Women’s History Month: how we’re supporting women, today and into the future

Unfortunately, the tech industry isn’t renowned for gender parity. In 2020, women still only accounted for about 25% of computing-related jobs and 14% of software engineers. Those numbers are, frankly, disheartening. There’s no way around it: we have to do more. Fastly is part of the tech industry, and we know we have a role to play in progressing our teams and our communities forward. 

Fastly believes in fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and joyful place to work for all people, of all genders, and in making real steps toward change to get there. While Women’s History Month is the perfect time to elevate Fastly’s women and dedicate programming to uplift and educate our employees — we know, crucially, that work doesn’t begin and end in March. So before we share some of the ways we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, we wanted to walk through a few ways we’re thinking through our internal processes as we work toward our Inclusion and Diversity commitments: with recruiting as one key area of focus this year.

“I was coming to Fastly after a year as a stay-at-home mom. I was terrified since my kids were one and two at the time. Joshua was one of my interviewers, and he really emphasized family and work-life balance. I loved that — and it has been pretty true in my case.”
- Adela Montemurro, Sr FP&A Analyst 

What we’re focused on

To improve our hiring processes, the recruiting team has been looking toward our internal experts and third-party partners: we’re reviewing our practices from an inclusion and diversity lens by partnering closely with our I&D team, and we’ve also enlisted a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting agency to identify specific actions we can take to progress our work forward. 

Where we source candidates in the first place is hugely important. Women tend to screen themselves out for roles that they’re not 100% confident that they’re qualified for, which means they apply for 20% fewer jobs than men. To help address this, we encourage the use of third-party software that checks for biased and exclusionary language in job descriptions. And we’re revisiting our "what we're looking for" section of job postings to distinguish between what’s essential for the role and the “nice to haves,” to better clarify expectations and hopefully encourage more folks to apply.

Finding a diverse pool of candidates outside of those who may already know us or have found us is also incredibly important. Addressing these kinds of issues can make a huge difference, but they also take time and care to make happen. To make sure we have the bandwidth and ability to properly uphold this commitment, we’ve ramped up staffing on our recruiting team, and have engaged outside firms to help us source a large variety of candidates. 

Lastly, investing in third-party tools is a big part of our work this year, like platforms that will help us track outreach and conversion rates of our candidate pool. This aids us in not only evaluating a diverse pipeline of candidates, but also understanding how and when people may fall off our recruiting funnel. And that, in turn, will enable us to follow trends and adjust our process accordingly to drive inclusivity.

“I am honored to work for a company that truly embraces women in leadership and empowers me to make a meaningful impact." 
- Doniel Sutton, CPO 

Celebrating women at Fastly

Reflecting on areas like recruiting is just one part of the work. Taking time for broader internal education, awareness, and joy is also hugely important, and it’s one reason we celebrated Women’s History Month as a company. Alongside our Women and Gender Equality Employee Resource Group, our Inclusion and Diversity team organized several programs in March aimed at uplifting womens’ experiences in the workplace, providing practical advice, and helping others better understand what being a woman at work means. 

First, we held a fireside chat spotlighting four Fastly leaders — Kim Ogletree, SVP of Client Services, Lisa Phillips, VP of Data Governance, Laura Thomson, VP of Platform Engineering, and Amy Hammond, VP of Workplaces — who shared advice on balancing life and leadership. We also brought in the fantastic Dr. Suzanne Wertheim for a workshop titled “Unconscious Demotions and Impostor Syndrome are Holding Women Back.” And we celebrated women at work with our Learning and Development Manager Sheena-Maria Simpson, who explored how to shed ideas, thoughts, and beliefs that are no longer useful, and instead embrace one’s authenticity. 

Ultimately, we know that this kind of work is ongoing. We can’t progress an entire industry in one month, or just focus on recruiting processes and expect everything to evolve overnight. We deeply believe everyone’s involvement matters to make change. And we’re proud that so many Fastlyans take that seriously, and show up in incredible ways to progress this work and exemplify our values, every single day. As Estella Madison, Sr. Engineering Manager, explained, “My favorite thing about Fastly is working on our Inclusion & Diversity Council. It’s what inspired me to start Fastly’s first Latinx Employee Resource Group. On my team, I strive for inclusion by ensuring our interviews are objective and our panels represent diverse backgrounds. I do my best to create and sustain a culture of belonging.”

Doniel Sutton shared her thoughts as well, reflecting on her position and her hopes for Fastly as a whole. “The role I serve as a Chief People Officer with Fastly includes an incredible amount of privilege as well as responsibility: to teach, to serve, to uplift, to uphold and to embody all the attributes of what's possible when we dare to be bold — and to help create the blueprint for how we change organizations to become a great place for all, especially women and people of color.” Across our organization, we see Fastlyans curious to learn, showing up for employee resource groups and books clubs, and working for the greater good to benefit each other, our customers, and the tech community as a whole. We’re not perfect, and we have a long way to go as a company and an industry. But we’re unrelenting in our commitment to the work, and heartened by the possibilities we can unlock together.

“I've typically been one of very few women in cybersecurity in the past.  It's really cool to work for a company with so many amazing women.”
- Lora Vaughn, Sr. Director Security 

Looking toward the future

This month and every month, we celebrate the women of Fastly, and accept our responsibility to do more and keep improving. While the work ahead is complex, we are taking actions to improve across teams, and are investing and prioritizing in this work. Representation matters, and we’re proud to have women across functions, in leadership positions, from locations all around the world helping to drive our company forward — this month and always.

Sam Perlman
Sr. Manager, Tech Recruiting

5 min read

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Sam Perlman
Sr. Manager, Tech Recruiting

Sam runs technical recruiting at Fastly. She’s passionate about candidate experience, I&D, and overall process efficiency. She’s been similarly focused on building and managing technical recruiting teams throughout her career at companies like Airbnb and Venmo. And in true San Francisco fashion, she’s a former startup CEO, rock climbs, snowboards, takes her dog, Leni, to Fort Funston, and owns a guitar she doesn’t know how to play.

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