Karen, Easlynn, Abraham, and Paul on how our ERGs have helped them grow — both personally and professionally
At Dropbox, some of the biggest contributors to our culture of diversity and inclusion are our employee resource groups (ERGs). Representing a variety of backgrounds and cultures (including veterans, women, LGBTQ+, Latinx, and Black/African American groups), they provide a space for our employees to not only connect with others with shared experiences, but to build their skills and grow their careers. As current and former ERG co-leads, Karen Nga, Easlynn Lee, Abraham Velasquez, and Paul McGrath have all experienced the benefits that involvement has had on their ability to develop leadership abilities within the workplace.
Karen Nga, program manager on the Customer Advocacy team, transitioned from sales into her current role. She attributes that opportunity to her involvement as a co-lead of Women@Dropbox.
“Throughout my six years at Dropbox, I’ve been able to do quite a few things. Part of why I got my new role was because of my involvement with the women’s ERG. I officially joined the leadership team as a co-lead two years ago, and the opportunities presented there gave me the chance to develop more strategic thinking and planning, which is what this role is all about. Our ERG is one of the largest ones we have at Dropbox and it’s global — so building out our strategy, creating a long-term vision and charter for what we want to do, and figuring out what a more structured and organized ERG looks like has been an amazing opportunity to flex different muscles.”
As an engineering manager and co-lead for the Latinx ERG, Abraham agrees that leading an ERG helps to build different skills. He just recently transferred into a manager role and has found that his ERG experience has been instrumental in helping him lead his team.
“As a team lead, you really have to learn how to delegate and assign responsibilities. The challenge with leading an ERG is: how do you delegate to a volunteer based team? At the end of the day, we’re all people that really care about our organization, but have limited time commitments, because we have our primary role. Empowering folks to take ownership and set guidance for them to follow has been a great learning experience. I’ve since taken a lot of that experience back to my team.”
Paul McGrath is the office manager in our Dublin office, which serves as our European headquarters. It’s also a hotspot for our Pride ERG, which has members across the world. Paul’s experiences with PrideBox are almost innumerable: the group has marched in Pride parades, hosted a speed networking event for professionals in the growing Dublin technology hub, and organized volunteer events that have done everything from donating shoes to the homeless to refurbishing a women’s shelter. The internal work he’s been asked to do to coordinate and promote these events has helped him to develop more skills than he can count.
“As leads, we’re asked to present at company meetings a lot. It has definitely helped me with public speaking skills; you’re representing your ERG, and sometimes presenting to the whole of EMEA! Additionally, the ERG has helped me learn to manage logistics, vendors, and budget, and has helped me to grow in the event management areas of my role. It’s ultimately a serious learning curve — I’ve been asked to take photographs of the events, or I’ve been asked to help develop a comms plan. And at the start you may say, ‘there’s no way I could do that’ — but it’s only gonna be an advantage to you and growing your career.”
Easlynn Lee has been involved in Black Dropboxers ever since she joined Dropbox. She graduated two years ago from Spelman College, one of the few schools in the nation that has a community service requirement to graduate, so the volunteer aspect of the ERG struck a chord with her. She has helped to organize and support many events, including panels with local high school students and teacher appreciation events with a nearby elementary school. She, too, has seen her career grow; after working in a legal role here, she transferred into her new role as a program manager on the social impact team just a few weeks ago.
“My ERG involvement has absolutely had an impact on my professional development. I would not have the job I have now without it! It’s given me the opportunity to lead, to have a voice, to own projects and initiatives and drive them. Especially if you’re a junior person, it’s a great way to flex those leadership muscles and make an impact. Once you’ve experienced the sense of community and support an ERG provides, it’s hard not to be engaged — it’s a safe place to try new things and broaden your skill set, so why not go for it?”
We’re excited to celebrate all the people and groups that make Dropbox a great place to work. Want to learn more about working at Dropbox? Get more info at dropbox.com/jobs.