How 15 Companies Are Working to Be Anti-Racist
This summer, as the extrajudicial murders of Black Americans prompted renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, companies and organizations across the United States started to center the experiences of their Black employees and prioritize conversations about race in a real way.
Some companies already had robust diversity and inclusion initiatives that combated some of the systematic injustice Black workers face. Many more, though, realized they had to invest in building them. That work started with learning what it takes to be a truly anti-racist—not just non-racist—workplace. Many companies have gotten quieter about Black Lives Matter since June, so we wanted to know what companies were doing to make good on the promises they made earlier this year.
Here at PowerToFly, we're lucky enough to partner with industry-leading companies who really believe in creating equitable work environments where diverse talent can thrive. We interviewed several of our clients to learn about the ways in which they're working to build anti-racist workplaces. We hope that their answers provide some transparency to the ongoing work companies are doing to ensure that their stated commitments to DEI translate into meaningful action, and inspire other companies to follow suit.
Mindbody empowers employees to act
"It is not effective to be 'not racist.' It hinders change and slows the momentum needed to break down long standing barriers individuals experience. Mindbody believes we must be 'anti-racist' and lean into this topic and lead by example. We have focused our attention on educating our team, through formal education such as small group trainings and larger webinars teaching us about our Unconscious Bias, How to be an Inclusive Leader, How to Cope with Civil Unrest, and Raising Diversity in the Home, and through informal education such as fireside-like conversations with our team members, hearing their specific experiences with racism. One key learning we have had recently at Mindbody is around a word we commonly used to use, 'ally.' We have had to shift the meaning of being an ally, as something active vs. something passive. We have asked our employees to be active allies and stand up and share their thoughts and experiences on these topics. We have given our employees a new volunteer day off to be used July-September 2020 to volunteer for an organization of their choice and focus on a way they can actively create change. If all 1,200 employees give 8 hours, this will give almost 10,000 hours of active work to create the change we need in this world."
Learn more about MINDBODY here.
Moody's invests in community-building events
"Moody's is committed to a diverse and inclusive culture. We aspire for Moody's to be a place where everyone feels comfortable being their true selves, where we demonstrate empathy and civility – and where we celebrate the differences that make us stronger. To further our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion at Moody's and racial justice in the communities where we live and work, we proudly share an array of events we held in June and July 2020.
Thousands of employees attended one or a mix of 43 events we've held across the world on racial justice, including our racial justice town hall, signature Juneteenth event, learning sessions from our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and Moody's Courageous Conversations and Moments That Matter series.
The reach and success of these events was made possible through strong employee leadership and participation – especially from our Diversity and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility teams and employee-led Multicultural ERG and Black Inclusion Group."
Learn more about Moody's here.
T. Rowe Price drives awareness through conversation
"Although the pandemic continues to separate associates physically, the firm's collaborative culture and united stance on racial equity has galvanized employees to use their voices to promote equality. Bill Stromberg, President and CEO, issued a public statement on June 4 that reflects our commitment to fighting racial injustice. In addition to the T. Rowe Price Foundation committing $2 million to organizations working to fight racial injustice, the matching gift program is available to employees who are interested in financially supporting racial equity causes.
To ensure the cultural conversation continues, the firm has held dozens of Diversity Dialogues across the company. These sessions are facilitated by thought leaders and experts in diversity and inclusion and provide employees with a safe space to speak candidly about their experiences to leadership and colleagues. This comes on the heels of T. Rowe Price evolving its business resource group, MOSAIC, which helps drive multicultural awareness at the firm, into three heritage communities – Black/African American, Latinx, and Asian – to promote an even greater sense of belonging. T. Rowe Price is encouraging employees to tap into resources available on TRPConnects, an internal social media site which offers mental health and wellness information, personal accounts and stories from colleagues about their experiences with racism, and educational resources on systemic racism."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
PwC supports direct action in their community
"PwC stands against racism in the workplace, in our communities and in our country and is taking six actions to combat racial justice. The firm is taking steps to support its Black professionals, to improve diversity and inclusion efforts within the organization, and to contribute to the efforts of those who are fighting for racial justice and equality on the front lines. Specifically, this includes donating time to social justice organizations, giving employees one week of utilized time each year to volunteer with nonprofits, and supporting students and teachers in underserved communities to build a more diverse, tech-skilled future workforce, among other commitments. PwC people are encouraged to support each other and speak out against bias and stigma, to join one of our inclusion networks and to participate in blindspots training. The firm is also offering free racial trauma counseling for PwCers and their families."
Learn more about PwC here.
Invesco prioritizes listening and accountability
"After the senseless killing of George Floyd ignited protests against police brutality and racial inequity, Invesco was quick to speak out and take action. In an open letter to clients and employees from President & CEO Marty Flanagan we said forcefully that Black lives matter. Our zero-tolerance approach to racism of any kind is embedded in our existing programs, such as unconscious bias training for all managers. We implemented a series of listening sessions with clients, the Invesco Black Professionals Network, and other internal Business Resource Groups. Communications kits for managers encouraged dialogue within teams and Juneteenth was established as a paid holiday for US employees. We continue to build anti-racism programs and will hold ourselves accountable by measuring our ability to increase hiring, promotion and retention of diverse colleagues. Our CEO joined over 500 business leaders to urge Georgia lawmakers to sign the Hate Crimes legislation into law."
Learn more about Invesco here.
Snap strengthens allyship
"At Snap, creating a fairer, more inclusive, and truly anti-racist culture is everyone's job. Above all, this problem is not for underrepresented groups — or a DEI team — to solve. And so, to create a truly inclusive and anti-racist culture at Snap, we need our team members to become skilled allies.
We launched our Allyship Program in February 2020, with the objective to support Snap team members and turn goodwill into good action. The Allyship Program combines bold personal storytelling and frank conversations to inspire empathy and build awareness with formal workshops to equip team members with the knowledge, resources, skills and inspiration to be good allies in the workplace."
Learn more about Snap here.
S&P Global makes D&I a core part of business
S&P Global has most recently committed to accelerating progress through the following actions: leading courageous conversations with employees across teams to develop greater understanding around issues of racial justice; expanding our full-time staff devoted to advancing Diversity & Inclusion; doubling our financial investments in D&I initiatives and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs); expanding existing inclusion training globally to address bias and microaggressions; and contributing USD $1M via the S&P Global Foundation to non-profit organizations that support equity and racial justice. In 2018, the Company added a D&I metric to its strategic goals to track performance, and the global D&I Council leads and governs all such efforts across the enterprise.
Learn more about S&P Global here.
VideoAmp prioritizes education for their entire team
"The inflection point for us began the week of George Floyd's murder.
As a young and rapidly growing ad tech company, we paused and looked at where we could improve and grow from the Black Lives Matter movement. The VideoAmp executive leadership team spoke openly about the events during an All-Hands and from that meeting, the People Team took some immediate actions like the observation of Black Out Tuesday and making Juneteenth an annual company holiday. We felt these actions provided time and space for reflection and increased awareness of racial injustice in our country. And instead of having a purely top-down approach, we quickly launched our Employee-led Advisory Group (EAG) to create actionable, sustainable and meaningful ways to grow as an organization, ensuring all employees could be seen and heard. Over 100 employees quickly rallied together - the EAG now meets twice a week and has already formed actionable initiatives in three categories: 1.) Learn through self-education 2.) Participate in community outreach and 3.) Give Back through time and financial contributions. The group not only brings plans to life but also measures what success will look like with KPIs around specific initiatives to drive accountability for VideoAmp.
We continue to explore ways to educate our organization on the specific needs of the Black community and how to combat racism through proactive and ongoing learning and resource-sharing. We recognize that we still have a lot to learn. We formed a thought-leader speaker series with Dionna Smith from the PowertoFly team as our inaugural presenter. She spoke on power, privilege and how to be an ally for change. This first presentation drew an audience of over 100 employees which was 61% of the VideoAmp employee base. We've also launched a book club, featuring Black authors with physical books purchased from Black-owned bookstores, and have scheduled film and TV viewing events to further increase our knowledge and awareness of Black history and racial injustices in America. In addition, we share timely content related to the Black Lives Matter movement through a weekly company-wide newsletter and we have offered the opportunity to be part of Allyship Healing Circles through our partnership with Modern Health, among other mental health support at no cost to our employees and their dependents.
Lastly, through our partnership with PowerToFly, we're continuing to implement more assertive diversity hiring and recruitment practices, making VideoAmp a place where anyone can feel valued and inspired to thrive. We're on a mission to further diversify our workforce and drive a culture where all people feel they belong and are educated on how to be an ally for change in our organization and our communities."
Learn more about VideoAmp here.
Lattice partners with employees and customers to drive change
"To ensure an anti-racist work environment and help combat racism, Lattice took to company-wide crowdsourcing for different ways to help. Once we gathered a substantial list, ERG groups worked with our Leadership team to prioritize and assign items to individuals and teams. Examples include donation & support opportunities, company-wide allyship/anti-racist training, and we're finding/building ways to support our customers' DE&I efforts through our people management platform."
Learn more about Lattice here.
Kensho keeps the conversation going via continuous education
"Kensho is committed to educating our employees and fostering an anti-racist culture. Kensho employees recently attended The Adaway Group's Whiteness at Work virtual summer series. This was a four- part series addressing: Whiteness at Work, White Dominant Culture, Building Anti-Racist Skills and Operationalizing Racial Equity. After each session our Head of DEI, Shea Kerr, lead a debrief discussion to give employees the opportunity to discuss what they learned, as well as share their own experiences. This was a great way to bring these issues to the forefront and keep the conversation going with our employees. Kensho's DEI Committee is also working on bringing in additional DEI focused training that will take place throughout the year."
Learn more about Kensho here.
CarGurus creates a welcoming work environment
"At CarGurus, we strive to build and nurture a global culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative. We are all responsible for fostering an anti-racist workplace by proactively centering diverse perspectives, amplifying underrepresented voices and deeply engaging in learning, dialogue, and action to drive forward systematic change. For us, that means investing in targeted and accessible programming and learning opportunities that enhance cultural humility, encourage growth, and promote inclusive leadership at every level. We are also striving to create more equity in our practices and policies so that everyone feels they can bring the ultimate expression of themselves to work every day despite their race, gender, or background."
Learn more about CarGurus here.
MongoDB shares resources in their team and in their community
"At MongoDB, we are committed to learning about and combating racism in the workplace. Here are some of the educational programming we have that promotes anti-racism: On August 13th, 2020, we had an internal event 'Decoding Inclusion Conversation on Race: Driving Impact with Power and Privilege' featuring Netta Jenkins (Forbes Top 7 Anti-Racism Educator), and sponsored by our CEO, Dev Ittycheria. During this session, Netta discussed the murder of George Floyd and the impact on Black people and the global community. She also discussed racial trauma and symptoms of race-based injustices
in the workplace. Members of our employee affinity group, The Underrepresented People of Color Network, shared resources for people looking to learn how to be anti-racist to support the current racial justice movement, and during our annual event, MongoDB World, we launched the MongoDB for Justice fund, in order to raise funds to enable organizations advancing anti-racism work."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Quip centers anti-racism training across their work
"Quip believes that we have a moral responsibility to help lead the fight for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tech industry. We acknowledge that this is a challenging and ever-changing area, and takes ongoing work. We believe that diverse and inclusive teams are essential to build the best product, to meet our business goals, and to create a work environment where people from all backgrounds can feel like they belong, which will ultimately make our entire team more successful. Quip has been actively teaching and educating team members on how to build a more anti-racist workplace through various methods:
- Hosting a book club on the book How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Creating a central repository to encourage folks to support organizations fighting racism and police brutality
- Developing a dos and don'ts messaging guide centered around racial equality
- Doing a virtual volunteering event by reading Anti-Racism Children's Book for the kids at UCSF"
Learn more about Quip here.
Relativity explores diversity within its community
"We are committed to ongoing efforts to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging at Relativity. We are proud of our new internal learning series, 'Culture Collective,' where we explore the rich diversity of identities and cultures that make up our company and the communities we serve. This is a monthly series sponsored by one of our Community Resource Groups (CRGs) called Faces of Relativity in partnership with our entire CRG community. These sessions allow us to explore cultural mindfulness and establish actionable steps for how we can make an impact as allies. In addition to the 'Culture Collective,' we host monthly deep dive conversations and learning sessions with our CRG leadership, an anti-racism toolkit curated in partnership with the CRG community, and have built out a robust internal learning curriculum for 2021 that will aim to educate Relativians on culture, unconscious bias, power/privilege, and more."
Learn more about Relativity here.
Smartsheet builds anti-racist environments, including coding ones
"A group of Smartsheet employees has been actively working to remove offensive terminology from our engineering coding language. Just like many everyday terms and figures of speech have racist roots, so too do many of the standard terms used in coding. Although this is anti-racist work that is far less visible than more common organizational initiatives (like unconscious bias and inclusion trainings, both of which Smartsheet is launching this year), it is no less important and only further highlights how ingrained racism is in our world."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Interested in discussing what it takes to build anti-racist workplaces in real time? We're hosting Allyship to Impact, a two-day free virtual conference focused on providing resources and practical guidance to combat racism at work, this September 10-11. We hope you can join us.
10 Full-Time Roles You Can Do Remotely! [Updated Sept 2021]
[This article was updated September 20, 2021]
Work-from-home jobs sometimes get a bad reputation: low pay, repetitive work, micromanagement... the list goes on. But if one good thing has come out of 2020, it's that it's redefined working from home. Remote work has come a long way, and the opportunities to work from home in 2021 are more promising than ever before.
If you're like me, and freelance, task-oriented remote jobs like article writing, data entry, transcription, or professional survey taking (yep, that exists), aren't your thing - don't worry. There are more full-time remote opportunities than ever before that offer you the freedom to manage your own time, the security of consistent monthly income, the support of a team, and the promise of growth. In fact, we've got close to 5,000 on PowerToFly.
So, if you're looking for a remote opportunity in 2021 that will push you to develop professionally, look no further than our list of the 10 best work-from-home jobs. And by best, we mean fun, challenging roles that will help you grow, while making a respectable income.
All the jobs listed have average salaries between 45 and 119k, and have average or higher-than-average growth potential (based off of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions for growth from 2018 to 2028 and/or LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report).
10 Best Work-From-Home (Remote) Jobs for 2021
Jobs sorted from highest to lowest average salary. (Salary data taken from ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and/or the U.S. BLS depending on availability and specificity to remote roles.)
Who It's Good For: Detail-oriented stats masters skilled at identifying and understanding trends.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: With more data than ever before at our fingertips, companies know the value of hiring folks who know "big data" as more than just a buzzword. True stats buffs are hard to come by, so expertise often outweighs location.
Growth 2018-2028: 30.7%
Average Annual Salary: $119,000
Who It's Good For: Self-directed (and disciplined) coding enthusiasts who love problem solving and having the freedom to work whenever they feel most focused.
Sound Like You? Check Out: 4,000+ Software Developer/Engineer jobs on PowerToFly and be sure to check out this Q&A with software engineer, Kasey Champion to learn about her experience working at a fully remote company and get her tips for acing technical interviews!)
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Arguably, not only can programming be done remotely - it should be! Why? Writing code requires undisturbed blocks of time rarely found in traditional workplaces.
As computer scientist and entrepreneur Paul Graham observed in his essay on makers' vs. managers' schedules:
" Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule...But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started."
Office culture was designed with managers' schedules in mind, and thus makes adhering to a maker's schedule extremely difficult. Remote work, alternatively, is much more conducive to this. After all, it's a lot easier to snooze your Slack notifications than it is to ignore your boss literally hovering over your shoulder.
Growth for 2018-2028: 21%
Average Annual Salary: $111,781
3.Designer (Web, Graphic, Product, or UI/UX)
Who It's Good For: Designers who do their best work independently or from the comfort of their own home.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Design Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: No doubt there's value in brainstorming with your team, but once you know the needs of a project, most design work can be done independently and then shared. With tools like Zoom, Jira, and Slack, it's easier than ever before to share your work, get feedback, and hit deadlines. (And, like programmers/developers, designers are also more likely to benefit from a maker's schedule!)
Average Annual Salary (for UX Design): $98,816 according to data from ZipRecruiters
Average Median Salary (for Graphic Design): $50,370 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: Anyone who loves big-picture strategy and building products that users will love.
(If you enjoy more nitty-gritty task oversight, consider project management instead — both roles can be done remotely! You can learn more about the differences between the two PM roles here.)
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As more and more software engineers and other tech professionals work remotely, it only makes sense that the PMs coordinating with them work remotely. If you're a virtual communication wiz comfortable communicating online and using tools like Zoom, GitHub, Jyra, Slack, and Asana (the list goes on...), then you're all set!
Annual Growth: 24%*
*Based on expected growth for Product Owner from LinkedIn's emerging jobs report. The BLS doesn't currently track growth specifically for Product Manager positions.
Average Annual Salary: $81,149
5.P.A., Nurse, or Nurse Practitioner
Who It's Good For: An experienced medical practitioner ready to swap 12 hour shifts for a more flexible schedule.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: New technology is changing the way healthcare is delivered. You can provide wellness and medical education, patient-centered care, and treatment virtually, all while collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, physicians, and medical assistants.
Growth for 2018-2028 (Nurse Practitioner): 26%
Average Annual Salary (Remote Nurse): $73,374
Who It's Good For: Top-notch communicators (writers) who can explain complex topics succinctly and clearly. (It's helpful if you have expertise in at least one technical subject.)
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Technical Writer Jobs
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Like programmers, technical writers are makers - they need large, undisturbed blocks of time to create content. Technology and the nature of remote work can help ensure writers are able to communicate efficiently with their teams and organize meetings when they'll be constructive, not distracting.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $68,,454
7.Customer Success Manager
Who It's Good For: Good communicators who love helping others and problem-solving.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Customer Success Roles
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Most customer service needs can be met over the phone and online. With a computer and good internet connection (and enough patience), you can handle all your customers' needs from wherever you are.
Growth for 2020: 34% annual growth rate (The BLS doesn't share data specific to customer success, but thanks to the growth of SaaS, Customer Success Specialist made LinkedIn's 2020 list of the top 15 emerging jobs)
Average Annual Salary: $67,371
Who It's Good For: Folks who are equal parts creative and analytical.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Marketing Manager Jobs on PowerToFly
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Analyzing industry trends and crafting strategy can be done from anywhere. And with teams becoming more and more spread out, you can coordinate cross-functionally with sales people, engineers, and more using Zoom, Slack, and other online tools.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $62,788 (according to data for remote professionals from ZipRecruiters)
Average Median Salary: $134,290 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: A people-person skilled in market research, project/time management, and negotiation.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Recruiting Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As remote work takes off and fully remote teams become more common, it only makes sense that recruiters at these companies would be remote as well. Although recruiting saw a dip at the start of the pandemic, the number of remote recruiting roles is steadily increasing as companies ramp back up their hiring goals—we have hundreds of open remote recruiter roles on PowerToFly!
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Average Annual Salary: $59,474
10.Sales Development Representative
Who It's Good For: A self-starter with previous experience or an interest in Sales, or anyone who's just starting out and eager to prove themselves!
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote SDR Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: You don't need to be in a particular location to make sales calls, deliver pitches, send follow-up emails, or manage your sales team. And if you have to fly from an office to meet a client, you can just as easily fly from your hometown.
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Median Annual Salary (not specific to remote) for SDRs: $45,937
Interested in one of the roles above? Check out these resources for landing your dream remote job and get ready to reap the full benefits of remote work in 2021 - doing what you like, where you like. Good luck!
[A version of this article was originally published on Dec. 19, 2018]
No two days look alike for Lockheed Martin's Diversity and Inclusion Analyst, Ashley Lovett. "I like variety," she says. " If I have the same routine every day, I can easily get bored."
Whether it be restructuring her work day or switching up her workout routine, Ashley always looks for a way to spice things up. "Maybe I'll go running with my dog or go to the gym and do yoga or spin classes," Ashley explains. "It just depends on the day."
Her desire for variety is also what made her want to participate in Lockheed Martin's HR Leadership Development Program, a three year rotational program for early career professionals that provides a well-rounded introduction to different human resources functions.
We sat down with Ashley to learn how her drive to step out of her comfort zone helped her land her dream role and to hear her advice for recent college grads ready to step into the professional world.
From Undergrad to Lockheed Martin
In college, Ashley joined a co-ed professional business fraternity called Delta Sigma Pi. Unlike your average sorority or fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi was focused on business development for students. "A lot of the pledging process had to do with networking, meeting executives, and doing company tours," Ashley explains. "Funny enough, the very first company tour that I did was actually at Lockheed." Little did she know she would eventually start her professional journey there.
Throughout her four years of college, Ashley participated in courses, events, and initiatives put on by the fraternity and even went on to bring in new members as Senior Vice President. "That was by far my favorite role that I held within my fraternity because it had to do with our recruitment strategy," explains Ashley reminiscently. "I absolutely loved recruiting. I'm really thankful for that opportunity because it ultimately led me into HR."
Ashley's newfound love for recruiting led her to pursue an internship at Lockheed Martin. "Through that internship, I got to learn more about talent acquisition, and I was able to start making a network within the company, meeting mentors and other interns that I still connect with today." She continued with the internship her last two years of college and transitioned directly into a full-time role at Lockheed Martin upon graduation. "The transition from college to professional life wasn't as challenging as I thought it might be because I knew who to go to and I had already learned key things about being a recruiter," says Ashley. "I didn't skip a beat."
The three-year HR Leadership Development Program Ashley is doing is designed to meet the current and future expectations of the Lockheed Martin human resources team through rotational job assignments. "Going into this program has been such an amazing opportunity," elaborates Ashley. "We get to touch a lot of different things within our different HR functions and centers of expertise , so I'm constantly learning something and getting pulled into a new project. "
Ashley has quickly learned to embrace the learning curves that define the experience. "We rotate roles once a year, so as soon as you get your bearings and hit your stride, it's already time to move out of that role," she says. "Starting something new is a little bit nerve wracking, but having great leadership helps me navigate areas that are outside of my comfort zone."
Ashley is currently completing her first rotation as a Global Diversity and Inclusion Analyst. Her days are a mixture of team meetings and strategic work, such as completing key deliverable tasks for her director, delivering on our key diversity strategies and initiatives, and putting together executive level presentations. "None of my days look exactly the same," says Ashley, which is just the way she likes it.
In January, Ashley will transition to a new role as an HR Business Partner and serve as a liaison between the business client group and human resources. "I'm excited to learn about a whole new business area and step out of my comfort zone again!" she says.
Advice for Overcoming Challenges as a New Grad
Ashley's transition from college to the corporate world has been relatively smooth, but each learning curve has come with lessons that she'd like to share with other recent grads:
Actively combat imposter syndrome. Walking straight off campus into a corporate office can be intimidating and imposter syndrome can creep in. "Sometimes you get in these nice big roles and you're the most junior employee in the room and you think, 'oh my gosh, what am I doing? Why did they choose me? Why would they do this?' And you forget about everything that you've ever done," explains Ashley. "You have to catch yourself and remind yourself of the reasons why you're here. You are awesome and you are capable."
Sometimes, of course, that's easier said than done, so Ashley has a hack she likes to use when she needs a reminder of what she's accomplished: she reviews her self-curated "success file." "If anyone ever emails me with positive feedback, I go ahead and pull that into my success file," she explains. "If I have a bad day, I'll go in and remind myself of those wins."
Use your voice. When you're the most junior employee in a meeting, your instinct might be to stay quiet. "Something that I definitely had to work on this year is making sure that I speak up and use my voice in any meeting that I'm in." Instead of staying quiet, Ashley recommends challenging yourself to make a contribution to the conversation. "Make sure when you're going into meetings, you have an objective. And even if it's just one small thing, try to bring something to the table," she advises.
Keep your priorities straight. "When you come into a new role, you want to fix everything, you want to take on everything, and you want to say yes to everything," explains Ashley. "And sometimes you can get overwhelmed, you can spread yourself too thin." Coming fresh from school, it's easy to become overly ambitious and bite off more than you can chew. "I've definitely had to learn to try not to boil the ocean and get myself too worked up on too many different deliverables at once."
Navigating priorities can be difficult early on, so Ashley leans on her mentors for clarity. "Mentorship has completely changed my career and I am so thankful for all the mentors that I have within Lockheed," says Ashley. "Find someone that wants to take you under their wing. Someone you can learn a lot from," advises Ashley. "They really can help guide you through your career and after some time, if appropriate, they can become your sponsor and advocate on your behalf."
Want to join a company where you can try new things? Check out Lockheed Martin's open roles here.
Moving Up (And Around) the Career Ladder: Three Tips for Professional Growth from American Express’ Karina Alvarez Silverstein
Any seasoned professional can tell you that advancing in your career isn't only about moving up the ladder, it's also about moving around it. Karina Alvarez Silverstein, Engineering Vice President at American Express has done just that during her 12-year tenure with the payments company. "I love finding new challenges when I have an itch for something new," says Karina. Her career growth at American Express has allowed her to increase professional impact without having to switch companies.
We sat down with Karina to learn more about her career journey and glean some key lessons for steady career growth.
Moving Around the Career Ladder at Amex
Karina's experience with American Express began after an interaction with a recruiter at her university's career fair in 2008. "I was really intimidated about joining corporate America," reflects Karina, "but the experience during recruitment and interviewing was so positive that I wanted to join the company."
Twelve years later, Karina's journey at Amex continues. She's had the opportunity to grow and reinvent herself during that time. "I've been able to switch domains or positions almost every 18 months." Karina attributes her consistent career growth to her insatiable drive to learn new things. "Being in technology, you always have to be learning to keep up; otherwise it's easy to feel irrelevant," she says. "I truly believe that learning is how someone gets better. I'm always striving to be a better version of myself in all dimensions, day to day."
Through the years, as she's gained experience working across functions and teams, Karina has gotten to learn about different areas that interest her. "Deciding what challenges to pursue next is influenced by what is sparking my curiosity." Amex makes learning and exploring new concepts easier for employees like Karina by offering plentiful career development opportunities.
"We have a program at Amex called 5+ Development Days," shares Karina, "where you get to invest in your professional development and personal growth over five uninterrupted days, so you don't have to take time off to learn something new." Through this program Karina has obtained certifications, completed courses, and taken advantage of job shadowing, all of which helped her tremendously as she took on new roles.
Karina's most recent transition from Engineering Director to Vice President of Engineering was particularly challenging as she dealt with changes in her personal life. "It was definitely overwhelming at first, as it was the same time I found out I was going to be a mother." She leaned on her leaders and mentors to help her navigate those challenges after she accepted the role. "I learned that work-life balance is in my control and I really appreciated the value they brought me during this change."
3 Key Lessons (and a Mantra) for Constant Career Growth
Whether you're just starting your career journey or are eager to try something new, here are Karina's top three lessons, and a reassuring mantra, to help you advance your career:
Build meaningful relationships. Building true connections with your colleagues facilitates collaboration. "In most instances, bringing a win to the enterprise means working with others," Karina explains. Go beyond superficial gestures and reach out to people in your circle to get to know them better. You never know, they might teach you something new or help you get your next promotion!
Don't be afraid to fail. "Failure is not a bad thing. It's how we learn," says Karina. "What is important is how you recover from a failure." Being afraid to mess up can cause you to be hesitant to take that next step in your career or even prevent you from doing it all together. Take on new challenges as learning opportunities. That way if you fail, you learn something new along the way.
Keep learning and challenging yourself. "Don't become complacent in your current situation," advises Karina. "We live in a rapidly changing world. If you want to change your situation, constantly remind yourself the status quo is there to be challenged." Find ways to upskill and reskill so you don't fall flat when a new career opportunity presents itself.
Don't give in to imposter syndrome. One thing Karina wishes she knew earlier in her career is avoiding imposter syndrome through positive self-reinforcement. She uses this mantra to combat self-doubt: "Don't get in your own way. You were offered a role for a reason, you were invited to a meeting for a reason, you were sent an email for a reason. Your opinion and direction are valued, so do not doubt yourself."
What does climate change have to do with investments? A lot, if you're Lisa Stanton.
As the Head of Global Sales and Client Service for Moody's ESG Solutions, Lisa spends much of her time working through her inbound inquiry list, talking to companies of all sizes and industries about the shift towards more responsible capitalism and how to understand the climate risks they face.
ESG investing looks at the environmental, social, and governance aspects of a given opportunity. Per Lisa, it's gone from being the feel-good little sibling of bottom-line-focused investment decisions to being the future of investing.
"It's now a way to outperform the markets because firms that are not responsible in these areas—in their stewardship of the environment, their board diversity, their labor practices—they often do not perform as well as companies that are," she explains.
We sat down with Lisa to learn more about the evolution she's seen over the last few decades, as well as the career choices she made that led her to where she is today and what advice she has for other people interested in driving asset management towards a more ethical future.
When Lisa started college, she was committed to a journalism major.
As it turned out, she didn't enjoy interviewing strangers.
"It was not for me," she says, smiling. She still liked the investigative, storytelling, and empowerment aspects of journalism, though, so when she started taking more economics classes, she was especially drawn to the parts of them that connected markets to the rest of the world. "Finance may seem like a narrow field, but you actually have to know a lot about a lot of different disciplines—politics, economics, markets, societal trends. It's really broad, at least in the institutional asset management space, and is a great career choice for the variety you encounter every day."
Lisa followed her interest in learning more about the world to London, where she moved after finishing her degree and found an early role in the back office of an asset manager.
"It's the grunt work that you do that lays that all-important foundation of how your career progresses," says Lisa, who was eventually offered a promotion to being a portfolio manager. One of those early roles was in the company's RFP team. "It exposes you to a ton of different disciplines and you can really start to think of where your strengths are, why you enjoy doing what you're doing, and where you want to focus longer-term."
Lisa moved back to the States and ended up working at Barra, a FinTech company, for 12 years. She started out as an individual salesperson and worked her way up to running the firm's global client service team. Not only was that where she experienced her "greatest growth," it was also where she met Frank Freitas, the Chief Development Officer at physical climate risk data and analytics firm 427 (recently acquired by Moody's).
After her time at Barra, Lisa worked in asset management at a few different firms before Frank reached out to her about an opportunity to join 427 as their first salesperson.
"I agonized over it. Do I leave my safe, nice role in asset management to go to this essential startup?" remembers Lisa. "And it was the best decision I ever made. So even though it was one of the hardest, it's turned out to be brilliant."
She was attracted to 427 for one main reason: it was in line with her values.
Not only would she get to work for a woman founder, an experience she'd never previously had in finance, she'd also get to build something from scratch. And the thing she built, if it was successful, would actually have a chance to make a positive impact on the world.
"I'd be able to look my daughter in the face and say I tried to do something on climate change," says Lisa.
When 427 was acquired by Moody's, she stayed on in her new role for similar reasons.
Finding Meaningful Work
Working on ESG solutions for a risk modeling institution like Moody's broadens the impact that Lisa can make in her work. Lisa says she's seen an incredible shift in the acknowledgement of, acceptance of, and interest in ESG.
"First, it was people who wanted to do good, but didn't necessarily see it as something that could also enhance investment returns," explains Lisa, citing early divestiture efforts in South African investments during apartheid or from tobacco or weapons manufacturers.
"One of the most staggering changes that we've seen in the last several years is that it's not just asset owners driving the change, it's investment managers understanding that it's critical to how they manage money," she says.
That shift represents a broader movement to a more responsible form of capitalism, and Lisa describes it as a multi-faceted evolution. "It's holders of capital taking a stance, saying they're not going to have their money invested in climate-destroying fossil fuel companies. It's students that are pressuring their endowments to divest," she says. "It's the realization that shareholder maximization is an inferior way of running the economy."
Now, with prospects and clients, Lisa talks through hypothetical scenarios such as:
- How exposed a company is to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or other climate-change-related events, and what the financial impact of that is
- What risks and opportunities exist as consumers and investors' preferences shift from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources
- How companies' peers are doing on social labor practices, governance, board diversity, and other metrics, and what that means for their performance
"Say, for example, a firm has a warehouse in a coastal region. If they are not prepared for the increased frequency and severity of hurricanes, their operations are going to be disrupted, and that climate risk exposure is going to have a financial impact to their credit worthiness," she says.
Empowering the Future
Shaping the way that investors and companies consider risk and return hasn't been easy.
"I have never worked so long and so hard in my life," says Lisa.
But she wouldn't change it. "I always try to connect what I'm doing on a micro, day-to-day level to the big picture," she says.
"That's not hard with ESG. You know the impact of what you're doing. There is no place I would rather be in terms of a role that is dedicated to something that will hopefully make this global village a better place."
Martha Arellano is A/B testing her succulents.
This isn't terribly out of character for the longtime programmer and technical manager who "grew up loving math and computers."
"It's very geeky, but I'm trying to figure out what are the best places to put them in my house!" explains Martha.
It's not just plants that Martha likes helping to grow. Throughout her career, Martha has been both an individual contributor and a manager. As an Engineering Manager at OfferUp, she's responsible for the career development of a team of backend engineers.
"Management isn't only about assigning tasks. It's about helping people grow," says Martha.
We sat down with her to hear more about her experience emigrating from Puebla, Mexico, to Seattle to work for some of the biggest tech companies, her transition from individual contributor to a people manager, how she developed her approach to management, and what she recommends other managers do to look out for their teams' long-term growth.
Pursuing the Right Balance
Martha found programming because she liked math and didn't want to be a professor. She dreamed about working for Microsoft—and had to pinch herself when they recruited her.
"My internship at Microsoft was when I realized that this is what I want to do," she says. "It was very different to work as a full-time employee, developing software. In Mexico, the opportunities would've been more around consulting."
She stayed there long enough to start managing a small team, first a few contractors and then up to three developers. "I enjoyed helping other people grow, investing in them, and being a leader not only on the technical side," explains Martha.
At that phase of her career, she didn't want to lean away from technical responsibilities completely. She made the tough decision to back away from being a manager to work on a project that she was more passionate about, even when that meant returning to being an individual contributor.
She worked as a senior backend engineer at Microsoft and Google before taking a cloud architect role at a start-up where she had a chance to scale a team again. But that company was focused on live events and didn't fare so well during the pandemic. When someone in her network told her about OfferUp, a Bellevue, WA start-up on a mission to build a mobile marketplace that was simple and trustworthy, Martha jumped at the opportunity to join their team as an engineering manager.
Breaking Management Down
The right job for Martha had to have that mix of technically interesting problem-solving and the challenge of supporting a team. But how did she show OfferUp that she was the right candidate for the job?
She talked about her three-pronged approach to engineering management. Martha's management approach is people, process, and technology.
"The people part is about making sure that we've fostered the right environment for them because that's when they can make their best contributions," explains Martha. "The process part: I like to get teams to take ownership of the process to help make things better for them. It should be around what the people like and what the team finds works best. We are always going to be open to trying something new, and we'll see, after some time, if it works." (Hi, A/B testing!)
The third and final part continues Martha, is technology. "It's important that we have the right technical expertise on the team and that people are getting the right technical feedback—that's the cycle that keeps people improving."
On the job, Martha has found that breaking her role into those three components helps give her team the right mix of support and autonomy that allows them to dig into challenging problems. "You set up the principles, but also the guard rails," explains Martha. "That way engineers can go and build within that—and deliver."
That's a tricky balance to strike in a start-up, where there are always competing goals. What's needed right now, on one side, and what's needed long term, on the other. "We're still producing the best system or service that we can write," she says. "That's always the goal of an engineer at heart."
3 Tips for Engineering Managers
Unfortunately, the way Martha learned how to be a good manager was by having bad ones.
"I, unfortunately, learned how I don't want to be managed," said Martha. Now, she takes a thoughtful approach to create an environment where everyone can succeed—and has advice for other managers who want to do the same:
1. Give ongoing feedback. "If it's just at reviews once a year, that's not helpful," says Martha, adding that giving regular feedback "shows the employee you care about their growth and development and allows them to bridge gaps before their review." She does formal check-ins every few months and gives ongoing feedback and reflections on a project-by-project basis.
2. Think about your own Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how you're improving it. "That goes beyond taking management classes and means becoming more aware of your blind spots and dedicating yourself to improving them. This is especially important when it comes to understanding your unconscious bias and becoming a better ally," says Martha. She recommends the "5 Ally Actions" newsletter for pointed, practical ways to be more inclusive at work.
An example of what she means? Removing language like "whitelisting" and "blacklisting" from your vocabulary. "We don't have an equivalent term in Spanish. When I learned about that concept and what it meant—an allow list and block list—it was like, 'Hey, we should be conscious about implications this has; it's not okay to keep using those terms.' Everyone should be more aware of the perception and hurtful impact of these terms, and managers should be allyship champions.".
3. Learn how to communicate with different people. The way you forge a relationship with one team member might not work with another. You need to communicate effectively with your direct reports, cross-functional teams, and management peers, says Martha. "You need to understand how to reach people," she explains. "That's been hard during a remote year. Small changes can make an impact. Stand-ups are often the only time each day where a whole team interacts. Incorporating 'parking lot' sections into our team stand-ups has helped the team feel more connected and works as a team-building opportunity."
Applying the three tips is easier to do if you work for a company that has a supportive culture, says Martha. "Some companies are explicit about recognizing the value there, and embedding those values in their interview experience, their website, and through the onboarding process," she says. "And there are companies that don't care about that at all. [OfferUp] isn't a culture that focuses on having brilliant jerks. We want people who embody our DNA and Operating Principles and have the skills to perform their role successfully. That means people who are driven, neighborly and adaptable. Good people who genuinely care about the people they work with, our customers, clients, and the product we're building."