From Sociology Grad to Head of Platform Engineering: 7 Lessons for Advancing Your Career
Jenny Donnelly, Head of Platform Engineering at Nextdoor, is no novice to the tech world—she came on the scene when most of us were still using dialup. If you were to look at the linear progression on her LinkedIn profile, you might think she'd had her sights set on rising the ranks in Silicon Valley since she was an undergrad.
But as she explains, it was exactly the opposite: "I will admit I fell into tech. I studied sociology in college, to the chagrin of my parents," she jokes. (Not to mention she was looking for something that wouldn't require her to wear a suit.)
After graduating from Northwestern, she interned at a public policy think tank for a year, temping on the side at a tech recruiting firm just to make ends meet. She soon realized that she needed a job that would allow her to live in the Bay Area, so she transitioned into tech full-time at the height of the dot.com boom.
She started working full-time at the tech recruiting firm she'd been temping at and quickly fell in love with coding and solving technical problems. Eventually, she realized she still had a lot to learn, so she left her job as a technologist to work as an engineer at a web-services company.
"I took a big pay cut to do that. I felt like I was starting from scratch, but I decided to go to a place that aligned more with my long-term career goals and where I could learn the skills I needed to learn to advance."
This move set the stage for the rest of her career. "I don't have a CS degree. I always have a lot to learn. And I'm always drawn to teams, companies, and cultures where I feel like I can add value but also learn and be mentored at the same time."
This approach has served her well: in her 20+ year tech career, she's gone from entry-level engineer to the head of platform engineering. She was kind enough to share some advice on how she's advanced her career.
Read on for her tips!
1. Balance Organic and Strategic Career Growth
Although it may not look this way from the outside, Jenny didn't plan every step in her career. Some moves were deliberate, and others...not so much.
Like when she was content working on code at Yahoo, and a management position came her way.
"When my manager was transitioning out of the company, he said 'I would love to groom you [for] this role.' I was really shocked. I did not feel like I wanted to do it or could do it. And reluctantly, I was put in positions where I was clearly owning decisions, with more visibility."
Taking opportunities for growth when they came up, even if they were outside her comfort zone, allowed Jenny's career to develop organically. This gave her more energy to focus on doing her job, rather than obsessively strategizing.
But sometimes, strategy is useful.
Later on in her career at Yahoo, she found herself reporting directly to the Chief Architect with a vacant VP position between them. She wondered if she could be considered eligible for that role...and after consulting with friends and family, she realized that she just needed to ask. "I was very shy and didn't feel like I had the right to ask."
Ultimately, she worked up the courage and asked him, "Why couldn't I do this job? What would it take?"
The result? The Chief Architect explained the areas where she had gaps and helped her get the experience she needed to fill them, which ultimately allowed her to reach the VP level at Nextdoor.
Jenny insists that asking about roles we want doesn't need to be intimidating or negative. It is a conversation about learning and growth. It's either that or not knowing when your next promotion is coming and why.
2. Know that the strongest individual contributor does not always make the best manager.
Initially, Jenny didn't see herself as management material because she was not the strongest engineer on her team. But now, she knows that management has more to do with connecting with others and less to do with coding.
A manager has to be able to help solve technical and non-technical problems.
When asked whether, from a management perspective, putting in hours or turning out results is more important, she says that although results are important to the business, being mindful of team dynamic is crucial to getting those results. "It's not just about what you and your team get done. It becomes more about how everyone feels on that journey of getting stuff done."
3. Perfection is an Illusion.
Jenny is here to report that the "do it all, have it all" narrative is a myth. When she excels at work, there may be slack at home; when things at home are great, she may be dropping the ball at work. She thinks that acknowledging and accepting this is important for our sanity and self worth.
"No one's going to kick butt in a lot of areas at the same time. I think people put a lot of pressure on themselves to do everything perfectly at all times. When they fall short, they feel there's something wrong with them...we should not feel emotional baggage about stuff we're not getting done."
4. Practice prioritizing.
Jenny ditched the illusion of perfection after one of her maternity leaves. "I was sleep deprived. I was very stressed out. Something had to give."
The first thing she did was declare bankruptcy on her inbox. "That allowed me to ask, what's most important? What's impactful? And start there. I was doing a lot prior to that that was not that important or impactful."
She knows it takes experience to prioritize, and confidence to draw the line somewhere. If you're neither experienced nor feeling confident, she suggests talking with managers, mentors, or experienced colleagues for advice.
5. It's okay to have a personal life.
One of Jenny's mentors showed her that it's acceptable to openly choose your personal life in the workplace. "She always made it a point to say, 'I'm leaving early to pick up my kids,' with confidence and authority. She was very transparent about that. I took that as a model."
She sees that it's possible to bring our whole selves to work—dentist appointments, school runs and all—instead of suppressing or relegating our personal life, which causes burnout and resentment.
Sometimes our personal lives hit low points, and sometimes it affects our work. But Jenny sees personal challenges as an opportunity for sharing, for two reasons: (1) your employer should know if you need more leeway in times like these, and (2) judicious sharing can lead to relationship building.
As a leader, she finds it helpful when employees let her know what's going on. "If anyone wants to share anything with me, I think that's great. I think these are seeds for connection. You should share as much as you feel comfortable with to get the support you need."
6. Take stock of your life before agreeing to tackle a new project/role.
Before taking on new projects, Jenny asks herself what she'll have to sacrifice. She then puts safety nets in place to make sure that things function while her attention is elsewhere.
"I recently had a project that was incredibly demanding. It was a conscious decision that I knew would require sacrifices from my family. I tried to set those guard rails: I warned my family. I got additional help on the nanny front. I just stockpiled my support at home to allow me to go into this more demanding project."
7. Love your job and know yourself.
Above all, Jenny says that the key to any kind of work-life integration is to love your job. "If that's not there, then everything feels like a sacrifice." She explains that one part of loving your job is being engaged by the content of your work, and another part is feeling that you are not only adding value, but being valued.
In order to love our jobs, we have to know ourselves in order to choose the right one. What gets us up in the morning? Is it money? Making the world a better place? Connecting with others? "Find out what makes you tick and optimize for that," Jenny advises.
Bonus tip: When possible, work with a community of people you like.
Jenny muses, "It's kind of interesting how someone's journey can seem like it's going all the way around, but sometimes comes back full circle." She studied sociology because she was interested in people, and now she works at a company that, although firmly in the tech industry, is approaching work from a very human perspective.
Nextdoor uses technology to help people build strong communities, and "that's exactly what they've done at the company as well." It's a place where she can be herself and model healthy work-life integration (for example, marking dentist appointments, etc., on her public calendar) for her employees the same way her boss once did for her.
If you're interested in learning more about the community at Nextdoor, click here. And if you have more questions for Jenny about how to handle competing priorities, let her know in the comments!
According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.
As we reflect on recent events and how they fit into a much larger history of discrimination, we're also taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of the AAPI community.
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor AAPI Heritage Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses, covering everything from campaigns to #StopAsianHate to educational events on AAPI history.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
"Our theme this year is AIM to Be Real. We are embracing our new company values and celebrating those who bring their authentic selves to work, who help create space to celebrate diversity of thought, and who give back to the API community. Our Asian ERG, Asians in Motion (AIM), is hosting several events: a discussion about bringing your authentic self to work with Jerry Won (Dear Asian Americans podcast); a refugee-led virtual cooking class; ERG Movie Club discussions featuring Bollywood films, and a virtual volunteer event where we will offer career development mentoring for young women across Asia."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an enterprise-wide global town hall event – Real Talk: Building CommUNITY Together. Organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) employee resource groups across the company, employees will share their personal experiences and discuss ways to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The event will also feature prominent leading advocates from renowned civil rights organizations to provide insight into the national context surrounding recent events. We will also feature AAPI employees internally and on our social media channels."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
"Moody's is encouraging awareness, growth, and learning during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the following activities, led by our Multicultural Business Resource Group and DE&I team:
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
Freddie Mac supports the professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander employees while promoting an increased awareness of the value they bring to the organization and our local communities. Our InspirASIAN Business Resource Group is hosting various activities throughout the month such as:
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
- Fireside chat about racial injustice with leaders from our InspirASIAN and ARISE (employees of the African diaspora) BRGs."
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
"At Nestlé USA, the Pan Asian Network (PAN), one of our many employee resource groups that support our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, will host a variety of events to honor and acknowledge Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These activities will foster greater inclusion, enhanced learning, and belonging for the AAPI community. PAN will highlight women's development in Asian cultures, Asian leadership and what their culture means to them, culinary innovation of Asian cuisine, intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Pan Asian community, as well as an enhanced learning watch party of the PBS movie 'Asian American.'"
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
"For Relativity, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportune time to not only celebrate the rich AAPI cultures represented within our company, but to also foster awareness and allyship amidst the current rise of AAPI hate. RelAsians, our internal community resource group, has organized a few activities for May: a book club focused on AAPI heritage—because we feel it's never too early to gain cultural literacy, a weekly spotlight on AAPI Relativians, and a virtual event that takes attendees on a tour through an Asian grocery store, introducing native vegetables and staple ingredients for traditional home-cooked Asian recipes."
- Contribution from Neha Pant, Sr. Performance Engineer & Angie Ocasek, Sr. Specialist, Partner Enablement – Co-Chairs of the RelAsians Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
"At Facebook, our APIs employee resource group's mission is to create transformative experiences for all APIs at Facebook, Inc through key cultural awareness and engagement highlighting the API community. To kick off APIHM, we will host a series of events and conversations for the community and its allies designed to support the API community around the theme, The SUM of Us, including:
- Letting Others In: a mindful discussion series that privileges intersectional voices, storytelling, feedback, and vulnerability as tools for building empathy and inclusion amongst organizations.
- Racial Healing Learning Session: specific to the API Experience focused on naming of experiences and emotional responses, understanding the body's responses to racial trauma, what the audience can do in the moment for self-care, and long-term strategies to overcome the effect of the traumatic experience.
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
"At 2U, Inc. we'll be honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with extensive and exciting programming coordinated by our employee-led Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN). In a year marred by exceptional challenges APIN has centered activities around the ameliorating themes of joy, culture and wellness. Be it delighting in a ukulele mini concert, reading an interview highlighting an API coworker, winding down after too much screen time with a somatic healing session or engaging in a panel discussion with API tattoo artists, we have a packed month ahead with opportunities to support oneself and the API culture! Follow along @Lifeat2U on Instagram for more!"
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
"During APAHM, the API at Smartsheet community will be hosting several events and activities to educate others, amplify AAPI voices, and celebrate the AAPI community! We plan to kick off the month with a documentary viewing and discussion to learn about AAPI history, and hope to share personal stories from our AAPI employees throughout the month. We'll end with an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself by gathering together for fun and games, while eating food from local Asian-owned restaurants."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
"For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APEX is proud to present a multitude of celebratory activities, headlined by an NBA Family Virtual Town Hall and, with the NFL and MLB, an Asians in Sports & Culture Symposium themed "Together We Rise" featuring prominent Asian personalities from the sports world. We are also launching a PSA with an NBA star, honoring Eid-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, offering a bystander intervention training led by AAJC, and – because the celebration wouldn't be complete without food – hosting a sushi making class for our members."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
"This May, we are celebrating all our Asian/Pacific Islander employees, not just Asian Americans. We will spend the month learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of Asia through weekly events and activities led by our Multi-Culture ERG. Vaulters and external guests will teach us the history of practices such as yoga, origami, and Asian cuisines. We will also discuss topics like the rise of hate crimes against Asian people and the recent spike in COVID-19 in India. These activities and courageous conversations will engage our workforce and create support for our Asian and Pacific Islander communities around the world."
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
"Collins Aerospace supports our AAPI colleagues not only in May, but all year. Our parent company Raytheon Technologies hosted a virtual Town Hall last month to provide a safe space for open dialogue about recent events targeting Asian Americans in the U.S. In addition to this entity-wide event, our Asia Pacific ERG at Collins is hosting events that educate and honor the importance of Asian Pacific American history such as virtual Lunch & Tours spotlighting South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and India; and Thoughts & Support sessions. Site-specific events include virtual cooking class, and viewing PBS docuseries Asian Americans."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
"MongoDB will share daily historical facts, highlights of Asian American pioneers, and perspectives from our AAPI employees in a dedicated Slack channel. We will also be providing access to an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webinar, organizing a trivia night, and holding Processing Together sessions for our internal AAPI community due to recent hate crimes happening across the globe. These sessions are a safe space for employees to share their stories and sentiments of what it is like as an Asian American in America today. (Read MongoDB employee Monica Lu's story about being an Asian American woman in tech here.)"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
"At Bumble, moments like heritage month celebrations are often our anchor to ensure we are spotlighting diverse communities. In alignment with AAPI Heritage Month in May, Bumble is rolling out a series of thoughtful programming to encourage internal education and around how to support the Stop Asian Hate movement and better serve the Asian community globally. The lineup of initiatives include:
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
- Bumble will be inviting employees to join a virtual Vietnamese coffee-making class. Created in partnership with Phin Bar, an urban brew-bar that offers Vietnamese-style steeped coffee combined with house-made ingredients, Bumble hopes to facilitate a deeper cultural learning and community bonding experience for the team.
- Bumble will also be activating channels across social media and our product to educate our community about bystander intervention and raise awareness around the importance of supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement."
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
"In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, Procore recently organized an internal event to recognize and support the AAPI community. The event was hosted as part of our ongoing internal speaker series, 'Daring Conversations & Allyship,' to create space for an open dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. All employees were invited to tune in as employees from our AAPI communities shared their unique experiences, addressed anti-Asian hate, and discussed actionable ways to support our AAPI community."
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
"This month the POC ERG will be meeting and hosting different activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This includes creating a safe space to discuss current events, and what actions our communities can take to foster change, sending out a newsletter which will highlight the Asian community in every aspect, and lastly, we will be hosting a guest speaker.
We hope with these planned activities and meetings, we can highlight, and uplift the Asian/Pacific American community, as well as bring awareness to the horrible ongoing attacks they are facing."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
"Okta's People of Color (POC@Okta) ERG is planning to commemorate AAPI Month with a series of fireside chats and iconographical facts posted internally in the #poc and #all diversity Slack channels! These chats will feature Dion Lim of ABC7 News and Comedian/Actor, Ronny Chieng. We will conclude the series with a partnership with Pride@Okta featuring supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero. The goal of this series is to educate, uplift, support, and inspire! The Okta leadership supports its AAPI employees, customers, and community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
"Salesforce will be celebrating through multiple virtual events, such as a leadership panel on the power of cultural diversity, a tea tasting, a tai chi class, a haka workshop, and more! Members of the Quip team have also compiled an extensive list of resources to support AAPI communities, including ways to donate, take action, and learn more."
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
"The Mindbody United ERG focuses on a different heritage or history each month, with May devoted to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This ERG seeks to provide a platform to both celebrate and learn together. This will manifest in two ways: As a newsletter and a Zoom meeting. The newsletter will feature contributions directly from team members, while the meeting will feature Assembly member Evan Low as our speaker. It is our goal to focus on the lived experiences of the AAPI community, address discrimination, and how to chase after the part of the world we can make better."
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price is aware and appalled at the recent spike in hate crimes against the Asian community. In response, the firm will center Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month efforts around harmony and unity, in alignment with the Hawaiian value, Lōkahi – Forward as One. To share best practices, successes and areas of opportunities, T. Rowe Price will co-host a Leadership Panel on Asian Leadership Challenges with Baltimore Asian Connect, a consortium of Asian business resource group leaders at local corporations. The firm will also host a book club and restorative listening circles for Asian American associates and their allies."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
"May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Although traditionally a US celebration, at Autodesk we are celebrating Asians globally. The Autodesk Asian Network is hosting Innovative Leaders, including Lori Mukoyama and Jonathan Zee. Lori Mukoyama is redefining experience-driven design globally at Gensler. Jonathan Zee has an extensive portfolio of buildings that are helping to shape cities around the world at Goettsch Partners. Lori and her husband Jonathan combine design, architecture and engineering in their work while simultaneously manage a family together during this pandemic. This event is hosted by AAN, as part of a monthlong series of APA Heritage Month events."
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
Only 4% of companies that say they value diversity consider disabilities. Even fewer include learning and thinking differences.
While neurodiversity is a concept that is gaining more awareness, many employers have still not fully grasped the importance (and benefits) of understanding neurodiversity and how to effectively incorporate and retain neurodivergent individuals in their organizations.
This document is a follow-up guide to a conversation PowerToFly held in August 2021 with Managers, HR Professional, and Organization Leaders about Supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace, and its purpose is to continue the conversation and give actionable steps toward inclusion. We will be focusing on ways to create an inclusive hiring process —from application to interviews—and how to support and empower neurodivergent employees at work.
This guide is broken into four parts:
- Neurodiversity explained: helpful definitions and vocabulary that will help you more accurately speak about neurodiversity in the workplace.
- Types of neurodiversity: details about different neurocognative conditions, and the strengths they present, as well as the struggles that individuals with each condition may face in the workplace.
- Accommodating neurodiversity: advice on best practices when it comes to hiring, retaining, and evaluating neurodiverse talent.
- Reflection and resources: questions that will help you reflect on your organization's inclusion practices and additional references on the topic.
Download the full guide here or check out a preview below:
Download FREE guide here.
💎 Wondering how you can show up as the right candidate for the job?
📼 Press PLAY to hear some insight from a recruiter at Helm into what the right candidate for the job looks like in an interview. Alayna Sye, Helm's Senior Technical Recruiter, knows an applicant is going to be the right for the job usually after the first conversation. Find out exactly what will make you stand out, as well as the steps for the application process at Helm.
📼 You can be the right candidate for the job even if you don't check all the boxes in the application description. Alayna debunks this common misconception that recruiters are only seeking applicants who have 100% of the qualifications listed for the role. That's simply not true! There are so many valuable skills outside of the parameters of the job description. And, as Alayna says, oftentimes she doesn't know the company needs these skills until she sees them in a candidate at the job interview. Don't miss her take on the minimum amount of qualifications you should meet to apply for a job at Helm.
📼 What are the steps in Helm's application process? First, once your application is received and reviewed, the recruiting team will move you forward through a series of interviews to assess your potential. Some roles also require an additional assessment to see how you would perform in the role and also for you to learn the type of work you could be doing. Once the hiring team decides that you're the right candidate for the job, a decision on an offer can be made. Congratulations!
Tailor Your Resume to Be the Right Candidate for the Job at Your Interview
You can tailor your resume to the role you're applying for by taking a look at the job description and comparing it to what you've done. Emphasize relevant experiences on your resume to make it easier for the hiring team to see the value you'd bring to the role and hopefully move you through to the next round of interviews.
📨 Are you interested in joining Helm? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Alayna
Alayna Sye is a driven, detail-oriented professional with remarkable work ethic and organization skills. She possesses relevant experience in recruiting, project coordination, resource management, communications, data analysis, and more. She consistently demonstrates her ability to self-manage and work independently, however is a valued member when working with a team. Her experience working with corporate departments and leadership to continually assess their workforce needs, which are essential to executing corporate initiatives, has afforded her the opportunity to gain insight and perspective into the operations of several complex programs within a variety of organizations.
More About Helm
Helm is a team of scientists, designers, engineers, and campaigners. They are building a data and technology platform for organizers and issue advocates. They design and execute experiments to better understand human civic behavior, determine which interventions drive impact, and scale them toward a more participatory democracy. Helm works with visionary leaders who seek to create a more equitable world. Their tools give elite operators power to shape campaigns, organizations, and movements.
Founded in 1989, Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and ends October 15. The four-week span over two calendar months may seem a bit odd, but it comes with good reason, as it covers independence anniversaries of several Latin American countries, as well as key celebrations in Hispanic and Latin communities. Apart from commemorating major holidays and historic milestones, this month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.
We asked some of our partner companies what they're doing to honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work this year, and we were inspired by the wide range of responses, from highlighting the impact that employees have in local communities to hosting fireside conversations on allyship to sharing performances and instruction of famous cultural dances.ot only are these companies honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, they're finding ways to spread positive change throughout the year. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Raytheon Technologies — provide career development opportunities
"Raytheon Technologies is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with a variety of engagement opportunities. For example, our Employee Resource Group members are creating a series of video stories highlighting the impact that our employees have in giving back to our communities; the impact they have in developing technologies that keep our warfighters safe; and the impact they have by being authentic and engaged. Additionally, we are partnering with LatinaVida to provide employees access to their Rise to the Top Program, a career development opportunity which provides a workshop with guest speakers and reflective practices around key career success factors for advancement."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Sun Life — host a panel addressing the impact of the pandemic
"In honor of Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month, Sun Life's Hispanic Organization for Leaders & Achievers (HOLA) will be hosting a number of activities to honor and celebrate Hispanic culture, while also addressing the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children. Guest speakers include Teri Worthington Coombs from UNICEF, comedian Martha Chavez, and motivational speaker, "The Cuban Guy" Andres Lara.
HOLA provides an enriching environment for members to develop, serve and support the Hispanic/Latino community while aiming to help cultivate an inclusive work environment that allows our members professional growth opportunities in order to reach their highest potential."
Learn more about Sun Life here.
Freddie Mac — Make a positive impact
"At Freddie Mac, we're building on our commitment to DEI by making an impact with our Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement Business Resource Group (HOLA BRG) in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The BRG will commemorate the occasion with virtual events and speakers, including:
- A keynote address about the impact of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) on Hispanic and Latino communities featuring HSF President, Fidel Vargas.
- Fireside chat with National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals board member, Nuria Rivera, who will share her story of the positive cultural impacts that have driven her success."
Learn more about Freddie Mac here.
Riot Games — create authentic representation with notable voice actors
"To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month Riot Unidos, our Latinx ERG, will host a fireside chat with the voice actors for some of Riot's most notable Latinx characters to talk about creating authentic representations, what it's like to be a voice actor and some of their favorite moments from the recording session. The team is also hosting a cooking class in partnership with FAR, our Filipino ERG, to make a Latinx/Filipino fusion dish in honor of both cultural heritage months. Throughout the month, we will also be highlighting the incredible people that work in our Latin American office."
Learn more about Riot Games here.
2U — host bilingual book reading for children and families
"2U's Latino/a/x business resource network,TuGente, is ecstatic to celebrate their second annual Hispanic Heritage Month at 2U, Inc. Our theme for this year is "Juntos," which means "Together." Coming out of 2020, we want to celebrate our culture, our traditions, our language, and show everyone how we overcame every obstacle together. TuGente will be hosting a Fireside Chat with a notable Latinx Leader in Higher Education, dance lessons, a bilingual book reading for children and families, and much more! 2U has cultivated an environment for all Business Resource Networks to thrive and we are honored to host an array of events this year!"
Learn more about 2u here.
MongoDB– create a Slack channel with daily Latinx heritage facts
"MongoDB is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through initiatives that raise awareness, foster education and build community. This includes an educational session featuring an employee panel on the Latinx experience in the Tech industry, external-facing content highlighting the experiences of our Latinx employees, a global Slack channel with daily Latinx heritage facts for all employees, and a music and reading playlist curated by members of TUPOC, MongoDB's affinity group for people of color."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
BlackRock — start a matching program for Latinx nonprofits
We're creating an internal hub to provide a centralized system to continue raising awareness and educating allies on key facts about the Latinx population. We will also be launching 2:1 matching programs for nonprofits that support the Latinx community: La Casa del las Madres, Qualitas of Life, UnLocal, Galeo and United We Dream.
We will host moderated fireside chats with Latinx leaders who have broken barriers in their industries and have achieved success to inspire employees to persevere against odds and continue to be innovators and change-makers.
The newsletter will also highlight resources available to members to learn more about changes impacting our community and the organization's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
SoundCloud — highlight artists and music that are having a major impact in Latin culture
"SoundCloud's mission is to give people the power to share and connect through music, no matter their identity. During Latinx Month, SoundCloud will bring to the forefront the Latinx music community of creators & listeners - highlighting artists and scenes that are having a major impact in Latin culture. This includes spotlighting música pa' bailar, contemporary fusion twists on traditional sounds, bars en español, and música pa' relajarse. Our Clouds of Color Diversity Business Group will also create virtual and in-person moments of engagement, from digital trivia and Latinx dance lessons to spotlighting Latinx SoundClouders and Creator journeys.
Our Clouds of Color Diversity Business Group (DRG) is made up of racially diverse SoundClouders and allies. Check out this picture of some members meeting up outdoors over a meal after many months of working remote."
Learn more about SoundCloud here.
Relativity — share the Latino American experience as it relates to family, upbringing, and language
"Relativity Community Resource Group (CRG), Relativity Latinos in Tech (Rel-L.I.T.), is excited to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month a little early by partnering with our mental health CRG, Rel-Mind, to host a safe space chat in September that will touch on feelings surrounding immigration. We recognize this is a sensitive topic, but also know that it is our responsibility as a Community Resource Group to initiate these conversations and create a space for them! In addition, we will be hosting a Culture Collective talk on Tuesday, September 21, where participants will share their stories on the Latino American experience as it relates to family, upbringing, and language. To close, on Monday, October 14, we will be partnering with SHPE to lead a workshop related to career acumen, and we will also be part of a "Lifting LatinX Voices at Work" Virtual Job Fair with PowerToFly on Wednesday, October 22."
– Lourdes Akande – Manager, Deal Desk
Learn more about Relativity here.
ServiceNow — host talks focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality
"To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, ServiceNow is partnering closely with our Latinx at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We will have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, employees are encouraged to volunteer with Latinx nonprofits in tandem with our Month of Service."
Learn more about ServiceNow here.
Moody’s — create celebratory Zoom backgrounds in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month
"Moody's conectaMos (one of our Business Resource Groups) and our DE&I team are sponsoring events focusing on personal brand, climbing the executive ladder, increasing positive Latinx representation in the media, and speed networking. Moody's will also showcase employee profiles, Hispanic cultural traditions, recipes, and recommended cultural book and music lists curated by our employees. We will also share a series of intranet and social media posts and provide our employees with celebratory Zoom backgrounds in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month."
Learn more about Moody's here.
Uber — hold a career development workshop on unlocking your strengths as Latinx professionals
"Los Ubers will kick off Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 with Dr. Robert Rodriguez who will host a session on unlocking and owning our strengths as Latinx professionals. Other development opportunities include Cafecito, a series of networking events to foster connections with the many talented employees at Uber. We look forward to celebrating with our community and allies with many cultural, creative, and fun events including a live cooking class with Chef Peter Martinez!"
Learn more about Uber here.
Pacific Western Bank — donate to Latinx nonprofit organizations
"At Pacific Western Bank, the PRISM Council, an internal advisory group of colleagues from across the country, will roll out a lineup of initiatives in celebration of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month, which include:
- Employee led panel (an employee led panel of emerging and established Hispanic/Latinx leaders across PWB)
- Hispanic/Latinx trailblazers (a curated list of Hispanic/Latinx Americans whose influence has touched everything from pop culture to politics)
- Spotlight Series (highlighting our Hispanic/Latinx clients that bank with PWB)
- PRISM Giving Back (the members of PRISM will be donating to a nonprofit organization in honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month)"
Learn more about PacWest here.
AAA — create a family tree with photos of inspirational figures
"AAA NCNU and the Unidos BRG in celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:
At AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, we are proud to celebrate our diverse and inclusive community by highlighting important events. This month, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 in partnership with our Unidos Business Resource Group. During this time, Unidos will host a variety of games, activities and events for all Team Members.
- A keynote speaker who exemplifies the journey of an immigrant into a successful business leader within the Latinx community.
- Highlighting two Unidos Team Members as part of the organization's AAA Proud series that showcases Team Members who are going above and beyond.
- An opportunity for Team Members to learn about the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month by earning points for simple tasks. The Team Member with the most points at the end of the month will be awarded a $50 gift card to donate to their favorite charitable cause.
- Let's celebrate FAMILIA. Everyone is invited to post a photo to the "Family" tree. Share a picture of a relative/anyone who has inspired you, and include a short paragraph as to who they are and why they are special.
- Team Members are encouraged to join a series of career development in partnership with Latina Vida. These seminars are designed to help take your career to the next level."
Learn more about AAA here.
Expedia Group — host a virtual panel on “Powering the Future of Travel as a Latina in Tech”
"This year for Hispanic Heritage Month, Expedia Group will be highlighting programs and stories that can inspire Expedians to follow in their footsteps for a brighter tomorrow. With the theme of "Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope," we will be featuring the work our employees do in their communities, work that the company has done to improve the Latinx travel experience, and are partnering with Latinas in Tech to host a virtual panel featuring our leaders on "Powering the Future of Travel as a Latina in Tech."
Learn more about Expedia Group here.
Bristol Myers Squibb — hold a movie screening
"This year, the Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA) at BMS focuses on showcasing Hispanic leadership and building a culture of allyship.
OLA will kick out the month with a keynote focused on Latino talent and corporate inclusion and close with a fireside conversation on allyship and sponsorship. Through the month, we will be showcasing Latinx/Hispanic leadership in a panel with BMS's Latino executives and a screening of "In the Heights." In addition, we will further model allyship with two intersectional events: a presentation of BMS's work to address health disparities and a conversation on belonging with BMS's PRIDE Alliance."
Learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb here.
Veracode — host live cooking class on the many shapes empanadas, turnovers, and pastelitos can take in Hispanic culture
"Veracode is honored to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and promote the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic-Americans. We have planned a jam-packed month of events including a session with Jennifer De Leon, author of Where are you from? Where are you from-from? Where are you really from? - Jennifer will provide crucial insight into the complex intersection of race, class, and educational issues, dispelling myths and showcasing the diversity of our shared community's experiences. We will also have a trivia, a "Pastelitos for All" live cooking class — on the many shapes empanadas, turnovers, and pastelitos can take in Hispanic culture — and lastly a lunch and learn session on Salsa Dancing. We are thankful to our D&I Team for contributing their ideas and planning these events celebrating our Hispanic Heritage!"
Learn more about Veracode here.
NSA — host a themed poetry contest
"The National Security Agency's Hispanic Latino Employee Resource Group takes the theme of this year's Hispanic Heritage Month of hope, or esperanza, to heart. The ERG hosts a poetry contest where employees submit an original poem connected to the theme of hope. NSA leaders will share personal stories on how hope has driven their lives and their careers during a panel discussion for the workforce. On a lighter note, a Hispanic Heritage Trivia Contest will uncover which agency employees have the best intel on Hispanic and Latin food, sports and more."
Learn more about NSA here.
PagerDuty — host Hispanic Heritage trivia with prizes like gift cards to Latinx owned businesses
"Our ERG Array is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the theme We're Here: Estamos Unidos. Array is a community of Black and Latinx employees at PagerDuty. Some ways we are celebrating include: hosting company wide activities such as trivia, that highlight our Hispanic Heritage and end with prizes like gift cards to Latinx owned businesses. We are also spotlighting our Latinx Dutonians with a virtual Yearbook throughout the month, and sending out swag boxes full of self-care items from Latinx owned businesses to our ERG members. Another event being hosted is called Spill The Tea, which is formatted as an ask me anything conversation with one of our Board members who is a fellow Latinx! At PagerDuty, I really love that we walk the walk when it comes to one of our company values #BringYourself, and that we are committed to diversity and inclusion! I am so proud of being a Latinx Dutonian!"
– Diego Chavira Chow, Administrative Assistant, Engineering & Product.
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Kensho — provide snackboxes that feature Latinx-owned businesses
"Kensho facilitates an environment of inclusion and continuous learning, and for National Hispanic Heritage Month we're excited to combine the two in a team-building event during our annual All-Hands employee conference. We'll expand our knowledge of Hispanic culture and history with a fun, fast-paced educational trivia competition.
Kenshins will stay fueled with snackboxes that feature Latinx-owned businesses. Each snackbox purchased also makes a contribution to Techqueria—a nonprofit serving Latinx professionals in tech—and donates a meal to Feeding America.
We hope to expand our knowledge and encourage our people to consider the individual impact their decisions can make."
Learn more about Kensho here.
Capco — offer performances and instruction of famous dances
"Capco's Latinx affinity group will be hosting a series of educational and social events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Our lineup of events includes a panel discussion on Afro-Latino culture and identity featuring professors from two leading universities as well as a profound author, a Hispanic dance showcase featuring performances and instruction of famous dances, salsa and bachata, plus other opportunities for colleagues to come together to network and learn. Hispanic Heritage Month creates a special opportunity to spread awareness on Hispanic identity, discuss persisting issues within the community, and share the variety and richness of Hispanic culture across the firm."
Learn more about Capco here.
Okta — host a Mezcal & Tequila cocktail class
"POC@Okta Presents: Leading Authentically, A Fireside Chat. This discussion will focus on how to lead authentically, demonstrate whole self leadership, and inspire a values-based approach, specifically through the lens of LatinX leaders.
Airbnb Experience: Mezcal & Tequila Cocktail Class: During this class, we will embark on a Mexican spirits creation journey where we will learn about mezcal, tequila, and other flavors that are culturally significant while concocting cocktails (or mocktails)!
Daily Latinx Community Facts Updates: The LatinX Heritage Month Committee will be sharing daily facts companywide on Slack to facilitate learning about unsung heroes in the LatinX community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Autodesk — participate in external networking events
"The Autodesk LatinX Network is celebrating the Hispanic Heritage Month around the theme of Resilience. We will be hosting a series of virtual events with spotlights on our global site leads and ERG sponsors, weekly posts on our community channels to share the cultural traditions of our network members, a professional development workshop, external networking events, and to wrap up, a fun empanadas virtual cooking class!"
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Nestle USA — play Mexican lotería (Bingo)
"The Nestlé Latino Network (NLN) is one of Nestlé USA's culture-based employee resource groups. Throughout this year's National Hispanic Heritage Month, NLN will celebrate the Latinx and Hispanic culture by hosting 14 unique events from September 15th through October 15th. Events include a fireside chat with Nestlé USA's CMO, Alicia Enciso, on the topic of intersectionality of gender and the Hispanic community, virtual cooking classes with Hispanic flavors, Mexican Lotería, a Zumba class and much more. These activities will not only honor Hispanic heritage, but also encourage greater awareness, learning and understanding of the Hispanic and Latinx communities."
Learn more about Nestle USA here.
CoStar Group — promote empowerment in the Latinx community
"At CoStar Group, our Latinx Network, one of our employee resource groups, will lead our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Network will sponsor a webinar focused on economic empowerment within the Latinx community. This is aligned with the Network's goal of empowering its members to achieve their career and financial goals. In addition, our Latinx Network will host several community building events with food and drinks that are culturally significant. These events will provide opportunities for colleagues to connect in person and virtually, and celebrate shared cultures and traditions."
Learn more about CoStar Group here.
Audible — host a book club
"Audible's Impact Groups empower employees to bring their whole selves to work. Audible's Latinx/Hispanic Resource group Unidos will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by kicking off their book club series with Karla Cornejo Villaveicenio's The Undocumented Americans.
They'll also be hosting a "Looking Forward" meeting for all members, to discuss plans of continued advocacy, celebration, and support within Audible for 2022 and beyond!"
Learn more about Audible here.
PwC — spotlight Latinx stories on social media
"At PwC, we're building on a culture of belonging through diversity and inclusion, and Hispanic Heritage Month is another opportunity to demonstrate that commitment. PwC social channels will spotlight Latinx PwCers sharing stories from the workplace and their communities, highlighting supportive benefits and inclusive leadership. The PwC US Latino Inclusion Network will host a candid conversation, exploring how to amplify your authentic voice to drive understanding and empathy at scale, with Soledad O'Brien, award-winning documentarian and journalist, and actor John Leguizamo. The Network will also host a cooking demonstration by Mexican chef and 2019 Masterchef México winner Carmen Miranda."
Learn more about PwC here.
Facebook — celebrate Latinx parents pride
"Facebook is honoring and recognizing Latinx and Hispanic Heritage month this year by 'Celebrating Latinx Parents Pride in Facebook Employees Careers'.
Hear from three Latinx employees as they discuss what it means to be Latinx in Tech, what their parents think they do, and how Facebook benefits give employees the flexibility and opportunity to continually put their families first.
Learn more about Facebook here.
MindBody — watch Spanish-language TV shows
"In 2021, the [Hispanic Heritage Month] theme is "Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope."While official 2021 celebrations have yet to be announced, vaccinated Americans can certainly throw a party of their own. And if you're staying close to home, you can always relax with a good book by a Spanish-language author that takes you into someone else's experience. Make it a point to support Latina-owned businesses. You can even brush up on your own Spanish by listening to these great Spanish-language podcasts and watching these Spanish-language TV shows (La Casa de Papel/Money Heist and Elite will have you hooked!)."
–Excerpt from Oprah Daily article, What is Hispanic Heritage Month– and Who Celebrates It? "
Learn more about MindBody here.
T. Rowe Price — provide PTO for volunteers
"Teach. Learn. Act.
T. Rowe Price's programming, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, emphasizes action and authenticity. The firm's Latinx Heritage group invited Maria Echaveste to speak at their upcoming signature event. The former U.S. presidential advisor to Bill Clinton and White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the second Clinton administration, Ms. Echaveste will speak on "the importance of taking up space."
In addition, the firm's Day In The Life campaign features Latinx talent and their experiences navigating their careers. T. Rowe Price is encouraging associates to contribute their time and money to organizations uplifting the Latinx community and is providing paid time off and operational support to do so."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Skedulo — curate a collection of quotes by famous Hispanics
"At Skedulo, we are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month globally through a variety of events which will highlight the diversity of cultures within Latinx and Hispanic communities. Our events include: virtual, instructor-led Cumbia and Salsa dance sessions with a brief history of each dance, Hispanic-American trivia, a Lotería session (described as Mexican bingo), and Weekly Wonders (a curated collection of quotes by famous Hispanics, with information about each historical figure). Through these events, we will promote greater understanding of this month with engagement, education, and support for our Latinx and Hispanic communities."
Learn more about Skedulo here.
Lockheed Martin — support youth in local communities
"In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Lockheed Martin will be hosting a variety of events highlighting the influence, importance, and education of Hispanic Heritage. Through our business resource group, Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Awareness (HOLA) employees will learn historical and cultural information, family recipes and so much more in two special edition newsletters, engage with fellow employees and leadership through culture-inspired events such as cook-offs, recipe exchanges, trivia night and will host an event to support the youth in local communities."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin here.
As vaccination numbers climb and some—though not all—of our collective paranoia begins to dissipate, businesses are starting to reopen. Employers face a key decision: how will they respond? Will they go back to the ways of life before COVID? Or will they adopt more permanently the flexibility and remote-first work necessitated by the pandemic?
As part of our Corporate Circles: Inclusive Conversation Series, join PowerToFly's Global Director of DEI Sienna Brown and Global DEI Strategist & Trainer Zara Chaudary on Friday, October 1st from 12pm to 1:30pm Eastern for an interactive roundtable as we discuss and share the tools and mindset needed to create the office of the future in a post-pandemic world.
Topics will include:
- The State of Reopening Plans: An Overview
- What employees are demanding of their employers.
- What we can learn from successful and unsuccessful approach by other companies,
- How to apply what we've learned about our businesses and our people to come up with the best plan for us.
- Collective Wisdom: Ways to Make Remote or Hybrid Work Work for You including Common Challenges and Solutions, Unique Hybrid Work Opportunities and 4-Step Action Plan for Embracing Hybrid Work