Why should inclusion be important in the workplace?
From a human perspective, focusing on inclusion is simply the right thing to do. Also, from a practical business standpoint, the best and the brightest employees want to work and stay at companies that are inclusive workplaces—companies that take a stand and are committed to social justice, to racial equality and equity, and LGBTQ equity. It’s not often that the right thing to do is also the right thing for business, but I love it when those two things can be in alignment.
What are the key priorities that you’d like Sauce Labs to focus on in this space?
Right now, I’m listening and learning. DEIS work is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are best practices, but every company is unique and has unspoken cultural norms. Ultimately, I want Sauce Labs to be known as the most inclusive workplace in the tech industry. Specifically, I want to make sure that we are creating an equitable environment for historically underrepresented groups. As we start our formal social responsibility program, we need to make sure that our corporate giving is in alignment from an equity standpoint. I’m really not interested in doing this to make us look good. I’m here to do the work and I really believe we can be such a force for good—and that there’s a way to do business that helps people too!
How did you become an expert in this area?
I would say that I never want to set myself up as THE expert or even see myself in that way. I do have expertise. I also believe there's no one way to do this. There are many ways to do it, and each of us is on a journey both learning and unlearning in this work. I am passionate about DEIS and using my skills and experience to do it well, in community with others at Sauce Labs.
Where should we start in working to become more inclusive?
My number one tip here is to be open to feedback. We’ve all grown up absorbing everything that society has taught us. I don’t have a magical skill set that no one else has, but I am 100 percent committed to unlearning and doing better. And I am so grateful to the colleagues and the friends of color I’ve gotten to know over the years who have trusted me enough to give me real feedback about how I was showing up, because that is a tremendous risk for them. And they were betting on me. They were betting on me not reacting with defensiveness and learning from their experience, their interaction with me, with the hope that I would do better. That’s what I would say everyone can start with: being open to feedback and hearing and truly understanding other people’s perspectives and lived experiences.