Diversity and Making History

Last year’s blog post refrain “the future is female”  was more than just a hopeful statement – it turned out to be an accurate prediction, evidenced by a number of notable achievements in 2018: the historic midterm elections in the U.S. which yielded the most racially diverse Congress ever, women gaining the legal right to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Nobel prizes awarded to female scientists in the areas of physics and chemistry. These firsts have inspired us and encouraged us to keep up our efforts at making Indiegogo more diverse and inclusive, too.

At Indiegogo, our mission is to empower people to unite around ideas that matter to them and together, make those ideas come to life. We believe deeply that anyone from any background should have a chance to bring their ideas to life, and we think the people on our team should be just as diverse as the ideas on our platform. We’ve been releasing our internal demographic data regularly for the past few years, and we are happy to report this information in March, the month of International Women’s Day and an ongoing celebration of great women throughout history. We don’t share these numbers to pat ourselves on the back, we share these numbers as part of an ongoing effort to hold ourselves, and our industry as a whole, accountable for becoming more diverse and more inclusive. As we review our results, we’re still proud to be a majority female company, and a company with strong minority participation on our leadership team and we credit the intentional efforts of all our people for that.

Our 2018 results indicate the following:

  • Indiegogo remains a majority female company, with 52% of our team being women
  • We saw greater ethnic diversity, particularly with more representation by Asian employees and those that selected two or more races (“Other”)
  • Gender equality increased in non-tech roles
  • 36% of our leadership team is ethnically diverse

A full summary of our results is contained in the following graphs:

The women at Indiegogo on all teams are paving the way for other women to pursue their passions here, and in the tech industry as a whole. Starting with our leadership team, which is almost an even split of women and men with women leading our Legal, Communications, Operations and Marketing teams and playing key roles in a lot of critical product areas like Product Management and EngineeringFemale leaders across teams are instrumental in ensuring that Indiegogo consistently fosters the career growth of other women at the company, by dedicating time to help with navigating performance reviews, mentoring and providing advice, and pursuing opportunities within the company.

The influence of the amazing women on our team is extending beyond Indiegogo and into the broader tech community by hosting and participating in inclusivity-focused industry events.  Ting Deng, one of our female software engineers has been co-hosting Write/Speak/Code Meetups during her two years at Indiegogo. Write/Speak/Code’s mission is to “promote visibility and leadership of technologists with marginalized genders through peer-led professional development. We hold meetups every month alternating between workshops focused on Write, Speak, Code and Growth.”

Ting described walking away from her first WSC meetup “bubbling with excitement and confidence” when she began thinking of herself as someone who could share her expertise by giving talks at tech events, which motivated her to help others develop the same sense of empowerment. Ting explains: “I love that I am a part of an organization that provides folks from marginalized genders a space where they are proud to represent the underrepresented part of themselves, and take with them more confidence to represent themselves more authentically wherever they go next.”

Polina Soshnin, another software engineer at Indiegogo who is female, has also volunteered as an open source mentor for Write/Speak/Code. Being a part of WSC has meant changing our industry: “Write/Speak/Code is important to me because part of changing the dynamic in the industry is increasing the visibility and leadership of women already in our industry and giving them a platform to own their experiences. I have been able to welcome several women into the world of Open Source for the first time as a mentor for their coding workshops.”

Not only has Polina contributed to WSC alongside Ting, but she’s served as a mentor for the Hackbright Academy, an engineering school for women in the Bay Area. “Hackbright Academy it actively allows me to make a direct impact in changing the ratio for our industry. It also helps me develop my leadership and management skills as I pass on my knowledge to an aspiring software engineer.”

Siena Aguayo, a Senior Software Engineer who has been with Indiegogo for five years has been leading internal efforts through a “Ladies who Tech” group, which started as a space for women on the engineering team to support each other, and has grown into much more. Siena notes that “recently, we’ve added a few more women who are not on the engineering team but work closely with us in a technical capacity, to support the women in the company who are trying to transition to more technical/product-focused roles.” She points out that “we acknowledge that the name isn’t perfect” as the group welcomes all gender minorities. Ladies who Tech meets once a month to lend mutual support to women at Indiegogo as they navigate career growth and development.

What we are doing for diversity

Siena, Polina and Ting’s endeavors in supporting women and marginalized groups in tech are just a few great examples of the initiative Indiegogo employees are taking to improve diversity and inclusion. We realized a few years ago that these incredible and diverse members of our team were the secret to finding and hiring talented new team members. So, we shifted our focus to employee referrals, and by increasing referral bonuses and regularly announcing job openings internally, we saw that since 2017, referrals have accounted for 34% of all hires. This is a powerful testament to the inclusive culture at Indiegogo – our employees feel supported in being their authentic selves, and are so happy that they even bring friends and former colleagues to our open positions. We see in the hires that came from internal referrals during that time that 66% were female, and 61% were ethnically diverse.

While the changes we made in our hiring process was undoubtedly effective, we also knew we wanted to retain a diverse team, so we reinvigorated our focus on fostering a healthy, respectful culture with extensive on-boarding, and values-based employee recognition and promotions. We also created a Diversity & Inclusion team that contributes to Indiegogo’s dialogue and activity around diversity both inside the company and on the platform itself. The D&I team meets regularly to coordinate volunteer events, pride parties, provide recommendations on joining amicus briefs for diversity-related court cases, organizes workshops on inclusion, and more. Most recently, we signed onto our second letter in support of the Dreamers.

We know that there is still work to be done at Indiegogo and across our industry, but we’re proud of these numbers, proud of how they compare to the industry at large – we’re more gender-balanced and diverse overall than the average tech company in Silicon Valley in terms of both our full company and our leadership team – and proud of our team’s commitment to continuing to improve each year.

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