A Letter to Women Who Code

Posted by The Leadpages Team  |  Oct 19, 2015
Og Brand

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to introduce this guest post by the Leadpages Diversity and Inclusion Group. Here's an inside look at efforts to build a diverse company culture at Leadpages and a message to women who code. * * * Dear Women Who Code, Whoa, your code? That’s awesome. Nice work for sticking with it, for believing in your ability, and for getting this far. I hope that your path through the tech industry has been smooth and full of delight in learning new technologies. I hope that it has been full of teams that function well and leadership that celebrates differences. If it has then read no further, and please come to join our Engineering team at LeadPages! We will continue to delight your mind by having you solve the world’s lead-generation conundrums with frameworks and technologies that are on the edge of what is known to be possible. [cta-box] But if your path has been less smooth, if you started coding as your second or third career, if you intentionally do not put photos of your kids on your desk or mention them in interviews, if you are often mistaken for a graphic designer, if you keep trying to advance your career with little success, if every few months you have a day or a week where you consider switching careers or ceasing to write code . . . then you especially should drop whatever line of code you were just writing and come start building awesome things with our Engineering team at LeadPages. We at LeadPages need you, we want you, and most importantly, we will value you. Our industry isn’t saying it, so here at LeadPages I’m going to say it. With 41% of women leaving coding positions after 5 years and with an estimated 700,000 open seats for developers by 2020, we need you. With successful venture-capital backed businesses having, on average, two times more women in the highest ranks than their unsuccessful peers, we want you. With teams of people with diverse training and experience typically performing better than more homogenous teams, we value you. The statistics prove that hiring women will do more for LeadPages than simply fill the open positions on our teams. Now, I can’t promise that you’ll never encounter another microaggression or sign of bias again once you’re safely within our four walls—though I wish I could. I wish I could invite you into a dream world of rainbows and talking unicorns that tell you you’re awesome every day (if that’s what you’re into). But that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is, we are still building on LeadPages’ great culture to create an amazing culture. We are working diligently to create a place that obtains and retains a diverse team, and we’re aiming for real and lasting change. Here’s what we’ve done and what we’re actively doing: 1. We’ve built a fiercely compassionate leadership team that will listen to you. They will celebrate your ideas and they will hear your criticism. They will bolster you and they will put you in positions where your voice can be heard and where you can lead others. 2. We have advocates in high places. Our VP of Engineering, Senior Manager of Engineering and Head Engineer are all actively involved in making sure we retain a positive environment in which women engineers thrive. LeadPages’ co-founder and CSO, Tracy Simmons, understands the challenges that women face in the tech industry and continually goes above and beyond to ensure that our environment is inclusive of women engineers. 3. We are including women in as many interviews as possible so that everyone we’re interested in hiring sees women as leaders and as equals at LeadPages from the very beginning of their relationship with us. 4. We are developing standardized processes for interviewing and onboarding in order to protect marginalized groups and maintain our high levels of productivity. 5. We have resources in place for new mothers and fathers. This includes flexible working hours, a private room for pumping and storing milk, two work-from-home days per week, and unlimited paid time off. 6. Via a partnership with Penumbra Theater, we have started a series of company-wide, mandatory diversity training to increase awareness of microaggressions and biases not only around gender but also around race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of origin and religion. 7. We promote volunteer opportunities that aim to increase women’s presence in technology, and we recently hosted Minneapolis’ first-ever all-women hackathon, Hack the Gap. 8. We’re continually talking about gender in the tech industry and implementing actionable items. In other words, this list isn’t going to stop at number 8. Creating lasting changes in the culture takes time, and, to be real with you, it might not always be easy. You’ll still be one of the few. You still may have days when someone shoots down your idea a little too quickly, talks over you, or forgets that you’re a full-stack developer. You’ll still have days when you majorly undermine your own self-confidence. This means you’re still going to have to be a fierce pioneer and tough cookie. But the difference is that at LeadPages you can talk to your coworkers, supervisors, and leaders to create awareness and change these industry-wide patterns. Because of this openness, you’re not going to have to be tough forever. We are doing the hard work and are having the difficult conversations. Because we need you, we want you, and we value you, we will do our darnedest to make LeadPages the best place you’ve ever worked. So before you consider any other option, check out our open positions. Come to be a part of changing our culture and, in turn, help change the culture of our industry. [cta-box]

Are you a woman who codes? What opportunities or barriers have you noticed while navigating the tech world? Tell us in the comments.