Diversity at Braintree: A New Hire's Perspective
Below is an article originally written by Anna Johnson at PowerToFly Partner Braintree, and published on November 13, 2015. Go to Braintree's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Most of us have probably been in this position at some point: you're scheduled for a job interview at an exciting company, but it's still a few days away. As you anxiously wait, you prepare by furiously reading everything you can find on the company's website. If you're waiting for an interview at Braintree, this means that, at some point, you will run across Braintree's diversity statement:
As our industry finds itself at the center of the conversation about workplace diversity, we must shine a light down our own halls and ensure we're being reflective of the people who use the products we build. With this call to self-awareness comes a responsibility to continually make things better than they are. We're on the hook now. We acknowledge that we have room to grow, and we push ourselves to reach out and actively elevate those who might otherwise be suppressed. We do this through the events we host, the education we support, and the jobs we offer—in the hope that the change we bring about today will ripple through the larger community.
Now, I have to admit, when I first read this, I was impressed. "We're on the hook now" -- that's a bold statement. What's more, as a queer person, this type of statement is an integral part of my job search. Like anybody else, I want to work for a company that is a "good fit," and, for me, a company open to conversations about diversity is part of this fit. But, of course, words don't necessarily lead to actions, so I decided to suspend judgment and wait for my interview to see how Braintree put this statement into practice.
Interview day came, and I was, admittedly, a bit nervous. After checking in at reception, a sticker with a rainbow and Braintree's logo caught my eye. As I toured the office, I noticed more rainbow stickers: a couple on the office sticker board, where employees are encouraged to add any stickers they like, as well as on individual computers. Small and unassuming, many people might not have even noticed them, but, to me, they spoke volumes: this office was "out." Immediately, I was both more and less nervous for my interview. Less nervous because this was clearly a company where I was fully welcome. More nervous because I realized that this was exactly the type of company I was hoping to work for.
Presumably, my interview went well, because shortly thereafter Braintree called with an offer, which I happily accepted. The first few days at any new company entail quite a bit of acclimation, and at Braintree this includes navigating the landscape of our internal chat system, Slack. As I explored, I came across a channel named "Pride." The #Pride slack channel is many things: a place for new employees to introduce themselves, a place to discuss and organize company events, or simply a place to talk about the best new tv shows (is it Transparent, Grace and Frankie, or Sense8?) and share information and resources, such as adoption procedures in Illinois. Employees from all over the company participate on it, connecting people from a variety of departments who may not otherwise interact with each other on a daily basis.
For me, equally important to #Pride, is the fact that these conversations also happen IRL, amongst LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ identified Braintreeps alike. A perfect example of this is the recent Pride@BT social hosted by the office. Over 50 employees RSVP'd for the event, and we had a lovely evening sipping drinks, eating pizza, and playing ping pong. Again, an after work social may not seem like a momentous event, but, at least for me, little actions such as this speak to the everyday, open culture Braintree and its employees work to foster.
To return to Braintree's diversity statement, this blog post is by no means meant to let Braintree "off the hook." Diversity and inclusion are complicated practices, involving many different identities; they're not a one-off that can be addressed by a single blog post or a single experience. We "have a responsibility to continually make things better than they are." Along these lines, what this post hopefully does is point out the little actions a company and its employees can take in order to participate in this continual process. As a job candidate, I looked for and immediately picked up on these little things, and as I continue to acclimate to the Braintree world, the little things are adding up to make a huge difference.
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