At Greenhouse, we believe in embracing people’s differences and valuing every voice. Our people are our lifeblood and we strive – perhaps even more so as a currently distributed organization where we’re physically apart – to ensure everyone is supported, recognized and included. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – a culture of belonging sets the foundation for people from all backgrounds to be their most authentic selves and do their best work.
Belonging creates a place where your people can dream big, knowing they’re fully supported, and do some of the most meaningful work of their lives.
–Greenhouse CEO Daniel Chait
From this culture of belonging grows a diverse team of employees that elevate our business in every way, making Greenhouse not only unique, but essentially who we are. In this installment of The people of Greenhouse series, we’d like to introduce you to our superstar Customer Program Manager, Zakiya Daley. Learn about how she successfully navigates delivering exceptional work while championing inclusivity, being a dedicated parent and making time for self-care.
Greenhouse: How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?
Zakiya: I always lead with being a mom. It’s my most important role and the thing I’m most passionate about. I think as moms we sometimes feel we need to prove that we’re more than just that and sometimes want to downplay that identity. But for me, once you know that I’m a mom, it puts the rest of who I am into perspective.
Greenhouse: You’re a working mom. How does that impact the way you think about work and connect with others in the workplace?
Zakiya: When I had my first daughter, I was working at a company that I liked a lot but I didn’t feel fulfilled in the role. I knew immediately that would have to change. I was also struggling with the guilt of going back to work after maternity leave and couldn’t bear to go back to something I didn’t love, knowing I would be sacrificing time with my daughter. Since then, I’ve intentionally sought out roles and companies that felt aligned to my values and would really bring a high level of fulfillment.
As a working mom, I also have to be more intentional about building relationships at work. My plate is incredibly full, so things like making time to get to know colleagues on a more personal level can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. I’ve learned that connecting with others through Slack channels and participating in larger communities like our ERGs allows me to connect with my colleagues in a more purposeful way.
Greenhouse: What are the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of being a mom and working full time?
Zakiya: The most rewarding aspects of being a full-time working mom are having a sense of self and identity outside of my family. I think as moms we immediately go into “mom mode” from the minute we’re expecting – at least I did –and it’s hard to naturally disconnect from that. In a way, working forces me to take off my mom hat every day for a while and rediscover who I am as a professional.
For me, the most challenging aspects are finding balance, not only between work and parenting, but also self-care.
As a working mom, I naturally try to give 100% to work and even more to my girls and my family. The thing I’m learning now is I can’t give 100% to anyone if I don’t take the time to recharge. And, more importantly, it’s okay not to give 100% all of the time. It’s really a self-inflicted expectation and I’m learning to do my best, whatever that looks at at any given moment.
Greenhouse: What does diversity in the workplace mean to you and why is it important?
Zakiya: Diversity in the workplace is about more than just statistics or hitting a certain target for your diversity goals. It’s valuing the thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences of every member of your organization and providing opportunities for all groups to achieve success. As a Black woman in tech, I’ve been in environments where I was the only person of color (POC), the only mom and even the only woman. Those spaces didn’t feel inviting, and were even discouraging at times. So, for me, it’s important to not only work in, but help facilitate more welcoming environments for everyone – especially underrepresented groups.
Greenhouse: What elements of Greenhouse company culture or our mission matter the most to you?
Zakiya: Diversity and inclusion and work-life balance. Those feel pretty obvious, but they have the greatest impact on my ability to perform at my highest level. We’ve become even more intentional about DE&I and, for me, knowing we’re devoted to building a workplace that really encourages everyone to bring their best and whole selves every day is motivating. I’m also lucky that Greenhouse has always placed such an emphasis on work-life balance. Since I’ve been here, I’ve transitioned to a fully distributed team member, so I can now spend more time with my kids and I’ve been able to relocate to be closer to family for additional support. That alone is priceless.
Greenhouse: Why do you think it is important to feel a sense of belonging in the workplace?
Zakiya: Belonging is a basic need and is equally as important in the workplace as it is in all aspects of life. When you feel accepted and like you’re really a part of something, it’s easier to share ideas and collaborate with your team to drive your company forward.
We’re dedicated to being an inclusive company at Greenhouse – and we know that when people are heard, their voices make a difference. Learn more about the Greenhouse mission at greenhouse.io/mission.