Pushing Past Diversity, Promoting Inclusion: Pride Month at Nitro
At Nitro, diversity isn’t just an objective we work toward. It’s a mission that calls us to embody one of our founding values: Be Good. Showing our support during Pride Month is just another way we enter a conversation that has many voices, all worthy of recognition and celebration.
Our organization’s diversity permeates all levels and departments, and we recently sat down with three Nitronauts who reflect that: Erica Johnson, Director of Employee Experience, Mario Kevesic, Global Customer Support Manager, and Eric Salas, Head of Marketing. To help celebrate Pride Month, these senior leaders shared their personal and professional experiences with Nitro, tech, and the status of LGBT equality today.
How do you define diversity? How does Nitro make sure every Nitronaut feels included and valued?
Erica: Diversity and inclusion is making sure that regardless of background, age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, you feel that this is a place for you. If you don’t, then we’re not doing something right.
While there are always ways to improve, each day we work to make sure all Nitronauts feel important, respected, and included here. You want to have different types of people and viewpoints contributing to successfully executing your company vision, and you need to make sure they feel good about being here — not like they’re “the other.”
Mario: There are so many different people here — myself being one of them — and I’ve never felt excluded at any moment. Coming into Nitro as an immigrant, with an accent, and also being gay? I’ve never felt like any of those conditions gave way to discrimination or exclusion.
This is an environment where you feel accepted and part of a family, no matter your background, race, ethnicity, or being LGBT. Not only is being a minority something that isn’t seen as wrong, it’s something that doesn’t even come up.
Eric: And that’s why it’s important for us to make sure that diversity is visible, from the more obvious to the less obvious. Pride Month is a great time to promote visibility and inclusion, and to remind people that diversity is not just something that we want, but something we need in our business.
How does diversity contribute to Nitro’s overall growth and strength?
Eric: Everyone comes from different places with different perspectives, and that’s just going to make us better as a team.
Erica: Having different perspectives is important to the products and services we offer. Our solution applies to everyone: document productivity. This means we’re dealing with every type of business and different types of problems, so our team should reflect that diversity in our customers. We are able to be more successful by taking into account a lot of different perspectives rather than just one.
Mario: Creativity is really important at Nitro. From marketing to support to departments in between, we have to work together to find creative solutions. This comes from different minds, different backgrounds, and different views on life.
How does diversity impact personal and professional development among Nitronauts?
Erica: People do great work in an environment where they feel good and supported. No one feels good about being in an environment where you don’t feel included. If you don’t feel like people fully respect and appreciate who you are and what you have to offer, then you are not going to want to participate or contribute at work. And we want all Nitronauts, to feel like their contribution matters and that Nitro supports them coming here to do their best work.
Mario: One of the reasons I joined Nitro was the people who interviewed me. Nitro is not only an international company, but we also have a wide range of international, diverse employees. During my hiring process, I was interviewed by an Asian Australian, an Irishman, an African-American LGBT woman, and an Englishman. By simply talking to people of every background, I realized I wouldn’t feel like I didn’t belong.
Eric: One of our top priorities is ensuring we get — and keep–the best talent. We want to make Nitro a place where someone can be their most true, authentic, proud, and highest-performing self.
Where is there room to grow at Nitro and in tech as a whole?
Eric: I think there’s increased visibility around diversity across departments, but some have more of a challenge than others. While diversity in marketing leadership may be strong, it’s been more of a challenge in product, engineering, and tech as a whole. For example, we haven’t seen as many women in leadership roles in those areas. As a leader in the industry, we need to encourage advancement for diverse people of all sorts by creating more of a support network for visibility and development.
Mario: Having leadership that openly supports and speaks about diversity and the LGBT community. Our CEO, Sam Chandler, sends out correspondence on certain issues, like gay marriage votes, and he always expresses support for equality. It’s incredible top-down support to receive a personal, strong message from your CEO.
Erica: We’re a great employer that cares a lot about equality, but it’s not lost on us that there is more for us to do when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This is especially true on the engineering side in terms of gender diversity, but we’re taking steps to make sure we’re creating more diverse teams in not only engineering, but across the business.
Ultimately, the tech community, as a whole, really needs to aggressively tackle the lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry, which is a systematic issue. The tech industry is so creative, innovative, and problem-solving, we should be able to fix these issues. Why are we in this position? It has a lot to do with how you reach out, hire, and engage your employees. There’s still a lot to do.
At Nitro, we believe that in order to tackle all that’s left to do, change must begin on a daily level — thoughtful hiring processes, authentic interactions, and the desire to learn about and include each other. It’s something we strive toward every day, and in the end, it’s what makes us stronger, more connected, and more synergistic — whether that’s during Pride Month or any other day that we’re #NitroProud.
For a closer look at life at Nitro, click here.
We’re always looking for people of every background and skill set to join our Nitro family. You could be next! Check out our open positions here.
Originally published at blog.gonitro.com on June 20, 2017.