How can you balance your introversion at work?

December 13, 2022

In this week's episode of Here to Help, Chris is joined by Taylor Rosser, Program Manager, Employee Lifecycle at Indeed. They discuss her journey through life as an introvert and how she has had to combat stereotypes. We put a lens on her experience as a black woman at Indeed and what she has learned from listening to the stories of other black women at Indeed.

- Hello everyone, I am Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed. And welcome to the next episode of Here to Help. At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs. This is what gets us out of bed in the morning and what keeps us going all day. And what powers that mission is our people. Here to Help is a look at how experience, strength, and hope inspires people to want to help others. In my role, I spend a lot of time talking to people at Indeed about where we're going, and how we're doing. But I spend a lot more time listening. For the past couple of years, I have led a biweekly All Hands Q and A over Zoom, where thousands of people ask their questions. People submit those questions online on Slido, and everyone votes on the questions they'd like to hear answered. And this is great. But the one challenge with a voting system like this is that the questions that I answer are ones that are most interesting to the majority audience. So in order to really understand what's going on in the minds of folks at Indeed, I need to seek out other voices. So I also meet monthly with just the women senior leaders at Indeed. Separately, I meet once a month with all of the underrepresented senior leaders. In March of this year, I started a new program. Twice a month, I have been meeting with Black women at Indeed, in small groups of roughly three to five. I've been asking them to share their experiences at Indeed. How it's been the same or different from other places they've worked, and what we can do to continue to improve that experience. The experience of Black women sits at an intersection of marginalization, and these conversations have given me a new lens to better see how we're doing, how far we've come, and especially how far we still have to go. My guest today is Taylor Rosser. Taylor is an inclusion operations program manager here at Indeed. She has joined me on these listening sessions from the very start. Where she has listened to, but not participated in, each of the conversations. She has been there to take notes and facilitate, and then has worked to help identify the themes and patterns that we're hearing in these conversations. To help us take away insights that we can turn into action. I asked Taylor to join me today as a guest on Here to Help, to share her own experience as a Black woman being witness to these intimate conversations. Taylor, thank you so much for joining me today.

- Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

- As we get started, for those who might have vision impairment or for anyone who might just be listening, I'd like to describe a little bit of the visual setting here. I am a middle-aged White man with glasses. I'm wearing a black t-shirt. I'm sitting here in my home office, with my red sparkle drum set, some LPs, and books and photos behind me.

- And I am Taylor Rosser. I'm currently wearing a pink t-shirt. I have amazingly luscious curls going on right now, and I am sitting in the walkway between my kitchen, which is to my left, and my living room, which is to my right.

- All right. Well, Taylor, let's start where we always start these conversations. How are you doing right now?

- Yeah, I'm doing pretty good. I mean, I had a very solid turkey day with some family, and I'm actually going on a ski trip later this week with a few of my friends. And then Christmas is coming up. So, all in all, a good combination to sort of end the year.

- All right. Well, as I explained in the intro, we've been working together throughout the year and we're going to really dive into that. But before we do that, I want to back up and learn a little bit more about you, maybe what you've brought to this set of experiences here. You've been with Indeed now for over five years. You started out as a technical recruiter. And now as I mentioned, you're an Inclusion Operations Program manager. Can you tell folks what that current role is? And what really led to some of the changes in your roles, that that got you to where you are today?

- Yeah, definitely. So yeah, I'm on the DEIB plus team, formally the DI&B team. And within there, I'm part of the Employee Life Cycle pod. We focus on DEIB related partnerships, events, education, and programs. And as far as my role, I know you've mentioned a few times how a lot of the processes that we currently have at Indeed weren't necessarily created with an inclusive lens, and that's exactly what my job is to do. So the employee life cycle refers to how we attract, retain, grow, and transition employees. So every imaginable process within those areas are all the things that my role is focused on democratizing and injecting with an inclusive lens. It's a fairly new pod. There's only two of us, and it's as of July, that this Inclusion Operations Program role has sort of started. But as far as my journey goes, I did start as a contract sourcer in November of 2017. I was converted after 10 months. I had done that for an additional two years, but towards the end of 2020, I started to consider maybe a career change or just like a closer move into HR, because I do have my master's in HR management. So towards summer of 2020, I was like, "All right, I'll start studying for my PHR, take the exam in the fall or the spring, and get ready for a move sometime next summer." But then we got an email at the end of summer of 2020 about a DI&B generalist role that came available. And it was a temporary opportunity. They basically said, "Hey, if we like you and you like us, you could move over to our team, but if it's not something you're interested in, you can always go back to your previous position." And I thought that was a great opportunity, but even before I could see the email, because I had been talking about this with a few of my friends and coworkers, I get two pings from people. One person in all caps just says, "This role is yours, you better apply." My first thought was, "This email was sent three minutes ago, so please don't yell at me so soon." Then after I read the email, went through the description, I was just like, "Yeah, this is my role." I had my resume updated, shared with friends, and ready to send, after getting my managers approval of course. But fun fact, before I interviewed for this role as a sourcer, in the fall of 2017, I interviewed at Indeed at the beginning of 2017 for an HR generalist role. Which I did not get, but no hard feelings 'cuz I made it here anyways. But because I was sort of looking to get back into an HR-related type role, when it came up and it said DI&B generalist, I was just like, "Oh, there's a connection there." And then also it's in a space where I'm pretty passionate about it, and want to sort of improve the areas. And having worked in sourcing, I've had my opinions on, things that could be fixed, or corrected, or different way of doing things. And so being on this team, it definitely gave me the opportunity to sort of showcase, and have my opinion be put into action.

- So let's back up even a little bit more. Can you just talk about some of your background? Where did you grow up? How did you get here?

- Yeah, yeah. So I grew up in San Antonio, a very big military city. Both of my parents were in the Air Force. I think my dad did about twelve years, and my mom did a full twenty-two years in the Air Force. Fortunately we didn't have to move around a lot. Well, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it. My brother was born here in the States, and they lived in Germany for four years. And I'm pretty sure German was my brother's first language, but then they came back to the States, had me, and decided we're not going to travel anymore. So that's been a good experience. But being able to be in the same place has been really helpful for me, especially as kind of like a shy, introverted kid. Having something that was consistent and stable was just probably better for me in the long run. I'm still kind of shy and introverted, but I'm a little bit more outgoing after a solid battery recharge. I tend to shy away from attention and avoid talking to strangers. But funny enough, I feel like extroverts, I attract them. It's like they find me and then they come to me, and then they start talking and then they don't stop. And the next thing you know, we're friends. So I'm very appreciative for all of my extroverted friends out there. But because of that introversion, it was really hard for me to talk to people and get to know people. I started playing sports. I'd played sports since the age of five. Mostly basketball, but it wasn't until eighth grade that I got into track and field, and throwing discus and shot put. I did that throughout high school and won State. I ended up getting a scholarship to Texas A&M to throw discus and shot put. And it was an amazing experience. I did that for three years and I decided to forego my senior year, so I could focus on school and my grades. And even potentially getting into grad school, which I did. And I ended up moving to Houston and going to Houston Baptist University where I got my master's in HR management. Graduated in 2015. Then I moved back to San Antonio for a short internship, which I found on Indeed. And shortly after, I got an email to work at a company here in Austin. I moved here in March of 2016. I started out as a recruiting coordinator at that company, at my prior company. And then I was a resume reviewer. And then one day I was talking with one of my friends at a happy hour and I was just like, "Hey, you help people get jobs. Help me get a job." 'Cuz he worked here at Indeed. And so this is at a happy hour, I didn't think much of it. But the very next day, he sends me a message and he's just like, "Hey, I was serious. Send me your resume." I was just like, "Oh, okay." So I had to scrounge and get my resume together. And everything ended up working out. And that's how I got here.

- So you have talked about seeing yourself, as an introvert, but also as being the exception. What exactly do you mean by that? And how is that important to your story?

- Yeah, I mean, I think for one, I think being a Black female and an introvert is really hard, especially in the workplace. I don't think I necessarily fit into this stereotype of what they think Black women should be. And people will often take me being quiet as being disengaged, unprepared, or incompetent. To know that you have to sort of balance what the expectations are for people, it's just been really hard for me. Even as a kid, I had a lot of trouble speaking up for myself and advocating for myself. The things that people used to say to me, and I would let them get away with just for the sake of keeping the peace. It just makes me uncomfortable to think about now. Even though I grew up in a pretty diverse place in San Antonio, I still had comments from people in the Black community. "Why do you talk like that? Why do you dress like that? Why do you listen to that?" And then from maybe my non-Black friends, I would hear things like, "Oh, you haven't seen X movie? Or you don't listen to this artist? Like, I'm Blacker than you." So I think from a very early age, I feel like my Blackness was consistently being challenged and that was really confusing to hear. What made me weird with one group, sort of made me a palatable Black person for another group. And at one point I've heard, actually a couple of times, people have said, "I wish more Black people were like you." I've heard that from friends, and at one point I even heard it from a boss. From a manager, not here at Indeed. But, I've heard these things and both situations made me uncomfortable. It's just like, "Okay I'm not accepted here, but I don't like the acceptance that I'm getting here." It just doesn't feel right. So to me, with a lot of people, I always felt like I was the exception. "Oh, more Black people should talk like you," or "be like you." It was very confusing. Again, I had a really hard time advocating for myself. So when people said these things, I never really pushed back. I never said anything. I would just sort of internalize that discomfort. And it just sort of started to manifest in different, excuse me, it started to manifest in different ways. But yeah, like I said, it's just been a little bit hard and whenever you don't live up to an expectation of people who believe, who you should be, it starts to make you question yourself. Because to me, I was just being myself. And it seemed like it was something that people didn't necessarily like, but it was because of their idea of who they thought I should be. I'm not going to be the person that's going to make their presence known. I'm very much a behind the scenes kind of person. I don't really like attention. And so anytime I go against any sort of stereotype, I'm just sort of, looked at and questioned. Those things are very important to me in my story because it's something that I've had to navigate in it. I'm still navigating those, those feelings and that internalization.

- That is a lot of complexity and contradiction. So, how do you navigate it? How do those internalized pressures sort of show up in your day to day?

- Yeah, I think for me, the way it's shown up for quite some time is that I sort of, I feel like everything that I do is going to be scrutinized or criticized, but not as a representation of myself, but as a representation of all Black people. I never wanted to say anything, or do anything, that might make somebody look at me and be like, "Oh, she's Black. The Black people are all like this." Or "Black people are all like that." I internalized that responsibility. I was never wanting to put out to the world, "See, this is how you should be." It was more so, "We are all individuals, and we are not all the same." I had to become really comfortable with being myself. And as I got older, and probably not even until maybe the last like five years, I've been more comfortable with challenging people because anytime I think of White privilege, that's one of the privileges that I think of. You have the privilege to be an individual. Whereas I feel like anything I do, or anything anybody else do, it's a representation of an entire group. So, I wasn't raised to view myself in that way, but as an introvert I observe more than I participate and then I internalize those observations. It's been really hard to navigate. And again, it's still something that I'm working on. I'm not even good at making my own mistakes. It's like, you hear so many different things. I learn from other people's mistakes. If I see somebody doing something, it's like, "Oh, note to self, don't do that." Shout out to my brother. He made a lot of mistakes that probably kept me out of trouble, but that's sort of how I learn. I don't need to experience it to know that it's a possibility, or know that it could happen. So I'm constantly bracing for impact, or preparing for something negative to happen. It's not something that I think about, every minute of the day, but I do think about it enough so that way when it something negative does happen, I'm mentally prepared to let it go. Not even not even mentally prepared to react, say something, it's just I'm mentally prepared that it's going to happen. And if I know it's going to happen, it's going to be easier for me to let it go. But at the end of the day, advocacy looks different for everyone. Whether it's passed on from parents or grandparents, some people were raised just to be grateful for what they have and not complain about anything. And again, that's not necessarily how I was raised, but I internalize those things. And those are the things that pop up in my head. At times I feel like I have to gaslight myself into not believing what I'm seeing, or experiencing, because it's just like, "Oh, this happens like-" Oh no, no, no. It wasn't because of this. It's because of something else. Like you kind of have to tell yourself that, because people are constantly trying to invalidate your experiences and so that's just another way to sort of make it through to the next day. So yeah, it can be hard to navigate. I am nowhere near professional at being able to navigate that, but it is something that I've been working on and I can even notice a difference in myself from the time I was a kid, to high school, to college, to now.

- Thank you so much for sharing that. I think a lot of what you're describing is something that a lot of other people experience and because people don't talk about it very much, especially in the workplace, they might imagine looking at you from the outside, that you have it all together. And it really makes a huge difference for people to hear that. So thank thank you for sharing that experience. I'm curious how that has translated into, all of that complexity and, the struggle around advocating for yourself. How does that translate into sort of career aspirations and thinking about, how do you advocate for yourself in what it is that you want out of your career? You told me the story about how you got to Indeed and I think that that's a really telling story I guess.

- Yeah, yeah, definitely. My mom has always-. I've been this shy, introverted kid for a really long time and my mom was just like, "Well, if you're not going to go after what you want, at least put yourself in a position for that opportunity to find you." And that's something that I've always done. It's like, "Can you check the boxes before you even know what the boxes are?" How I even went to grad school, and I got my master's in HR. I didn't realize what recruiting was. I didn't realize it was a whole separate department. But because I had that experience, because I had that background, it sort of got me into this area. Luckily I have a lot of leaders who are really good at, not necessarily just advocating for me, but they're good at pushing me and challenging me. I think over time I've had to learn how to differentiate between not wanting to do something because I genuinely don't want to do it, and not doing something because I'm afraid. I think learning what those lessons are, even being here is so far out of my comfort zone, it's crazy. I told Romney Donald 'cuz she did a Here to Help with you earlier in the year, and she was super nervous. I was all like, "Kudos to you, because that will never be me." And then I get an email from you and I'm just like, "Well, yeah, I was wrong. I guess it is going to be me." When I first came to Indeed, the things that I've had to navigate when entering. I remember the first interview that I had, I got an email confirmation and it said something along the lines of, "Hey, no need to dress up, we're casual here." And the first thing that popped into my head was, "Nice try Indeed, you're not going to get me." I showed up to the interview with some nice slacks, a little baby heel, and a blazer. And I did that because I feel like there's just sort of this secondary set of unwritten rules that Black people and Black women have to abide by. And you know, even as a kid getting into, staying out late, or just doing typical kid teenage things, my parents would always say, "You can't do the same things that your little friends are doing." They were trying to teach us that potential consequences are applied differently. And because we're Black, we have to be more careful about doing all the silly things that most teenagers do. Even up until I interviewed for the DI&B generalist role, I had straightened my hair for every single interview I'd ever had. I hate straightening my hair. It is so much work and it's just too much. And I really don't like it. It sounds like an absurd thing to consider, it's just like, "Well if you don't like straightening your hair, don't straighten your hair." But when you realize that laws have had to be passed in order for me to wear my hair as it is, it shows you that it's more of a problem than people can actually comprehend. It's absurd. A law shouldn't have to be passed for that to happen, but that's what it is. It's only been passed in 18 states and not even in Texas, but on the local level, Austin has passed it. So that's really nice. Recently I saw how Michelle Obama said, when her husband became president, she wanted to do something different with her hair. She wanted to wear braids and whatnot. But she said she knew it would be a distraction. She knew America wasn't necessarily ready for her to not have straight hair. So, whenever you think of all these different situations and things that we have to think about entering into the workplace, and having to advocate for yourself, I try to be more vocal because, again, the loudest voices get the attention. When you are someone like myself it's hard for people to think, "She doesn't want to get promoted, she hasn't said anything." It's not that I don't want to, maybe I don't know how to have the conversation. I didn't even see myself being where I am today. It's hard for me to think about what the future looks like. Because I don't know what those options are. I very much think and I overthink, and that can be a little bit of a detriment if you don't have a supportive team around you who sort of understands those aspects about you.

- Well thank you for sharing that. And for anyone who is sort of shaking their head right now at your mention of these laws, Google the Crown Act. It's a real thing. And it's probably something that a whole lot of people who've never had to think about that, have no idea exists. So thank you for bringing that up. All right. So I think we have a a pretty good perspective on who you are and what you brought to this experience. So let's talk about this experience. You, I assume got an email out of the blue saying, "Hey, Chris wants to do this thing and we want you to be a part of it." Can you talk about how it got started for you? And your early experience in this listening tour?

- Yeah, that's exactly right. I got an email and it was, "Hey, Chris is starting this listening tour and they want Black women to be taking the notes." Which I thought was an amazing thing to consider and think about. To be in a space, amongst other Black women and somebody is taking these notes. you want a little bit more of reassurance that somebody's going to actually capture what you're saying. They're not going to necessarily try and modify it to fit something. Like I'm a word for word typer. So that's exactly how I type my notes. Because I want to make sure that I'm capturing all the experiences that people are having. Yeah, when I first saw the email, I wasn't sure what it was going to be. I had done a few focus groups since being on the DEIB team, but I wasn't exactly sure what it was going to be. Whenever you first go in there and it's just, "Share your experience," I think people are a little bit hesitant to sort of do that. And it takes a little bit to get comfortable and start sharing the reality of your experience, not necessarily just the butterflies and the rainbows. While you can have a great experience, there's also some negative experiences. Again as I mentioned, we sort of prepare to mentally let that roll away. And when you let it roll away, it's sort of like, "Alright, it's not in my mind anymore." But at the end of the day, these things have happened and it's important to understand those things along the journey.

- I went back and looked, and I think, if my count is right, 'cuz I've also taken very extensive notes through these. We've had 16 sessions since March 9th, with 64 women. So that's an average of four. The smallest groups have been two, the largest have been six. Part of the idea of the structure of having these small groups, as you said, if you just get an email from the CEO saying, "Hey, I want to talk to you and ask about your experience as a Black woman at Indeed." It might be, and I'm sure for a lot of people, they're not really sure what to expect or it might be hard to imagine actually sharing really what's going on. And I think the formula has worked pretty well with these small groups. The first person maybe always doesn't dive right in, but then by the time the second or third person actually starts to talk about some experience they've had in their career or at Indeed, it sort of opens up the conversation and it has felt hopefully like a reasonably safe space for people to share. We've heard a lot. One of the things, in asking you on here was part of my realization that I hadn't actually taken the time to sit down with you and say, "How is your experience been being a part of this?" So we got to talk about it a little last week and we've had some professional meetings where we said, "Okay, let's go through the themes. And what are the notes that you've taken? And what are you hearing?" I'd like to just ask you to share, what has your experience been being in the room, and being a witness to everything that we've heard in these 64 different stories?

- I think it's hard 'cuz like you said, it takes a little bit of time for people to jump in and start being open. And me being neutral in there and typically I have my camera off. I always want to jump in and share my experiences to get people a little bit more comfortable with speaking out, and understanding that you are there for a very genuine reason. Again, you're not looking for all the butterflies and rainbows. You want to know the reality of everything that happened. I think one of the things that really made me want to come to Indeed was my onsite interview for my sourcing role. My final interview was with my manager and he openly said, unprompted, "You've walked through this office and I'm sure you can see that it's not very diverse around here, but it's one of our goals as a company and on our team we have the opportunity to change that." And for me, someone who, as I mentioned is bracing for impact at every turn, to hear that. It sort of made me like relax a little because I could go to any company and it be the exact same situation where I walked through the office, but nobody's going to address it. Because either they don't know how to communicate it, they are avoiding it, or they don't even really see that there's an issue. To have someone sort of straight up address that, upfront, before I even had the job, it made me feel, "Wow, this is a place that actually cares. And this is a place that wants to do well." And I think transparency and accountability are highly underrated. If you could own up to the mistakes or shortcomings, people are more willing to say, "Okay you acknowledge it, you want to fix it. How do we move forward from here?" And so, being able to share those experiences with people, and understand that I think somebody in one of the conversations mentioned, "Oh, this is a best kept secret for Black people." You know, some people feel that way, some people don't. But I think to go to a place that actually doesn't just say they want to do better, but puts action behind their words, has been an amazing thing for me. As I mentioned, I've had a great experience. I've had great leaders. and we've all had, one-off situations here and there. I think the one that comes to mind for me is, it was a few years back, I had recently had my hair done in braids and I was on the elevator. One of my coworkers said, "Hey, I really like your dreadlocks, you look nice." And I was just like, "Oh, thank you. I was like, "But these are just braids, they're not locks." And that was fine. It could have been done, it could have been done there. He said, "Well, to the general population, they're dreads." I was like, "All right." So it wasn't the initial, it wasn't, calling my hair different things. I don't expect you to know everything about me and what happens in my culture, but I corrected you and you still chose to ignore it. It's like those situations. And this person wasn't on my team, they're just somebody that I see, hang out with occasionally. So for me to not be working with this person regularly, I didn't have to necessarily experience him on a regular basis. But for others, these are the very people on their teams and they have to hear it every single day. For me, hearing those experiences from the women in there, it's like very validating and I'm just like, It's sad to say I'm not the only one. I think I would almost prefer to be the only one because that means that nobody else is going through it. I think being able to hear everything that they're saying has just been really impactful for me to hear and also just sort of puts me in this state of action and wanting to take steps to make their situations better.

- Thank you for sharing that. It's good to hear your story a bit more. I'd love to just talk a little bit about the range, and one of the ways that we've talked about, the range of conversations that we've heard. Is there's a bell curve, right? There's sort of tales on both side, people who have had a really not great experience at Indeed. There are people who have had an amazing experience. Then there's a bunch of people, most of the people are in the middle. Which is a mix of what you're talking about. There are parts of it that have been great, there's individual events or a manager or a team where things have been tough. Can you just share a little bit about some the sort of the themes and the patterns that we've heard. And sort of how we're thinking about where we are at Indeed right now, in this journey?

- Yeah, definitely. So a few of the things that came up, and I think probably the most prevalent one, is like "I'm the only Black person on my team." And some people even saying, "I'm the only Black person in my department." I think that's been a real struggle. People have mentioned the hesitation to go into leadership because of what I mentioned earlier. It's just like, "Okay, there're no Black people in this leadership position, and if I step into it I am now representing all Black people. And if I don't do it well, I could be ruining it for anybody else that's coming forward." So, so I think it's important for leaders and managers to understand the pressure, the internalized pressure, that people have when they are entering into these spaces as "the only". They feel like they're the sole representation of their race. And it's a ridiculous thing. But, we can't deny that it's true. We can't deny that it actually happens, 'cuz we see it every day. We can see whether it's media, the justice system, it's, you know, things are applied to people in different ways. If one group messes up, it's like, "It's okay." But if the other, it's like you're a little bit more harshly criticized or harshly punished. So yeah, I think being 'the only' is a really big one. Another is people sort of being afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled as, "an angry Black woman" or just being seen as difficult. That's something that also it resonates with me and even growing up, my mom being a master sergeant in the military, a Black woman. If she's trying to correct her troops because somebody messed up, without yelling or without cussing, but she's very firm and clearly frustrated. She gets sent to HR. But the male who is using every cuss word he can think of, and yelling at the top of his lungs, gets a "Yes Sir" and sort of moves on. And she got sent HR because she was seen as aggressive. They used that word. And so it's just like you start to realize, "Okay, I either stick up myself and risk this label, or I'm quiet and risk being taken advantage of." So it's trying to find that balance, but understanding that there is a risk for sort of both sides. Another one was sort of how microaggressions do contribute to burnout. I know that we've had our survey questions we ask about microaggressions, or not microaggressions, but burnout, and what leads to burnout. And for people of color, microaggressions is a big factor. Having to navigate these things, especially as you are on the team with people, or you have to talk about these things constantly or experience these things. It's frustrating and it's exhausting. To have to go through and experience that on a regular basis its just been really hard. And I think manager effectiveness sort of falls into that area, because people have said their managers don't necessarily know how to address when something like that happens. Even whenever it happens with clients for maybe those external facing employees. There's a little bit of lack of psychological safety between employees and their managers. And another thing that sort of came up was the lack of actionable feedback that I've heard for all women, but also especially Black women. You'll go all year and your manager's like, "Yep, you're doing great, you're doing great, you're doing great. And then it gets to calibrations, or performance time, and you don't get the score you thought you would get based off the conversations you had. And then you don't get any feedback on how to improve or make it to the next step. So there's just a lot more. There's a lot more themes, but I think those are the ones that sort of came up quite often. And I think the last and biggest one, is the fact that just by you inviting a lot of women to these conversations, it's the first time that they ever felt like they could express themselves. And if you have to wait for the CEO to ask you about your experience in order to feel like you can voice your opinion, there's a disconnect somewhere in there. And that's where I think we can improve.

- Is there anything in the conversations, because a lot of these themes do come up kind of over and over again, and everyone's story is different, but we're hearing a lot of these themes. Is there anything that you've heard that has surprised you?

- Yeah, I would say one of the things I learned is about the experiences of Black European women. Not every country is going through the racial reckoning that the US has been going through over the last six years. It's easy to look at us and see this sort of empowerment coming about, but on an individual level it's still very difficult for people to speak up and advocate for themselves. And hearing that when people are in certain offices, it's just like, "Oh, when I'm in this office, I feel like I'm in this country." Whereas I feel like as a company, we have the ability to create a culture that could supersede the culture of the country that people are in. I think you had said, you're like, "I want you to feel like you're at Indeed no matter where you go." So knowing that, especially in those countries where there's even less representation of Black women in the workplace, it's even harder. They start to feel like they are, the token. Or they're expected to explain every social situation. Or they are expected to make themselves smaller. Or just be appreciative that somebody let them in the door. And so there's, like I mentioned before, advocacy is different for everybody in the different levels of empowerment, based off of what the country is going through. It's one of those things where it's like a puzzle piece. It's not that I didn't know that, but it's not something that I thought deeply about. But as soon as they said it, it just clicked. It made sense. I was just like, "You're right." It looks different for everybody. Depending on what you've gone through and what your country, it's easy to look at the US and say, "It's a dumpster fire right now." But it's like you're ignoring the little small fire that's starting in yours, you know? And some places haven't fully recognized the issue and some places are still avoiding the issue. So I think for me, that was probably one of the most surprising things that came out of it, because it wasn't something that I had deeply thought about. But again, as soon as it was said, I'm like, "Yep, makes sense."

- I'd love to reflect a little bit on, this experience for me has been incredibly powerful in terms of just being able to see and hear not just individual, but the depth of these types of experiences. It's one thing to hear one person say it, it's another to hear it over and over again and understand here's what we have to work on. I'd love to hear from your perspective, again, the word that keeps coming to mind is witness. When you hear people telling their stories, especially ones that they feel like they haven't talked about at work, or certainly at a place where someone might listen. And you've been, you've heard so many of these. How do you feel, if at all transformed? And what your experience of having been able to bear witness to all of these stories? What do you take from that?

- Yeah, I think hearing all the conversations regardless of if I've experienced what they experienced or not, I can always empathize with it. But for me, to listen is to learn. So if you're actually listening, you're seeking to understand. And you're seeking to learn something new. In sort of that part where you mentioned bearing witness, it's like when you bear witness, how do you apply what you've learned? For me, I feel like I'm in a unique position because of the team that I'm on. I can go talk to a Business partner. I can go talk to our Inclusive Learning and Enablement team regarding education. I can talk to TA. I can talk to partnerships. Like I have this ability to communicate and make certain changes. And so I think everybody has that ability. Even if I'm telling a friend, "I'm constantly being interrupted at work. I can never get a sentence out." They don't work with me, they're not in my meeting, so they can't necessarily intervene on my behalf. But from me talking about it, now they know. Now if they go into their work meeting and they notice somebody's being cut off, it's like, "Oh, what Taylor told me, that's popping up. It really frustrates her, makes her angry, makes her sad, what have you. What can I do about it?" And there's always something that can be done no matter how small it is. But now that person has any opportunity to intervene on the behalf of somebody else. So again, it goes back to what have you learned? And what are you going to be able to apply? Like how can you make somebody's situation a little bit better, knowing that this is the feeling that this situation evokes? Like I said, being in the position I'm in, as soon as I come out of those meetings, I'm like, "All right, who can I talk to?" Is there a policy?" On my team we're in charge of looking at all of our processes. All right, maybe that's the next process we need to work on. For me, I feel like if there's something I can do about it, I'm going to try. As I mentioned, something is better than nothing and there's no act that is too small when it comes to affecting that change whenever you see it occurring.

- So one of the things in asking you on here that I wanted to take the opportunity to do, is ask you basically the same question that I've asked everyone else. Can you tell me about your experience as a Black woman at Indeed?

- Yeah, I think it's always hard for me to separate myself from their experiences, because as I mentioned, even if it's a specific thing that I haven't experienced it, it's something that I've heard before. It becomes very frustrating. Because it seems like simple things that could be changed very quickly, but that's just not the way the world sort of works. I definitely have to take my own time to either decompress. I'm really big on just talking it out. Whether it's talking to my safe space and people with on my team, whether it's therapy, and if I really want to distract myself and not think at all I like to play video games or watch movies. But I think there's a lot. You have to take care of yourself in these situations because again when I observe, I internalize those observations. And so for me it's like, "Okay, what can I do? What's going to make me feel like I'm pushing this situation in the right direction?" That's what gives me a little bit more peace. But I think even if you don't necessarily have, not in the position that I'm in, to affect those changes, again it just goes back to what have you learned? And how can you make a change? Again, no small act. It can be a little bit difficult. Like I said, I have my camera off and people can't always see the emotions that I'm expressing, while I'm typing these notes. I've definitely gone off and just sat and maybe cried for a little bit longer because something was either egregious or very relatable. So for me, I cope with springing into action and that's sort of what helps me know okay, we're moving in the right direction.

- So I asked you this question last week and you weren't really sure how to answer it. So I dunno if you've had any time to think about it. But I'll try asking it again. We're going to keep doing these. I love working with you. We're probably going to keep working together like this. But if at some point you moved on to something else and we brought in someone else to take this role, what advice would you give to a person coming into playing your role in these conversations?

- Yeah I think, still a hard question. I did think about it a little bit. And I think it just goes back to, when you're listening to these conversations, you have to have empathy. You have to be willing to-. Even if you haven't experienced something, you have to be willing to understand somebody else's situation. You have to be understand the feeling that it evokes and you want to make sure that you're capturing everything that they're saying. You want to capture, the emotions behind it as well because, that's something that I feel like we forget when it comes to empathy. It's not necessarily the situation, but it's the feeling that's behind it. Definitely take the time for yourself that you need if you need it. Figure out how you can make changes, and how you can be more supportive of people who are being open in these conversations. Even seeing them connect afterwards. Like, "Hey, Slack me. Let's do this, let's do that." It feels good to me to see, it's while we all may have had these mixed bag of experiences, it's a way of connecting people together. And I think probably has been one of the best parts about being in on these sessions.

- We are pretty close to the end of time and I could keep asking questions and talking to you for a while. So I think we need to land the plane here. I'm just going to close with the same question that I ask everyone at the end of these conversations. Which is, really looking back at sort of everything that's going on in the world, everything that we've been through, especially in the last few years with the pandemic. When you look at the experiences that you've had, what, if anything, has left you with some hope for the future?

- I think right now everything looks very messy. I think it looks messy, but I think that that mess is a good thing. I think of it as a growing pain. The pendulum has been way over here for a really long time and it's starting to swing, like it doesn't swing to a central point, like it swings in the other direction. While I feel like we're in a period of overcorrection and people don't feel comfortable saying things or they're thinking more, it's like, "Okay, it frustrates you that you have to think more about what you say and what you do?" I'm fine with that. Because people were not thinking, prior to that. So I think even though things look very messy, I think it's something that we need to lean into. One of the things I think about is the buffalo versus the cow in a storm. They say that the cow runs away from the storm. But cows are really slow, so the storm catches up with them. And now they're just running with the storm. Whereas buffalo, they run into the storm because they know if they run towards it, they'll be in it for a much shorter amount of time and they'll come out on the other side a lot faster. So I think right now, we're all a bunch cows running from the storm. I think we need to sort of move to become buffalos and lean into the situations that we're hearing, don't dismiss people's experiences. But just have a bit more empathy and listen. Listen and learn.

- That's an amazing final thought. Thank you for sharing that. Taylor, thank you so much for coming to this conversation with what feels like a real, open heart. And thank you so much for this partnership that we've had this year. It's been really an amazing experience for me. And at least from what we've heard from the women, I think it's been an important experience for them as well. Thank you so much for being a part of that. And thank you for everything that you do to help make Indeed and the world a better place.

- Yeah, definitely. Thank you for having me. I look forward to continuing this, I will move some things around if need be. This has been a great experience for me as well. And I really enjoyed seeing the impact that it's having.