Meet the tech companies that are setting the trend for the future of tech.
By Shaherose Charania (CEO & Co-founder, Women 2.0)
At Women 2.0 we take action, create, build and communicate as though we live in a future time where there are an equal number of men and women in all sectors of the tech industry.
Amidst all of the noise about the lack of diversity in tech, there are indeed companies in the industry that are taking proactive actions to diversify their workforce. These companies are consciously building cultures that are inclusive, thoughtful and sustainable.
Our latest event, Think Differently, was created and designed to highlight companies that we consider to be in the fast lane in the road to diversity and sustainable innovation.
Last Thursday, representatives from OpenTable, Etsy, SurveyMonkey, AppLovin, WebDam, and Pivotal Labs, spoke to a packed room of more than 300 Women 2.0 community members about how they are prioritizing a more inclusive culture through company activities, policies and personal anecdotes. And the other side of Silicon Valley, the Women 2.0 community, was ready for it.
“Great to see how culture is valued in the tech industry and unique ways to go about it. Thx @women2 #W2TD” - Arezu Aghaseyedjavad
While some got a glimpse of the event through our live feed on Periscope, we wanted to recap some of the best soundbites below for everyone else in our global community.
Selina Tabaccowala, President & CTO of SurveyMonkey and recipient of the Women 2.0 Legacy Creator Award, shared a personal anecdote about SurveyMonkey’s accommodating work culture.
After learning she had been accepted to the job at SurveyMonkey, she wrote to the late Dave Sandberg (my his soul rest in peace) informing him she had just found out she was pregnant. His response was nothing but supportive and endearing, she recounted.
“I had two maternity leaves and I’ve never felt more supported,” Tobaccowala said.
SurveyMonkey also proudly boasted that their team is 60% women. We say, way to lead.
Jody Vandergiff, CEO and co-founder of WebDam (acquired by Shutterstock), a digital asset management system, told us how WebDam got started, how they pivoted and how, they reached profitability without raising venture dollars and successfully lead an exit to their now parent company, ShutterStock
Inclusivity was also made a priority at their company. In 2013 Vandergiff started called the Women of WebDam, which is a group dedicated to encouraging gender equality in the workplace.
“I wanted to make sure the women of WebDam never felt like a minority” - Jody Vandergiff, WebDam co-founder & CEO.
It came as no surprise that OpenTable celebrates food - and makes it a big part of their culture. We were delighted when we found out they were bringing red velvet cupcakes, which, turns out were representing a metaphor they used to represent the various departments inside of OpenTable
OpenTable’s presentation video said it all, “The best thing about OpenTable isn’t the places we are or the products we make, it’s the people who work here.”
This closeness of the team on stage was very transparent.
Etsy, our Women 2.0 Award Culture Creator winner, emphasized the social impacts the company has made, while maintaining a fun, whimsical culture.
“We believe fun should be apart of everything we do,” Mike Morgan, Engineering Director at Etsy said.
He also talked about how Etsy is setting a new standard on intentfulness for handmade goods and the importance of that for the company. As the first certified B-Corp to go public on the NASDAQ, social impact is woven deeply into the culture at Etsy -- from the products they sell on their site from artisans in developing countries to weighing the garbage each office has each week, to the strong focus on building diverse teams, particularly in engineering.
“I want my daughter to live in a world where there are other options than mass production” - Mike Morgan
The event was hosted at Pivotal Labs, where Design Manager, Nina Mehta, gave us an inside scoop on a 8:30- 6:00 PM work culture full of energy and focus. Pivotal Labs is truly an example of sustainable culture at it’s finest. The well known morning and lunch stand up meetings, the use of post-it notes and the proximity of clients to pivotal staff make it a high-energy work environment with hyper focus on output and communication.
“It’s not perfect [the tech world] but we’re working on it and we’re talking about it,” Nina Mehta, Design Manager at Pivotal Labs.
The VP of corporate marketing, Katie Jansen, took the stage to talk about the growth and culture practices of Applovin which now delivers relevant content to more than 1 billion consumers. Like Webdam, AppLovin is profitable without having raised a single venture dollar -- how valuable is their equity stock pool I wonder? The company focuses on a work hard/play hard philosophy and is growing internationally. With the on-going growth in mobile ad tech, they know they are on to something big and are currently hiring in every department.
We want to thank the companies, attendees and everyone else who supported this event, again. THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who made this event run smoothly and to Pivotal Labs for hosting us in their gorgeous space. Whether you realize it or not, your presence and/or support for this event was an action in proactively diversifying the tech industry. We hope you walked away inspired, with life-changing connections and even more fueled to pursue your goals
We are in the prime of the technology revolution: and beginning a new phase that moves all of us closer to the vision we’re here to create.
We need everyone, every voice, all ideas, all experiences to contribute to this industry. These companies are a strong example of that.
About the author: Shaherose is a purpose-driven Product Marketing leader. She was previously, the CEO and Co-founder of Women 2.0. She began her career working at various startups in Silicon Valley in Product Management and Marketing at: Ribbit (British Telecom), Talenthouse and JAJAH (sold to Telefonica/O2). She is an active advisor to early stage technology startups through her pre-incubator, Founder Labs which she founded in 2010 and sits on the Board of Directors for Good World Solutions. Shaherose holds a B.A. in Business Admin from The University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business. Follow her on Twitter at @shaherose