How PagerDuty Promotes Cultural Diversity In The Workplace
Photo Credit: PagerDuty

How PagerDuty Promotes Cultural Diversity In The Workplace

San Francisco-based software company, PagerDuty, is the digital operations platform companies rely on to keep things running perfectly so that they can deliver a perfect digital experience to their customers, every time. For those in the tech industry, it’s also a great place to work. 

Since being founded in 2009, PagerDuty now employs over 669 tech professionals affectionately known as Dutonians. Priding themselves on the value of inclusion and diversity, PagerDuty understands just how important it is to create a feeling of belonging in the workplace. Dutonians are encouraged to be ambitious, flourish, and do amazing things both in the office and the community. From the executive leadership on down, nothing but great things can be said about the culture of PagerDuty and their desire to promote growth.

Stevenson Jean-Pierre, Aliyah Owens, and Reg Braithwaite-Lee are three Dutonians who know firsthand what it’s like working at PagerDuty. In a brief chat with AfroTech, they opened up about their experiences in the workplace, the culture, and how PagerDuty plays a part in them reaching their goals.

Stevenson Jean-Pierre (Engineering Manager)

Stevenson Jean-Pierre

AfroTech: What’s a typical day for you at PagerDuty?

Typical day? What’s that? I’m not even sure what day it is anymore. For the most part, my workday starts with our team daily standup meeting where we talk about our current work streams and provide the rest of the team with context about items that may be blocking us or things we may need to focus on. From there, depending on my priorities, I have various meetings with other engineering managers and teams to ensure that my team is able to deliver the right solutions to help fit our customers’ needs. My team is part of the infrastructure group at PagerDuty and the solutions we help build a solid technical foundation that the rest of the engineering organization can depend on and our customers rely on every day. 

 

AfroTech: How do you believe a diverse work culture enhances the work done at PagerDuty?

A diverse work culture enhances the work we do by allowing us to deliver on our goals more efficiently. For example, when we have diverse voices involved in our technical decisions we can better represent our customer base and account for their real-world use cases much better. 

Another way that a diverse work culture enhances the work that we do is by making it easier to tap into diverse talent pools by signaling to potential candidates that they will not be the only ones within their team from underrepresented populations. I know this was an important factor in my job search prior to coming to PagerDuty, so I’d like to imagine I am not the only one that feels this way.

 

AfroTech: How does your culture allow you to be a better Engineering Manager?

My culture allows me to be a better engineering manager by first removing some of the standard biases of who and who can’t be an engineer. Coming from an underrepresented group in engineering, and in the tech industry in general, I know what it feels like to be the only one in the room that looks like me. Drawing from these experiences in coming up in the tech industry, I feel like I am well placed to help engineers from all walks of life better develop their careers to get to the peaks that they desire. 

It is already hard enough to navigate the technical aspects of our industry, but for underrepresented minorities, there may be an extra layer of corporate office culture to also navigate. I fully understand these challenges and provide my experience as guidance to help shorten the acclimation period.

 

AfroTech: Who is your idol and how do they inspire you to do your job at PagerDuty?

I don’t want to be super cliche here, but my idol has always been and will always be my dad. My dad immigrated from Haiti to Miami at the age of 22, with nothing but the shirt on his back, and worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known to make a better life, not only for us but for his family back in Haiti. With him as my idol, there is no task that is too hard or large because, in my opinion, they will never compare to coming to a foreign land not speaking the language and still making a path for yourself.

 

AfroTech: What is your favorite part about working at PagerDuty?

So far my favorite part about working at PagerDuty has been the constant reminder that PD isn’t just selling the tech diversity narrative, but actively working to make it a reality. We’ve opened a beautiful office in Atlanta, which is a very diverse city where we can tap into the local college/university systems such as Morehouse, Spelman, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech to ensure we are making the tech industry more reflective of our society than it has traditionally been. This really excites me as an Engineering Manager and a Hiring Manager because I get to help folks get their foot in the door and do great things in a welcoming environment.

Aliyah Owens (Software Engineer)

Aliyah Owens

 

AfroTech: What is your favorite part about working at PagerDuty?

My favorite part about working at PagerDuty is having the freedom to grow without limits. As a person fresh in the industry, it was very important for me to be in an environment that allowed me to explore different areas of interest. It’s comforting to know if I want to try my hand at data science then there’s opportunity and support for me to do that, whether it be collaborating with the data science team on a project to test the waters or going as far as taking the steps to join their team. This extends beyond my technical areas of interest which have been major in helping me to become a well rounded professional.

 

AfroTech: In an ever-changing world, how do you believe a diverse workplace culture enhances the work done at PagerDuty?

We came on the market being known as an incident response tool that originally was mostly used by tech folks (engineers). Now as we continue to grow, we’re finding that we can serve a much wider audience that may need solutions that have nothing to do with technology. As we automate and innovate for these new use cases, it becomes even more paramount that we work with diverse people. Why? Because those unique experiences need to be accounted for if we’re going to improve on a product that equally and equitably serves everyone. The outward benefits to customers from having a diverse workplace is also felt inward by the people in the workplace. I think those positive feelings of understanding and opportunity to be heard makes everyone more productive and innovative.

 

AfroTech: How does your culture allow you to be a better software engineer?

I come from a culture that reminded me 24/7 that I will always have to work twice as hard to sometimes get only half as much. I come from a culture that rewards perseverance and being successful no matter what happens along the way. A lot of these ideologies were passed down from my ancestors who endured slavery to my ancestors who fought Jim Crow and then down to me. Technology is ever-changing. I have to be prepared to pivot when new things are developed. I think my culture is the reason that I never give up and have the mental fortitude to still work twice as hard even in the midst of change when I’m unsure of things. It’s the mindset to persevere and keep striving for success that has allowed me to get creative and find solutions as a software engineer.

 

AfroTech: How do you feel you represent the ethos of the company?

I feel like I am a good representation of the ethos of the company. It’s not hard to reflect out the positive things that our culture embodies when there are so many folks around you exuding that same energy. For me, being a great representation means having compassion and truly wanting to help the next person. I am always looking for an opportunity to learn or share knowledge if I can.

 

AfroTech: In your own words, what is the spirit of PagerDuty? 

To me, the spirit of PagerDuty lies in one of our core beliefs: People First. Everything else really falls in line after that. People First is extended to customers, the community, and employees. PagerDuty values its employees and takes an interest in their career development. In turn, the workplace is warm and welcoming and folks working tend to be more passionate about the work that they do. This leads to a product that puts the customer first as we are giving our all to do things right. The last part of this is the consideration for the community. This is accomplished through PagerDuty.org and further displays the company’s seriousness about putting people first in everything that we do. 

 

Reg Braithwaite-Lee (Principal Engineer)

Reg Braithwaite-Lee

AfroTech: What are your responsibilities at PagerDuty?

I am a Principal Engineer, which means I have leadership responsibility, without authority. I am accountable for helping teams ship software directly, participating in technical governance, developing and evangelizing initiatives to improve our engineering capability, and leading our culture by example.

 

AfroTech: How do you feel having a multicultural workplace culture lends itself to the success of PagerDuty?

One part of our success is financial. Other parts of our success include the well-being of Dutonians, our users, and our communities.

Our inclusive and equitable culture creates internal well-being, which is a success, and also drives our other successes. Our diversity also helps us build products that contribute to our users’ well-being.

Products that improve our users’ well-being drives our financial success, which finances our ability to hire more Dutonians and build more great products. And by setting an example as a company that succeeds through inclusion and equity, we contribute to our community’s well-being.

Our multicultural workplace culture is one of the core planks in our commitment to achieving success through inclusion and equity. That is reflected in our financial results, the well-being of our users, and in time, the well-being of our society.

 

AfroTech: How does your culture allow you to be a better Principal Engineer?

Inclusion is valuable, but equity is how our culture supports my work as a Principal Engineer. I “traffic in ideas,” but ideas only become products when people are empowered to contribute their own ideas, build on each other’s ideas, and “ack and own” the ideas, accepting responsibility for turning them into reality.

A culture where everyone has both a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation is essential to my work as a Principal Engineer.

 

AfroTech: In your own words, what is the spirit of PagerDuty?

PagerDuty feels like a ship that has set out on a voyage of exploration, during the Age of Sail. Where other companies are huge, lumbering galleons plying trade routes between colonies and the capitals of their empires, we feel like a fast and light clipper looking for hitherto unknown lands.

And where other ships travel with a mission of conquest, PagerDuty sets out to meet, learn from, and trade on an honorable, win-win basis with the peoples we encounter.

The “Spirit of PagerDuty” is the spirit of exploration and discovery, one that involves risk, but also an adventure. One where we all trust and depend upon each other to sail over the horizon, through uncharted waters.

As echoed by each employee, empowering growth, encouraging diversity, and putting People First remains PagerDuty’s first priority. That is an approach the tech company continues to take outside of the workplace as well. 

 

We were working on this story prior to the current civil unrest. Most recently, PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada pledged donations to Black Lives Matter and The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as the organizations continue to tackle social injustices, health disparities, and education reform that affect African Americans nationwide. 

 

Interested in joining PagerDuty? Explore career-making opportunities in our locations around the world.