Acorns Product Director on Workplace Equality
From the early days of Twitter going public to revolutionizing wealth management, Paige Conrad has experience working at innovative product companies dedicated to making a difference. Access to equal opportunities within the product world can be challenging for women and minorities. Paige shares her experiences with promoting diversity and inclusion in varying organizations - from building community at Twitter to going straight to the top at Acorns.
Diversity & Inclusion In The Workplace
Throughout my career, I’ve been very passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Most importantly, I have been very fortunate to work at organizations who make it a priority. Depending on your company, there are different ways of promoting and managing workplace best practices. At Twitter, they had a department focused entirely on diversity and inclusion. I’ll talk about how we worked with this team to open new opportunities for women at the company.
First, we created a “women in product community.” This provided an open space for community among female employees at Twitter. We talked through the ways in which we could get more women involved in the decision-making process across the workplace. As a result, we built a collaborative relationship with the diversity and inclusion department. From there, our recommendations went straight to the executive team for immediate action.
In addition, we built our own version of “the Rooney Rule” at Twitter. This refers to an NFL policy that requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for open head coaching positions. At Twitter, we set out to break through the common excuse about not being able to hire “non-white / male” candidates. In other words, we don’t want to hear “there aren’t enough blank product managers out there.”
As a result, we hosted a women-only happy hour and attracted over 300 product manager leads for Twitter. This event serves a great example of proving that female product managers aren’t “unicorns.” Ultimately, it’s all about providing an open door for diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Since joining Acorns, the process for affecting change has been much less formal – but in a good way! Instead of bringing concerns to a department, I can go straight to the CEO. For example, I requested updates to our maternity policy – and the change was made on the spot.
As you can imagine, it’s easier to share these recommendations in smaller companies that are scrappier and faster-paced. That said, the way you can affect change in the workplace in any company starts with building trust with like-minded people. Ultimately, if you’re bringing solutions to the table instead of problems, you’ll always have a voice.