When I started working at Contentful, I received a welcome pack in which one of the items was a rainbow t-shirt that said “Everyone is Welcome Here.” My first thought was, How did they know?!? After some time and after getting to know the diverse people at Contentful, I realized that “Everyone is Welcome Here” aren’t just words, it's the real culture of the company.
This really felt amazing: To be welcomed, accepted, and celebrated for who I am at my place of work. I grew up in an environment where I wasn’t always accepted or loved, experienced discrimination in the workplace, and found it difficult to find a job as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Unfortunately, I’m not unique with these experiences. According to a study published in 2021 by the UCLA School of Law, “Forty-six percent of LGBT workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives.”
Working in recruitment, I have made it my mission to help members of the LGBTQIA+ community find jobs and feel comfortable where they work, whether it be at Contentful or somewhere else. This is one of the reasons why I was so proud and excited to be a part of the Sticks & Stones LGBTQIA+ Job Fair this year.
We had contributions from an incredibly diverse group of LGBTQIA+ Contentfuler@s (Contentful employees) and allies in planning, executing, and staffing the fair. As I said earlier, I wasn’t always able to be as out and proud as I am now, but luckily I feel comfortable being my full and true self here. I want everyone who is a part of the Contentful community — as an employee, candidate, customer, or someone else — to feel this same way.
This is what “Everyone is Welcome Here” means to me. I’m proud of what we have done and excited for what’s to come!
The Contentfuler@s at Sticks & Stones Berlin 2022, from left to right: Sladja Brankovich, Martina Ioriatti, Brady Richards, Caroline Less, Kevin Harris, Nick Meny, Katerina Trendafilova, and Baris Sen.
An emphasis on people and a sense of belonging
Of course, this is an ongoing effort to build on the work we’ve been doing month after month, year after year. In that spirit, I’ve asked other Contentfuler@s to share their perspectives on what it’s like to work at the company. Here’s a selection of their responses.
Nick Meny is a Go To Market Enablement Onboarding Specialist in the Sales team. “When I started my current role in Contentful,” he explains, “on my first 1:1 with my new manager, her first question to me was, ‘I saw on your profile you use He and They pronouns, how would you like me to address you to make you feel the most comfortable?’ This was the first time anyone outside of the queer community asked this question and it truely shows the emphasis Contentful and leadership put on people and inclusivity.”
Ivett Ördög is an Engineering Manager in the Product Development team. She’s also the author of a popular blog post from last year that invited LGBTQIA+ people to join Contentful. “The fact that our Contentful family has many trans members — several of whom joined in the last 12 months — is a testament to the welcoming culture at Contentful,” she writes.
“I really enjoy working with this community and all the events that we organized with the Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging working group that continue to raise awareness of various forms of diversity,” Ivett says, “including, but not limited to, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, neuro diversity, religion, ethnicity, race, and national origin.”
Slaveya Ristovic leads the Recruiting Enablement programs in the People team. “Contentful equals community,” she tells me. “And our statement of inclusivity doesn’t just end with ‘Everyone is welcome here.’ Understanding, promoting, and encouraging the different nuances of our community is at the forefront of our core values at Contentful.”
Slaveya emphasizes the importance of being an ally in the workplace. “I make a point to show up every day as an ally to our diverse communities at Contentful and beyond, educating myself and others about past and current adversities, as well as how LGBTQIA+ gender identities and sexuality exist in relation to other social issues.”
“It’s important to make space for allyship in everything we do professionally and personally; to make room for the LGBTQIA+ community not only to exist, but also thrive and grow.”
Visitors to the Contentful booth at Sticks & Stones Berlin 2022
More reflections on Sticks & Stones Berlin
Circling back to the Sticks & Stones fair in Berlin earlier this month, I’d like to share one more story, this time from Caroline Less, a Recruitment Coordinator at Contentful. We worked together on the organization of our booth, and she explains that even though we went to the fair to support one community, our reach expands beyond that to make ties with all communities.
“Techno music pumped through Berlin’s Verti Music hall on June 11, where approximately 2,000 working professionals wandered around Uhlala’s Sticks & Stones’ LGBTQIA+ Job Fair,'' Caroline says. “Sticks & Stones has been a pioneering career fair since 2009, connecting emerging LGBTQIA+ talent with proud companies and offering a platform for professionals to showcase their skills.”
The Contentful booth was located just under a loud speaker and our “Wheel of Swag” attracted quite a bit of attention. Attendees were encouraged to pose in front of our photo wall that was covered in Berlin Bears carrying the Pride Flag. Caroline continues, “Our Contentfuler@s engaged with those looking for a welcoming and accepting company, sharing our own stories of fulfilment and acceptance at Contentful while showcasing our great products.”
An attendee approached the booth asking how Contentful supports people with disabilities (i.e. a hearing impairment). “In the initial moments of the discussion,” she says, “conversing was a challenge due to the techno music from the event’s speakers, so I suggested we have the conversation outside the main range of the noise. We shared with the attendee that Contentful makes great effort to be accessible and welcome to all people, regardless of being differently abled.”
The conversation took a turn toward the specifics of the individual’s skills, specifically, the coding languages they knew. “This was a little outside my realm of expertise, not working in Product or Development,” Caroline says.
“That’s where you came in, Kevin! As a member of the Technical Recruitment team, you were able to answer their specific questions in the quieter area of the event and helped get the potential candidate excited about Contentful and the environment we provide to all people.”
The Contentful Sticks & Stones team embodied one of our core company values, to strive together, where we work in close collaboration and get someone excited about joining our team and contributing to our community.
We were humbled to learn how to accommodate different needs in an environment like the job fair and answer their questions. This was an amazing experience to learn from and embody our growth mindset, because now we know how to improve to make a space that all people see Contentful as a place where they can bring all parts of themselves to work every day.
And of course, the conversation at Contentful continues beyond Pride Month. We’ll be attending the Unicorns in Tech Summit in Berlin on October 14, another celebration of the diversity in tech for the whole spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ family and its allies. We’d be delighted to welcome you there.