Nick Allardice
Sep 13, 2018 · 5 min read
Some of our kickass team in our SF office.

We wake up every day thinking about how to help more people grow their capacity and power to affect the issues they care most about in the world.

It’s the same perspective we try to bring to building our team. Mobilizing and supporting hundreds of millions of people around the world to improve their democracies requires solving big, complex problems. It requires imaginative problem solving. Inspired execution. Collaboration across functions and cultures. Working fast and learning quickly. To do all of that we need exceptional people.

We’re constantly looking for ways to bring those great people onto our team, and for ways to train and support our existing team to be even better.

That’s why we are so proud to launch the Change.org Fellowship, a six-month paid opportunity for aspiring Product Managers, Growth/Marketing folks, and Engineers, specifically for people who have roots in or deep connections with communities that have faced discrimination or marginalization within the technology sector.

It’s a unique opportunity for people interested in a career in technology to try it out and get a successful start, while meaningfully helping to build something that’s helping tens of millions of people to improve their communities every day. It would particularly suit people who come from an activist, social or community work background, but we welcome interest from anyone who wants to make a difference.

There are five fellowships available, all based in our San Francisco office. Two in our Product organization can be applied for through our careers site (Product Management and Growth), and three in our Engineering organization, which are being filled by graduates from Holberton School (DevOps, Data Engineering and Security). The fellowship is for six months, and is compensated at the equivalent of $75k per annum with full benefits.

Applications close on September 17, and the program runs from October 22 — April 15.

Kamla from our Data Engineering team talking to students at the Holberton School about the fellowship.

Programs like this are more important than ever.

Technology companies are playing an increasingly important or even dominant role in society — but they are run and staffed overwhelmingly by people with a very narrow set of experiences and perspectives.

Affluent, well-educated, white, American men have long dominated most technology company workplaces. As a result, the perspectives and experiences informing decisions that materially affect the lives of billions of people are highly limited and not reflective of the glorious diversity the world contains. It also entrenches inequality, as the primary beneficiaries of the new tech economy are largely those who are already starting ahead. And it’s a huge missed opportunity as there’s an incredible amount of capability, innovation and insight that the technology world is failing to harness in building products that improve the world.

This is true in many technology companies, and Change.org is no exception. We work hard to make sure that our workplace reflects the diversity of the communities that we seek to serve, but we fall short of the standards we’d like to live up to. As we continue to work in a number of different ways to build an increasingly more inclusive company, this specific initiative aims to invest in pathways and entry points for a new generation of business and technology leaders.

The program itself will be highly practical, with a mixture of training and coaching for fellows.

Throughout the program, we’ll be investing in both the fellowship cohort as a whole, as well as individual fellows in their work.

Our intent is to create an experience for the cohort of five fellows that are peers and partners who support, inspire, challenge and laugh with each other. The cohort will receive regular training in the types of skills that will serve fellows well in their fellowship and beyond. Leadership and influence, time management, giving and receiving feedback, and much more will be part of regular trainings that fellows receive together.

Each fellow will also be part of a specific team within our broader product development organization. They’ll have a manager within that team, who will use experiential learning to offer the specific training and support from that manager and team in order to succeed in their specific role. Fellows will also take part in (and also lead on!) individual projects as part of those teams to directly improve Change.org’s platform and support our users to have greater impact in the world.

Our hope is that by the end of the program we can offer fellows permanent roles, and that fellows are excited to take them on. We can’t guarantee right now the number of permanent positions we’ll be able to offer, but we want to set it up such that if there are permanent positions available then fellows would be a natural fit for them.

We have a secret breakfast club, that meets up, cooks and surprises the rest of the office with tasty breakfasts. You too could be a member of this illustrious group, or at least benefit from the food!

We expect this fellowship program to be a long term investment.

This will be the first of many cohorts. We’ll learn, improve it and expand it over time. We’re particularly keen to open up to engineering applicants from outside our initial school partnerships, to expand the program outside of our product development team to include our campaigning team, and finally to also do specific outreach and support for people from the Global South to participate. We anticipate both of these things happen in the second iteration.

For now, we’re excited for the group of inspiring new colleagues we’re about to meet, and would encourage you to either apply or share with someone that you think might be interested. Here are the positions and application details (update, now that applications are closed, I’ve removed the links):

  • Product Management
  • Growth
  • Engineering roles (Data Engineering, DevOps and Security) are being filled through our partnership with Holberton School.

The Change.org Fellowship leadership team

Nick Allardice, Kamla Kasichainula, Justin Lyons, Kajal Odedra, Erik Ogan, Danielle Yasso, Eric Steinle, Colin Mutchler, Samantha Wright, Leisha Laatsch.

Making Change.org

The official Change.org Product Development blog, writing about product, design, and engineering at the world's largest petition platform.

Nick Allardice

Written by

Passionate about people driven change. VP Product & Design @ Change.org. Community. Friends. Running. Board games. Reading. Outdoors.

Making Change.org

The official Change.org Product Development blog, writing about product, design, and engineering at the world's largest petition platform.

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