Michelle Wagner is Evernote’s new SVP of People Ops, heading up global HR and recruiting. In honor of International Women’s Day, we invited Michelle to share her thoughts on the day and our efforts to recognize women at Evernote.
International Women’s Day, celebrated each year on March 8, promotes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme for this year’s event is “Pledge for Parity,” an idea that struck a chord in the Evernote office as we discussed our plans to recognize the day internally. Here at Evernote, we refer to ourselves as a “Notable Herd”—it highlights our expansive backgrounds as individuals, and the “pride we take in our team’s diverse skills, esoteric interests, and infectious enthusiasm.” Our team members are inclusive of one another, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation; they care more about the output rather than who inputs. It’s refreshing to see people from all walks of life genuinely collaborating, asking for opinions and feedback for the sake of the greater good—seeking out differing opinions because they are different.
Our customers are incredibly diverse. 80% of our users are outside of the US, 55% use Evernote in a language other than English, and more than a third are women. To build a product that meets their varied set of needs, we need a diverse workforce motivated and excited about that challenge. While the teams here have experienced a great deal of change in the last 12 months, I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm that folks bring when coming together to tackle anything from the next feature prioritization to lunch menus.
They brought the same enthusiasm to International Women’s Day. At an internal “Lean In Circle” meeting recently, the brainstorming session led to many great ideas about how we can celebrate by setting an example of inclusion. The Pledge for Parity campaign encourages all of us, women and men alike, to commit to one of five actions:
- Help women and girls achieve their ambitions
- Challenge conscious and unconscious bias
- Call for gender balanced leadership
- Value women and men’s contributions equally
- Create inclusive, flexible cultures
We’re asking our employees to join the campaign and pledge for parity alongside one another, selecting a pledge in line with the theme or making a unique pledge of their own. We’ll proudly display our pledges in all of our offices around the world throughout the month.
Our conversations have also highlighted a number of important questions I plan to spend time on as I settle in and learn more about the company and our employees around the world:
- Are we paying men and women equally based on their contributions and experience?
- How are we ensuring our recruiting funnels attract diverse candidates?
- How do we teach our teams about bias, both conscious and unconscious?
- Have we created a platform for all perspectives so that the best ideas are heard?
- How do we best embrace differences to bring out those ideas?
Ultimately, we want our culture at its core to be inclusive – and while I see actions that reflect that daily, it takes all of us to make inclusiveness a habit and keep it growing across our team. I’m encouraged to hear about efforts around inclusion across the tech industry—we all have a ways to go and together we’ll progress faster. I’m proud to be a part of that journey at Evernote. I hope you’ll join me and 300+ other Evernoters today in our Pledge for Parity. As for me, I pledge to value women and men’s contributions equally.
To make your own Pledge for Parity, visit the International Women’s Day website.