Conference room discussion

The business world is a white male-dominated world. The tech world is a white male-dominated world. Pretty much every lucrative industry is a white male-dominated world. It’s changing at a snail pace gradually, but it is changing. My new company, which isn’t that new to me anymore since I recently passed my 90-day mark, is far more diverse than my last one. When I was in the San Francisco headquarters back in May for two weeks, I was happily surprised to see that we had black and Latino people across teams, that Asians (south and east) were represented across the organization, and that we had females at our leadership level. Much progress still has to happen, though, but I’m pretty confident that our HR team is doing what it can to increase diversity and inclusion as much as possible given the many channels in which we are constantly discussing this (even I’ve been an active participant).

But our New York remote office still has a ways to go, as well, and probably a longer way to go than our SF office. Since I’ve arrived, two of our (white) female sales people have left. Our office manager is (predictably) female, but she’s black. Other than her, we have four females in our office as of now, and of those four, I’m the only person of color. Of the rest of our small office of about 26, it’s a sea of white males… one Indian-Jordanian, one East Asian male, and one black, gay male. I add to the diversity of this office. And I’m very cognizant of that.

But I’m confident also when I say that I think people here are aware of the bubble we are in within the walls of our seventh floor office in Flatiron. Today, I was invited to participate in the enterprise sales east team quarterly business review, and as someone who is part of the enterprise team but not the sales side, somehow, I found everyone actively seeking my opinions on everything, even things I didn’t even have an active opinion about. People across the conference room were soliciting my advice or point of view on this and that, and as they asked, it was clear that every single one of them was eager to hear what I had to say, and they were actively listening and digesting what I was saying. It felt so odd, but in a good way, that all these white men wanted to hear what little ol’ Yvonne had to say. This is probably a result of being at a company previously for too long where my opinion was rarely valued and where I felt like people spent more time waiting for their turn to speak rather than listening to what was currently being said.

It feels really good to feel valued, like people are truly listening to you and care about what you say. It seems like such a simple thing, but sometimes it’s the simplest things we need to feel good about ourselves in life.

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