Diversity and Inclusion: It’s not enough to get invited to the party, get invited to dance

Paige Caldwell
Paige Caldwell
TAGS:
Alation, culture, data catalog, diverse team, diversity and inclusion, hyper-growth startup, startup life,

Modern organizations are always looking for a competitive edge in this rapidly changing era of digital transformations. With research showing that a more diverse team leads to increased revenue, “diversity and inclusion” is on every company’s agenda. Despite this fact, it’s been no secret that tech companies regularly fall below the national average when it comes to diversity of race, gender, and educational background.

At Alation, our mission is to empower a more curious and rational world. As we expand further into global markets, it is important that our organization reflect not only our company values but can also relate to the wants and needs of the people we solve problems for. This applies especially to our team of sales development representatives (SDR’s) who are often making the first impressions. On our 16-person (and counting) SDR team alone, we represent 7 states, 6 countries, 3 continents and collectively speak 11 languages. We are comprised of 40% women. Our educational backgrounds range from English Literature to Evolutionary Biology. But beyond the numbers, statistics and bragging rights, what are the real impacts of being surrounded by such a diverse group of people?

Verna Meyers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, coined the phrase, “If diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being invited to dance at the party.” If you’ve ever been 13, you know just how important the second half of this sentiment is. For the people who make up the non-white, non-ivy league, and non-male population of an organization, getting your foot in the door can be literally just that. Without the inclusion part of the narrative, the possibility of upward mobility or even just having your voice heard can seem out of reach.

The experiences of our team is no different. SDR Yana Fedetov shared, “What I learned about inclusion over the years is that the only way to enjoy the benefits from a plethora of perspectives is being able to share your unique voice and be heard. That is why I love that Alation not only provides a platform that makes it easy for our customers to share knowledge but we also embrace the culture of inclusion and collaboration within.”

So many times, especially recently, organizations have been accused of tone-deaf marketing. This is usually the result of sourcing ideas and perspectives from a group of homogenous individuals. When you draw from a group of people with many different perspectives on one issue, the result is increased creativity and innovation within your team.

Yes, diversity affects the bottom line but it’s a culture that starts at the top. When employees feel included and accepted, they are more likely to be engaged, happy, and most important in this context, productive.

One of the most significant components of building a diverse team is finding those culture “adds” vs. culture “fits.” A true indication of a strong team is the ability of its members to recognize their own differences and see the strengths in others as a complement to their weakness and vice versa.

Alation is a hyper-growth startup leading the Machine Learning Data Catalog space with an innovative product and passionate customers. It has been settled within the organization that what sets us apart is our team of people all working in tandem towards a common goal: to change the way people work with data. We are growing as an organization and hiring top talent. Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a diverse team is that it will attract as many great candidates from an array of backgrounds as it does diverse customers from around the world.

Written by Paige Caldwell, Sales Development Representative at Alation.

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