To celebrate International Women's Day, we want to take an introspective look at a woman's experience working at Nomad. As a company, we are committed to including diversity and inclusion as a part of our corporate responsibility. We filter our content through several members of our team in hopes of ensuring our platform is used to elevate voices rather than take advantage of underrepresented populations. However, we are not a company with a ton of diverse women in leadership. So, as a gesture of transparency, instead of “highlighting diversity hires” we have decided to give our audience a glimpse into the gender dynamics and experience working as a woman at Nomad. I'd like to think we are above average as an inclusive workplace for women, but we also still have work to do.
When I started working at Nomad, I was one of two females (both named Sofia/Sophia, coincidentally). Both of the co-founders are white males, as were many of the original men at the company. As open as many of them are, a cis-gendered white male perspective still comes with it’s own implicit biases and privileges which had impact on the culture. This impact was prevalent when I started at the company and it is still something we are working through today.
Present day, we have 22 male employees and 20 female employees. A handful of those who started when I did either remained at the company or were promoted into leadership positions, much like myself and Kristin (the Customer Support Director). As a company, we have 9 directors, 2 of which are female. We’ve added two directors in the last year, both of which are men and leaders in their respective domains. Although there is representation of women in the leadership team, there is a burden that Kristin and I have to represent about half the team when it comes to speaking up regarding the effects of decisions on the females at Nomad.
Over time, I’ve witnessed a shift for many of the men at Nomad from viewing emotional intelligence and sensitivity as something that needed to be overcome to a strength and asset in team dynamics. This shift began to happen when some of the men began realizing that acts of initially recognized aggression or confrontation were rather emotionally driven behaviors aimed at improving the entire team and the growth of us all. Women in the workplace are constantly doing a dance of limiting the amount of emotion they show and filtering any assertiveness, bold statements, or masculine language. Especially at a brand that is typically seen as masculine, it can be very difficult to feel as if it is our space to speak up. Although women at Nomad are free to express their emotions, we recognize this is an area for continued growth. Over time an open understanding of the dance that women are conditioned to perform in the workplace will hopefully lead men to better support the women around them.
Up until a few years ago, there were many male dominated or male only departments at Nomad. With our recent hires and promotions, we have broken those gender trends in design, product, and warehousing. Dani Rodriguez, a very talented producer, moved from our sales team to managing all of our content. Through the eyes of a Latina woman, our content has become not only more gender inclusive but begun to include people of more diverse backgrounds. Olivia Xu joined our previously male only product team as an Associate Product Manager. Alongside being an accomplished electrical & computer engineer, she always takes the extra steps to get product feedback from other women at the company as we move toward being a more gender neutral brand. For the second time in Nomad’s 10 year history, a woman, Grace Bredice, is managing our Santa Barbara warehouse. Grace is widely respected as one of our most efficient employees with impeccable follow up skills. As Nomad moves more women into new roles at the company, we will continue to see the valuable impacts, just as we have with the three ladies highlighted above.
I do now genuinely feel that when discussing the effects of women in the workplace to many of the other males at the company, I am not only taken seriously, but there is caution and care taken for active listening and understanding. Although listening to women is a big step towards a more gender inclusive workspace, it’s essential to include women in decision making conversations and to take the time and space to consider how those actions may affect others.
We’ve come far. Do we still have work that needs to be done? Absolutely. However, despite the challenging moments, I am proud to work at a company that allows for change and strives for gender equality.