diane. “If I say I’m stepping out for two hours because it’s my kid’s Christmas pageant, no one’s like, ‘Oh, really?’ I’ve worked at companies where if you left 10 minutes early, everyone gossips.”
- Leading by example. Diane’s never once worried about putting her workouts, her after-school pickups, or her other personal appointments on her work calendar, because she’s seen Elastic’s C-suite do the same. “We’ll have 2,000-person calls and Shay [Elastic’s CEO] will have his kids in the background, asking him something,” says Diane, smiling. “Or you take a call with senior leaders and they're going outside for a walk as they talk. That sort of gives others permission to do the same thing, too.”
Building Towards the Future
Diane has always known that there’s more than one way to solve any problem. That’s as true for how she approaches product marketing, as it is for how she approaches parenting.
Just this year, for instance, she and her husband pulled their kids out of school for a week to hike in the Canadian Rockies. “We told them they had to learn something new every day, and they learned tons, like about climate change and its first-hand effects,” she says. “Seeing new things gives us perspective. There’s lots of different ways to look at things.”
Diane hopes that people who are looking to build careers in product marketing share that approach. “Be open to different things. Product marketing is a windy road, and you have to create the opportunity. I’m always looking for people who have a hunger for learning, because no one will have everything. The ability to learn and adapt and be open to new things helps you with everything else.”
Karen Klein wrote her first contract when she was 11.
It laid out how much allowance she would earn for completing certain chores each week. When she got her parents to sign it, she told them that she was going to be a lawyer when she grew up.
A decade and a half later, her mom brought out that piece of paper again—this time as a gift for Karen’s law school graduation.
Since then, Karen has written and reviewed a lot more contracts, as well as merger and acquisition deals, IPOs, and internal documents responding to regulatory bodies, including as the current Chief Legal Officer at global legal and compliance technology company Relativity.
While she set out on the path to be a lawyer of her own volition—“I was really good at arguing, and it got me into a lot of trouble at school, so maybe that’s where it came from!” she says, smiling—her career hasn’t been entirely self-directed. Karen attributes a lot of her success to having people believe in her and invest in her career, and we sat down with her to hear more about how she found those mentors and how she pays back their guidance by being a mentor herself.
In-House and On a Team
After finishing law school, Karen started her career at a law firm. That’s where she found her first mentor in one of the partners she worked for.
“I spent 90% of my time working for him, and he was a mentor before I even knew what a mentor was,” she says. “He not only assigned me great work, but he took the extra time to put things in context. After a meeting or a call, he’d sit and talk with me about what had happened, why the client asked the things that they did, why they were concerned, and ask for my perspective.”
Karen credits that mentor with helping her level up from being a person who executes well on tasks to being a person who understands strategically what needs to be done and why it matters. That knowledge set her up well for her next career step.
Even before joining the firm, Karen knew she’d one day like to move in-house. A self-proclaimed “deal junkie,” her favorite projects were ones that had her learn a lot about a client and their business in order to prepare a deal for them. “But then you wouldn’t hear from the client till the next deal, and I was like, ‘Well, I learned all about their business—I want to apply those things now,’” she says.
Being in-house would also let Karen fulfill what she describes as an inherited drive to build a business. “My parents owned and ran a construction company, and it stuck with me. I saw the stress that owning your own business created, but that mentality of building something and being part of something spoke to me,” she says. “The pride in helping to build something, that was enduring, and influenced me in ways I didn’t appreciate at the time.”
So when Larry—who was in-house counsel at a Chicago-based tech company, her then-firm’s largest client—called Karen and asked her if she’d like to join him there, she immediately said yes, though she did tell him that she knew little to nothing about technology.
“‘That’s okay,’” Karen remembers him saying. “‘You’re smart, you understand contracts and liability. We can teach you the tech part.’”
And teach her he did. That first move led to Karen spending 17 years in travel tech, including at places like Orbitz, Kayak, HotelTonight. Other general counsel she worked with became additional mentors, helping her come up the curve on regulatory issues and how to build a team.
A Full Circle Moment
When Relativity came calling, Karen had joined Ticketmaster only a year before, and was planning to stay there for the remainder of her career. It was pre-pandemic, and she was happy with the challenges and the teams she was building. She took a meeting with Relativity’s CEO just to get to know him as someone influential in the Chicago tech community that Karen so valued, and that was the beginning of her new job at Relativity.
“Once you meet Mike, you want to work with Mike,” says Karen, laughing. “It had this pull of nostalgia, that I could round out my career coming back to a Chicago software company, which is how I started out in-house. There were all these exciting things in store for the company, and it seemed right.”
Karen’s actual transition took a little longer—the pandemic had started, and she didn’t want to leave her team in its first few chaotic months—but she officially joined Relativity a year and a half ago, and now serves as its Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary.
3 Lessons and 4 Tips for Mentorship
Reflecting on her career, Karen says she’s learned three main lessons from all the mentors that have guided her:
- How to embrace feedback. “I have some rough edges, and I had a CEO say to me once, ‘You know, Karen, you’re really effective, but you could be even more effective if…’” she says. “And that made me feel inspired to actually do better.”
- How to get outside of her comfort zone. Multiple mentors have told Karen she was ready to learn something new long before she knew that herself. “It was inspiring to me that he was willing to invite me along,” she says of one general counsel she worked for who gave her the opportunity to sit second chair while he navigated antitrust issues for the company.
- How to have faith in herself. “Everyone has to do something for the first time at some point,” says Karen of her fear of making the leap to senior positions like General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. “Having people who put that faith and trust in me really helped me make leaps in my career I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make.”
Though she’s now reached an apex in her career, Karen isn’t above seeking out new mentors—including her peers, like other executives at Relativity—and is certainly excited about being able to pay forward all that she’s learned. Her top tips for making the most of a mentorship relationship include:
- Build relationships everywhere. Finding mentors is all about having a connection with people, says Karen. “Trust lets you be comfortable reaching out and asking for that bit of advice, or to bounce ideas off of someone,” she says. “Whether you jump on the phone, or Slack someone, you want a connection that isn’t 100% about the transactional aspects of the work.”
- Agree on the goal. “Establish upfront what you both want from the relationship. What are you seeking from it? What will be in it for them?” she says. “Sometimes people are looking for a place to vent, but that’s not really mentorship.”
- Treat mentorship like a project. That means come prepared with agendas for every meeting, advises Karen. “I’m a list person, so I’ve written down lists of things I wanted some feedback on, or questions I had,” she says. “Of course, leave time for relationship building, to talk about how someone’s life is going. But have specific things that you’re hoping to get out of even a more casual conversation.”
- Circle back and share successes. “One of the biggest satisfactions mentors get is seeing career progressions,” says Karen. “When you make the next step or leap in your career, or something good happens, have a conversation with your mentor to say, ‘Hey, I really appreciate the time you spent with me; here’s what came of it.’ It gives your mentor their own career satisfaction and continual feedback we all want and need.”
As a kid, Maleni Palacios had a long list of questions that no one could answer for her.
“I started asking myself, ‘Why are some countries rich? Why are some of them “poor”? What is this notion of a country and a nation-state? Why do people have different lines of work? Who chooses that for them?’” remembers the associate consultant.
Now, several years later, Maleni works at Capco, where she makes a living out of questioning the world, particularly what the future of financial services will look like. She’s learned that some of the best answers to the hardest questions come when you work towards them together.
We sat down with Maleni to talk about her journey into financial consulting, how she found a sense of community through Women@Capco and Latinx@Capco, two of the firm’s affinity groups, and what she’s most looking forward to next.
Chasing Tangible Change
Maleni grew up in Atlanta, but regularly spent time in Mexico, her ancestral home. She credits the experience of traveling between two cultures as what inspired her to start questioning the world.
“My dad and uncles were constantly talking about the world and globalization, like the implications of NAFTA on trade and migration,” she said. “I was an only child for a long time, in this environment of adults, and found it very intriguing. That’s where my insatiable curiosity was cultivated.”
For this reason, when she moved to New York City to study at Barnard, Maleni was drawn to economics. “A lot of the theories we know about were made by people a long time ago,” she says. “Adam Smith was not here at the turn of the 21st century.”
She also liked how interdisciplinary and direct economics was, especially compared to behavioral and philosophical fields like anthropology and art, which interested her but didn’t seem to come with immediate tangible change for societies. “A lot of what I'm passionate about or a lot of what inspires me is changing people's lives on a daily basis,” she says. “Economic policy directly affects people’s day-to-day lives, and to me, that’s valuable.”
Maleni studied the 2008 financial crisis in college, and wanted to be able to work towards improving the financial system so that things like that didn’t happen again. “I wanted to understand how institutions were regulating themselves, how they use their freedom,” she says. “I liked that at Capco I’d have some specialization, but work with different banks at different scales in different engagements. That was really compelling to me, and why I came here.”
Learning in Community
In her first weeks at Capco, Maleni and her fellow colleagues gave a presentation on demographic shifts as a driver for change poised to impact the financial services industry—and now, just over a year later, she’s used the initial research to publish an official Capco whitepaper titled “Unbanked & Underserved: Latinx Demographic Changes & Creating Financial Inclusion.”
“You can run with your ideas at Capco, and they’ll help you accomplish them,” says Maleni, who adds that she’s enjoying pursuing some of her academic interests at work and positioning herself as a thought leader.
As she networked and collaborated with colleagues at the firm in order to publish the paper, she was reminded of the kinds of discussions she’d been able to have in college, and the community spaces where she felt comfortable having them.
Maleni knew she wanted to continue to find opportunities for those kinds of conversations at Capco, so she joined Women@Capco where she leads Table Talks, a Women@Capco initiative that convenes the women of Capco and allies to discuss intersectional gender-based issues in a corporate environment. She also helped found Latinx@Capco, where she serves as Community Outreach Lead, when interest around it swelled earlier this year.
In both groups, Maleni enjoys getting to know people who share her identities in a space where they can support each other.
“You can talk about best practices that got you where you are: ‘How did you do that, who did you talk to, how did that happen?’” says Maleni. “You get a lot of connectivity, and a support group that can help you through when times are difficult.”
“As someone who’s Latinx, a woman of color, a first gen college student—all of these labels I hold mean that certain environments and institutions were not made for people like me,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important to convene people that look like you when you're at these institutions so that you can visualize a future that includes you.”
Building Impact Together
Maleni says she loves that despite being relatively early in her career, she’s been able to leverage her writing and her community involvement to forge relationships with senior leaders and push herself. That’s been especially true thanks to remote work, she notes, which has let her connect with Capco coworkers all around the country.
When she thinks about what’s next, she knows she wants to keep chasing answers alongside her community:
“I think about where we can have the most impact. Sometimes it’s well-defined and small, like our 20, 30 Latinx@Capco members. Maybe you’re impacting a client at a big Tier-I global bank,” she says. “As people, we get sucked into this idea of ‘we have to be changing the world.’ But sometimes that takes time. Defining where and how you can have the most impact is critical.”