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GitLab

GitLab’s UX Manager On Battling “Compassion Fatigue” That Can Undermine Diversity in Tech

From the snowy Olympics to our heated offices, we all need a good coach in our lives who can provide us with guidance, feedback, and that little extra push. That's how GitLab's UX Manager, Sarrah Vesselov, a ten-year veteran in the tech industry, sees herself. "As a coach, I'm facilitating two-way conversations between members of the UX Department, the organization, and the community," explains Vesselov. "These discussions are meant to influence and develop my department's skills, attitudes, judgments, and contributions."

In addition to her daily job of identifying UX improvements, gathering data to identify issues, and ultimately finding solutions to any possible shortcomings in GitLab's design, Vesselov has enthusiastically championed and coached teammates on reaching diversity and inclusion goals through her role interviewing applicants for GitLab's UX team. "In our handbook we state that each candidate should be interviewed by at least one female GitLab team member. I think this is just one important step to ensuring that we are inclusive as a company." While GitLab has partnered with forums dedicated to women in tech like PowerToFly, for Vesselov, it is vital to take action into her own hands. "On a personal level, I make it a point to share these opportunities across social media, Slack, and meetup groups dedicated to fostering more diversity in tech. I think it's important for women to hear about GitLab's culture from a woman who works here."

As a founding member and director of the Tampa Network of Women Code as well as a chapter leader for the Tampa district of Girl Develop It, Vesselov's work with women in STEM has stretched far beyond her day job with GitLab. "I have learned that women have much to offer to the tech community. I am continually impressed with the knowledge, passion, and resilience demonstrated by the women I encounter in these organizations," states Vesselov. "I have tried to ensure that we don't forget about these incredible women here at GitLab. That has meant making underrepresented groups a focus internally and externally. Internally, my department is conducting user research to understand how to make GitLab accessible to all, not just the status quo." GitLab is certainly doing their own part to hire underrepresented groups by offering their current employees a pretty sweet incentive. "GitLab offers a $2000 referral bonus for hires from teams with underrepresented groups," says Vesselov.

Still, despite her vigorous efforts, Vesselov acknowledges that reducing the stigma that engineering roles are better suited for men is an ongoing challenge which has lately faced a new roadblock: apathy. "I think there is a bit of compassion fatigue in the industry right now," admits Vesselov. "Women's groups have been very successful in spotlighting the need for diversity in tech and engineering. So successful, that I think some are tired of hearing about it, while others believe the problem has been 'automatically' solved. Denial and apathy threaten to undo some of the real advances we've made. I think it is imperative for companies to step up and do more to remove the stigma, normalize women in these roles, and make workplaces a safe place for women to contribute by addressing bias in the workplace, not just in the interviewing phase."

Luckily, the future of women in tech have both Vesselov and GitLab not only coaching them from the sidelines but participating on the field. "There are a lot of companies out there giving lip service about diversity when candidates apply, but they do little to foster inclusion once those women are there. That isn't GitLab."

To learn more about GitLab and their open roles, please visit their page on PowerToFly and click follow.

Career and Interview Tips

Learn About Inside Sales at Commvault

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Five million adults in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorder, per the CDC. More are considered neurodivergent, which can refer to people with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.

You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.

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Webinars

Elevating Black Women Virtual Summit: Learn more about Our Partners, Sponsors & Speakers

Learn more about our amazing speakers and sponsors at our April 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Elevating Black Women, three days of conversations and panels plus an interactive virtual career fair.

From everyone here at PowerToFly we want to extend a BIG thank you to everyone who tuned into last week's Diversity Reboot: Elevating Black Women. In case you missed a talk or you'd like to revisit one of our great conversations, don't worry, all of the fireside chats and panels will be available to watch for free on PowerToFly soon.

We were thrilled to present conversations on such important subjects as the racial wealth gap, the importance of affordable child care, how BIPOC youth are leading the way on combatting the climate crisis, the importance of black women in entrepreneurship and business, being an ally for communities outside of your own, plus tech talks, fireside chats with Black woman founders, panels with DEI leaders and much more.

We want to extend a HUGE thanks to our amazing sponsors MINDBODY, Smartsheet, NGA, Procore Technologies, S&P Global, PayPal and PwC whose support made this event possible.

Finally, don't forget to visit our Merch Store and grab yourself some PowerToFly apparel. 100% of the proceeds from our sales will be going to TransTech Social, supporting transgender people in tech.

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Career Advice

The NBA’s CMO Kate Jhaveri on Her Marketing Superpower: Building Community

Kate Jhaveri does one thing every day that she suggests you try: belly laughs.

The EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at the NBA credits her two kids with much of that levity—"They're very silly and they, at least once a day, make me laugh out loud," she says—though she seeks to make those lighter connections with her team at work, too.

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