Culture

How we are making VTEX diverse and inclusive

Paulo Soares
Paulo Soares May 25, 2021
How we are making VTEX diverse and inclusive

From a Slack prompt to a Committee member, discover the software engineer’s journey who is engaged in promoting diversity and inclusion at VTEX!

“Will there be any celebration for the LGBTQIA+ Pride Day on the 29th?”
That was the question that started my journey with diversity and inclusion in VTEX a few years ago.

Until then, I was one of the few LGBTQIA+ people at VTEX LAB. A colleague from another project commented that there was little diversity and representation in the projects and that there was no celebration. After wallowing for a moment, I sent a message on our communication channel.

It did not take long to engage people in looking for simple ideas that we could put into practice quickly and the most viable and quick to produce won – making buttons. The idea was launched on the 26th. On the 27th, we already had a logo proposal. And, on the 29th, we had 18 buttons, which were initially aimed at the students working on the project.

The initiative soon gained great visibility and was accepted by the whole company. We even had a new batch request for the staff in the main headquarters in Rio, and the week after, there were several people proudly wearing the buttons in the company. It was an incredible feeling!

But I believe the most significant accomplishment has been the creation of the #diversity-inclusion channel, where we started discussions about diversity and inclusion in the VTEX environment. In the beginning, the discussion focused on LGBTQIA+ subjects, but soon it became a channel for discussing different topics, such as the inclusion of blacks, women, people with disabilities. And that is how the discussion on how to attract more diverse talents to make up different areas in VTEX got started.

From idea to action

That message about LGBTQIA+ Pride Day was the initial kick-off for VTEX in building a more diverse community. Since then, many things have been evolving.

In 2020, in addition to the women in technology talks, we had the LGBTQIA+ diversity month, black awareness month. Now we have affinity groups created internally based on four pillars: Women and Gender, LGBTQIA+, Race, and People with Disabilities (PWD).

Speaking of PWDs, in December 2020, we celebrated for the first time the People with Disabilities Day. We had the illustrious presence of Mizael Conrado, a pioneer in this fight.

In 2021, we already celebrated, for the first time, the trans visibility week (from January 25 to January 29), bringing information on the main communication channels and conversation panel with two trans individuals, Noah Scheffel and Júlia, who shared their experiences on the job market, in their personal lives, and in society.

Our calendar is in constant planning. Many fantastic ideas are on the agenda with other events related to gender, race, and people with diverse abilities.

More diversity and inclusion in Engineering and in VTEX as a whole

I joined the Diversity Committee in September 2020 when I made official my interest in actively participating in the company’s diversity and inclusion actions.

For now, I am the only Engineering representative on the committee, and my dream is to change this area in VTEX.

Currently, our Engineering makeup is not too different from IT in general, still having a vast majority representation of cisgender and heterosexual white men. But not for long, as we are working to change this reality.

We are assessing the situation, understanding what has already been done, and what we still need to do to alleviate the pain in relation to this topic. Soon, we will have support from a consultancy firm to start the initiatives. We will define areas where we want to act, in alignment with VTEX’s desired future for 2024. The affinity groups will be our allies as we build the VTEX of the future, one that is more diverse and inclusive.

This should make the workplace more comfortable, safe, and open where everyone can be themselves, regardless of gender expression, sexuality, skin color, race, or disability.

Diversity is an ingredient for success

Diversity today is no longer a trend; it is a necessity for companies. This is what we see in articles like this one on Gazeta do Povo, this one about a trainee program, and this one that speaks about diversity being a catalyst for company growth, just to mention a few.

Understanding different points of view, gathering different backgrounds and experiences when designing a product can be a huge differential that can have an impact on your launch to the market. I believe that VTEX is taking the first steps to really stand out, not only in the e-commerce arena in the next few years but also in relation to diversity and inclusion.

I think it is the first step to be able to grow in a healthy way as a company. By representing and including all possible points of view, we follow the trend pointed out by the main research institutes in the world that reinforce the importance of diversity for the creation and evolution of products.

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