Today we announced the addition of Christine Heckart as our first independent board member for Contentful. Christine brings a breadth of accomplishments and experience from global companies such as Microsoft, Cisco and Juniper Networks. She has also served on the board of Lam Research where she helped evolve the board over time and is currently the CEO of Scalyr, a company that also serves developers.
When we look for new leaders at Contentful, we look for people with great ideas that we don’t already have and perspectives that can help us with upcoming challenges. Christine’s skills and background complement those of our existing board members and are particularly relevant to our road ahead. From my first conversation with her, she has offered practical advice that I knew was useful immediately (in some instances, that very day). I’m thrilled to welcome her voice and experience at our boardroom table.
Partnering with All Raise
We connected with Christine through our partnership with All Raise, an organization dedicated to elevating the visibility and success of women, nonbinary individuals and others from underrepresented backgrounds in tech.
One of the biggest obstacles to creating diverse teams is that, by definition, you are looking for people who may not already be in your immediate network. Many companies feel the pressure to move quickly, so they end up hiring someone with a more familiar background or skill set because it seems that it will be faster.
This is why today, All Raise launched Board Xcelerate — a program that introduces tech companies and highly qualified leaders from diverse groups. Contentful is one of five companies to participate in the inaugural round of the program and it has been an amazing experience for us.
All Raise helped us navigate the challenge of meeting new people with the skills and perspectives that are relevant to our stage and our aspirations. They have gathered a large community of accomplished professionals with a variety of valuable experiences. The organization also streamlined what typically can be a lengthy process, trimming it to less than 90 days. We were fortunate to be introduced to Christine and even more fortunate that she chose to join our board.
We can’t foster creativity if we don’t also prioritize inclusion and diversity
Creativity and diversity are at the core of Contentful's DNA. We were founded in Berlin, a multicultural city that brings together people from all around the world. It is known for free thinking and, as a result, is a hub for art and technology. As a company “born in Berlin,” we are a community of people from all around the world and benefit from the creative culture of the city. It is an important part of our origin story and our future.
Contentful is a creative platform, used by more than 600,000 designers, developers and content creators — a group we call digital builders. Builders want to do things that have never been done before. They don’t want the “same old, same old” as they craft the next generation of digital experiences. If they did, they wouldn’t have come to us in the first place. We can’t build a creative product with a team that all looks, acts, thinks and lives the same way.
But prioritizing diversity in hiring isn’t enough. It is equally important to create an inclusive company culture where everyone is welcome and can be their full self at work. Our differences are vital to the work we do each day building a platform to better serve our customers' needs. These differences are also central to the culture and the company we are building together.
Creating a diverse and inclusive culture is not only good for our business — it is also reflective of our values. We want to create a company culture that reflects the world as we hope it will be.
Looking to the future
With more than 450 employees from 72 different countries of origin, we are proud of where we are today and we want to build on that foundation. As we double our workforce in the next year and a half, we will continue to focus on inclusion and diversity. We aim to be a company where everyone can build a great career and know they will be valued.
Companies that do this create an expectation that others will do the same, and as more progress is made, diverse leadership will become a standard for the industry as a whole. When people of all backgrounds have more opportunities to grow and lead, the organizations they are a part of, including our own, will thrive as a result. Together we can build a more inclusive industry and society.