In 2018, Airbnb’s Diversity + Belonging Team worked closely with many external organizations to support our mission of promoting equity and equal access for underrepresented groups in the tech industry, and building inclusive communities both internally and externally. From major conferences and festivals to more intimate panels, we’re taking this opportunity to share some of the highlights from this year.
LULAC Latinx Tech Summit
Airbnb employees and members of [email protected], the company’s Latinx employee resource group, attended the Latinx Tech Summit presented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Latinx civil rights organization in the United States. As part of the one-day summit in Austin, TX, Airbnb hosted a panel on our efforts to create a company with diversity and belonging at the core of its mission. Featured speakers at the event included Janaye Ingram, Director of National Partnerships; Tyi McCray, Interim Director of Diversity and Belonging; Luis Briones, Public Policy Programs Manager; and Alyssa Ramirez, International Partnerships Manager. The event offered a space for Latinx technologists to network, share ideas, and strengthen their professional community.
Airbnb x Afrotech
Airbnb [email protected] members enjoying the Airbnb Corporate Lounge (Photos courtesy JJ Harris, Techboogie Media).
In November, Airbnb’s Diversity + Belonging Team sponsored the Corporate Recharge Lounge at the third annual Afrotech Conference, the largest gathering of Black professionals in the tech industry. The conference offered an array of dynamic thought leaders and sessions with speakers including Airbnb Designer Salih Abdul-Karim, who led a workshop on Designing at Airbnb, and Engineering Manager Kyle Bailey, who offered his expertise about tackling the technical interview. Airbnb also partnered with the Phenomenal Woman Action campaign to give out over 200 ‘Phenomenally Black’ t-shirts, with proceeds benefiting Girls Who Code and other organizations.
Airbnb partners with /dev/color
Speakers on the fall open house panel including Airbnb engineer Pascal Carole, second from left (Photo courtesy of Barak Sharma, Orange Photography)
Airbnb’s ongoing partnership with /dev/color, an organization dedicated to developing black software engineers into industry leaders, is critical to shaping the future of both the company and the industry. Throughout the year, Airbnb hosted and participated in a number of events with /dev/color, with each offering a different affinity space for forging new relationships. In September alone, our Brannan Street offices in San Francisco were home to two major events. The well-attended women’s engineering dinner in mid-September offered a unique opportunity for black women in engineering to connect and build community, while the fall open house in late September introduced attendees to the experiences of Engineering Managers Pascal Carole and Kyle Bailey, who also serves as a /dev/color member.
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing #GHC18
Over 50 Airbnb employees were among the 22,000 people who attended #GHC18 in Houston, Texas in September. Airbnb employees led various sessions including Surabhi Gupta, Director of Engineering for Airbnb Homes; Mitra Akhtari, Inference Data Scientist; Kelsey Jiang, Data Scientist; and Tyi McCray, Airbnb Interim Director of Diversity and Belonging, who was the featured speaker at the Corporate Partner Meeting attended by other tech companies where she shared Airbnb’s unique efforts to promote gender diversity on technical teams in order to create a more inclusive product for all users.
Airbnb also hosted over 125 guests at an offsite event that focused on Airbnb’s payments platform. The event’s cross-functional panel included Airbnb Engineering Manager Alice Liang, Airbnb Software Engineer Claire Thompson, Airbnb Product Manager Victoria Ku, and Airbnb Diversity Strategy Lead Melissa Sandgren.
Twenty-five Airbnb employees were in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 5-8 to take part in the 2018 Essence Festival, the largest festival celebrating African American culture and music in the United States.
Employees also served in the important role of ambassadors for Airbnb at select events, including a panel called “Entrepreneurship and the Future of Black Travel,” with two New Orleans Airbnb Experience Hosts. An intimate event focused on Airbnb’s efforts to combat discrimination on its platform, featuring noted actors, authors, and activists in conversation with employees.
Week for Good — Airbnb x The Social Engineering Project
On May 16, 2018, Airbnb’s Diversity + Belonging Team hosted a Family Science Night in partnership with The Social Engineering Project, an Oakland-based social impact venture that seeks to address the lack of diversity in the tech industry. This event was part of The Airbnb Week for Good, a global week of service for Airbnb’s 4,000+ employees.
#BeWokeSF Airbnb employees, conference attendees in San Francisco
Airbnb participated in BeVisible’s first #BeWokeSF conference, exploring the challenges and opportunities of building a multicultural workforce. This was an especially exciting opportunity for [email protected], Airbnb’s resource group for Latinx- and Hispanic-identifying employees, to build community and represent Airbnb.
BeVisible, the organizer of #BeWokeSF, is a social networking platform for Latinx participants to connect professionally with peers, mentors, thought leaders, and recruiters.
Nextplay Events Jam Session
Airbnb hosted the Nextplay Events Jam Session on April 30, 2018, a cultural event that connected over 500 black and Latinx participants in the tech sector through a lively event that packed Airbnb’s offices in San Francisco.
The Jam Sessions are a series of cultural events that bring together different communities of color in tech spaces. Airbnb was one of the first companies to support Nextplay Events in its first year.
AISES Leadership Summit
Airbnb sponsored the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Leadership Summit, which took place in Alpine, California, on March 15-17, 2018. This annual summit brings together 250 professional members, undergraduates, and graduate students to build community and foster learning among American Indians in STEM fields.
Airbnb employees organized a panel called “The Tech Industry Needs You!,” featuring Tyi McCray, Airbnb Interim Director Diversity and Belonging, and Eli Brumbaugh, Airbnb Design Lead for Data UX and founder of [email protected], Airbnb’s employee resource group for indigenous peoples and allies. They spoke at length about the opportunities available to current and future American Indian professionals at Airbnb and in the tech industry overall.
Lesbians Who Tech
Airbnb’s Diversity + Belonging Team and Tech Operations Team joined in sponsoring the Lesbians Who Tech 2018 San Francisco Summit.
Airbnb employees had the opportunity to attend the summit, which focused on the visibility and representation of queer women in and around tech. Airbnb hosted a private event at Stable Cafe for over 60 summit attendees where employees enjoyed pop-ups with three women who host Experiences on Airbnb’s platform. This intimate event allowed summit attendees to get to know Airbnb employees and to become more familiar with the Experiences aspect of Airbnb’s platform.