Twitch is the future of live entertainment. It is a place where people can find a community based on whatever they’re interested in, whether it’s gaming, eSports, music, painting or more. Creators and viewers have the opportunity to work together to create experiences that mimic one-of-a-kind, real-life, moments. On Twitch, there is truly something for everyone. It’s no surprise that the internal culture among employees share the same sentiment of collective passion too.
One way employees connect and build community is through the Guild program, which brings together groups that share a similar identity, affinity or cultural background. This includes the Black Guild, which is a group for Black employees. The mission of the Black Guild at Twitch is to celebrate and empower Black voices in the workplace and the Black creators and viewers on the service. The group’s vision is to elevate Black employees and allies to create a welcoming place for Blackness far and wide.
We caught up with three Black Guild members and they shared an inside look into Twitch’s culture and how it’s helping them thrive as employees of the company.
On Joining Twitch
Cy Neita joined Twitch two years ago as a Software Engineer and is also a lead of the Black Guild. He decided to join the company because he realized that he spent a lot of his spare time on the service and decided to apply. Twitch attracts and hires both people who are new to the service, as well as power users who are inspired to apply because they love Twitch.
“When you join the company, you kind of get thrust into the internal memes and the general aura of being an engineer at Twitch,” Neita said. “There’s kind of this unique vibe at Twitch because it’s such a large company and it still feels and acts like a startup.”
Tonya Tucker Collins joined Twitch almost seven months ago as the Head of Development and Experience, where she works with talent management and talent development programs. Her team focuses on employee inclusion, retention and engagement. Collins shares that although some talent is already attracted to the company, Twitch takes pride in actively sourcing and building relationships with potential employees through their recruiting process.
“I feel like that’s one of the things that sometimes people miss, is the importance of relationships to anybody who is Black,” Collins said. Collins was personally recruited for her position through her LinkedIn profile and she revealed that the recruiter’s approach and his effort to build a relationship with her influenced her to learn more about Twitch, which eventually led to her joining the company.
How Community is Built Through the Black Guild
Twitch actively provides space for employees to build community, which is especially seen through the support and promotion given to the Black Guild within the company. Neita said he joined the Black Guild at Twitch because he was interested in meeting other Black people and he wanted to get an idea of what it was like for people who looked like him. He eventually offered his time to help out with the development of the group, which led him to serve as lead.
Since then, the group has separated its “offerings” into three broad categories. One is community offerings, which can be in the form of happy hours, brunches and cultural events. The other two focus on professional development and outreach. In this system, all employees have the chance to connect, socialize and utilize opportunities to discuss issues that affect the Black community and to grow in their career.
“Our mission is to cultivate a community at Twitch that celebrates and empowers Black voices in the workplace, supports Black creators and viewers on Twitch.tv, and then Black communities,” said Ziggy Abdisubhan, a product manager and Black Guild lead at Twitch.
That’s why groups like the Black Guild are important within companies to help Black employees grow and feel like they belong. Collins has been a part of other Black Guilds at other places that she worked, but she admits she really values the authenticity and honesty within the group at Twitch. One example is when she and her co-workers were able to be truly open when they spoke about the death of George Floyd. She said it was one of the most powerful experiences she encountered, which solidified for her that she was at the right place.
“Everything always comes back to those three things and so for me it’s all about building [and strengthening] community when it comes to the Black voices and perspectives at Twitch,” said Abdisubhan.
How Representation is Increased at Twitch
Collins is working to support representation inside the workplace by developing a diversity and inclusion strategy to nurture a culture that helps Black employees be successful.
In the next year, Collins hopes that there will be more outreach in the community. In particular, Collins wants more Black creators to use the platform so they can position themselves to partner with Twitch. She thinks Twitch is perfect for Black creators to create and share content, which is why as a company, Twitch is working to attract more Black creators and viewers, and understands that representation and inclusivity are critical.
“Twitch is in an interesting space where a lot of people know it for gaming, even though Twitch is live streaming for all types of content,” Abdisubhan said. “Our brand is very much gaming because that’s where the site started and how it’s grown.”
Abdisubhan believes that Twitch is working hard to make sure the site reflects reality, and wants it to have more Black representation amongst creators, since gaming isn’t an activity that belongs to any race or ethnicity. The brand is working hard to make sure there is accurate representation for everyone.
Twitch is a place for people to join forces online, have fun and vibe, according to Neita. Black streamers can build on their talent and use their influence to impact the world by creating unique communities for diverse, multiplayer entertainment. Overall, he hopes that more Black people will become “Twitchified” and utilize the space to develop and grow.
“There aren’t that many Black communities on Twitch and that seems like an obvious place for outreach since the Black community is huge,” Neita said. “It’s very diverse and there’s a lot of great people in it, so I know that’s one of the unique opportunities that Twitch has.”
If you can see yourself in Twitch purple and building a platform that you care about, the company might be a great place to start, grow or pivot your career. Learn more about employment opportunities here, so you can become Twitchified!
This piece has been brought to you in partnership with Twitch.