We are excited to announce Lauren Jackman, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Medallia, as a speaker at Greenhouse Open, our annual summit and networking event for those in the Talent Acquisition, People Ops, and HR space, taking place this month in San Francisco! (For more information, click here).
Lauren Jackman leads Diversity & Inclusion efforts at Medallia. She has a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Michigan and a masters and PhD in Experimental Social Psychology from Stanford University. She is passionate about applying social and behavioral science to build processes, design experiences, strengthen relationships, and drive cultural change.
Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn.
We recently chatted with Lauren to get to know her better. We were intrigued by how she takes a social psychology approach to her work in the People space. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How did you come to start doing the work you're currently doing in diversity and inclusion? And what inspired you to enter the People space to begin with?
I moved into my current role after two years as a social scientist on the Culture & Engagement team at Medallia. I started out leading our onboarding program and then moved into team building and leadership development. About a year and a half ago, I created an unconscious bias workshop to foster a conversation about diversity and inclusion at Medallia. People from across the business really self-organized to take action. The reason I’m in my role now is because passionate Medallians made a case to our executive team for a full time D&I resource, and the executive team listened. I’m very proud of the way it happened—it shows how much people care.
I was inspired to enter the People space for the same reason I became a social psychologist: to me, people problems are the most complex and most interesting problems in the world. The opportunity to apply social and behavioral science to create better, smarter, more inclusive, and more enjoyable work experiences and work products is incredibly exciting to me.
2. How have your previous career experiences prepared you for your current role? Which learnings have you taken to make sure you're successful now?
My previous experiences absolutely lay the foundation for the work I do now. Michigan was the first time I really started getting out of my comfort zone intellectually. I grew up in a fairly homogenous town, so being on an active college campus, I was exposed to lots of situations, people, and ideas that I hadn’t encountered before. I loved it. In my junior year, I taught a course on racial identity through a program called Intergroup Dialogues. I learned to lean into situations that feel uncomfortable, because that’s where you grow. I learned that your judgments tell you more about yourself than what you judge.
Michigan is also where I fell in love with social science, and that’s what led me to Stanford. I grew so much there. I learned how to tell a story with data, how to design an intervention, and how to think with a critical scientific lens, carefully interpret the claims made, and come to my own conclusions. I taught every chance I could and got really comfortable being in front of a room and communicating science. I had amazing mentors—those being my fellow grad students. I learned the best thing you can be when you’re surrounded by inspiring people is a sponge; it’s a lesson that continues to serve me every day at Medallia.
3. What are you most excited about for Greenhouse Open?
I’m most excited to learn from a vibrant community of people who care about people! And there’s a session on storytelling, which I’m really looking forward to. I love hearing stories, and I think being a good storyteller is so important—kind of like learning how to ask good questions, it’s something you can always improve.
4. Complete this sentence: If employers want to get the best talent through the door (and keep them), they better make sure they’re focusing on ___________.
Living their values! I think the best employees are values-oriented. They’re incredibly motivated because they care about the mission of their organization and the way work gets done. But you have to mean it, or people become cynical.
5. It seems like more and more companies are carrying out diversity and inclusion initiatives internally. How do you think this will continue to evolve, and how will it impact these companies?
I believe that diversity and inclusion efforts will become increasingly popular, and that organizations will be better for it. They’ll be more fully realized, better able to reach their customers, more innovative, and more welcoming. Employees will be happier because they know they’re valued for who they are.
Engage with Lauren and other professionals in the talent and HR space by checking out Greenhouse Open, May 25-27th in San Francisco.