Erica is an engineering manager for the integrations and data analytics teams at SalesLoft –
where she’s helping grow the product engineering team for the 4th fastest growing software
company in North America and #1 best place to work in Atlanta. During her 18 year career in
tech, she’s worked with large companies, including Boeing, FOX Interactive Media and Turner
Broadcasting, as well as early-stage startups–of which 2 were acquired, by MySpace and
Erica works passionately towards diversity and inclusion in tech, via education and exposure to
opportunities. In 2013, she started the Atlanta network of Women Who Code, where she
organizes conferences, hackathons, developer workshops, monthly tech talks and networking
events for women technologists. In addition, Erica collaborates with companies to help improve
strategies around diversity and inclusion. She also helps develop and teach youth coding
programs, speaks at tech events and mentors entrepreneurs for various incubators and
On today’s episode we discuss improving diversity and inclusion at companies and how important it is in building high performing teams. We also discuss Women Who Code, The WeRise Conference and 100 Girls of Code.At some point you have to be fearless, you just have to go out and take that chance.. - Erica StanleyClick To Tweet
[0:02] Good afternoon Erica welcome to the show.
[0:04] Thank you thank you for having me.
[0:05] Absolutely and you actually visiting at the studio today as I like to call it a but you weren’t actually in San Francisco you actually visiting right.
[0:13] Yeah I’m actually coming from Atlanta Atlanta’s home for me I’m actually here for women who codes conference and so I will be speaking tomorrow so try to come by in a few things while I’m in San Francisco.
[0:25] Excellent but I normally like to do a plug for that but since I probably won’t produce this episode until after the conference right hopefully if you’re if you’re already going hope you and you definitely do it that and they’ll probably be at attention something online that you can.
[0:37] Oh yeah I think they are recording the few of the sessions yet.
[0:40] Perfect I’ll put that in the show notes as well in case they do posters recordings online and then you can do Erica’s topic tomorrow you speak about okay.
[0:48] So it’s just a fireside chat with Sarah Haider from Twitter so she’s the director of product management there and also she started their women Engineering Group women’s so we can talk a little bit about that whole process.
[1:01] Cool well like I asked kind of all my gas just to kind of get some background when you tell me you little bit of your story are in America how how you got to be where you are today.
[1:11] Yeah so I came through much of a traditional route I’d say I’m a nerd from way back,
so I knew I wanted to go into something Tech I actually went to a fine arts high school but it was always interested in the Sciences in the mass and so it’s kind of this Crossroads like when I was graduating and my dad said he kind of gave me the be practical speech.
I’m cuz he had a lot of very artistic people in our family was like well you can see the sometimes that can be tough if you’re trying to make a living from some of those things and I was like I’ll show you that I’ll do both,
until I was kind of marrying this love of art that I had with this love of Technology.
That led me into computer science but kind of really focusing on a computer Graphics from more of a 3D kind of physical kind of aspect,
so I went to Clark Atlanta which is HBCU in Atlanta and I worked with the virtual reality team and worked with a few teams at Georgia Tech while I was there and did a lot of research.
Did research Caltech kind of really focusing on computer graphics and then went into that my bachelor’s and master’s from Clark Atlanta and then went to University of North Carolina for a peach T-Rex Focus even more.
Yes yes and loved every minute of it super intense also at the same time my friends are like making money and like I’m living like a big rat.
[2:36] A student.
[2:37] Right and then all my family and friends are back in Atlanta and so I kind of took a break but ended up being like I don’t go back.
[2:45] A permanent break.
[2:46] Apartment break for my PhD.
At work to some amazing companies along the way got the startup bug work at a company called spring widgets that eventually got acquired by Myspace back when Myspace.
What’s the thing I’m so did that enough kind of my first foray into start space.
Then work later at a company called Victory that got acquired by Oracle and so really loving kind of like the start of community in Atlanta how vibrant it is House part of it is.
And now working currently at sells Loft which is also start up in Atlanta but we are a little bit more stablished than some of the other startups that I entered into we just received our series C funding,
I’m 450 million so it’s a little bit more established then and I.
[3:33] You so much I’m so it’s going to be more established and when I joined spring widgets or when I joined the pictures so kind of mid-level I say.
[3:40] And what’s your role there.
[3:42] I’m an engineering manager I work with the Integrations and data analytics teams.
[3:46] Okay and how long have you been in that manager role at your company.
[3:51] Yes it’s really interesting cuz hiring external managers can be kind of tough and so I came in as a manager at sells Loft and partly because I have been doing this kind of hybrid bike software engineering and managing.
Rolls and I felt that because I was really doing two or three different jobs at one time I wasn’t doing any of them particularly well and so excited like.
Either you’re going to continue being a software engineer which is great.
Or you going to kind of move down this leadership have and I thought to like really give it a try I have to go like full-time into that meant so that was that opportunity that sells Loft and I actually.
Move to self lock because of a previous manager at Via true Ryan color who is our VP of engineering at sells Loft and he was amazing and he said that this is the best place to get ever worked.
And we are both work the picture you in these really a made with this really amazing culture and so I was like well coming from you.
[4:48] The Hilton wait.
[4:50] Yeah and I get to work with him again he’s an amazingly or like what if I’m going to learn how to manage people this is a great place to do it.
[4:58] And see what you’ve been told he said you’re a half about it and when you stepped into that role and you’re you’re doing is split before now it’s manager right decision how do you how do you think so far looking retrospective.
[5:12] You still always kind of Miss like the day today coding right like you will probably always miss that.
But I love the people side of this I love growing people is a lot of what I do even outside of work so something that we haven’t mentioned is that I started the Atlanta network of women who code and,
so kind of taking that same mentorship and grown people aspect and bring it into my day job has been amazing and so I would not trade that aspect of it for anything.
[5:43] No exit what if you know a year-and-a-half now if you can go back to yourself with what with tip should you give to yourself now that I wish I knew now what I knew then.
[5:53] Yeah so I thought that leaving meant that you had to do all the things,
and so you know something will come to me and I say okay I’m on it and then something else will come to me now I’m on that too and so it got to the point where I was really just a bottleneck,
for like 5 different things and it’s like okay you have to learn first of all what to say yes to kind of prioritize,
where you going to spend your time and then get that opportunity somebody else you don’t need especially like if it’s something that you know can help another engineer another person on your team kind of grow into something that they’re looking to.
To kind of get some exposure to get them that opportunity and help and be the support for it but you don’t have to be the person that moves it to the finish line.
[6:37] No absolutely any cringe-worthy sort of moments over the last four he’s into management.
[6:44] Cringe-worthy I mean I guess it was it was a little rough.
Initially just because you’re coming in externally and you’re,
things move so quickly it’s a start up so things move so quickly in China kind of thing on top of things especially while you’re still saying yes to all the things so I mean there were definitely some like I really should have brought more people,
into this and kind of knowing that after the fact and then working on such a supportive team and not bringing them in.
You are not using your best.
[7:21] I think that’s a very good point right you almost want to shelter them but they don’t need to be sheltered.
[7:26] Right right like that’s actually not helping them.
It’s so funny that you mention that so we had this exercise recently we have a leadership company has been coming and working with all the managers at self off and.
We recently did something where we were doing a feedback me cuz I have to speed back so I go where everyone gave them called them gifts because people are afraid of feedback so we called.
[7:48] Okay okay.
[7:49] Are you giving someone a gift are you helping them grow and so there was the UK.
People’s a bit of positive feedback in the you follow up with a piece of constructive feedback it so we have done that with the management and leadership team but we had not done that with like the product teams,
I sold the property and kind of separated in and got into their their groups and it was like you are not helping that person if you are not giving them.
Strong direct feedback and it’s kind of the same way when you’re trying to take on everything yourself you’re not helping that person by taking on everything that they could be using to grow themselves as well.
[8:24] No absolutely so I mean thank you for the great background and then they can some good history and some colored history we have so that’s awesome I do that too,
we’re all we all comfort of backgrounds we all got to where we are and injuring leadership by different paths and I think it’s especially some people are going well I don’t fit that mold.
Right I want to make you right give people understand that hey there is no mold.
[8:47] Absolute I thought I was going to be a software engineer all my life so this is this interesting.
[8:52] Right right that’s awesome you know I want to spend the rest of the show focusing a bit on a topic that you’re very passionate about writing about creating and cultivating inclusive cultures and how that really can help to build his high-performance team.
As you mentioned that you have your day job but on top of your day job you’re the network director for women who code Atlanta you’re involved with the We rise We rise conference right.
[9:15] Yeah that’s tough to say we should have thought of that when we pick the name.
[9:18] Say quickly three times and then Hunter girls of code as well right so absolutely keeping you busy right but I signed that if you’re doing things you’re passionate about it doesn’t feel like work.
[9:29] Yeah it’s funny that you say that so when I started with women who code I thought this was going to be something that I started up cuz I thought the conversation was important and I wanted Atlanta to be a part of that conversation and so I didn’t want it to not happen because I wouldn’t step up.
But I did not plan to be doing this as long as I’ve been doing this I plan to just keep it alive like just not mess it up,
so that I could hand it to someone who can kind of take it over from there and at this point I’ve been doing it for 5 years and just have loved every minute of it.
[10:01] Yeah and you know for someone to ask you to is for you as a person what what what what does inclusive mean to your hair what does that really mean to start off with and what’s your definition.
[10:12] Yeah so I think it means that everyone has room at the table and everybody is invited and welcome to participate.
And what’s really interesting about if you are successful in creating that kind of environment.
Kind of Grease is really amazing foundation for bringing in people from all different kinds of backgrounds right.
So ask someone who kind of lives at this intersection of kind of race and gender,
there is nothing worse than being kind of brought them to a team and their there’s no support there’s no support for you,
and so like if you can create the team,
that I’m has a psychological safety to take risk what you need for an Innovative High performing teams if you can create that culture what you’ve also created is a culture that supports diversity and inclusion.
[11:03] It’s not related to just gender or skin color item that could be introverted extroverted you know female know anything like.
[11:10] Absolutely so on one of the teams I have super collaborative team,
but there’s some quiet people on that team and I tend to be somewhat introverted myself and so just.
[11:21] Can tell.
[11:22] With all my hand gestures and so bringing people who are not participating in the conversation but you know that you value that feet,
that they’re going to give you know you value that,
domain knowledge that they might have so bring them into the conversation understanding that just because this one person is speaking doesn’t mean that that’s the only idea that you should taken into the room.
[11:43] Sure absolutely and you know you mentioned a couple things psychological safety what what are some of the other core tenants you feel are the most important aspects of an exclusive culture in fostering A diversity.
[11:56] Absolutely so it’s kind of interesting our leadership is super intentional about our culture and so they started with this the five dysfunctions of a team so that’s that’s a big book.
Fire company, so they kind of switched around him and turned it into five functions of a high-performing team so like starting with trust for instance one of the five dysfunctions is lack of trust and so you need that.
At any point to move on to any of the other.
Of both kind of a high-performing team until the next level is kind of healthy complex so making sure that you’re not avoiding conflict you’re not avoiding actually.
Having an idea that separate from the other person’s idea because maybe you’re you’re afraid they’re super senior or something like that and creating an environment where not only.
Person feel comfortable but it’s also encouraged for you to have different ideas and for you to get them out there on the table and then kind of moving to Commitment moving to accountability moving to results it’s kind of how we have built up our culture.
And so because of that because we are intentional about those kind of things we can.
Very the very beginning from the hiring process kind of take that into consideration throughout.
All of our metrics for a team we can manage that and and the find that because we started with something that was concrete.
[13:18] The concept of diversity always comes hand-in-hand teams with inclusion as well like the United States as you can.
You can credit incredibly diverse Pipeline and you’ll have zero retention in 3 months if you don’t have an inclusive side but if you’re if you’re trying if you’re starting,
and you want to increase some of the diversity of all aspects in an organization what are some of the ways that you can encourage If your manager for,
leader in a company you know how can you help support you know improving the diversity in an in your company.
[13:49] Right and I like to touch on something that you said let diversity inclusion always go ahead and head I think if you’re doing it well it does I think in a lot of cases companies have gotten into a numbers game with the varsity,
and so the fact that we are preparing them together I think is a great start right because that support is necessary and that’s really where inclusion comes in is.
Are you supporting these people that you hired from all of these different backgrounds,
what they need to grow to their next level and so some ways that you can do that are first of all finding people where they are if you keep going to the same pools of people you’re going to keep bringing in the same,
people and sell something that we have been doing is kind of reaching out to people from non-traditional Tech backgrounds a lot of reaching out to boot camps reaching out to people who are kind of switching careers,
I’m and we have four,
for us we have a support engineer is our Junior development roll and so kind of bringing people through support engineering and kind of helping them move into either UI engineering or software engineering,
at this something that’s really useful I’m also even at the the university level Atlanta has amazing hbcus so I went to Clark there’s more house this spell.
And then spell Miss amazing because now you have this this wealth of of African American women,
but you can also look too so we’ve been kind of branching out from there a lot of people that sells lost that are Georgia Tech grass or that are UGA grass but branching out beyond that that normal pool I think is super important and then once you have this the verse.
how do you support them to grow to where they’re going and that’s you have to listen you have to have those 101 do you have to have those Avenues where they can talk about what their next steps are.
[15:36] Employee resource groups things at that internal the company’s yeah and do you have any those of your company as well.
[15:45] We actually do so even before I got there,
I still thought was very kind of socially conscious which are the reason that I have to work there so aren’t you a engineering manager Karina Gary started a diversity inclusion,
Gene and so we have all kinds of meetups we have all kinds of events kind of directed around how do we bring more people into Tech.
And how can cells I’ll be apart of that.
[16:12] Sure sure notes one of the things have you heard of the in NFL to start the Rooney Rule.
Yeah it’s based upon when they trying to increase diversity in the early 2000s for looking at.
Making sure you look at at least consider people of color or underrepresented groups in leadership positions in the NFL,
right and I think and then there’s a new one that call the Mansfield Rule now I think it’s in the legal person in the legal profession where they’re trying to set some targets of having you at least in the would it would consider leadership roles,
at least considering at least 30% of your applicants to come from underrepresented groups,
right in that particular field right type thing but you know how do you feel about that or trying to at least.
Have some targets for bringing at least those people to the table wasn’t your higher than something else.
[17:09] Exactly like making sure that pool is at least the verse I think you should always no matter what you do how you’re the best candidate there’s nothing worse than feeling like you are the diversity hire.
So you should always make sure that the coolest diverse and you choose the best.
[17:25] Yep I know there was a great post today I think it’s pronounced um Petri on right and.
Really awesome post published today it’s it’s it’s really about a publicly released their D9 issues and their statistics answer of everything else in our goals I think is really important to so it’s definitely worth reading their their website is.
Patreon hq.com and not only from that I read that article and was very timely for this conversation but then they have it just a huge list of links and ideas from there so I strongly recommend any blisters on the show today to go and check out,
how that particular blog post but for you.
Your help or do you think it is for companies to publish whether internally or externally kind of their current you know diversity numbers.
[18:12] I think it’s super important and helpful is kind of like making your software open source right,
everyone can learn from it you can learn from it you can put that information out into the community and the community can come in and help you.
But you can also help the community in their diversity and inclusion initiatives I’m going to hold you accountable to something more than just your leadership team and it really makes them what you’re trying to do Barry plane to the community.
[18:41] Is it is a if you were to give your advice to someone who’s.
The number of an underrepresented group and they’re interviewing right now they’re looking for new jobs what are the important things that you would tell them to look for in a company.
Whether it’s making they can look out their own research or explicitly to ask maybe during the interview process too kind of sucks out a little bit about their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
[19:05] First I would highlight what you just said like you are interviewing them the same way they’re interviewing you so don’t be afraid first of all to ask those questions because to find that out 6 months later is it is probably not going to be comfortable for you or them.
So I’m definitely ask the tough questions and I would ask questions around support I will ask questions around how you grow your team internally are there many,
say Engineers moving into management are there many Engineers that move into architecture or are you hiring out a lot of your your leadership.
I’m so that’s something that’s real.
[19:37] Promoting from within versus.
[19:39] What are some of the ways that you meant or your team what are some of the ways that you invest in their their growth is Engineers so I would ask all those questions and make sure that you’re getting the answers that you want to hear from those questions.
[19:53] I think one of the things that certainly we we see and we were talking about just before this show is as you go higher up in the leadership chain The Surge the first two numbers across all branches just decrease,
right now what would you recommend today to say that specifically women about.
To start preparing or things to do to help get into leadership roles in engineering today.
[20:18] Yeah so something that is one of our core values actually is by store that.
And so I would say create that opportunity Wherever You Are,
create that opportunity leads you don’t have to have manager in your title to start leading to start fixing something that’s why we start doing that wherever you are.
And that gives you something to actually show,
that you have leadership interest and that you have some experience in that area and then kind of move from there also something that was actually brought up at the Leadership Summit for women who code is that a lot of people have been doing this work outside.
Of their day job for quite a while so bring that in as well you have experience building teams you have,
experience building communities and and growing people in Mentor in people so bring that into to your resume and bring that into your your big job search.
[21:10] I think 1.1 added in this just is about kind of getting into leadership roles in general is looking for companies that are growing rapidly to write because if you go to come to the growing this opportunity for anyone to move in trolls.
Chaos is good sometimes. Is that a turmoil for stepping in and stepping up for it.
Again because probably statistically more managers are going to be,
probably mail this case how would you what kind of guidance and advice would you give to a male managers right now to help support getting more women women of color underrepresented groups into leadership roles in organizations.
[21:49] Yeah I would say be that Allied be that sponsor if you see you know a woman in the company that is just kicking ass like tell her first of all so she knows that she’s doing a great job.
You right but then find ways to promote her find ways to get her into those high-profile type products especially if it’s something she’s passionate about and be the person that says you know.
And you get this amazing thing and I want to kind of share that with the company be that person.
[22:20] Yep I think that’s important to his one of the things I try to do when I when I’m looking to promote anyone really in different roles and in My Relations is to get a two-point when weather.
The announcement is made that it’s just a absolutely right of course she or he is in that role it makes perfect sense to give her their name before they worked on a project right there is that balance who why didn’t roll.
Of course Allison sugar the rule everyone agrees is not at that right she’s been potentially you kind of want them to be doing some the role before they step.
[22:54] It was interesting as you’re not just kind of convincing the audience right you’re committing that person who probably is suffering from their own version of imposter syndrome that they can do this if you give them steps instead of just throwing them out there.
[23:06] That’s right we all go through imposter syndrome.
[23:09] Right exactly their own version of it right.
[23:11] Because we’re all starting going what now.
[23:14] Right right.
[23:15] What I do now what is things I was reading your bio and you initially talk about you felt the set of lack of confidence for public speaking.
And now you’re giving talks all the time whether it’s on Tech or leadership or management rights has assertive gaining confidence to the speaker help you with your career you think.
[23:35] I think so I think it’s meant that I speak up more in a meeting for instance I think that the fact that people invited me to a conference means that they care about something I have to say right so.
[23:48] I didn’t say it they would have heard about we had to say and you wouldn’t be invited.
[23:50] Exactly and I just love sharing ideas like that’s the reason I love speaking so much is like sharing the those ideas and kind of getting that feedback from the audience is amazing,
I’m the second part of that is the more I did that and I saw that women in the audience what kind of gravitate towards me afterwards.
And they would say you’ll have as far as it was and seeing you doing this means that I can do this I’m so kind of being that example and at first I was kind of Faking it until I made it because I wasn’t super comfortable speaking publicly but,
I’m now it’s something that I love I kind of like look forward to that after.
Session moment where the audience kind of ask you questions I know that’s a lot of speakers are dreading that moment someone’s going to ask me something I don’t I don’t know or something but I love that because that’s the engagement that you get from the crowd.
[24:40] That’s right now I think that it is a really good point 808 and for my listeners I mean that I’m on my pockets in 4 year and I was a little nervous before I do this I have to do a speech in London in June and I.
I’m already freaking out even if you do them you still get nervous.
[24:58] Yeah I’ve been speaking for a while and I spoke at a conference in Atlanta where it was kind of fungus on angular but also diversity and inclusion and I didn’t realize it was a one-track conference and I’m so every session is kind of like.
And so I’m getting myself together beginning I look at that the audience a lot of people so I have that Mom was like okay.
[25:22] Actually I’ve actually taped it at home a picture I was able to find a line of the venue that I was speaking at like from the stage facing the audience so when I step on to it the first time it won’t be this.
[25:36] Smart I’m going to steal that.
[25:38] Yeah and every time I come down when I’m riding in my computer at home it’s on the wall so I just look up so my brain is getting ready mentally like prepared for that.
[25:46] That would have been nice before looking out into the crowd.
[25:49] Does a good tip for some people out there know I have a lot of my people when I say.
It might even be in the company that can you give a brown bag or can you talk it at lunch or meet up in there Frozen.
Red speaker well I mean I was a terrible instrument drum player before I even practice rights I think the thought that I think people see the outcome of.
People other people’s practice and think that it’s been effortless right division steps on that stage they wrote the thing that I before then in practice and that’s obviously not true.
[26:25] It absolutely isn’t as you get more and more comfortable the more you do it I think a lot of the reason that people are so terrified public speaking is cuz I never do it.
And so like if we did more of it then I think that,
everyone policy that process and I’m trying to be like very kind of transparent with the women who code members in Atlanta like,
I grew into this honestly I was pushed into this into public speaking in some cases almost literally to actually like say something about myself or what I was doing.
And so what we try to do is actually grow the speaker audience.
Women who called Atlanta so something that’s where the conference actually came from this where we rise came from so everything that we do whether a smaller events or like some of our big event is because it.
Kind of comes from the community is either we’ve been telling them you need to go to hackathons to kind of grow yourself as an engineer you get to see how how product things work together and this really kind of intense situation so,
people were kind of intimidated about going to the first hackathon so we created.
I thought so at least the maybe the gender ratio wasn’t the thing that kept you from it.
I’m so people were thinking about speaking but they weren’t afraid to kind of submit that for cfp is like well we will bring you a conference and you will be speaking them on family right and so.
[27:46] That’s a good way to put it.
[27:48] Yeah yeah so that’s something that we try to do.
[27:51] So what other are those are all great great things what other advice you have to help.
Anyone you or even a particular women to gain more confidence to.
Weather speak to submit that cfp to order just talk up a meeting like kind of what are the things you would say to to give whether its individual contributors or or women leaders or managers today.
[28:12] I think it’s some point I mean it’s kind of easier said than done but at some point you just have to be Fearless you have to just go out and take that chance but as you’re becoming Fearless,
I would say like find your tribe find the people that support you whether that’s your local women who code women in Tech.
Meet up and where there is a group at your company find that tried to support you and help you grow and that will kind of help you on that path.
[28:36] And again is to try to take it back to the software engineering managers that are there today as a manager how would you how would you help.
One of your employees to get those experiences to gain the confidence right what things would you do to guide them to do that.
[28:53] I’ve had to put people this is something I mentioned at the conference that we are very good at putting people in uncomfortable positions so that we can help them grow.
And so that’s what I would do I mean the first one is going to be uncomfortable and you just have to support them through that I’m not going to do it for you but I will be here for you to support you through it and so just as long as they know that as long as you build that trust with them.
They will take that first step and then you can kind of like kind of let go of the the bike while they’re kind of on the training wheels yet.
[29:27] Fred so we talked a little about women code it when we go to Lana specifically can just kind of food maybe in the audience he doesn’t really know about that what’s what’s the high level of those kind of the ones that stand for.
[29:40] Yeah it so women who code globally has reached a hundred 37,000 members wear in 64 cities and in 20 countries so there are networks all of the world.
Likely find one near you women who code Atlanta started in 2013 and honestly so Elena who is CEO of women who code is originally from Atlanta.
And so she came with a friend of mine who was going to start it but then move to San Francisco and they,
came to convince me to start women who code Atlanta and convince me I wouldn’t be the worst person to do this ever and she’s been super supportive of everything that we’ve done in Atlanta and we just continue to grow like we started,
then we’re now at just under 3,000 members locally in Atlanta and we try to make sure that we are.
You’re bringing programming That Matters to the community so we listen to our community and that’s how we’ve been able to grow.
[30:40] Okay and is this is only for women like specifically or how to how to how to other people or companies that you know support this.
[30:48] Yeah absolutely so we definitely invite men to be a part of any of our meetings any of our events in fact one of our first we had a developer a beginner developer Workshop this was like in the first year.
And I we had several guys there and they’re like this is the most supportive Meetup I have ever been to I can ask any question,
it’s so that’s something that we provide whether you know anyone who comes to one of my meetups are hackathons or any events,
and so if you’re interested just contact your your local leaders and see how you can get involved whether it’s because you want to participate in them because you want to lead something if you want to sponsor if you want to partner,
there’s lots of ways to get involved.
[31:29] You make such a good point there but that’s a definition of psychological safety and inclusion you have people that are like this is so awesome.
Because if you have a workplace and your Junior developers Are Not Afraid right to ask a question just think about how much more productive they’re going to get up to speed that much faster.
[31:50] Solutely and that goes back to the high-performing team and that’s why you want that super supportive inclusive environment it’s not just the warm and fuzzies though that’s great because we do all of each other,
but it’s also so that you can grow that team as quickly as possible.
[32:05] I can just we all have the why don’t you ask Bob what was Bobby yells at him he owes me every time I ask him.
[32:12] And that’s why it’s important not to hire Bob.
[32:15] Order maybe she’ll Bob it is not the right place any.
[32:19] Play or like from the very beginning like include the culture.
Part of the process is it something that we say a cell’s life like if you’re a genius but you’re a jerk you won’t get hired here so is hard hiring is hard.
Firing or letting someone go or transitioning someone that’s even harder.
So if you cannot hire the person who is not going to grow your culture and grow your team in the first place that would be great but you have to have the find rules around your culture to be able to do that.
[32:52] And how do you someone’s always going to like but he could get so much done right I mean he or she could get so much done we need is 10 magical 10 times and you need to write wouldn’t be worth it.
[33:03] But he’s going to Stapleton other engineers.
[33:06] I think that’s that’s that mean that’s a great point right we had to even or the course of my career there’s been.
Did the Cowboys race kind of thing and even the even the gender definition of that right is that right and and.
It’s it’s not good maybe if you’re three people and you’re working $100 a week in the garage but once you want any sort of scale or gross or performance it just doesn’t work.
[33:31] Yeah and it could work like you said in that 3%.
But even then I was saved always be thinking about your team this is something I’ve learned from working at a few different startups your team is maybe the most important thing.
And so you need to be thinking about someone who can actually support the team now they may not,
become leader just because they were one of the first engineers and that’s fine but they should be able to support other engineer is coming along because you’re going to have to wear your team and so if you can be thinking about that from the beginning trying to do that.
When your 5 years old so much harder I’m 5-10 years old is so much harder than if you thought about this from the beginning you know the kind of company you want to be from the very beginning.
[34:13] Especially when unfortunately sometimes some of those people have the only one with the knowledge.
And then they hold it closer just for maybe not so altruistic reasons because it’s their job security.
And your company is almost held hostage and that’s not a good situation.
[34:28] Right no absolutely not.
[34:31] So it what other what are aspects do you feel are important the core pieces of you know not just a team but really bright a team is running on all cylinders and they’re really hyper for me.
[34:44] A team that doesn’t mind taking risk and knows that they can make some mistakes I mean they’re going to be held accountable for what they do that’s the the next up but that they can take those risk.
And the next step is a team that can hold itself accountable.
feels wear a junior engineer on that team feels that they can come to the architect on that Tina say you know I think we should do this a different way or when you did that it kind of I’m hurt the progress of the team like anyone on the team should be able to say that.
And until you have that kind of this this feedback loop.
Accountability going on in the team you’re not going to be able to grow past a certain point and so you always want to be kind of pushing the team to move further and so that is one of those things that you need and you need that commitment to results.
Along the way.
[35:31] How many write your Junior near mud come from a different company.
That maybe it’s all the problem you’re doing this so your car in architecture doesn’t know about and I think it’s stifled you just are you cost your company may be May and months in in in time doing something money opportunity cost.
[35:48] And then the next time that that Junior engineer has an idea they’re not going to pick up so it’s not just that time is going forward.
[35:55] Or they’ll leave the company and goes and you lose a potential awesome future engineer.
When it’s back in college is to a road crew and it and you what did the surface of a person cuz there’s there’s some analogies what we had.
Everyone the boat is like a different way to different High different strengths but you’ll have to end up moving within like a millisecond each other to really move and it’s it’s sort of like your team’s right you’re all different shapes and sizes and colors.
But if you all work together right you can just the performance you have is so much more you can still move but there’s a difference between like moving and winning.
[36:30] Rite Aid so you all have to be committed to that that mission that purpose for the team.
[36:35] Yep no absolutely and no what are you.
How do you help with some of those the team-bonding especially when you have teams are so diverse and it’s baby harder to find a commonality between them how do you how do you help a team to bond that are that are so different.
[36:51] So one of the teams to data analytics team is fairly new and so most of us had not work together on a team before.
So we just had team bonding exercises like we would something that we do a lot of sales loft is have the product teams go off on all sites where they can come up with the team charter literally every team has a different personality,
so I work with two different teams one is like super into like getting the process right that’s the the newer team,
and the other team is like your other team has way too many meetings so it is they all have they named themselves to come up with a charter,
they come up with the roles that each person that team is going to play.
And that helps them kind of see it is not just I’m an individual on this team I am part of this larger,
organization that is going to build some really cool products.
[37:41] I’m heading home I could have.
That’s really good for the team they’re on in building that cohesiveness but then sometimes I’ve I’ve gotten too much either in the values become different.
[37:58] Right so we have that kind of underlying value system that not just the engineering team or the product team kind of lives by but the whole company.
So we have that foundation and on top of that you have to understand that this team is going to be different than another team because they’re different people,
and you can’t try to make this team fit into whatever role this other team field,
a team has a personality right and so if you can understand that and you can kind of tap into that and you can work directly with that team.
[38:27] Sure and you mention just briefly before accountability and how important is how do you define you know holding teams accountable for making sure that things are getting delivered.
[38:40] Right so you have to break the valve be able to clearly Define what was the goal what are the goals of the team how are we going to reach them and get that commitment now if we’ve all committed to this then I can hold you accountable.
Kind of thing.
[38:55] Important point.
[38:56] Yes yes because without that then you get a lot of people who like I thought this was a dumb idea in the first place it was never going.
[39:02] Or sales promises date that no one input on I never happen said no.
[39:08] I said no one ever it’s very interesting because our sales team uses our product in house and sell.
The things that they would promise would be in line with what we were building because they’re they’re sitting next to the front of things this kind of cool but but so that accountability.
Is super important because now now that you have those goals you can maybe create metrics around them that people commit to and then the accountability is such that you can say like well we didn’t hit that metric why do you think that and that’s important so that you can.
Question yourself as a team so you can think introspectively so when you actually do have Retros you’re asking the right kinds of questions and getting the kinds of answers that help you grow beyond the issues that you suck.
[39:49] Another good point you make and I want to call it out just because.
You want me to have the retrospectives you can’t I think have that accountability without having that retrospective.
As you talk about the metrics accountability isn’t yelling at the team cuz they screwed up and I missed a deadline and then you rinse repeat.
It’s it’s really having those what didn’t work out why didn’t work out you know how can we improve this not this as a finger pointing which no one can see.
To each other but I think that’s that’s none of them were the important things to look at during this retrospective how do you how do you get this blameless retrospective.
[40:28] Yeah that’s interesting I think we have just a great group of people in that.
Doesn’t tend to happen all retro so there’s there’s something the way we just gathered some great people together but I think that there’s also again that is that.
Level of commitment.
We all committed to this we also this was great idea so we can’t say that you whoever contributed the idea or one person is the reason of this didn’t work out.
So what is it that we as a team can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again or that we can deliver on this faster better higher-quality.
[41:03] Yep exactly when I’m going to go back a little bit to to one of the other organizations that you’re part of this well okay it’s a hundred Road ZIP code,
and you know I took a statistic from there in a little Rudolph years he gets 12% of stem jobs today are held by women and then it gets reported that.
How to 74% of young girls show interest in stem only three of them 3% of them go on to pursue a degree in stem right and I have three daughters and I’ve even heard the.
Easter than anecdotal well I’m no good at math or science and for me and things like that are so what exactly is the is the charge of Honor girls.
Of code and how does it help.
[41:41] Yeah it’s really just to encourage and Inspire girls to pursue careers and Tech this is very simple and we do that with exposure and.
By letting people know that you don’t have to be a matching as you don’t science may not be for you that’s okay there’s so much so I came through.
A very traditional background lots of science and math in some cases special with my PhD that most people will never have to learn I don’t use any of.
[42:07] You might get tested on in a renter whiteboard exercise.
[42:09] You know but which is which is interesting.
Most of it I don’t use day today I’m in most Engineers don’t and so let’s not let math or science being kind of the gatekeeper for somebody getting into Tech.
It’s something that I’ve done with a few different groups so there’s a company band coders who has.
Girls coding internship and I worked on the pilot curriculum for that.
Something that we learned is that when we told girls that we were teaching them how to go there like okay,
when we told them that we can help them create apps do I get to build something I get to create something so we need to change the conversation around what tech is to something that’s more creative I think,
as people who work in Tech we understand how created this field is but from the outside looking in.
Neil Young Girl young young boy might think so all I do is sit in front of a computer all day and that is not what we do.
[43:04] Yeah I think a lot of people engineers get into it because of the ability they can be created when they do and then they can it said again that that juice of pushing a button and getting something seeing something built a friend you and it’s running and that’s so cool.
[43:16] Yeah yeah so once we tell them that you can create your own mobile app,
they were all in and so just kind of helping them through that process we did like designs press with them we kind of talking about design thinking and then we help them.
Build things and cold things that they were passionate about it so we also help them kind of Mary whatever their passion was,
and there’s Tech is everywhere doubt this is eating the world and so there’s some way to combine to some this other thing that you’re really passionate about whether it’s fashion music art,
and combining that with tech and that’s something that we show them as well.
[43:48] And I think you have it done lot of studies to that showing people that hey there someone looks like me doing that or in that leadership role.
It’s Ray really encourages them to show how I can achieve that right those role models.
[44:04] Absolutely and that’s why the the company actually reached out to us is because they wanted to show.
Women kind of leading this as a women who code where the teachers and mentors for this first pilot program it so they can see people that look like them when we show videos of women doing cool things,
I could be an animator at Pixar like I could do that so that those super import.
[44:29] Yeah showing those possibilities right and how do you get involved with that if you’re an organization in One support that.
[44:35] Yeah I would just look up your because 100 Rosa code also has networks in chapters, so look for the chapter near you and it’s growing certainly through the southeast and kind of growing nationally.
[44:48] Is it okay and are you hiring.
[44:51] We are absolutely hiring we’re actually looking to double our team.
[44:55] Give me your give me a 60-second elevator pitch why why someone out there is looking for a job especially as a manager potentially should join your company.
[45:01] So this is a great place to grow this is that’s the reason I’m there.
This is a great place to kind of learn about startups learn about I’m high-performing engineering teams in a place that will actually support your growth.
And then Atlanta is a great place to be some great Tech Community great start a community.
[45:24] And not as expensive as San Francisco.
[45:26] You can actually afford to live in Atlanta and you know it as long as you like stay on Marty you don’t have to do it traffic I can’t can’t to sell traffic of Atlanta to you but it’s a great place to live and work I love it.
[45:40] And I think I read you were voted when the best places to work in.
[45:43] Yeah we’re the best midsize company best place to work and we’re also the fourth fastest growing software company in North America so we’re we’re doing some stuff we we have a reason for that.
[45:54] And what’s the euro.
[45:55] Shell’s loft.com.
[45:56] Excellent know any other kind of comment that we didn’t talk about in the show today that you kind of want to get out there with her it’s about performance or diversity or anything out there like anything.
[46:08] I would say in the area of the varsity include.
How to start talking to those people on your team who may be from marginalized type backgrounds and seeing how you can actually support them because that will bring more people from diverse backgrounds.
Include them in that conversation.
[46:26] Have the conversations,
he’s such an important part right now what is the one thing I can ask my guess too I must have put all the things we’ve already talked about in the show notes so if it was listening to a simple leadership that I overlooked the showtimes for a show,
what any of the resources you have books Blog podcast.
Helped you for anything whether it’s coding or management or diversity anything like that to you feel.
[46:52] Yes so this podcast for sure I would have a Spam before I can windshield and also software leadership weekly is kind of a newsletter that I read a lot.
[47:03] And I had I had or in on the show.
[47:06] I listen to that one and I’m going to bring a few bucks the managers path I can know for me I think is amazing.
[47:14] It’s like the new de facto standard for issues to be given to everyone when they get a new manager job.
[47:16] Right right you should be really so I read constantly always looking to kind of Grill myself in that way.
[47:25] The excellent and what is the best way to reach you online.
[47:30] Probably Twitter I’m just Erica Stanley at Twitter.
[47:34] Eric Senator excellent thank you so much for coming all the way to Atlanta just to be in my show.
[47:40] Sure sure will say that.
[47:42] Right I appreciate you coming in was absolutely fabulous to meet you in person and I had a great conversation thank you.
[47:47] Thank you so much for having me.