Erica Baker recently did an interview with Tech Crunch reporter Megan Rose Dickey discussing the impact of racism and sexism in the tech industry and what she is doing to foster a more diverse culture at her progressive start-ups Slack.
Slack, a fast-growing team communication software company, originally hired Baker as a build and release engineer. However, over the past year she has used her passion for equality to become vocal about how women, people of color and other marginalized groups should be more included in the tech scene.
In the interview Baker explained how she wants to challenge the industry’s widespread misogynistic “brogrammer” culture throughout Silicon Valley through two novel ideas – increasing the transparency and accountability at Slack.
She believes salary amounts should be published and open for everyone within the organization to see. Next, she says she is working on the company revealing its retention rates. Baker also pointed out that if a company wants to increase its diversity it may have to restructure its perks and amenities to appeal to ALL employees and not just their original founders (which are stereotypically white males). And although she notes that Venture Capitalists are starting to recognize the need for more diversity, she notices that it is still not a priority for most founders and CEOs. Overall, Baker believes it is better for the CEO to be an advocate for diversity instead of just hiring a diversity head since,“CEOs set the tone. If the CEO wants something done, it’ll get done. “
Overall, Baker says she enjoys working at her startup because she feels heard and understood, which is rare for people of color within large companies or startups.