Braze For ALL: The Next Phase of Our Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
You’ve heard us talk before about diversity and inclusion: How we’re making Braze a more inclusive workplace; how we’re diversifying our workforce; how we created our Braze For ALL diversity and inclusion initiative as a pillar of the company back in 2018; and more. Now, as we approach the completion of Braze For ALL’s second year in operation, we’re making some key changes to enhance our global reach and foster a workplace that is—at its core—a representation of our values.
To learn more about why Braze prioritizes diversity and inclusion, what Braze For ALL has been up to and where we’re focusing our efforts in the next year, read on!
Why Focus on Diversity and Inclusion?
The world is diverse—and the people who make it up represent a vast array of different backgrounds, identities, viewpoints, and experiences. But in years past, many companies and organizations failed to embrace the diversity of their workforces, leading to discrimination, increased inequality, and the avoidable departure of valuable employees. In addition, recent studies have shown that diverse and inclusive teams drive creativity and innovation, leading to better performance and positively impacting the bottom line.
As awareness around the importance of diversity and inclusion has grown, we’ve seen more and more companies looking for ways to grow and maintain diverse workforces through an increased focus on inclusive policies and equitable treatment.
How Braze For ALL Has Fostered Inclusion at Braze
Braze For ALL makes diversity and inclusion a top priority because it’s the right thing to do. We strive for equal representation and parity of roles, and work hard to ensure that everything we do as an organization is inclusive for everyone in the Braze family.
Andrew Tuchfeld, Senior Manager, People Relations at Braze, founded Braze For ALL back in 2018 to kickstart this effort. Back then, we were a much smaller company growing very quickly and it was a key priority to find ways to balance that growth with a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion. During his tenure, Braze For ALL launched multiple subcommittees to support diversity and inclusion activities and helped to support the first wave of employee resource groups (ERGs), which shine a light on different backgrounds and lifestyles and create a network for support and advocacy.
The Next Phase of Braze For ALL
Earlier this year, Andrew decided that the time was right to pass the torch, and over the past few months he’s been transitioning responsibility for this key initiative to me. It’s an absolute pleasure for me to take the reins of Braze For ALL and to do my part to ensure that diversity and inclusion remains at the forefront of all we do at Braze.
As part of the transition process, we identified a few key areas to prioritize for growth when it comes to Braze For ALL and our activities, based on our need to continue attracting, hiring, nurturing, and retaining a best-in-class, diverse workforce. But first, we realized we needed to take steps to broaden representation within Braze For ALL across all of our demographics. To make that happen, we’ve begun taking the following steps:
1. Ensuring Geographical Representation
While Braze For ALL has always been an initiative for the entirety of Braze, it’s been a challenge at times to ensure that every one of our offices has been able to fully take part in leading and enjoying the programs we carry out. Now, I’m pleased to announce that all five of our global offices now have location-based Braze For ALL leaders—thanks to the recent introduction of leads in both our newest location, Chicago, as well as our office located the furthest from our New York HQ, Singapore.
With these new additions to the team, we’re ensuring that Braze For ALL operates as the global diversity and inclusion initiative that it was always intended to be, in direct alignment with our values as a company. These individuals live and breathe diversity and inclusion, and the work they do by rallying our colleagues to help celebrate our differences and cultivate our growth in their respective locations is essential to our larger mission.
2. Doubling Down on Inclusion
Inclusion in the workplace means talking about the extent to which each employee in an organization feels that they belong and can be their authentic self at work. At Braze, we’ve done a lot of work to foster an inclusive workplace over the years, and that work is just continuing—we’re making a point of finding new ways and approaches to support this effort.
One key part of that work? Helping employees to begin ERGs that reflect their lived experience and create communities within Braze. Braze now has six of these groups, with more currently being formed:
- [email protected]/Femmentor: Founded in 2019, this group works to empower Braze employees who identify as women and their allies. This is done through numerous efforts including speaking opportunities, group mentorship, and 1:1 mentorship programs. Last year alone, Femmentor hosted two rounds of company-wide peer mentorship, three speaking engagements, and five group mentorship meetings.
- [email protected]: This group was founded on the heels of Black History Month this past February to create and cultivate an internal community that celebrates Black culture and heritage. Though the COVID-19 pandemic halted their official launch party, the group is actively exploring ways to continue their momentum virtually.
- [email protected]: This group, representing parents and their allies, works to support all employees in connection with parenting needs in the workplace—and has upped its game during the COVID-19 quarantine by curating a list of useful resources for working parents and their children, issuing guidance for managers of parents working from home with kids, sending care packages to families to replace attending our annual “Bring Your Child to Work” day, and launching a Parent Pal Program for parents to support each other in these difficult times.
- [email protected]: This group works to connect the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies through art, history, culture, and charitable giving. [email protected] is focused on ensuring a safe, respectful community within Braze where members can celebrate and reflect on the history of this impactful community.
- [email protected]: This group, our very first ERG, is dedicated to cultivating a community to celebrate Jewish heritage and culture for all Braze employees. In the last few months, [email protected] hosted the first fully virtual event at Braze to watch and discuss the impact of the film 93 Queen which, despite the current pandemic, was a huge success! The group also recently organized a recipe swap to encourage sharing personal recipes and stories in celebration of the Passover holiday.
- Healthy [email protected]: This is our newest ERG, formally launched during May—which is Mental Health Awareness month! Healthy [email protected] gives employees a dedicated, safe, and judgement-free space to talk about the state of their mental health and relate to one another’s experiences. Employees can share tips, tricks, and resources that pertain to mental wellbeing and rally around programming (once we’re back in our offices). Healthy [email protected] allows us all to work together to shine a spotlight on mental health and help de-stigmatize the conversation.
The efforts and initiatives that have grown organically out of these ERGs have been a major factor in helping to drive our diversity and inclusion efforts forward. In the coming year, Braze For ALL will be taking steps to align more regularly with these groups to ensure that they have the support and information they need to have even more of an impact.
3. Embracing Vulnerability and Real Conversations
One big challenge that comes with diversity and inclusion work is how personal and sensitive the topics that touch it can be. That means finding ways to explore these subjects thoughtfully and responsibly, while also being willing to have difficult conversations. This effort is at the core of the work done by Braze For ALL’s two internal committees and it’s something we’re planning to invest more energy into going forward.
The Braze For ALL Culture Club focuses its energy on facilitating events that encourage Braze employees to consider issues related to diversity and inclusion through engagement with media and the arts. These efforts have included visits to the Brooklyn Museum’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power exhibit and screenings of films like 93Queen (in collaboration with [email protected]) and the Academy Award–winning documentary short film Period. End of Sentence. These activities serve as an opportunity for deeper consideration of issues around diversity and inclusion and drive conversations that wouldn’t otherwise be possible between coworkers.
With the Braze For ALL Speaker Series, the focus is on highlighting outside perspectives on diversity and inclusion for the organization as a whole. Over the course of the last year, the Speaker Series held a panel discussion on diverse entrepreneurship, created an internal roundtable discussion on the importance of inclusion at Braze, and hosted an intimate conversation with artist and Holocaust survivor William Bernheim. These conversations were vulnerable and thought-provoking, and allowed us to gain deeper insight into what’s most meaningful for our employees, which ultimately—you guessed it—speaks to our values.
4. Deepen Our Relationship With Recruiting
Ultimately, though, we wouldn't be a global diversity and inclusion initiative if we didn’t put diversity at the forefront. One key item on our list for ensuring that we’re making progress on our mission is creating a deeper partnership with our recruiting organization. To that end, Carolina Lopez, Technical Recruiter II at Braze, has stepped up to the challenge and will be serving as our Recruiting and Partnerships Liaison.
In this role, she’ll be filling in the knowledge gaps as Braze For ALL drives toward increased company-wide diversity and inclusion metrics—which, as we know, also drives increased creativity and better performance. Together, we’re also targeting hyper-specific partnership opportunities with organizations that can aid us in tying our recruiting efforts directly back the bottom line.
Being a part of Braze for ALL has been a true highlight in my almost-year at Braze. Our values are strong and our team is stronger—but we’re only just beginning, and I can’t wait to see where our truly global diversity and inclusion initiative takes us next.
Interested in learning more about Braze or maybe joining our team? Visit our Careers page for more information and job listings.