From campaigns celebrating what “Black Love Is” to its “Taking Care of Everyone in Our Community” pledge, popular dating app Tinder has worked to ensure all members in its community have the opportunity to connect and be seen. For its Black members particularly, the company is committed to making sure their voices are heard.
And that work is being done internally as well. Tinder aims to be supportive and empower Black employees to bring their authentic selves to the table at all times. Even with significant strides in inclusion and culture, Tinder has recognized that its Black employees are not a monolith. This makes it even more important to elevate and listen to voices that bring in a wealth of experience from all walks of life and backgrounds.
We recently sat down with three Black professionals and leaders from the employee resource group Black at Tinder (B@T) to discuss how they’re influencing their communities, how their work at Tinder allows them to make an impact for the culture and more.
Jamie Williams, Product Designer on Product Resilience, Integrating Inclusive UX Designs
As a Product Designer on the Product Resilience Pillar, with an emphasis on trust and safety, Williams uses testing and learning to develop designs that reflect member needs. It’s a role she landed by chance after her work on social justice and UX designs for an equity learning platform placed her on Tinder’s radar.
Meanwhile, Williams finds time to cultivate life as an urban grower in Compostable LA, a community-driven composting service she co-founded. “CompostableLA aims to help regenerate soil from food scraps,” she says. “I enjoy growing plants and food — the health of the soil becomes the health of the plant, then the health of the humans who eat its fruit, roots or leaves.”
She continues, “Nutrient-rich soil is sometimes called Black Gold for its richness and potency in healing plants and people. Communities with trees and healthy soil also have lower rates of violence. For me, racial equity is tied into access to not just land but to land with rich wells of Black Gold. This influences my work at Tinder in that it makes me consider the ways all parts of a system are connected.”
It’s the kind of work-life balance Tinder encourages and one that’s truly allowed Wiiliams to thrive since joining the company.
“I started in October 2020, and even within that time the company has embraced listening to members more when designing at all stages. This is really important when designing for questions related to Trust and Safety,” she says.
Recognizing the power of her unique journey as a Black professional in the tech space, Williams uses her experience to create equity opportunities at Tinder. It’s a conscious choice that she says “happens at all points for me. I try to always ask myself, ‘Who would be excluded by this design?’ and ‘How can we accommodate that in some way?’ An essential part of product design is considering the system and how the parts integrate and work together to create a certain experience. When I think about design, I mimic the patterns I see in nature.”
Kristin Collins Jackson, Associate Creative Director & Co-Lead of Black @ Tinder (B@T)
With more than a decade of advocacy work in the trauma space, Collins Jackson has built a career out of connecting people with opportunities and using her voice and experience to develop and moderate panels on trauma-informed reporting and inclusive marketing.
She’s also built a series of successful career-building workshops for ESL Learners for the LA Public Library system through a program that “helps identify transferable skills, shares job opportunities and provides prep assistance for interviews.”
Since joining Tinder, Collins Jacksons has used her creative skills as an Associate Creative Director, a role where she shines at driving Tinder’s brand voice and tone while coming up with innovative ways to make its overall messaging more inclusive and diverse.
For Collins Jackson, the role advances Tinder’s overall goals of diversity in tech and within the company. She says, “I’ve worked at Tinder for almost three years, and during my time I’ve seen the company make incredible strides towards inclusivity.”
She continues, “I try to speak to all of our users with a lens of inclusivity, making sure no one is excluded from our messaging based on their race, education, gender identity or background.”
Noah J. Sanford, Associate Recruiter in Tech & Co-Lead of Black @ Tinder (B@T)
Since graduating from the University of Southern California, Alabama native Noah J. Sanford has focused on the power of social impact to drive change through recruiting. At Tinder, they directly influence diversity and inclusion as an Associate Recruiter by recruiting and supporting diverse candidates hoping to break into the tech industry.
Sanford leverages their own experiences in their role. “I try to use my unique experiences to champion new voices and stories like my own. Being on a team and in a role that works with teams like product and engineering, I get to know the people who work on our app. I feel these interactions make a difference because it exposes them to the types of members they might not otherwise engage with on the app,” Sanford says.
They continue, “I love helping people find their dream jobs and truly believe working at a place like Tinder can be life changing in various ways for everyone, including Black people who are trying to break into tech roles.”
It’s a role Sanford doesn’t take lightly, which is why they’ve gone above and beyond to tackle recruiting at a college and university level. “I am super proud of and excited about our university recruitment program. The tech industry offers great exposure, and I think this is especially true at Tinder. I know all of our interns are exceptional and get to contribute to the app and culture at Tinder in big ways,” they explain.
With a passion for integrating writing and storytelling with art, design and technology, Sanford, a self-proclaimed poet, artist and storyteller, has also found success on and off the page. They’re currently working on a collection of poetry and personal essays centered on the Black transmasculine experience. They’re also writing and directing their first short film, which will explore queer love and relationships in a debut tentatively set for later this year.
Adding,”As a Black transmasculine nonbinary person, I do not see many representations of people like me in the media or the workplace. I came to Tinder to help fight for representation for Black and trans people in tech and help advocate for those members on our app. As a part of the Black at Tinder and Pride at Tinder employee resource groups, I feel as though I am able to contribute to culture and innovation at Tinder that works to make an inclusive environment for all people.”
They may have all taken different paths to get there, but since joining Tinder, Jamie Williams, Kristin Collins-Jackson and Noah J. Sanford have all been empowered to share their unique perspectives and experiences. Together, they continue to make their voices heard as Black professionals at Tinder.