Emma Smith is a rising sophomore at UC Berkeley and summer communications intern at Nextdoor.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I interviewed some of the incredible members of #TeamNextdoor’s women’s employee resource group (aka Women in the Neighborhood). Read on to learn more about each woman’s thoughts on equality in the workplace.
Priya Nakkiran, Nextdoor Software Engineer Intern
Do you have a strong female role model?
In addition to my mom, who is the strongest woman I know, I’ve also got to give credit to the upper-belt women I’ve met through jiujitsu. Without them, I never would have stuck with the sport or learned how to use my tiny size to my advantage (a surprisingly transferable lesson).
Do you think females in leadership positions bring something different to the table?
It makes a huge difference for girls early in their careers to observe women in high-ranking positions – especially in tech. I think a successful female leader who earns respect from the entire company empowers every female under her to speak up a little more, take more initiative, and be that much more ambitious in their own career.
Riya Singh, Nextdoor Engineering Manager
Do you have a strong female role models?
My mom grew up in a small village in India and was the first woman to graduate with a masters degree in geophysics in an era when half the girls in her 10th grade class were getting married. I get my confidence and willingness to work hard and embrace the grind from her, while always being upbeat and wildly optimistic about the possibilities ahead.
What advice would you give to a young person negotiating for more benefits, salary, or responsibility on the job?
Don’t be afraid to say no or take up new challenges. Experience something beyond your comfort zone. It also builds up sweat equity, which you can leverage later for negotiating terms that work for you. Good teams build strongly on “give and take” principles – if you find your colleagues stuck, offer help. Share your work hacks and tips. If your team is productive and successful, every individual gains from it. Ask for what you deserve – come up with a clear road map with your manager on what you need to focus on and deliver to make it to the next level.
Stacey La Torre, Nextdoor Head of Talent Management and Development
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Your job is not to have all the answers. Putting this type of pressure on yourself can lead to unnecessary stress and imposter syndrome. A better way to approach this is with a growth mindset. Remind yourself that your job is to become really good at finding the answers and empowering others to do the same.
Why do you think it’s important to have a diverse and inclusive leadership team?
I believe it’s important to have a diverse and inclusive group of employees, not just a leadership team. And I love that at Nextdoor we have added the word “belonging” to our diversity and inclusion initiatives. In order to realize the full potential of our employees and to create an environment where they can do their best work, we need a diverse, inclusive culture where people feel like they belong. Belonging is a fundamental human need, and something that translates around the globe and across every culture.
Jillian Zdepski, Nextdoor Revenue Operations Associate
What is a challenge you have faced in your job? How did you overcome it?
In prior roles, I have often been the only young woman in the room, and this instilled a timidness in me in meetings. I am working on overcoming this. I know my perspective matters, and it’s a disservice to myself and others not to speak up. My feedback is most often around my confidence / conviction, as opposed to the quality of my work.
🙋🏻♀️✅💪🏼 At Nextdoor, we believe in equality for ALL neighbors, regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, or background. Although the world has come a long way in the last 99 years, we have more work to do! Tell us – what does equality mean to you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!