🌐 L&D Roundtable: Development Opportunities at Cloudflare
Our Learning & Development team empowers all Cloudflare employees to do their best and help build an empathetic and inclusive community. Join our roundtable discussion to learn more about the tools and resources, course offerings, community engagement strategies, and diversity, equity, and inclusion goals they've produced.
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Hello everyone, welcome. We are the learning and development team at Cloudflare and we're going to talk to you about development opportunities at Cloudflare.
We'll go into introductions in a moment, but let's start first with going through what is learning and development and like, what is that all about?
We'll then talk about ourselves, introduce ourselves to you and then we'll go into what development opportunities we have here at Cloudflare for employees at Cloudflare.
And so let's get it kicked off by reading our mission statement. This will help sort of solidify to you what is learning and development.
So our mission is to provide the tools and resources for all Cloudflare employees to grow and develop skills critical for success and also build an empathetic and inclusive community.
So that's what we are at Cloudflare, but for the rest of you folks, what is learning and development?
Can you give a little glimpse into what the L&D team is all about?
Let's start first with Kelley, if you don't mind. I knew it was going to be me.
Hi, I'm Kelley. I'm on the learning and development team. I'm based in the San Francisco office, but I'm not in the office.
I'm just in a house. I got into L&D sort of a roundabout way, but I used to be a teacher.
So I used to teach kindergarten and fourth grade and I loved it.
And I was just constantly inspired by the power and fun of education and learning opportunities.
And so I was really excited to be able to take that outside of just a classroom and be able to do it with grownup kids and do it at somewhere like Cloudflare.
And what is learning and development to you, Kelley?
Oh, to me? So many things. I think it's in one word, just freedom.
Because if you can learn and grow and develop, you can do anything.
So it could be books, it could be workshops, it could be anything that helps you grow and sort of be inspired by and move in new directions that you may not have thought of.
Sweet. Thank you for that. Who'd like to go next?
Let's go with Carly next. Thanks, Andrew. And thanks, Kelley, for your intro too.
Just like Kelley, I was also a high school teacher, or a teacher, I should say.
I was high school. I'm in Chicago, Illinois, and I taught high school for four years, both broadcast communications and literature.
And I had the opportunity when I was in Chicago to move to New York.
I'm like, I'm gonna move.
Let's see what this is all about. So I moved to New York where I am still based today in Brooklyn.
And as I was looking for teaching jobs, I found this other opportunity that was like corporate learning.
So it was that I was putting together workshops for different companies and helping them brainstorm.
It was actually for pharmaceutical companies and helping them brainstorm how to market their drugs.
And I was like, okay, this is like adult learning. This is like taking what I do and then bringing it to the corporate world.
And through there, I worked at a number of different companies in different stages, different sizes, with some really funky names, worked at a company called Rebel Mouse, worked at a company called Red Frog Events.
So a number of wacky names, but then also worked at publicly traded companies like Pandora, other companies like WeWork, and then Rent the Runway as well.
And all throughout my experience of learning and development, it's been very similar as it was when I was a teacher.
I think learning and development is setting clear expectations for what success looks like and giving individuals the building blocks on how to get there so that they can feel successful.
That's it. Should I hand it over to Sophia, Andrew? Thank you. Okay, Sophia.
Thanks, Carly. My name is Sophia. Similar to Kelly and Carly, I wasn't actually a teacher, but I was working in education in the nonprofit world.
So really helping students with learning disabilities get into mentorship programs in order to be successful in an education system that's really tailored towards one style of learning.
And that kind of kicked off my curiosity and excitement for understanding that there's so many ways to learn and so many different learning styles and environments that work for some folks and not for others.
And so that kind of similar to other folks in this room made me want to dive into adult development and see what that looked like and how that varied or maybe how similar it was.
So that's how I found Cloudflare, very excited to be here working on the learning and development team.
And really for me, thinking about learning and development meant is to watch people grow, go from one stage to another, achieve their goals and being along for that process and helping them achieve those goals.
Thanks, Sophia. And folks, I'm Andrew Fitch. I'm based out of our San Francisco office, but I'm in Joshua Tree, California right now, which is great, by the way.
And yeah, learning and development, my L&D journey and everything.
I got into learning and development somewhat accidentally, but in hindsight, it's really where I was supposed to end up anyway.
My first job out of school was running a screen acting school in Boston, and I didn't mean to get into education per se.
A lot of my family's in education and I was never an actual teacher other than just a workshop or two every now and then.
But I really enjoyed being around people who were striving to work toward their dreams or striving to be better people or to be like their better version of themselves or to try new skills, pushing themselves and just really enjoy being around that kind of struggle and that shared pursuit.
And then the community that arose because of it, because people were going through similar things together and learning and growing together.
So I thought, well, that was really cool. And so I ended up continuing to work at Capital and Test Prep, which is a large education company.
And that took me to California.
And I then ended up working in their headquarters in New York.
And I moved back to California to work at a couple of different coding schools.
And then I ended up at Cloudflare because one of the former coding school teachers tapped my shoulder and said, why don't you, figuratively speaking, tap my shoulder, by the way, said, why don't you come over and check out Cloudflare?
And I was like, I don't, I've never heard of it, to be honest with you.
And I hadn't. And it wasn't an education-focused company per se.
So I just, I didn't really know if it would be a fit for me or not, but I came in and I sort of noticed, wow, this is a, it's a surging company.
It's a growing company. There's lots of opportunity. There are a lot of great people around and there's a lot of opportunity to make an impact at the company.
So that's, that's why I was really excited to get in there. And what I did when I first started at the company was started to help found employee resource groups.
And I'll get more into that later about it, like inclusion education, but that's where I found my real passion area at Cloudflare.
And that's how I ended up in learning and development.
And that's where I still am. And so learning and development to me, you can probably already pick it up from what I've said here, but it's about inspiring people to, to think differently, to be better, to be better versions of themselves, to succeed, to accomplish their dreams, their goals in life in general.
And so, you know, if, if that's what learning and development is, that is absolutely what's best for the company as well as the individuals.
And so I love that it's just kind of all around the right thing to do for everybody and benefits everybody.
So that's what L&D is for me.
And folks, while we're on the L&D, what is L&D? Thank you. While we're on the, what is L&D topic, we still have about three more minutes of this section if we want to talk about it.
Could we maybe just talk about, you know, how the L &D team has evolved over time at Cloudflare?
And I do actually have to start with Kelly again, this time, because Kelly, I think has been in the L&D team the longest by far.
I was going to jump in there. Yeah, I was. So I came into this role working with specifically our new hire training when there was no L&D team.
It was just the people team.
I reported to a business partner. Yeah, and it was like just me doing things, which was fun and also daunting.
And then we hired a head of learning and development.
Someone else on the team sort of joined and then eventually Andrew joined and we got Carly, which was amazing.
And then Sophia joined most recently, but it already feels like forever ago.
Yeah, it was. And I think that's pretty normal.
It was just part of the people team. They were just doing training and some of the ad hoc stuff.
But as we've grown, we've been able to offer more opportunities and really build up what we're doing.
So I'm much happier to be on a team of four instead of just a team of me trying to figure things out.
And I'm excited to see it grow as well. Folks, what do you think? What opportunities we have to grow our team in the future?
Well, like we mentioned, we're all based in the U.S.
right now. So we have a really good opportunity to expand our outreach and make our team more global.
So really looking forward to doing that in the upcoming year because we do everything we do.
We use the slogan, make it inclusive and make it global.
So even though we're all based in the U.S., we are helping all of our employees at Cloudflare and so excited to expand our team to that global reach.
I think that's one way of expanding our team. And then we'll talk about expanding our offerings and things like that later.
So I'll pause before I go before I go into that.
Well, thank you, everyone. Yeah, we're right about at the 10 minute mark. So I guess we can slide in now to talk about what kinds of development opportunities we have for employees at Cloudflare.
And so I think for this section, maybe I'll hand it over to Sophia first.
Sophia, I know I haven't called you on you first yet.
So if you don't mind, could you tell us a little bit about what we have going on for development opportunities at Cloudflare and what you do within those opportunities?
Yeah. So I specifically run new hire orientation. So thinking about the development of an employee day one through day four, those general orientation days, and then really thinking about the experience, making sure that their first exposure to Cloudflare is really impactful and meaningful so that on day five, they can really start to transition into their team and into their role.
Kelly, who works on CFEDU, will tell you a little bit more about that is really takes it from those four days of orientation into 30 and 90 days to continue to develop employees as they transition into the company and then beyond.
So working on development opportunities, whether that's workshops, whether that's coaching, all we run the gamut of things.
So I will hand it over to Kelly to kind of talk a little bit more about CFEDU.
Thanks, Sophia. Sophia has done great things with their new hire training.
So it just continues to be better and better.
And I'm so glad to have her on the team. Yeah. So after your new hire and you're just a regular employee at Cloudflare, what do we have for you?
And CFEDU was one of our opportunities that we launched last quarter, Q2, feels like forever ago.
And how we think of CFEDU is CFEDU is all of our different development opportunities that focus on the behaviors that we see successful people at Cloudflare have.
So we have these Cloudflare capabilities, which are essentially our values.
And those detail the successful behaviors that you need to succeed at Cloudflare.
So we think of performance as results, what you do in your job, and then behaviors, the how you do that part of your job.
And that's what our capabilities talk about.
So CFEDU is a list of a bunch of different development opportunities to help you develop in each of those capabilities.
Currently, it's all live, well, virtual live workshops.
But we are definitely going to expand to have more on-demand content and things like that.
So you don't have to be somewhere at a certain time.
But last quarter, we launched with over, I think, over 30 different offerings, a bunch of different offerings of different workshops and courses.
We had over 400 participants join, which was great for our first quarter.
And then this quarter, we're launching with even more opportunities. So I'm really excited for that.
And we have just a bunch of different courses that are applicable to anyone at the company.
So regardless of your role, these are things that can help you grow in your skill.
And so we have career growth workshops. There's one for managers to learn more about coaching skills.
We have workshops about how to deliver valuable feedback.
And I think one of the sort of magic things about L&D is we can see what problems are coming up for people in the company.
We work very closely with HRBPs. And then we can sort of take steps back and be like, how can we educate and help give people these skills so it doesn't develop into a problem later on?
So how can we help folks get better at feedback so there isn't all this no potential conflict or things like that?
So I'm really excited about the offerings we have for CFEDU this coming quarter.
There are too many to list them all, but there are a lot of good ones, both for managers and for individual contributors.
And part of what we offer as part of CFEDU is our inclusion education program.
So I'm going to pass it off to Andrew to give us a little more detail about that.
Yeah, thank you for speaking to that, Kelly. And similarly to you, by the way, I mean, like for inclusion education at Cloudflare, what we try to do is to listen to the employees' needs, to listen to what's going on in the world, to listen to the company's needs, and also to listen to our HRBPs, which, by the way, are, I'm sorry, people team business partners.
And so those are the folks who really are working with all the managers at Cloudflare, all the different employees at Cloudflare, and they really have a handle on what's going on.
So addressing specific needs as they come up, and as I think the whole world has woken up to these days, the whole world is affected by unconscious bias.
And everybody has some degree of unconscious bias within their heads.
And society, because of that, also has unconscious bias baked into it.
So we, of course, have an unconscious bias education program.
So I'm going to talk a little bit about our different educational offerings here.
We have four different offerings that I'll talk about for inclusion education right now, as well as some future offerings coming up.
So I spoke about the unconscious bias program. We have three different workshops as part of that series.
So the first one is an e-learning. It takes about an hour or so to complete.
It's an introduction to unconscious bias, what it's all about, and then kind of starting to understand how did it get there, and where is it in our brains, and what can we start to do about it?
And then we go into two different live, yet virtual, as Kelly was saying, employee -facilitated workshops to drill even further down into what is it all about, where does it exist within us, where does it exist within our society and within our organization, meaning Cloudflare.
And our third workshop is really almost wholly based on what can we do to fix this?
What can we do to make Cloudflare better? How can we remove bias from processes, from policies, so that we aren't, you know, so that we aren't making poor choices as a company, and so that we are truly inclusive as a company?
And that's why we call this an inclusive, excuse me, inclusion education program.
So that's a little bit about our unconscious bias program.
Oh, and actually, one more thing I should note too, I mentioned it's employee-facilitated.
There are, I think, maybe 15 or so employees now who are facilitators of these workshops, so these folks have stepped forward because they're passionate about learning this stuff, they're passionate about educating others about this stuff, and I just want to point one of them out, it's Kelly Welsh, who's in this room right now.
And Kelly, have you facilitated a workshop yet? I know you were just, went through training.
Not yet. I'm a little nervous for the first one, but I'm really excited.
The training set me up well. Awesome. Thanks, Kelly. And moving on next, and this is actually our oldest inclusion education program, is what we call how we work together, which is all about how to be an ally to people who are unlike yourself.
And so learning about the inclusive language that we need as an organization, and the how to act as an ally if a certain incident comes up, like if you hear something happening that doesn't sit quite well in your stomach, or you just feel like that sounded a little cringeworthy, or like it might have not been the most inclusive language, or maybe that it even sounded like it could have been harmful to a certain person of like a different background, or something like that.
Like how do you react effectively and appropriately so that you're not escalating the situation, but de -escalating the situation, hopefully removing future situations from even happening at Cloudflare.
So that's a really important workshop too, and that's another employee facilitated workshop.
We have, I think, roughly 12 facilitators of that workshop at Cloudflare, and one of them is actually in this room as well, Sophia.
Have you facilitated a workshop yet?
I've co-hosted one, but next week hosting one with one other facilitator, very excited.
Yeah, awesome. I'm excited for you too. I think all of these programs, I'm just speaking for myself who have also facilitated a bunch of these, I think they're a lot of fun and really great opportunities to also get to meet more people at the company.
And especially right now that we're all working virtually, it's a great way to connect because it's so hard to find these connection opportunities with other kind of random employees that we don't normally work with otherwise.
So great opportunity to do that. And if you folks who are listening have these opportunities at your companies, I'd strongly recommend diving into these as well, because you'll probably find the same thing too, that it's pretty enjoyable, it's pretty eye -opening and empowering as well.
And then also a great connection point to the company.
Andrew, sorry, just to jump in there, some of the feedback we've been getting from CFEDU, a lot of it is about the content and how great the workshops are, but so many people are so happy to have the opportunity to connect with people outside of just their team and the people they see every day.
And especially, we've had a ton, as I think many companies had a ton of new hires who've started and never been in an office and don't know anyone outside of their team.
So a lot of people have been really happy to sort of meet other people and get to know more of the company.
Yeah, definitely. Thank you for chiming in about that.
And folks, feel free to chime in anytime, by the way. Let's keep this casual and fun and engaging.
All right, so a couple more programs that I'll talk about.
So one is our Manager Diversity and Inclusion Goal Setting Workshop Initiative, whatever you want to call that.
But it's an experience for managers to dive into and to better understand what is diversity, what is inclusion, and how can we make our teams more diverse and also more inclusive?
And so all of our managers are asked to go through these programs and to set diversity goals for the teams and set inclusion goals for their teams, so that we can leverage our management structure at the company to go and to help to change Cloudflare.
And so that's been very successful so far as well, and we're excited about that.
And another one, too, that we did, not necessarily most recently, it's an ongoing initiative, but it just happened in the month of June, was what we call Cloudflare's Week On, our anti-racism education and action initiative.
And so this is a huge, basically a conference, a week-long conference that we did with 16 different live inclusion-based education programs.
So whether they be workshops or keynote sessions or hundreds of anti-racism resources to dive into, all about what is racism, how is it baked into society, and what can we do about it as a company and also as individuals at a company.
So that was also a really successful initiative because the majority of Cloudflare did participate in it, and it's all available, too, fortunately, due to Carly, by the way.
And Carly, I'll ask you a question in a moment, if you don't mind. It's all available still in recorded fashion in our learning management system.
And so that is so future employees who are coming in can dive into this content and not feel like they missed out because they started two weeks later than they could have to catch this content.
So I think that's an important piece of this, too. And actually, before I get into the learning management system question, Carly, you participated in one of these workshops with me.
Would you mind speaking a little bit about your experience in setting up that workshop and running that workshop with me?
We looked at in creating inclusive teams and helping our managers to create inclusive teams and specifically building scenarios that we had our managers think through when they see behavior that would not be representative of our values and diversity, equity, inclusion.
How do you handle that? Because we talk a lot about it, but as managers in the moment, if you're in a team meeting and there's a behavior that happens, how do you get the confidence and the wording to call that out and set the standards for behavior?
So it was a really good opportunity for our managers to connect together, to brainstorm on how to approach this, to ask questions around, you know, what do I do if I don't know what to say and bring a community of managers together and also highlight those managers.
We talked about, Andrew, those diversity goals that we have managers set, diversity and inclusion goals we have our managers setting.
We highlighted those managers who have made a couple of managers who've made progress in their goals and they talked about what they've done, the steps that they've taken.
So it was just, again, an opportunity, like Kelly was saying, to bring people together and connect from all over the globe.
And it was a one-hour workshop. Take one hour out of your day to focus on creating an inclusive team.
How'd I do, Andrew?
Anything I missed in that? Great. Thanks. Okay, thanks. Yeah. And folks, we have eight minutes left, I think, of the session, just a little bit over eight minutes.
So maybe we can talk a little bit about, you know, what's to come for future development opportunities at Cloudflare and then we'll slide into talking a little bit about our careers and what we're up to.
So maybe Carly, would you mind kicking this section off, the future?
Sure. The future opportunities, yes.
You know, we talk a lot about at Cloudflare the future of work and as a learning and development team, we all also talk about what's the future of learning.
Because I think what's interesting about COVID is that it's flipped a lot of things upside down and the traditional learning and development structure also has an opportunity to change.
And so when we think about it, it's coming from a couple of different angles.
Number one, learning and development needs to have a narrative that follows along with the employee so that the employee understands how do these opportunities that the learning and development team offer are contributing to my success as a colleague, my success to driving results, all of those different things.
We have to create that narrative and we're doing that by creating structures in place like our employee experience surveys, our Pulse surveys to get an understanding of how the organization's doing, implementing performance feedback with 360s to get an understanding of where are in those Cloudflare capabilities like Kelly was talking about, where are our employees needing more support?
And then that ultimately informs what CFEDU offerings we double down on for the next quarter.
But I think a lot of those workshops, those are great.
But like, Sophia, let's say you have to give someone feedback and you go to take, you're like, oh, I need help on how to give feedback.
And you go to CFEDU and there's not a workshop till next week, but you have to give someone feedback tomorrow.
So what we are going to really focus on in the upcoming quarters and really expand in 2022 is what are our on -demand offerings so that you can have learning in the moment?
Because we know like when we want something, we just pick up our phones, we get it.
So we need to do the same thing as the learning team, but still have those in-person, those virtual workshops to have the opportunity for connection.
So those are some things. What else did I miss that we're focused on building out?
What do we think? I'm happy to jump in thinking about the onboarding experience.
So kind of touching on what Carly said, as we think about Back to Better, which is our plan to hybrid model of some sort, go back to the office or come back to our work in a new way.
What does that look like from an onboarding perspective?
One, we want this to be equitable.
So we understand that going forward, we may be, we will be onboarding in a virtual way to make it equitable for everyone who's joining the company, but also how do we create those in-person impactful touch points along the way, maybe in-person or maybe virtual, to make people still feel connected to what, connected to our mission, connected to the impact of joining this company.
So really just thinking about returning to work in a new way and what that's going to look like, as well as always keeping in mind the equitable piece as we continue to grow as a global company.
And again, what does that look like in terms of offering on -demand resources?
Is that training online? Is that training in person? Is that training in an environment where it's on-demand, it's self-guided?
So really thinking about what supports the employee experience best and what that will look like as we transition into this new world or new environment, some sort of hybrid model.
Thank you, everyone.
In our last five minutes, let's talk about development opportunities that we have seized in our careers and how they've helped us move forward.
So I think because, Sophia, you just went, let's start with Kelly, then we'll go with Carly, and then back to you, Sophia.
Yeah, this is, I don't know, I feel like there's been so many opportunities that have helped.
I think one of the things that I think is most important is that we're all in this together, effective, is I had a role once where part of my quarterly plan, you know, with my different priorities was my development.
And I filled that out with my manager and I held time on my calendar every week for that.
And so it wasn't just a one-off workshop or a one-off thing.
It was like, how am I doing this every week? And what am I engaging with?
And sometimes that was books. Sometimes that was talking to someone on a different team or shadowing someone.
So the more you can bring it into your daily life, I think the more it sticks and the better you're sort of able to incorporate that.
And so I think having those habits and that schedule was really, really effective.
And then also I just, I love school. And so I love any type of workshop or, you know, conference I can go to and just soak up information.
So those are always really great to sort of spark new ideas and maybe learn a little bit more about a skill that I haven't, like I haven't dove into yet, but I think the best way to do the sort of sticky learning is to have it just as part of your habit, part of your weekly plan.
And in that time to just dig it into a bunch of different resources.
I think the connections that I've made through participating in workshops, whether they be in-person or virtual and the breakout rooms, the experiential learning you're doing with other colleagues, gone to a number of different workshops where at the end there is homework for you to follow up with those in your breakout rooms.
We do some of that here and our programming to follow up, to measure progress.
How are you doing to hold each other accountable and meeting those colleagues in a place I wouldn't have the opportunity typically to, and learning from them has been super helpful in developing.
Yeah, I'd say to pick one in particular, I took a workshop kind of at the beginning of my education career that was called Women Language Empower, and that completely kind of changed the that I saw language and how I saw it from being a woman and from that perspective, thinking about the way that I communicate, thinking about the way that I basically facilitate myself at work, but also in my life.
And that's something that I think I still think about on a day-to-day basis, that workshop, that development opportunity has impacted many years of my life, even though I haven't gone back to revisit the content, just because it really ingrained something in me that made me want to continue to strive to think about what that means to me and how I want to project or what I want to project as I go into a room and meet other folks or facilitate work.
So that's just one. There's been many over the years that have made me realize that I love learning and I want to continue to learn and continue to grow.
And these, like Carly said, these touch points, these connections that we find and build in these somewhat vulnerable experiences, if you choose to be vulnerable, are really powerful and continue to have, continue to really impact me throughout the years.
So I love development opportunities.
And, and I obviously, I hope that you come take a CFEDU course soon.
Maybe you'll have the same experience. Thanks, Sophia.
And I've also benefited myself from numerous development opportunities over time, but we are now actually at time.
Folks, thank you so much for listening.
Thanks for participating today, panelists and folks, good luck out there developing yourselves and developing your careers.
Thanks, Andrew. Bye.