Community @ Cloudflare: Culture in Sales
Cloudflare wishes to enable everyone to do their best work. In order to do that, Employee Resource Groups have been created - but how exactly do they support folks? Learn more about our ERGs and their influence, especially Womenflare and Cloudflarents.
If you want to apply for a role at Cloudflare but are unsure of what the best fit would be for your skillset, please apply using this link and the Recruiting Team will follow up - https://boards.greenhouse.io/careersday/jobs/3085504?gh_jid=3085504
All right. Hello, everybody. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. My name is Francisco.
I'm working at Cloudflare in the Customer Success Department, and I'm based in London.
And I'm here with some great colleagues that I will let now introduce themselves.
So I go first. I know what the order is. All right. I'm John Graham-Cumming.
I'm Cloudflare's CTO. I have worked at Cloudflare for almost 10 years now.
Coming up in a couple of months, it'll be 10 years. So I probably can answer people's questions maybe about some things.
And I'm going to pass over to Malgosia, who's to my left on this Zoom view.
So Malgosia. Thanks, John. Hi, everyone.
I'm Malgosia Zietara-Miller. I'm heading up the EMEA Legal Team. I have been at Cloudflare for over three years.
I'm in fourth year now. And looking forward to talk to you about our culture and community that we have created over the past years.
Now, on to you. Hi, everybody. Hi, this is Anel. I'm working as an inbound business development representative based here in the Munich office in Germany.
And I'm actually super fresh. I just started working at Cloudflare end of January in hopefully many years, like my colleagues.
Thank you so much for those great introductions.
And so today, we're going to be talking about ERGs and how the culture of Cloudflare is like from that perspective, and how does that impact our main topic today, which is women in sales.
And for starters, John, can you help us on the what is an ERG and what importance do they have at Cloudflare?
Well, first of all, what does the ERG stand for? So it's an employee resource group.
And it may not be very clear from that name what it means, but these are groups of employees who have come together.
Initially, that was mostly around underrepresented groups or marginalized groups of employees.
But it is more extended now into employees who are focused on one of our corporate social responsibility goals, other groups of people who are sharing some characteristic life experience, or initiatives they want to get involved in.
So for example, Womenflare, which I'm the executive sponsor for, is all of the women, all the people who identify as women in the company.
And we get together, first of all, there are events we do.
And then there are issues that come up that I can transmit to the executive team.
And Womenflare itself organizes training. For example, right now, there's a mentorship program underway for women in the company.
And so these are groups that come together.
And we have quite a lot of them now covering different things at Cloudflare for the LGBTQ community, and so on and so on.
And they are a way of ensuring that we achieve something which we have wanted to do, which is to allow people to come to work and be authentic, to be who they are.
You should be able to come to work and be the authentic person that you are.
And so one of the ways to do that is to make sure that, and particularly this started with underrepresented groups, marginalized groups, those groups were not being underrepresented, or if they were a minority group, which happens, of course, their views and their needs and their desires were represented within the company.
And it's been an important part of us building a diverse and inclusive organization to actually have these groups that can come together and have executive sponsors like myself, the Womenflare group, elected me basically to do that.
And so we can then transmit not just within the group, but up to the executive level as well.
All right. Thank you so much for such a great introduction to the topic.
Then I would like to ask Anel, as I know that you're part of some ERGs, how many ERGs does Cloudflare have?
How and when do employees join one?
And what does that mean to them? Like when you join an ERG, as John was mentioning, different trainings and even mentorships, what have you seen so far from your ends?
Sure. So we actually have a bunch of groups, a bunch of ERGs here at Cloudflare.
Currently, we have 16 groups. And some examples of them are Women in Sales, Women in Engineering, Womenflare, Latinflare, where we organize different events or initiatives.
For instance, we have in Latinflare our Latin Heritage Month celebration from the 15th of September to the 15th of October and Afroflare Black History Month in the UK from the 1st of October and many, many others.
So joining one of these ERGs is super easy. You just have to be one of the team leaders and expressing your interest of joining not just the events, but expressing your interest of participating, of organizing some of these events and why not maybe creating your own ERG.
So in my case, since I work in sales, I was super interested in getting involved in these groups to discuss different topics involving women in sales and how can I participate more in being involved in the community.
So for me, it was just pinging, expressing my interest and pinging Anetan, who is the leader in San Francisco in the States, and how can we bring this group to EMEA because for me, it was super important to have this group represented also in Europe for all the women in sales in Cloudflare working in this side.
And it was super easy. They were super welcoming. And as I said, if you're interested in creating even your own ERG with an interesting topic that can involve more people, you're super welcome and encouraged to do it.
And I think this type of groups is a very good opportunity for employees to create a community of support and belonging, encasing career development of their members and contributing to this development of a more inclusive culture at Cloudflare.
All right. Thank you so much. And I really like the fact of what you said there, like you can even create an ERG.
So if you notice that something is missing from the looks of it, actually for what I have witnessed myself in this past two years at Cloudflare, I've seen many ERGs getting created and that's actually fantastic.
It shows the open mind that is out there. So thanks for sharing your experience with us, Anel.
Then my next question actually goes to Malgosia, as it is my understanding that you're one of the first women in Europe to have taken maternity leave at Cloudflare.
Can you walk us through your experience there? Yes, Francisco, you are actually correct.
Unfortunately, I was not the first, so I've got the silver medal in terms of being one of the, well, second employee who was going through the process of getting maternity at Cloudflare, et cetera, which was very lucky.
So I'm actually at the moment, as I am a mom of a two years old, Zoe.
So when I joined Cloudflare, so my position was to be the first legal advisor for the company in EMEA.
So I was lucky to be part of the team creating the policies, including the maternity paternity policies that we have currently in the company.
So it was very good time that I was already involved in the discussion.
And then obviously I could experience how the policy we have created working in practice.
So the other very interesting or maybe less ordinary point at the time when I was pregnant, that actually we were moving the offices from one location to another.
And again, I was involved in the discussion at first not aware that I will be not only involved in those discussions, but then experiencing what we have created.
And one of the things that we did create was a nursing room that we didn't have in our previous office.
So obviously we're thinking of accommodating as well the new parents to be able to pop into the office and having flexibility and opportunities to feel comfortable in work environment if they come with kids.
I believe that was room that initially was just built for me because I was the number two.
And then I'm not sure how much use it has because unfortunately after that pandemic hit and then we probably didn't have opportunity with other employees who obviously are part of our group of Cloud Florence, which is another ERG group that support parent.
The journey as a mother, as a new parent was actually very rewarding for me.
So not only from a personal level, but as well professionally that we have built those great opportunities for people to feel comfortable in our environment.
I remember that during maternity we do as well and during maternity leave we do keep in touch days that I remember I came with my five years, five weeks old Zoe to the office to celebrate the IPO party that we have had in the new office.
The other very good thing that we have created, which I think is very important, the transition periods that the mothers have and any parent actually they have when they are coming back from a longer leave.
So we have transition period of two weeks when we discuss with our managers how comfortable we feel being back and making sure the transition is as smooth as possible going back to work after a longer period of leave.
And the most important is the open dialogue.
So we have a Cloud Florence group that parents can connect with each other.
What I really like because I was one of the first, so a lot of new parents to be, they reach out to me directly and we had open discussion about the experience, how we can support each other and it continues to this day.
So that's really great experience from that perspective.
That's amazing, thank you so much for sharing that.
Who better than you being in legal working for the regulations or policies actually and being pregnant yourself so that you could experience it for a time like hey this is a success or actually here we need to find you a bit further.
So thank you so much for leading the way there. I really like as well the nursery room as that also shows a bit more about the open-minded culture about Cloudflare that tries to support parents.
And before I jump into that side of how does Cloudflare support parents, you also mentioned paternity leave.
That's something that doesn't happen as often in other companies.
So curious to know what does Cloudflare do so that men can also share their responsibilities with their partners?
So we are very lucky. So while we are creating all the relevant policies, how we were thinking about parenting was to be a parent no matter what is your gender, how you welcome your child.
So we've got what we called parent bonding leave for any new parents and no matter whether they have welcomed a baby naturally or via surrogate fostering or adoption, they are entitled to the same fully paid leave whether they are women or men which is great.
And on the top of that as well we recognize obviously that there is a need for potentially a little bit longer leave for pregnant employees.
So we add additional what we call pregnancy health leave for the qualifying employees that we offer as well in addition which in total is about 16 weeks which is very very good.
And for example for new dads we offer 10 fully paid weeks which is very uncommon still in Europe because we only look still from perspective of a gender.
So it's maternity, paternity and paternity is never as long as maternity.
We try to make it as equal as possible recognizing that it's very important for the parents to bond.
That's fantastic, thank you. Yeah, thank you so much for for sharing that.
Building on what you were mentioning earlier, how does, other than with the maternity or paternity leave, how does Cloudflare support parents in general whether from a pre-pandemic time to today with the pandemic?
How do parents feel supported by Cloudflare? So I think pandemic to a certain extent was very helpful and we moved from the culture of being in the office to much more flexible working and flexibility when you are a new parent is very important and it causes a lot of stress to be on time at work to pick up your child etc.
So what has happened that we empowered our managers that they decide how their team works and they allow the flexibility during the working time to be a parent as well especially in pandemic when you are 24-7 at home and you are working from home and that balance has slightly changed when you don't have the switch off button and you can't just leave your child with someone because they are with you at home.
So we allowed, we empowered the managers that they can work with their teams to find the time that works best for them to deliver the relevant work and project.
So you can block your time in your calendar, put it that it's for child care and that nobody will book any meetings in that time.
As well we are very aware that this should be driven as well a decision by talking to people internally so we have done a lot of surveys before pandemic and during pandemic to see what works best for our employees and new parents.
We had global meetings with regional leaders from the Cloudflare perspective so within our ERG group where we were discussing how we can support and on daily basis so we as part of the Cloudflare group we create a lot of additional information support benefits that we can give them.
We've got chat channels just for parents, we've got kids at Cloudflare day that we organize and we have as well we can see our execs with day kids, they bring kids to work or we had one during pandemic that was a bigger zoom call where we were reading different stories which was quite funny because some of the kids were quite blunt with their question because they can ask question anyone and anything so there were few funny stories from that.
As well we create some additional information if you are coming for example with visit to locations in the office that you've got fun things to do with kids or you can connect with someone who has kids and you want to discuss what can you do together or if you just want to talk to someone who might be in similar position to you so we are very communicative and open to have this conversation which is great.
Cool thank you so very much for for sharing that and then changing gears a little bit, Anel I have a question to you as you're working in the sales department what is like that working in tech and also what led you to the women in sales ERG as you were mentioning that earlier, how is that helping you in your day-to-day?
Well working in sales at Cloudflare is super dynamic because you have so you have many different tasks and no day looks like the last one so you have the opportunity to learn a lot about the cloud technology and everything that is constantly developed internally to improve our features for the needs and challenges of the customers but also you in sales you also have the opportunity to hear from the customers firsthand what they're looking to have, which kind of technology or solutions to have a better security and performance solutions and how or what type of platform we can offer to solve their problems and at the same time in sales you have the opportunity also to meet a lot of people from different departments at Cloudflare so it's a very open and friendly environment where I feel really integrated and part of something bigger.
So for instance we have also many talks with John in women's sales where he's also supporting all the topics and discussing every time different challenges that we have as women in sales that is very encouraging because I can say I was in a meeting with our CTO and he's super cool and he's supporting us so I think in general the role of sales has helped me a lot that helped developing my communication skills with clients and also with colleagues and motivates me to keep learning in this very fast-moving industry.
So I will really encourage everybody interested in this field to take a look to the role if they really want to keep developing personally and professionally and regarding how women in sales ERGs has helped me I think I feel or I felt well one of the things that encouraged me to go to women in sales is because I felt super motivated after seeing so many motivated and passionate people at cloud for leading different groups especially in their spare time trying to integrate more colleagues and open to discuss a variety of topics.
For me this is the way to contribute to something bigger that helps us all not only to build a better Internet but also to have a better workspace and society having more initiative in relevant topics that are interesting like women in sales where our goal is to encourage uplift mentor and empower one another in the world of tech sales to achieve success at Cloudflare.
So from helping new professionals find their confidence to lifting saleswoman for leadership position.
So this is a very complete platform where you don't only help yourself to develop but you also help your colleagues and other people to be a better person.
Thank you I really like what you said Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet but here it's also about helping build a better environment so I really really like that in the way you put it there thanks for for sharing that.
Speaking of building a better environment my next question is about hiring.
As we have Malygosia from a compliance well legal and compliance perspective I also want to check in on John as John has done many interviews in his 10 years at Cloudflare he was telling us he has done around 147 only this year so far I'm counting.
So what I'm curious to know is if we have managed to develop and drive an inclusive culture how do we hire now with an eye to sustain that how do we keep on making sure that we are being as diverse as we can?
How did I end up muted?
Part of it is how we present ourselves to the outside world so we did things like look at the language in our job descriptions the sorts of requirements that are in there and the way in which it comes through on our careers page and things like that.
Part of it is engagement so for example because I'm the exec advocate for Womenflare going to things like Grace Hopper sponsoring being seen in those locations is really really important but when you think about diversity overall when you just think about the hiring side of it because of course there's another side of it which is once people are in the organization are they getting promoted are they getting nurtured mentored and all that kind of stuff but from the hiring perspective I think the really important thing is that you have to go out and find people and you have to be open-minded about the people you're looking for because it's very easy for example in engineering which is you know my primary my world it's somewhat easy to find a lot of men with qualifications that you're looking for and miss women who are great candidates and the way to the way you avoid that is by actively going and seeking women candidates you know sourcing them linkedin and also having a broad mind about the skill set that's needed so for one of these sort of ironic things in engineering is on the one hand you expect engineers to constantly be learning and coming up with new skills and all that kind of stuff and on the other hand when you often job descriptions are really specific like you've got to know this and this and this and this which is kind of crazy because any engineer will know they're learning all the time so on our side you know if you're looking for candidates you might come across a great woman engineer who doesn't necessarily specifically know the technology you're using well big deal we can hire them and train them right that's so I really believe in this sort of pull pull rather than just sit there and wait for people to turn up you have to go out and seek people that for me is number one and that applies not just for women but for other underrepresented groups I think the pandemic has helped a bit because we can find people who are in locations where we weren't traditionally hiring and we're going to see longer term whether actually the pandemic helps us find and find a more diverse workforce because people will be living in different locations but I'm a big believer this is this is not a passive thing where you go in you say well if I just change a few things and all these women are going to turn up all these other minority you have to be active about it and it is real effort and I know that talking to the managers who are doing the hiring it's real work to make it to make this stuff work it's not you know yeah I just sort of sprinkle on some you know ice and sugar on top and everything tastes sweet and lovely it's no no there's real work to go find people and then it really pays off when you do thank you so much for for sharing your perspective there John really appreciate it um Malgosia from compliance well legal and compliance perspective and also your experience at Cloudflare what do you see here and also as we have been working with integrating D &I metrics and into the team um hiring how does that look like from your side yeah so one where what we feel very strongly about there is one rule that that all of our senior execs repeat to us it's it's all about diversity and inclusiveness so we strongly believe at Cloudflare that diversity builds better teams and produces much better results and as well that inclusion actually allows for those diverse team to succeed in in the roles in in their teams as well so we really work hard on this to to maintain and one of the the things we do internally is we have managers munches we as well have diversity and inclusiveness goals that each team submit and need to deliver by the end of the year and just to give you the idea what those goals might be because they're supposed to be inspiring and help you to build a better better team more diverse team so it might be that for example you will decide that you want to commit this year to have increasing the gender diversity within your team by x percent before the the end of the year that this is what your team might be committed to to um the other goals that people put actually I will mention one that I'm not sure John remembers that this was one of his goals when he moved to Lisbon is to as he's building the new engineering team in Lisbon that it's to to get the in that engineering team be on par in terms of the numbers of men and women in the team which it's not as easy as it sounds it's a great goal but as he said that the process for interviewing and just being proactive on that front is as well very very important and as well making sure one of the goals as well that people I came across one of my goals was that's making sure that all all voices from our employees are feeling empowered and contribute to they we contribute as well to their unique voices we make them heard and especially the one which are different which are unique that we should not be scared of that different is not bad it's a good thing it enriches your team so um that's that's something that we as managers and as well by program of orange cloud interviews that we engage all employees to participate in interviews for any role within the company and give us this neutral more objective um more objective view about the candidate which is actually very helpful uh is something that we continue uh to to support and making stronger and we see the results we are as well very transparent about our diversity and we have a lot of information that we make available on wiki pages that is available to everyone so you can track you can see the difference that we make in different locations as well we promote and and ask people to engage with all of our courses that we make available to people as well as take time and and even read a book participate in any of the uh spent x number of of hours per per month that that you support certain initiative and it's very welcome and supported throughout all right thank you so much for shedding some more light on it and we only have one minute and 15 seconds left to be precise um i don't know if this will be enough time but if you can um john as an executive sponsor for women flare any remarkable thing that you noticed or any cultural change or impact that you have seen sorry to put you on the spot with 60 seconds left okay so we need 60 seconds i mean i think the thing that's remarkable to me is that we have uh virtual coffee chats with me and any of the women from women flaring want to turn up and we designated those to be a safe space where people could talk about issues they were having or concerns they had and it really happened like people brought things up that were quite sensitive either in the group or to me directly and you know that felt great that these things were getting surfaced and i was able to then go back to the executive team because i could imagine people being reticent message bring this up and it was an indicator that we had good channels of communication so that that was remarkable to me and i'm glad it happened yeah no it certainly sounds really good so thank you so much for sharing that experience and we are about to finish the session so thank you everyone so much for um being here and sharing your experience at Cloudflare really appreciate it thanks thank you