Meet the team, driving diversity, equity & inclusion at Dropbox

As the tech industry grows and changes, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is often at the forefront of discussion as companies seek out new talent. At Dropbox, under the leadership of Danny Guillory, Global Head of DEI, we’ve assembled a superhero team of eight people from different backgrounds, places, experiences, and personalities who work together to make sure that we keep DEI at the core of our culture.

External Partnerships Manager Stephanie Smith is one of the newest members of our DEI team. Having worked in social impact over the past five years, she decided to dive deeper into the DEI space, and landed at Dropbox about four months ago. She’s found that the mix of backgrounds among her teammates has been essential to success in her role so far.

“Our team is very knowledgeable and seasoned in a variety of areas. What I’ve really enjoyed is learning about people’s backgrounds, where they came from, and what their expertise is — everyone’s got something really interesting going on, and I’ve learned things from every teammate. It’s also cool because everyone has their strengths, so if I get stuck, I know who to ask to tag-team. Like if I have a data question, I go to Chantal. Or if I want to learn more about what the ERGs are doing, I go to Marcques. I end up touching or interacting with everyone on the team in some capacity, and having such a well-staffed team definitely helps us effectively execute, forecast, and strategize together.”

While many organizations are making concerted efforts to build DEI teams, most are still very small. We’ve made every effort to make our team as robust as possible to really demonstrate how important this is to us. Diversity Business Partner Mario Middleton has 17 years of experience in the DEI field, and he says he’s never seen a team like ours.

“At previous jobs, when I was over diversity, it was just me over 36,000 employees or even 90,000 employees, with maybe just like a program manager on my team. So coming here to Dropbox and seeing seven [other] full-time people on our actual team that are committed to diversity excites me!”

“The organization is very focused on making sure we have very diverse teams at all levels. We’re doing better than most organizations out there simply in terms of investment. Everybody’s like, ‘I’m a supporter of this, I wanna do the right thing, what is it that I need to do? Help me be a better ally to folks who don’t look like me or sound like [me] make sure they’re getting the resources that are available. I don’t want to let the color of my skin be a hindrance to that.’”

As events of the past few months have changed our concept of what a workspace truly is, it’s opened up new opportunities for the DEI team to discover how to ensure inclusion for more groups of people within our organization. While she normally works out of our headquarters in San Francisco, DEI Business Partner Angela Ju is using our new remote environment as an opportunity to understand how we can better support offices and team members who are permanently remote, or have other life priorities that shift the way they work.

“Given that we are a global company and we have many offices, right now is a good opportunity to really level the playing field so everyone understands what it’s like to not be an employee in Owens [the San Francisco Office] and can’t attend, for instance, an All Hands in person every time. It gives us a chance to flex and adapt and strengthen our remote inclusion muscle, which I think is incredibly important for any modern company. It’s also a really interesting time for us to better understand the experiences of working parents and other people who are now full-time caregivers.”

Diversity Engagement Manager Mehroz Baig has also found this to be the perfect time to dial in on employee engagement and connection — which is more important than ever before. She’s helped the team figure out how to host all-company meetings and trainings virtually so every Dropboxer still feels they have a voice.

“What I am focusing on now is thinking about how we can continue connecting with employees while everyone is working from home — and ultimately, how we can continue providing support and resources to employees so they can continue investing in DEI across their work. It can be difficult to balance everything that is going on, with added responsibilities for many employees when it comes to caregiving, with thinking about getting your work done and incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our goal has always been, and is even more so now, to promote DEI not as an addition to what Dropboxers are doing, but as part of their role. I’m focusing on keeping tabs on what’s working and where we can switch things up to better suit the needs of our employees during this time.”

As part of addressing their goals, the DEI team has created their own 2020 theme: I Am Committed, emphasizing everyone’s role in hiring diverse teams, developing and advancing equitably, and engaging in personal growth. This speaks to many different facets of their roles — DEI Program Manager Caitlin O’Dowd unpacked what it means to her.

“’I Am Committed’ means being conscious of not only best practices in the industry as they relate to DEI, but being conscious of how that aligns with our values, and being able to deliver that message to people in a way that resonates with them. We want to make sure that we don’t see DEI as something that is separate, or something that can only be done when we have time for it. That means being conscious of opportunities to make sure that I am presenting not only on DEI as DEI, but as something that’s absolutely integral and a part of our values.

Part of being on the DEI team is that, no matter what situation we’re in, we have to be inclusive. Not a lot of our programming has had to halt, or be changed, because from the very beginning we’ve realized that we have folks in different time zones and cultures and ways of learning and responsibilities, and we’ve tried to account for that. But it’s still important to be conscious of how people are reacting to things — you can create what you think is the most inclusive program as you see it, but you still have things to learn.”

As our DEI team continues to work to make sure all Dropboxers across the world are part of an inclusive work environment, you can learn more about our values and the benefits we offer our employees that help them thrive, no matter where they’re working, here.

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