I am the cofounder and President of PowerToFly. I'm sharing my experiences working with America's largest companies to diversify their teams. Sometimes I'll throw in some random stories... and some studies that show the economic benefits of gender parity.
I was in media for over ten years as the sixth employee and head of the homepage at Huffington Post, the Executive Director of Digital at The Washington Post and the Founding Managing Editor of NowThis. So I've been around a bit.
Follow me on twitter @kzaleski
It’s hard for us to believe it’s been eight years since we started PowerToFly.
Today, we’re excited to share that after six months of fundraising and what felt like a million “no’s,” PowerToFly has closed its first official round of funding since 2015 (it’s been a long, “capital efficient” road, as our investors like to point out).
This investment will support us on our journey to becoming a truly end-to-end Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) recruiting and retention platform. In addition to the press release announcing the funding, we wanted to take a moment to speak directly to all of you — our community members — to share more about what this investment means for you and the future of PowerToFly.
How we got here
As many of you will remember, PowerToFly began with an emphasis on increasing gender diversity in male-dominated fields through remote and flexible work.
We still believe wholeheartedly that remote and flexible work (we were fully remote even before the pandemic showed us how productive we can be outside of traditional offices) can help organizations attract, retain, and empower underrepresented talent, but our focus has broadened substantially since 2014.
After founding PowerToFly, it didn’t take us long to realize that we needed to help all kinds of workplaces (remote or not!) become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and that most importantly, we wanted to help all kinds of people find workplaces where they could belong.
That meant growing beyond gender, and looking at the many aspects of intersectionality regarding identity and experience — age, race, ethnicity, nationality, and ability, just to name a few — that contribute to truly diverse workplaces.
As two white women in this space, we’ve long been aware that this was not work we could do or should do alone. Yes, our personal, lived experiences as women and mothers (and in Milena’s case, as a queer woman and immigrant) helped inform much of what we first knew we wanted to change and improve in the workplace. But those personal experiences and identity markers come with their own privileges and blindspots that we’ve worked hard to address.
Learning to be better allies and to employ a truly intersectional approach to DEIB has required us to continually educate ourselves and challenge our own perspectives.
We couldn’t have done — and we could not do — that work without the support of our incredibly talented and diverse global team.
So as we share our excitement with all of you about this investment, we want to take a moment to THANK the team that got us all here. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. Their hard work, their perspectives, their questions, and their pushback have been a true gift, lifting us as company leaders, professionals, and people.
And, of course, we also want to thank all of you who have joined us on our journey thus far, whether by applying to a job, joining (or maybe even hosting!) a virtual or in-person event, or reading our content on the site.
We’re so excited you’re here for this next chapter — read on for more on what that will look like below!
Where we’re going
This funding — led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, and with additional capital from: The Next Level Fund, in partnership with Hearst, Microsoft, and Walmart; Chartline Ventures; and Grasshopper Bank — sets us up to offer better, more supportive experiences for those seeking DEIB-informed networking, upskilling, mentorship, and job opportunities.
We’ll be able to offer more (and still free!) upskilling resources, covering everything from leadership development and industry-specific skills training to financial wellness, navigating disability disclosures at work, and breaking up with perfectionism. We’ll also be continuing to grow our Diversity Reboot Summit, the biggest summit series in DEIB today, and virtual job fairs. With this new round of funding, our job-seeking community members will have even more opportunities to connect directly with hiring managers and company decision makers, at our virtual events and in an updated community space.
And speaking of job searching, our freshly funded product roadmap includes all kinds of personalized updates to PowerToFly’s job search platform, with recommended jobs, hand-picked guidance for every phase of your job search, the ability to book 1:1 sessions with recruiters, and fast-apply functionality for open roles all coming soon. (To learn more about how this funding will fuel our development, including the launch of a DEIB membership platform for HR and People Operations leaders, read the full press release here.)
We’d like to think that’s putting our money where our mouth is — and we can’t wait to offer folks like you even more ways to build a career that celebrates, and doesn’t just tolerate, everything that makes you, you.
Yours in this journey,
Katharine and Milena
October 14, 2020
This past Monday was Indigenous Peoples' Day. It's important to honor and celebrate the original inhabitants of the land we live on—and not just once a year. This is particularly important at a time when Native communities are disproportionally suffering from COVID-19 and Native women still earn just 60 cents compared to a white man's dollar.
But how do you celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day?
The movement towards celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day and away from celebrating Columbus Day is one we can all learn from. Through the hard work of Native activists, our nation has started to critically examine the myths of its founding. By acknowledging the discrimination and violence faced by Native tribes and honoring their culture and stewardship of the land, we can start to better reconcile our past with our future.
To do any of that, we need to learn to listen.
To listen to people of color, including Indigenous people and Black people, when they are sharing their stories.
To listen to people who have different life experiences than we do, and to understand that we may see things from different points of a view as a result.
To listen to our employees, our coworkers, and our peers and create work environments where everyone feels empowered and accepted to show up as their full selves.
An HBR study found that the majority of people think that they're good listeners when in reality, they're stopping at surface-level listening (listening to answer vs. listening to understand).
We're going to talk more about the importance of listening and being comfortable examining differences in this month's invite-only Executive Forum on October 16th. If there's someone at your company you'd like to nominate (including yourself!) to participate in this or future Forums, respond to this email and let us know.
Katharine and Milena
5 Ways to Honor Indigenous People at Work
How are you showing up for your Native employees and creating a workplace where all people feel included? Start with these five suggestions.
1. Use land acknowledgement statements. Our content marketing manager is pressing "send" on this newsletter on the ancestral lands of the Paskestikweya people. Whose land is your company on? Land acknowledgement statements, which are a part of nearly every public event in countries like New Zealand and Canada, are taking hold in the U.S. as well. They serve to offer recognition to Native communities, remind us of the long history (and present) of colonization, and pay respect to the space, among other goals. Consider starting your meetings with such a statement.
2. Read books written about and by Native Americans in your book club. Did you start a DEI-themed reading club to discuss books like How to Be An Antiracist this summer? Keep that energy going and include books featuring other underrepresented groups. Keep in mind that while reading stories of oppression and discrimination is vital, Black and Indigenous people have also written beautiful stories about life in general. Add a few novels to your reading list.
3. Work with Native-owned supplies and vendors. On a macro scale, consider the backgrounds of the different vendors you funnel business to and work to make them as representative of your community as possible. On a micro scale, support Native-owned small businesses on your own, too.
4. Donate to groups working for Indigenous rights. Whether your company is most aligned with goals to protect the earth, supporting women, or encouraging storytelling and education, there are plenty of Indigenous-led activist groups and nonprofits worthy of your corporate dollars.
5. Make Indigenous Peoples' Day a company holiday. Only 14 states and the District of Columbia officially celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day. Consider making it a company holiday if it isn't already, or providing flex PTO and encouraging people to use it to honor the day.
My cofounder Milena and I shared the note below with our team this week. We wanted to share it publicly with our community as well:
When you have people being killed senselessly by the police for the color of their skin along with a White House that makes White Supremacy one of its pillars, it's no surprise people are protesting. I urge you to read what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks said about protests over fifty years ago. Their words apply to what we are seeing today. Another reminder that racial justice will not happen while it's a trending topic. Our commitment to building a world that ought to be is going to take generations and countless necessary resources.
Many of you have asked what we can do at PowerToFly beyond our daily work and Diversity Reboot 2020, the four-day summit, and job fair from June 15th - 18th where Donna Brazile, Rep. Val Demings, and more leaders and hiring managers will connect to people who need action and jobs now.
Dionna Smith-Keels has started an "Allyship Training" module after speaking with clients who want to put Anti-Racism front and center in their virtual workplaces. We'll continue to update you as we develop these modules - quickly.
On Friday, Dionna will lead a talk on "Being An Ally To Black Colleagues and Peers". This will be open to anyone outside the company as well. They can sign up here.
Here are a few more thoughts that you're welcome to share and a library of links where you can immediately contribute.
Take Direct Action.
- Make space for Black Lives Matter. We're participating in #BlackOutTuesday for this reason. Here's a link to a one-pager with a number of actions you can take on the BLM site.
- Go local. Look for protestor bailout funds in your communities as well.
- Research organizations that are doing the work to lobby against White Supremacy and for politicians and PACs committed to the same. Supporting the right lawmakers and voting will force change. Use your voice and your vote to support politicians committed to ending police brutality. Visit vote.org/covid-19 to request an absentee ballot and learn how COVID-19 has impacted your state's voting procedures.
- Read and listen. I suggested "White Fragility" over the weekend. I've read it and it really impacted me.
- The New York Time's posted an anti-racist reading list here.
- Here's a link to 28 Black owned bookstores that you can order online through.
- This goes with education but it deserves a separate bullet. Just listen. I can't pretend to understand what others are going through right now. I can learn what they need and find ways to make space for them, amplify their voices, and marshal resources for them.
Here are a number of additional resources/places to donate that are also helpful:
- JusticeForBigFloyd.com: Demand all officers involved in Floyd's murder be arrested and charged.
- JusticeForBreonna.org: Demand Taylor's murderers, none of whom have been arrested, face charges.
- RunWithMaud.com: Demand Arbery's murderer and his accomplices face just time in prison.
- More petitions can be found at colorofchange.org/campaigns/active
- Campaign Zero: Help lawmakers adopt data driven policy solutions to end police brutality across America
- Black Lives Matter: Support the fight against state-sanctioned anti-Black violence and systemic racism.
- National Black Bailout Fund: Help end systems of mass incarceration and free imprisoned Black mothers..
- Louisville Community Bail Fund: Contribute to bail for protestors in Louisville.
- Black Visions Collective: Fund campaigns to empower Black communities in Minnesota.
- Reclaim the Block: Help Minneapolis community and city council members move money from the police department into areas that promote community health and safety.
*Resources Updated Regularly*
We wanted to let you know what we're doing here at PowerToFly to help you get through this period of uncertainty, as we navigate the significant impacts of COVID-19.
We're extremely grateful that we're set up to run remotely and are working safely from homes across the globe. And while we believe firmly in the benefits of remote work, we also know that 1) it is a privilege to have the option to do so and 2) that working remotely is not without its challenges.
That's why our remote team is here to provide a myriad of virtual connections and a sense of community. We're also laser-focused on ensuring that hiring opportunities remain high over the next few months. In fact, remote roles have doubled on our site since last week. You can see all of the current opportunities here.
Whether you're a seasoned remote worker, have been asked to work remotely for the first time, or are looking for a work-from-home job, we've get several resources to support you. You can use PowerToFly to:
- Apply for remote jobs.
- Join us for virtual networking.
- Re-watch remote-focused chats.
- Read work-from-home advice on our blog.
We've flagged some of our most popular resources, as well as upcoming events, below.
For Remote-Job Seekers
- Remote 101: Tips For Scoring - And Thriving At - A Remote Job
- Tips for Applying to Remote Roles
- Crafting a Remote-Job Resume
- Our 2020 Best Work-From-Home Companies
- Best Work-From-Home Jobs
- Great Jobs for Stay-At-Home Moms
- How to Prepare for a Remote Interview
- Pioneering Remote Work at a Non-Remote Company
Once you're feeling ready, apply to these roles!
For Those Currently Working Remotely
- Transitioning From In-Office to Remote Employee
- A Guide To Remote Work for Employers & Employees During Coronavirus
- 6 Tools to Download If You Work Remotely
- Team Building Activities for Remote Teams
- Productivity Tips for Remote Workers
- Home Office Design Tips
- 6 Things *Not* to Do When You Work Remotely
- How to Manage a Remote Team & Thrive in a Remote Culture
- Strategies For Becoming A Better Remote Team Manager
Join Us for (Free!) Virtual Networking & Coworking Events
View all upcoming events here. Or sign up for our upcoming April chats below:
- Tuesday, April 7th How to Talk About Race - Book Club Register
- Wednesday, April 8th How to Unleash Your Negotiation Potential Register
- Thursday, April 16th How to Embrace Change for Growth Register
- Monday, April 20th How to be a "Servant Leader" Register
Looking for a resource you don't see here or have a question about remote work? Let us know in the comments!