What the ParityPledge means to me

June 2022

Synctera announced its commitment to the ParityPledge®. Learn more about this exciting DEI initiative and how one of Synctera’s Leaders, Dave Holmes-Kinsella (DHK), thinks about extending it beyond just the interview process

What the ParityPledge means to me

June 2022

Synctera announced its commitment to the ParityPledge®. Learn more about this exciting DEI initiative and how one of Synctera’s Leaders, Dave Holmes-Kinsella (DHK), thinks about extending it beyond just the interview process

Dave “DHK” Holmes-Kinsella (He/Him)
Head of Data Science

Counting things imprecisely as possible, DHK is responsible for helping teams at Synctera answer the most important questions about what they’re doing with data. You can find Dave swimming in the San Francisco harbor or mentoring at techtonica.org

Recently, our company announced our commitment to the ParityPledge®, whereby we promise to interview at least one woman and one person of color for every role.

Knowing our hiring practices as I do – I’m a hiring manager myself —  it would be easy to say “we are well committed to this and have been since before I joined.” But it’s more than that. A lot more.

You can read an announcement like the Parity Pledge and treat it as lip service or a gesture. I mean, what does it *really* mean to the company? Actions speak louder than words. So ask this: how does the company measure its progress in pursuit of goals anchored in Diversity? What’s the company’s current status?

The rest of this post is for any and all of you who are contemplating a new role or hiring for a new one.

<div class="rt-btn-wrap"><a href="https://www.synctera.com/jobs" class="button yellow w-button">Join the Synctera team </a></div>

Extending DEI beyond the interview

I’m learning more each day how to extend DEI beyond established business practices. If there’s one helpful thing I’ve discovered about creating a sense of belonging even before candidates click apply, it’s that recruiting starts with being present in the community. By “community” I mean people who may look and probably think differently to me, but who have the same values and passion to succeed.

When I held my inaugural in-person recruiting event in Toronto last year, one of our most-recently hired Engineers recommended the Coral Workspace at Juno College – an inclusive co-working space. Admittedly, I was caught off guard. It was very different from the plush, hotel or executive-lounge places of my past that we’d use to woo candidates. But it made sense after I got feedback from the community - it was easy to get to and  a place where candidates felt like they could be their true selves.

Therein lies the point. Oftentimes what we think is best for candidates is not really what they want. Our job as company ambassadors and managers must be to create an environment that makes someone feel comfortable – whether that’s the first day on the job or the first time hearing about the company. Help people answer the question “Is this a place I belong?”

Bringing this full circle, the Parity Pledge can be seen as checking the box if we don't connect to community and bring inclusion every step of the way. I can claim what we do is thoughtful, but where does the authentic presence in a community come from? That comes from action, like listening to feedback from candidates and accounting for them in our practices. It comes from volunteering in the community and contributing to it. Next time I’m in Toronto, you can expect to know where we’ll hold our recruiting event.

Taking action on DEI in recruiting

For the past few years I’ve been focusing on a few conscious and concerted efforts to meet people in their community, connect to their community, appreciate their community, and try to translate it to the workplace. Some of the things I’ve found helpful in my recruiting practices are:

  • Agreeing to LinkedIn connection requests and offering real advice when people come asking
  • Offering pro bono coaching services
  • Signing up to mentor people
  • Subscribing to- and resharing content on my social media that align with my values
  • Amplifying people and ideas who otherwise might not find audience in my network

These tips are something that work best for me, and is certainly not an exhaustive list. Contributing to a community can take many shapes and will be dependent on a person’s capacity to contribute. But we can’t expect a community to be present if we don’t contribute.

For candidates, make sure the company you want to work for is practicing what they’re preaching. You can find out a lot about a company’s commitment to “Diversity in Hiring” with a little sleuthing. Some concrete suggestions:

  • Check out the company’s press release page: what does the company say about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
  • Check out the LinkedIn profiles of the senior executives - are we reposting/blogging/talking about it?
  • What does GlassDoor say about it?
  • When talking with recruiters or those on the interviewing panel, ask them how the company’s commitment shows up in the day-to-day operations of the company
We're proud to support the ParityPledge, take the pledge at parity.org
“Oftentimes what we think is best for candidates is not really what they want. Our job as company ambassadors must be to create an environment that makes someone feel comfortable, whether that’s the first day on the job or the first time hearing about the company. Help them answer the question “Is this a place I belong?” — DHK

It’s the company we keep - my commitment as a manager

It’s not about us having a list of jobs we’re hiring for and a funnel that dictates who we elect to allow to join us. It’s about helping you, the candidate, make the best possible choice for your career. I want you to be able to make an informed decision. I want you to have agency throughout a transparent process. That’s familiar to a lot of senior people. But why shouldn’t people new in their career or more junior in their roles also have that power?

My first priority as a manager is to prepare you for your next role. That priority might get submerged in the day-to-day firefights and urgent priorities, but rest assured: the manager you deserve is the one who wants you to have a great experience, beginning with your first impression of us during the recruiting process up to your first day of work and beyond. I hope our company’s growth provides you with multiple opportunities. And I know I’ll help prepare you for your next role, wherever that is.

I’m proud of the work we do here at Synctera. I love the community we’re building inside our company and the way that we’re enabling entrepreneurs of every stripe to serve people they care about. This company is full of people like me — people who want the very best for one another and who will help each other find the success they deserve.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, please feel free to HMU (as my younger colleagues will say) on my calendly link

<div class="rt-btn-wrap"><a href="https://www.synctera.com/post/synctera-expands-commitment-to-support-diversity-in-fintech-innovation-through-collaboration-with-plaid" class="button yellow w-button">Learn how we're expanding DEI to the FinTech ecosystem with our Plaid Partnership </a></div>

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