Just a few months ago at Lob, we were a 25% gender-diverse engineering team. One departure and three hires later, we've dropped below that and are starting to look like many other startups in the Bay Area: An eight-person engineering team comprised of all young males.
This happened, despite the fact that both myself and Meghan, Lob’s Head of Talent Acquisition, spoke about making diversity a top priority on her very first day.
Diversity doesn't just bring different backgrounds to a company. As a knowledge company, diversity also introduces different perspectives of thought and approach. If a group of people all grew up similarly, with the same values and same upbringing, that group will risk approaching problems with a limited mindset. While it helps with consistency, it's also a trap: Our customers are diverse and need solutions for unique problems. This is especially the case as we grow our business.
My personal experiences reinforce the belief that diversity is a win-win for everybody. I was raised in an immigrant household set in an incredibly diverse suburb of Chicago, which led to me growing up celebrating other cultures and value systems. When it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity, I've enjoyed working with people from all different backgrounds and seen how a different perspective can help when you're confronted with a tough problem.
Having talked to other leaders in Silicon Valley, hiring for diversity while fighting a war for talent can be challenging. But it's not impossible.
Our goal is to get back to at least 25% gender diversity and 25% ethnic diversity on the team. The ultimate goal is for our team’s diversity to reflect that of the Bay Area - and then the US, and the world. But we will start with this small goal.