At Zuora, we have an ongoing commitment to maintaining a workplace where all employees feel comfortable being their true, authentic selves. As part of this initiative, we have launched a series of Z-briefs, or fireside chats with guest speakers focused on diversity and inclusion.
Last week, we hosted an impressive panel of external speakers to help us celebrate Black History Month and launch a new employee resource group (ERG), Zuora Black Network. We were honored to host Masheika Allen, Software Licensing Product Manager at NVIDIA, Lauren Reeves, Software Engineer at Postmates, Christina Lewis, Finance Director at Western Digital, and Charles Nyakundi, Lead Senior Diversity Compliance Analyst at Oracle, alongside our very own Isabella Nyakundi, a manager on our Global Technical Support team.
Pictured above, our wonderful panelists from left to right: Lauren Reeves, Masheika Allen, Charles Nyakundi, Isabella Nyakundi, and Christina Lewis.
Our panelists were very generous in sharing their own expertise in launching and participating in successful ERGs and explaining ways in which all employees can be engaged and productive thought partners. As Masheika Allen explained, the most impactful ERGs not only create a community for the members of the group but also make a positive impact on the company as a whole:
“You want to start by creating a safe space for your members and sponsors and once you have that structure, you can start looking at how to benefit the company as a whole. How do we bring something new to the table? Something that can benefit all of our members in a way that’s not necessarily related to diversity and inclusion, but based on the fact that we bring a different perspective.”
As we build out more ERGs at Zuora, we are very intentional about always encouraging allies, or individuals who advocate for underrepresented groups, to join in the communities and conversations. Isabella Nyakundi noted this in saying:
“Even if you don’t look like me, you can be an ally. You don’t have to belong to a particular ERG or look like them. If it’s the LGBT group, you can be an ally and support those members. When it comes to women’s groups, we also need men.”
At Zuora, we continue to make our workplace more inclusive by maintaining a culture of transparency where we can engage in honest and open conversations. Through quarterly employee engagement surveys, we identify those areas where we are performing best and and where to focus our efforts. Zuora has launched internal diversity dialogues, Z-Briefs with external speakers, to continue to keep diversity and inclusion top of mind.
Charles Nyakundi touched on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace by explaining:
“We think today about the things that unite us: the future that we have together, the things that we do together as a country, as a people, and as cultures. We have to do things together in order for us to exist as the human race. We have to embrace diversity. We have to embrace who we are.”
At Zuora, we are addressing diversity and inclusion holistically, knowing that there is not a single solution. Hiring managers identify a diverse pool of applicants and provide a diverse panel of interviewers. There are opportunities for all to participate in leadership programs and promotion reviews. Policies have been reviewed and upgraded and we have our series of ‘fireside chats’ with guest speakers.
To wrap up the session, Karen Gaydon, SVP of ZEO Success at Zuora, explained our approach to diversity and inclusion by saying:
“It’s all about being authentic and aligning our approach to diversity and inclusion with who we are as a company. We’ve always been a company that listens to people, we respect differences, we want to hear your voice. That’s how we’re approaching diversity and inclusion.”
Hosting these four panelists at Zuora to discuss equality in the workplace was a great way to keep these essential conversations going as we learn and evolve our company to be a Diversity and Inclusion leader.