All posts by Hady Mendez

Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

Post Syndicated from Hady Mendez original https://blog.cloudflare.com/commit-to-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-every-day/

Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

The world is waking up
Protesting in the name of Black Lives Matter.
Reading the book “White Fragility”.
Watching the documentary “13th”.

The world is waking up to the fight against racism and I couldn’t be happier!

But let’s be clear: learning about anti-racism and being anti-racist are not the same things. Learning is a good first step and a necessary one. But if you don’t apply the knowledge you acquire, then you are not helping to move the needle.

Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands/knees of the Minneapolis police, people all over the world have been focused on Black Lives Matter and anti-racism. At Cloudflare, we’ve seen an increase in cyberattacks, we’ve heard from the leadership of Afroflare, our Employee Resource Group for employees of African descent, and we held our first ever Day On, held on June 18, Cloudflare’s employee day of learning about bias, the history and psychological effects of racism,, and how racism can get baked into algorithms.

By way of this blog post, I want to share my thoughts about where I think we go from here and how I believe we can truly embody Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our workplace.

Is diversity recruiting the answer to anti-racism in the workplace?

Many Cloudflarians said we should increase our diversity recruiting efforts as part of the feedback we received after our Day On event. But recruiting more diverse candidates only solves one part of the problem. There are still two major hurdles to overcome:

  • Employees need to feel welcome and have a sense of belonging
  • Employees need to feel valued and have an equal opportunity for career advancement

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) offer opportunities to foster community and a sense of belonging. But it is beyond the scope of an ERG to ensure all employees have equal opportunities for advancement. And honestly, this is where a lot of companies fall short. It’s the reason you see people sharing pictures and calling out management teams or boards of directors all over social media. Because there is a lack of visible signs of diversity at senior levels. Numbers can be misleading. A company might state, “We have 11% employees of this group or 8% of that group.” That’s great, but how many of these employees are thriving in their current roles and getting promoted at the same pace as their white counterparts? Or being compensated at the same rate as their male counterparts? The answers to those questions are much more telling, yet seldom shared.

Folks, if we are going to see meaningful change, we all need to get onboard with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It’s really not the type of thing that people can opt-in or out of. It won’t work. And even if, and when, everyone opts in to make DEI a priority, that won’t be enough. We won’t start to see real change until we are all living and breathing DEI day in and day out.

Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

What does committing to DEI every day look like?

Doing something (anything) every day that flexes our DEI muscles and gets us closer to meaningful outcomes.

Examples include:

  • Mentoring a person from an underrepresented group or asking someone from an underrepresented group to mentor you.
  • Scheduling coffee meetings with underrepresented people around the company and finding out how you can help to amplify their voices.
  • Providing candid, timely coaching to underrepresented employees to help them grow in their field or area of expertise.
  • Learning to value the different approaches and styles that people from underrepresented groups bring to the workplace.
  • Watching Cloudflare TV segments like, “Everyone at the Table” which airs weekly and promotes an open dialogue about everyday topics from the perspective of people with different perspectives.
  • Hosting office-wide or team-wide “listening circles” where employees can share what a just and equitable workplace looks like to them.
  • Requesting educational opportunities for your team or whole company such as implicit bias workshops or allyship workshops. Asking if your company’s leaders have attended similar workshops.
  • Asking your manager/team leadership how you may help increase the diversity of your team.
  • Suggesting ideas for building a more inclusive culture within your team such as running meetings in a manner where everyone has an equal opportunity to speak, keeping meetings and work social activities within working hours, and regularly hosting conversations about how the team can be more inclusive.
  • And finally – asking the opinion of someone from an under-represented group. This one is especially important since so many of us are not present when critical decisions are being made.
Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

Why is committing to DEI on a daily basis important?

  • Because it’s easier for us to do nothing. Keeping the status quo is easy. Coming together to change the system is hard work. Especially if everyone is not on board.
  • Because having a company full of underrepresented people who are not being heard, seen, celebrated, or promoted is not going to get us the outcomes we want. And trust me, it doesn’t take long to realize that you are not going to make it at a company. Racism, discrimination, and unfair treatment can be very subtle but under-represented people can tell when they are valued and appreciated. And when they are being set up to fail.
  • Because we know too much. The system is broken. Underrepresented groups have always known this. But now that it is a fact most people acknowledge and accept, we can’t ignore it. A wise woman once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” (Maya Angelou)

I’ll end my commentary with this: I view DEI as a journey that we must commit to every day. Here at Cloudflare. Across the tech industry. And in our world.

Notice I used the word journey. It’s not a destination in the sense that we do these 10 things and we have “arrived”. Instead, I believe it is a journey that we will always be on with milestones and achievements to be celebrated along the way.

To help you start flexing your DEI muscle, I’m kicking off a 21-Day DEI Challenge starting today! Every day, for the next 21 days, I challenge you to share in a public forum (bonus points for doing it on LinkedIn) how you are helping to move DEI forward. You can take a small step or a really big one. What matters is that you are flexing that muscle and challenging yourself (and others) to start the journey. #21DayDEIChallenge #BeAntiRacist #MoveTheNeedle

I hope you are up for the challenge that DEI offers us because the future of our company, industry, and society depends on it.

Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Every Day

Postscript: This blog post is dedicated to the memory of the late Congressman John Lewis, a great civil rights leader and so much more, who challenged all of us to be brave enough to make noise and get into “good trouble” for the sake of justice and equality. Rest in Power, Mr. Lewis.

Cinco de Mayo – What are we celebrating anyway?

Post Syndicated from Hady Mendez original https://blog.cloudflare.com/cinco-de-mayo-what-are-we-celebrating-anyway/

Cinco de Mayo - What are we celebrating anyway?

Greetings from Latinflare, Cloudflare’s LatinX Employee Resource Group, with members all over the US, the UK, and Portugal. Today is Cinco de Mayo! Americans everywhere will be drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa. But what is this Mexican holiday really about and what exactly are we celebrating?

About Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for “Fifth of May”, is an annual celebration held in Mexico on May 5th. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army‘s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force was a boost to morale for the Mexicans. Zaragoza died months after the battle due to illness. A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.

Cinco de Mayo - What are we celebrating anyway?
Source: (https://www.milenio.com/cultura/la-batalla-de-puebla-minuto-a-minuto)

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. More popularly celebrated in the United States than Mexico, the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. These celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. The day gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s thanks especially to advertising campaigns by beer and wine companies. Today, Cinco de Mayo generates beer sales on par with the Super Bowl. WOW!

In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades or battle reenactments. Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16th.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo

Cinco de Mayo - What are we celebrating anyway?
Photo credit: Gail Williams via Flickr.com (license information)

What Cinco de Mayo means to me? Stories and perspectives from Latinflare members.

Before COVID-19, Latinflare members across the US were planning to host “dip contests” and “make-your-own-margarita happy hours” to recognize Cinco de Mayo. In our new “work from home” world, we decided to still celebrate the holiday, but in a new way. I asked members of Latinflare to share what the holiday means to them and their families. Here’s what they shared. Please feel free to share your own personal stories in the comments section if you’d like!

What Cinco de Mayo means to me by Alonso – Cloudflare London

Having grown up in Mexico, my experience of Cinco de Mayo was quite different from many of my US-based friends and colleagues.

Originally, Cinco de Mayo commemorated the Battle of Puebla, which took place on 5 May 1862. In that battle, the Mexican Army defeated the French Army, which later overran Mexican forces and conquered Mexico City. My experience of Cinco de Mayo was mostly as a bank holiday where you get to stay home from school or work. Other holidays like Día de la Independencia (Mexico’s equivalent to 4th of July) get more headlines, fireworks, and celebrations. For the longest time, I didn’t quite get when US-based friends would text me to wish me a “Happy Cinco.”

One of the fascinating things about Latinflare, and other Employee Resource Groups at Cloudflare, is that you get to learn from colleagues and their collective experiences. Hearing stories -like the ones shared in this blog- about the significance of Cinco de Mayo to employees across the U.S. is fascinating. The Hispanic community in the US has augmented this day, which now celebrates the rich heritage of immigrant families from across Latin America. So from all our friends at Latinflare, I wish you a very happy Cinco!

A perspective from Salvador – Cloudflare Austin

About 7 years ago when I was still living in Guadalajara, Mexico, Cinco de Mayo was a regular workday (full of meetings) and I remember American co-workers asking me how I was going to celebrate!  I was like: “Why do you ask?”, “That’s not a Mexican holiday!”, “We just had a holiday (May Day)”.  I had to Google it so that I could explain to Americans what this holiday was about: Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over France on that day back in 1862. It is also known as “Battle of Puebla”, referring to the state in central Mexico where the battle took place. That’s the only Mexican region where Cinco de Mayo is a major holiday.

I am still surprised how this minor holiday is more celebrated in the US than in Mexico, but celebrations are never a bad thing so, keep celebrating this date!! Viva Mexico!! Now that I live in the US, this is a great date to hang out with friends and share Mexican food (tacos, guacamole, nachos, etc.) so they can taste authentic Mexican food.

Weighing in from Texas is Ricardo – Cloudflare Austin

Unfortunately, in my experience, there are some misconceptions about this day: mainly that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence day (which it is not). Growing up in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo meant that I didn’t have to go to school and got to stay home. In the US, however, it is a day to celebrate Hispanic heritage!

Mostly a holiday in Puebla says Alex – Cloudflare Austin

I don’t really believe that Mexican families outside of Puebla are very aware of Cinco de Mayo. Even though I didn’t grow up in Puebla, I learned a bit more about the holiday due to the fact that my middle school in Ojocaliente, Zacatecas was named “Gral. Ignacio Zaragoza” after the general that defeated the French army in that battle in Puebla in 1862. This only made me try to be extra friendly to any French person that I’ve met. So even though we are not celebrating Mexican Independence Day,  I don’t have the heart to ruin the party for everyone.

Resources for Celebrating Cinco de Mayo during Quarantine

Whatever your thoughts or experiences on the holiday, if you choose to celebrate it, we found some cool resources for celebrating the holiday at home. Here are just a few:

Wherever you are, we are wishing you a happy and healthy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo - What are we celebrating anyway?
Photo Credit: S Pakhrin via Wikipedia Commons (license information)

About Latinflare

To learn more about Latinflare and how we got started, read our first blog post “Bienvenidos a Latinflare”.

Cinco de Mayo - What are we celebrating anyway?

We are Hiring!

Does Cloudflare sound like the type of place you’d like to work? We are hiring! Check out our careers page for more information on full time positions and internship roles at our locations across the globe.

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!

Post Syndicated from Hady Mendez original https://blog.cloudflare.com/bienvenidos-a-latinflare/

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!

Our Story

When I first began interviewing with Cloudflare in the Spring of 2019, I came across a Cloudflare blog post announcing Proudflare, the company’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). The post gave me a clear sense of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I could tell this was a place that values and celebrates diversity, which really appealed to me as I progressed through the interview process with Cloudflare, and ultimately accepted the role.

Fast forward to my Cloudflare new hire orientation, two weeks of training and introductions at our San Francisco HQ. We learned about the various ERGs at Cloudflare including one for Latinx employees. While I had a strong desire to be part of a Latinx ERG, it was clear that the group was actually in need of someone to lead the effort and rally the troops. At Cloudflare, we have offices across the country and around the world. I wasn’t really sure how to launch an ERG that would be global in scope. After meeting with leads from other Cloudflare ERGs, understanding the landscape, and attending an external workshop, everything started to come together.

In early August, we officially gave ourselves the name Latinflare. In mid-September, we agreed on our amazing logo (which by the way, includes the primary colors of flags from across Latin America set over a lava lamp background). Most importantly, we have agreed, as a group, that our priorities are:

  • to offer a space where Latinx employees and their allies can gather and network,
  • to create a pipeline of future employees of diverse backgrounds, and
  • to be an integral part of the communities where we work.

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
A mural of Frida Kahlo captured on the streets of Buenos Aires. The mural took the collective of three artists – Julián Campos Segovia, Jean Paul Jesses and Juan Carlos Campos – three weeks to paint

What’s Next for Latinflare

We are gearing up for Hispanic Heritage Month. These efforts include launching Latinflare, holding our inaugural event on October 16th, and continuing to plan more events and activities moving forward. Great things are starting to happen!

How you can support

If you are not a Cloudflare employee but are interested in celebrating Hispanic Heritage, I urge you to find events and activities that are taking place near you. And while our inaugural Latinflare event will be an employee-only event, the group has high hopes to host quarterly meet-ups that will eventually give us the opportunity to network with ERGs and organizations outside of Cloudflare. In addition, you will hear from us again towards  the end of the year, when we plan to share some “tradiciones navideñas” with the rest of the Cloudflare family.  

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all! Latinflare stickers will be available in most offices starting this week. If you are not a Cloudflare employee, but are located near a Cloudflare office, please stop by the front desk at your location and ask for one. Stickers for everyone!  

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
NYC Office celebrates the launch of Latinflare!!‌‌

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
Latinflare London – PRESENTE!!

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
Latinflare Miami enjoying a Peruvian lunch 🙂

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
Latinflare at our Headquarters in San Francisco

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!
Proud Latinflarians representing Austin, TX!