Celebrating the Black Experience and Voice at PagerDuty
At PagerDuty, one of our cultural values is “Bring Your Self.” We intentionally invest in building diverse teams across our business—one day at a time. This kind of investment takes work between teams, directed diversity programs, and employee-driven communities that dedicate their time to build spaces for conversations about creating feelings of understanding and acceptance. Our Black and Latinx Employee Resource Group (ERG), Array, created experiences throughout the month of February to celebrate and amplify the voices of our Black/African-American employees and allies across our offices and social media.
Itzak Hinojosa, Phylicia Jones, Allison Bawazer-Pedro, Kieran Galvin, Adam Boone, Leena Mansour, Demitris Woodard in San Francisco on Juneteenth 2019
The mission of Array is to enable a community of continuous learning that fosters empathy and understanding of the lived Black and Latinx experience. The vision of Array is to level the playing field for Black and Latinx employees by cultivating and celebrating a diverse and inclusive global work environment at PagerDuty so that we can continue to attract talent that represents our diverse customer base.
When the Array team began planning for Black History Month, it was a chance to showcase the progress in representations of black employees over the last two years, as well as spotlight the talent and allies currently within the company. First, the team picked a theme for the month: “I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams.” This theme, in part, is a nod to the people who came before, the people who inspire us today, and the people in the future who will look to us for as guides on how to make an impact on this world. Each week highlighted the company’s investment in increasing representation and inclusion of Black employees at PagerDuty. The hope was that both attention and intention would allow employees to explore the diverse perspectives of the Black experience that are often hidden or otherwise unseen.
Week 1 – Becoming: The team kicked off the month honoring why Black History Month is important and how we need to continue to increase the number of African Americans and other underrepresented groups within tech to continue to make history. We explored what and who has helped us become who we are, and who we wish to be in the future.
View stories and videos of employees: Featured: Stacey Giamalis, Hadijah Creary and Zach Wordes
Zach Wordes with teammates Maya Zakhour and Phylicia Jones
Week 2 – Representing Intersectionality: The team held a cross-office, cross-department, and cross-experience panel representing nine Dutonians in the San Francisco, Toronto, and Atlanta offices. Panelists were reflected on how their family or ancestors would be proud of them today, and shared stories about black people or personalities that represent an important part of their identity. These panelists started a conversation among other Black employees and allies for how to connect with identities different than their own.
Asha Ingram, Antwain Johnson, Jasmine Ward, Mya King
Asha, Mya, and Antwain during the panel in Atlanta
Kehinde Oseni, Karim Vedol, and Phylicia Jones in San Francisco
Our instagram account featured the stories of Dorian Willis and Aliyah Owens, who talked about the journey to acceptance and where they currently find inspiration.
Week 3 – Celebrating Diaspora: This week was about appreciating how far we’ve come as a diaspora and giving back to our communities. We organized events through PagerDuty.org, which supports organizations working across sectors and taking real-time action to do good. Array sponsored two organizations: The Covenant House in Atlanta and Code Tenderloin in San Francisco.
Dutonians in Atlanta supported the Covenant House by preparing meals for a taco dinner, as well as donating to the organization. In San Francisco, we hosted Code Tenderloin for a personal branding workshop, led by our Director of Talent Development, Phylicia Jones.
Dutonians Asha Ingram, Tatiana Noel, Randa Russell, Mya King, and Jim Schindler at Covenant House preparing meals
Branding exercise with Code Tenderloin
Dutonians and Code Tenderloin participants
On social this week, Maxelia Vargas and Stevenson Jean-Pierre talked about what the theme of celebrating diaspora and unity means to them.
Week 4 – Thriving: To close out the month, Array co-hosted an event with Blend’s ERG Black at Blend to celebrate both community and contributions across the Black Diaspora. We enjoyed championing our customers to show “together is better” by highlighting current successes and future plans for greatness. Blend’s theme of “Beyond The Pipeline” was a great way to stress the importance of multifaceted identities and achievements, further evidenced in Array’s theme of “I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams.”
Halle Lewis (Brown Estate), Jasmine Savage (Blend), Allison Bawazer-Pedro (PagerDuty), Yesha Lester (PagerDuty), Aliyah Owens (PagerDuty), Phylicia Jones (PagerDuty), Ulysses Smith (Blend)
We played a game featuring trivia from Black culture and history, sampled wine from the Napa Valley’s first Black-owned estate winery, Brown Estate, and enjoyed food from Brenda’s Soul Food at Blend headquarters in San Francisco. Art by the local artist Adonia C. Middleton created the perfect backdrop for the fellowship, networking, and connections of the night.
Allison Bawazer-Pedro, Adonia C Middleton, Phylicia Jones with art by Adonia C Middleton
On our Instagram account, Seyi Kong-Reid talks about what thriving and “arriving” mean to her, and how this week’s theme is important to Black people across the globe.