Happy International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month from everyone at CircleCI! We recently launched a framework for employee resource groups (ERGs) to serve the richly diverse interests within our organization. Today we want to share our newest ERG, CircleSHEi, tell you about how this group came together, and share some notes from the kickoff mixer we enjoyed together this week.

History of diversity initiatives at CircleCI

For the past two years, CircleCI has run a Belonging & Inclusion group that meets weekly to discuss awareness topics and provide a space for driving partnerships with underrepresented groups in tech, hosting events and connecting their members to CircleCI. On the shoulders of this initial work and through champions in the CircleCI recruiting and human resources teams, our first Employee Resource Group (ERG), QueerSphere, was formed late last year. Its charter is to nurture, advocate for, and develop queer CircleCI employees. As the first ERG, QueerSphere organized a formal ERG framework and paved the way for more ERGs–with plans to host events, provide trainings, and organize work that fosters inclusion in our workplace as well as partnership with organizations focused on improving representation of marginalized groups in technology.

This week, we had our first kickoff event for the newest ERG: CircleSHEi. This group of CircleCI women and allies in San Francisco, with remote attendees from around the US and Canada, numbered twenty-six participants and spent the hour eating breakfast together while each member told their personal career path story. It was a great way to get to know the whole group, get a foundation for who we are, and make new connections across the company. We sparked so many conversations that went on throughout the day; it was an exciting beginning!

Circle[SHE]i Women & Allies breakfast

Career path stories and themes

The CircleSHEi kickoff had participants from every area of the company: Engineering, Product, Finance, Revenue, Marketing, Solutions Engineering, and four women from the CircleCI executive team. The career path stories told by every participant helped us to know one another, see opportunities to help each other, and bonded us across common threads. Some of the themes of our stories included getting burnt out in a role and using relationships to make a positive change. Another theme was finding strength around showing or sharing your emotions at work. A third theme that emerged was about making personal connections with women and allies that changed your career path, taking you to a new industry or back to an industry you worked in previously with renewed energy. The CircleSHEi group is committed to supporting one another in challenging times, to helping each other find that next career step or pivot to avoid or alleviate burnout, and to find strength in those areas where we might not always feel strong.

CircleSHEi mission statement and purpose

Build a positive culture for women and allies by supporting their voices, offering training, fostering inclusion, creating access points, and providing a platform for knowledge-sharing and mentorship.

We specifically want to achieve our mission by doing the following:

  • Support a positive work culture for women that helps women employees succeed, empowers women to develop their career growth paths, and enables women to get or give mentoring.

  • Make it comfortable for everyone to be at work by supporting the voices of women through an inclusive workplace that offers training for listening, biases, interviewing, and communication etiquette supporting women being heard.

  • Foster inclusion through events and awareness by creating access points for women to develop new skills, giving women a platform for sharing their stories and industry knowledge, and being a place to address issues for women in technology through actions.

The purpose of the group is tightly coupled with our shared values:

  • Listening: we value a diverse set of voices being heard in our company
  • Community: we encourage a diverse community
  • Helpfulness: we work together despite our differences
  • Understanding: we respect one another and our unique backgrounds and experiences, we treat one another with positive intent

All are welcome

CircleSHEi is open to all genders and includes people with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have just graduated from university, others have decades of industry experience. We have parents of babies and young children. Some have many years of experience in male-dominated industries and teams, as well as diverse professional backgrounds from fashion design to banking. Many thanks to all the women and allies of women at CircleCI and to our executive sponsors for helping to launch CircleSHEi and putting energy into growing our inclusive and welcoming culture.

What’s next

Our goal for the first quarter of this year is to organize a joint volunteer or charity event with QueerSphere to continue the Women’s History Month celebration by giving back to our communities.