International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world and serves a call to action to accelerate gender equality.
In my own life, my mother’s immigration story is the first “women’s achievement” that comes to mind.
As a mother of two young children struggling to keep food on the table, she made the ultimate sacrifice. Like many immigrants, she searched for opportunities to provide a better life for herself and for me.
Her act of courage, to venture into a new country with minimal support, is the reason why I get to celebrate my social (hellooooo first-generation high school and college graduate), economic, cultural—you get the gist—achievements.
It is the reason why I find myself privileged to be writing this reflection from the offices of a company that has been named one of the best places to work in financial technology as well as a pioneer in the Future of Finance by publications like Forbes and American Banker. Each day, I am surrounded by talented people who have come together to deliver on our mission to create a world beyond borders. I work alongside leaders wholeheartedly committed to empowering every member of our society, including immigrants and women.
My lived experience is why I so ardently believe in the need to continuously set the stage for future women’s achievements. And why I’m incredibly proud that I work for Nova Credit, a company that gets it and that my everyday work is in recruiting and talent operations so that more people can benefit from this experience.
“It,” of course, is our collective responsibility to create processes, practices, and investments that help Nova Credit to accelerate gender equality. Our company is committed to building the best team in the world. To find the best, we want to recruit from 100% of the population to build a company that sets the standard for the future.
Since Nova Credit was founded in 2016, we’ve made several investments to deliver on our commitment to building the best team. Here’s a snapshot:
To support new mothers, we have implemented a paid parental leave policy of 16 weeks (above the industry average of 4-8 weeks for mid-sized companies). We want to create an environment where all can thrive with us for the long term, and that, of course, includes parents. We’ve also made the policy regardless of whether new parents are primary or secondary caregivers or have a new baby via adoption.
Women @ Nova community is a community for all Novans identifying as female to connect online and offline. It originated with a dinner hosted by our very own co-founder, Nicky, and has since evolved. It now includes a Slack channel where discussions range from inspirational messages to borrowing curling irons. :hair-flip-emoji: Beyond Slack, we gather in-person to exchange stories and suggestions on how to build a more inclusive workplace and society.
Throughout the recruitment process, we take into account where and how we present our opportunities. For engineering, we offer the options of take-home or live technical interviews to assess skills, and blindly assess the take-home to prevent any bias. We measure the representation of candidates via optional, anonymous surveys across the mid-funnel monthly so we can keep a pulse on different initiatives and iterate on those that work best.
We take measures to minimize negotiation on compensation. Why? Because some studies show that men negotiate more often than women, and when women do negotiate, they can actually be punished for it. In practice, we do robust benchmarking for every role, and we openly discuss those benchmarks with candidates.
We continue to work to combat historic gender, race and ethnicity biases URM in our annual compensation reviews and performance reviews. As part of those efforts, our performance review process minimizes anonymous contributions and encourages specificity to combat defaulting to stereotypes or other forms of bias and discrimination.
We recognize that change happens through collective action, so we’re proud to partner with organizations dedicated to supporting women, such as Elpha, The Mom Project, and Women Who Code.
In fact, we’re having an event with Women Who Code NYC on Thursday, March 26th so keep an eye out on their events page for an RSVP link coming soon!
We still have a long journey ahead, but so far Nova Credit has proved its fierce commitment to continuously take action to represent, create safe spaces for and empower women.
Nova Credit’s current gender breakdown is ~50% women. This isn’t by sheer luck.
Happy International Women’s Day! #IWD2020 #EachForEqual