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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Diversity Reboot 2021: The One Hundred Day Kickoff<p><strong>When</strong>: February 1-5, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free!</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://summit.powertofly.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>We had to include our own Diversity Reboot on our list of the best diversity and inclusion events to attend in 2021 because we know firsthand how the quality of 100+ expert speakers, the enthusiasm of 10,000 participants, and the cutting-edge tech that enables meaningful virtual networking and job fairs combine to create a truly epic five-day experience. This year, the theme 100 Day Kickoff harnesses the energy of the new government's first 100 days in office to help jump-start personal and professional plans to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. </p><p>Following the February summit, we'll have a monthly series of smaller virtual summits on topics spanning everything from returnships to LGBTQ+ advocacy, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!<br></p>
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When</strong>: February 3-4, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/virtual_events/upcoming_virtual_events/the-future-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-2021_kcxf8glq.html#detail" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This virtual conference put on by HR.com focuses on how social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have pushed DEI at work beyond legal compliance and into a major factor of any company or brand's culture, employee engagement, and performance. Topics include how to uncover and resolve pay gaps across your team and hire top-level diverse talent.</p>
Workplace Revolution: From Talk to Collective Action<p><strong>When</strong>: March 8-12, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$820</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://cvent.me/ZQ4BbE" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>The Forum on Workplace Inclusion's 33rd annual conference includes 12 session tracks, from DEI Strategy to Social Responsibility, along with 59 workshops and daily networking sessions. This year's theme focuses on one question: "What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?"</p>
Diversity: How Employers Can Match Words With Deeds<p><strong>When</strong><strong>: </strong>May 19, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register</strong><strong>: </strong>Early bird registration is $49 and general admission is $149</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://hopin.com/events/may-virtual-conference-diversity-how-employers-can-match-words-with-deeds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here</a></p><p>From Day One is hosting monthly conferences in 2021 focused on different ways for companies to foster strong relationships with their customers, communities, and employees. May's half-day virtual event is focused specifically on how companies can make diversity promises that don't fall flat and features workshops, panels, and a fireside chat.</p>
Hire with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<p><strong>When:</strong> August 18, 2021</p><p><strong>Where: </strong>Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$195</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hci.org/conferences/2021-virtual-conference-hire-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-august-18-2021" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This conference put on by the Human Capital Institute is one of 12 virtual conferences that HCI has planned for 2021. This one focuses on fair and inclusive talent acquisition, including how to attract diverse talent, implement inclusive hiring practices, and addressing bias in employee selection. Other conferences will focus on optimizing talent strategy, engaging employees, and developing your workforce.</p>
Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> September 26-29, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual, broadcast from Chicago, Illinois</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Was $799 for regular access to the virtual conference in 2020; 2021 pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://ghc.anitab.org/attend/registration/" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>Grace Hopper might be the best-known conference for women in tech. Through keynote presentations, networking sessions, job fairs, and community-building activities, vGHC reached over 30,000 women for their 2020 conference and are expecting even more in 2021! While not a conference focused exclusively on diversity and inclusion, many speakers plan to focus their talks on creating environments for women to thrive in the male-dominated tech field.</p>
Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> October 25-27, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual and in person in Austin, Texas as of now</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management's biggest conference of the year saw 1,200 DEI leaders participate last year; SHRM hopes to see even more come to learn, be inspired, and to walk away with a playbook of implementable strategies to create truly inclusive workplace cultures.</p>
AfroTech 2021<p><strong></strong><strong>When:</strong> November 8-13, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Early bird pricing is $149 for individuals and $249 for corporate attendees; regular pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://experience.afrotech.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>AfroTech is a conference hosted by Blavity, a tech media platform for Black millennials. It focuses on emerging tech trends, connecting Black talent with top tech recruiters, and providing networking and educational opportunities, with an overall goal of building a strong Black tech community. Over 10,000 people participated in 2020. While the conference isn't focused specifically on DEI, its main audience of Black tech talent is an important one to understand and to engage at work and beyond, and several speakers plan to focus on issues of race and inclusion at work. </p>
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