March 9, 2018

Glad(ly) to Be a Woman this International Women’s Day

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From ‘Time’s Up’ pins on the red carpet, to hashtags on social media, to female-led marches on streets all over the world, the past two years have seen a new, renewed focus on female empowerment and solidarity.

This International Women’s Day, we spoke to a few of our own, amazing women in the office to get their thoughts on what it means to be a feminist, and how they try to support each other in this new era of female power.

 

Margie Mader-Clark, VP of People

 

Do you have a message to women out there this International Women’s Day?

 

What does it mean to you to be a feminist?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. I define it a bit more simply. Being a feminist means fighting for equality – especially for women.

 

We’re seeing a lot of conversations around the need for more female representation in the workforce, and establishing equal pay between men and women. What’s Gladly doing to support this movement?

Right from the start, we’ve tried to be thoughtful and deliberate about our hiring process. We make it a point to balance our candidate pool to ensure that we have a high level of representation of female candidates. And we carry that across to making sure our interview panel is well-balanced as well.

To make female employees, and really all employees, feel comfortable about working at Gladly, we make it clear that there’s a zero-tolerance policy for any type of discrimination or harassment – and most importantly, that it’s a policy we will enforce without exceptions. It’s not just lip service.

We also invest time and resources into making sure that we have a strong coaching and mentorship program in place, because that’s an area that women tend to underestimate themselves a lot of the time. So we make sure that we take the time to recognize skills, talents and leadership qualities and turn those into growth opportunities

 

Jenny Roy, VP of Marketing

 

What do you think makes a woman special?

 

What does it mean to you to be a feminist?

I think being a feminist transcends gender. A feminist is a person who stands up for all people, regardless of their sex, to make sure that everyone has the same rights, and that we’re all seen as the strong, intelligent, powerful people we are.

 

There’s a sense of solidarity amongst women that’s arisen in the past few years, to support and fight for each other. How do you feel that you can, or have helped, to keep that momentum going?

Gladly supports me as a woman by embracing the idea to bring our “whole selves” to work — that means me as a Marketer and me as a Mother.

And we try to pay that forward within the women in the company as well. At Gladly, we have created a group called “Gladiat-hers” where we can share ideas and help support one another across everything we do.

 

Susan Park, Product Designer

 

What’s your message to women out there this International Women’s Day?

 

How do you think Gladly has helped support you as a woman?

From the very beginning of the company, everyone – starting from Recruiting to our CEO – was very cognizant about educating and making us aware of the subconscious, underlying gender biases we all have. Because of that, I think we’ve been able to do a good job establishing steps we can take to combat these biases and not perpetuate them.

Starting this rhetoric from the beginning has truly shaped how people in our company are hired and work on a day-to-day basis. No one cares about your experience, age, or what school you went to. And most importantly, no one cares if you’re a man or a woman, you simply speak your mind and earn the trust and respect of your teammates. Simple as that.

 

There’s a sense of solidarity amongst women that’s arisen in the past few years, to support and fight for each other. How do you feel that you can, or have helped, to keep that momentum going?

I think that sometimes women don’t realize that we too have gender biases that are subconsciously built into our minds over time. So I always try to remind myself of that and read up on how to recognize what I can do to break down those patterns, like holding up women for their accomplishments, or acknowledging their successes.

Outside of Gladly, I always try to help women and minorities in any way I can. Whether that’s through talks around design, or providing advice on how to get involved in fields that I’m personally interested in, like crypto. I also attend many workshops that are led by women, for women, and join groups that help bring us together. It’s always so awesome to talk to others who understand your POV and work through challenges together, and I think a lot of that is about hearing about and trying to understand each other’s experiences.

 

Alice Li, Software Engineering Manager

 

What do you think it means to be a feminist?

 

How do you feel Gladly supports you as a woman?

I think Gladly is unique in that the company, and managers, are really supportive and encourage development. I’ve has the opportunity to work on and lead high impact projects and that are challenging on a technical front. In the last year, I’ve helped onboard Jetblue, and built the infrastructure for training and deploying machine learning models.

Gladly makes it okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

 

How do you support women in Gladly and/or outside of it?

I make it a point to encourage and support different leadership and working styles, and that goes across the board, regardless of someone’s gender.

 

This International Women’s Day, we at Gladly hope that everyone can make the effort to reach out to our fellow women, so that they feel heard, supported and loved. Because it’s when we work together that we can truly effect the change we want to see in the world.

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