Member Profile: Gillian Bergeron
People from across the Bay Area have joined TechEquity as members. We know that we’re growing a great membership base full of smart, passionate, engaged citizens and we thought we you might like to see who some of these folks are.
Meet Gillian, Director of Field Operations at Nextdoor.com:
Gillian is from South Carolina, where she began her career as a community organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. While running the west during the 2012 reelection, she fell in love with the Bay Area (hard) and moved here in 2013 with her partner, Greg.
For the last four years, Gillian has served as the Director of Field Operations at Nextdoor.com, the social network for neighborhoods. Her team of local staff use many of the same tactics used in community and political organizing to help grow Nextdoor in new countries all over the world.
What is your professional passion these days?
Building community at the local level.
With so much divisiveness in the national dialogue, it’s refreshing to see literally thousands of examples of neighbors using Nextdoor to do really remarkable things for one another and for their communities.
We have a long way to go — and yes, sometimes I feel a bit like a (HBO) Silicon Valley meme saying this — but I honestly believe it’s making these neighborhoods better, stronger, and much more aware of the power that lies within their own communities.
What inspired you to get politically/civically active?
The Obama campaign. I was informed and pissed off in college, but I didn’t actually do anything about it.
When Obama announced he was running, I was energized. When the Obama campaign taught me how to organize, I was empowered. And when people wrote off community organizing as a passing political trend, I was emboldened to find a way to bring it into this space to make a positive impact in a different kind of way.
Why is it important for the tech community to become more civically engaged?
Personally, I believe people who work in tech have two choices: be part of the problem or be part of the solution.
I don’t think that’s hyperbole. I’m white, work at a start-up, and live in a neighborhood that was once over 60% Latinx with a now dwindling minority population, in a city that evicts over 2k households a year. If I don’t recognize this and take action, how am I not part of the problem?
Many in the tech community have the time, energy, brain power, and/or money to make an impact, if we choose to get involved. We’re surrounded by communities that don’t get a choice. They have to try to thrive within a system that is actively working against them, while their hometown becomes the priciest place to live in America.
We know all of this. We see these facts come to life every day on our ride to work or walk to lunch. It’s lost on me how someone can know all of this and not give a shit.
We are organizing the tech community to advocate for a tech-driven economy in the Bay Area that works for everyone. We believe the tech industry can and should generate widespread opportunity instead of inequality and displacement.