Etsy Data Engineering Director Shares Her Experience of Inclusion in Tech With Jenn Clevenger (S6E18)

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Tech companies aren’t always famous for their inclusive cultures. That’s a change Jenn Clevenger wants to see.

Jenn ClevengerJenn started out working in financial services software, but struggled to get noticed by companies outside of the FinTech space when she was ready for a change. She applied at Etsy but didn’t get the job, and decided to stay in FinTech after all.

But a year later, Etsy called back with a job offer. The timing wasn’t ideal—Jenn was seven months pregnant—but she jumped on the chance. Now, she’s worked at Etsy for four years and is currently their data engineering director. As a director, she’s in the position to take leadership in culture-building, which is why she’s all about the inclusivity conversation.


In this episode, Jenn lets us in on the day in the life of a data engineering director, shares advice for building your career during pregnancy/parenthood, and talks about the importance of equality, inclusivity, and diversity in tech workplaces.

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:09
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Learn to Code With Me podcast. I'm your host, Laurence Bradford. And today's episode is about two main topics gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace and state engineering. But first, a quick word about a free resource I've put together to help you make money while learning to code.

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Laurence Bradford 1:12
Hey listeners. In today's episode I talk with Jenn Clevenger. Jenn is Etsy data engineering director. Her team is completely women LED and 33% female. So she's a great person to talk to about gender diversity and inclusion in tech, because let me tell you, most data teams or data engineering teams do not have those kinds of demographic numbers. In our conversation, we talked about job hunting while you're pregnant, what it takes to create an inclusive workplace and how to identify inclusive companies to work for, plus what data engineering is and how to gain data engineering skills. I really enjoyed speaking to Jen and I hope you enjoy listening to her.

Laurence Bradford 2:00
Hey, Jenn, thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm really excited to talk to you today.

Jenn Clevenger 2:05
My pleasure. I'm happy to be here.

Laurence Bradford 2:06
So to get things going, I would love if you could tell us a bit about your journey in tech and your background and how you came to be the data engineering director at Etsy.

Jenn Clevenger 2:17
Yeah, sure. Um, I actually started my career in finance is to write financial services software internally for internal users. And I spent many, many of my beginning years in my career working kind of in larger corporate companies that was that was my experience. And and I was kind of looking for a change. You know, when I I'm dating myself here, but I moved to New York when I first graduated from university A long time ago before when the only tech jobs here or you know, the majority of them were in finance and one day I feel like I kind of picked up my head and looked around and and New York had become kind of a hub for Smaller startups and tech companies of a medium size kind of more like the flavor of the west coast in the past, and it really, really interested me.

Jenn Clevenger 3:11
But for me, it was really hard to get companies outside of FinTech to look at my resume outside of, you know, financial finance and technology type companies to look at my resume. So I kind of had to go through a lot of reinventing myself I went to a lot of meetups I spent a lot of time kind of exploring the different types of companies and different spaces that had popped up you know, in this in this area and, and, and I saw Etsy Etsy showed up on my on my in my search, and I was really, really interested in it as a company and I actually applied to Etsy twice. The first time I didn't get the job when I applied here I was I was super disappointed. I really wanted to work here. You know, and like I did things like I spend really long time making a fully illustrated version of my cover letter to try and get someone's attention. Um, you know, I, I did a lot of research on Etsy online, read the blog watched a lot of people's talks. And so you know, I didn't get that first job.

Jenn Clevenger 4:17
And I took another job, you know, in, in FinTech. And it wasn't until almost a year later that as he called me back, the then head of data engineering had been on my interview panel and my first interview, and he really liked me. And he remembered me when a job opened on his team on the data engineering team, but you know, as things go, I had kind of already taken another job. And then I was also super newly pregnant with my second kid. So it really wasn't the best timing in the world, but because as he was, you know, the company that I had just wanted to work for. so badly I talked to my husband about and he's like, you know, you don't have anything to lose, you should go and talk to this person. And check, check out this opportunity. And I did. And and kind of like long story short, I was hired. I started at Etsy when I was superduper. pregnant, I think I was seven or eight months pregnant and and it's the best decision that I've ever made. This is the best job I've had. So I was super happy that it kind of played out that way. But it wasn't a very straight road to get here for sure.

Laurence Bradford 5:21
Wow. I love that. I love that. Like, it's just so interesting how life can have all of these would seem like curveballs or you know, oh, this is really bad timing and detica, and then things just ended up working out like exactly has as they should. So that's really great that you because I can't I can't even imagine starting a new job being seven or eight months pregnant, as you said, that must be like, I don't know.

Jenn Clevenger 5:47
Yeah, yeah, it was really interesting grades. I mean, even I know for a lot of women who are pregnant, it's hard to be switching jobs in that time or even to get people to look at your resume or talk to you or You know, cuz I, I know a lot of the times people you think short term you know and and when I interviewed here one of the things that my then boss and hiring manager said to me when I told him that was pregnant was no Jen, this is a like we're looking at long term opportunities here we're hiring for the long term this the you know the fact that you're pregnant right now right now it doesn't really mean anything like in the end.

Laurence Bradford 6:28
Yeah, yeah, that's I mean it's awesome. It just says so much to about I think Etsy's values and I mean, of course like a woman should be able to switch and get a new job when she's pregnant but I yeah, I think it's funny when I first made that comment I was thinking from like my own den to like psychologically like as I was pregnant and making this other switch while I would like it like career switch while I was also bringing a new family member into the picture. But yeah, I think on both ends, it could also be worried about what the company's thinking you know what you're thinking with Your own journey. All that anyhow, I'm glad. I'm glad that all ended up working out. And I'm just curious, like, how long ago was this? How long have you been at Etsy for now?

Jenn Clevenger 7:09
I've been here almost four years.

Laurence Bradford 7:12
Okay, awesome. So what was your first position like there because you're data engineering director now, but was it always that way?

Jenn Clevenger 7:21
No, um, I was hired by who was a person who at the time was the person that ran all of data engineering. And he hired me to manage a small team on data engineering that didn't have a name at the time. It was actually one time full employee, one full time employee and one intern from you Waterloo, in Canada, which is also where I'm from. And the team was kind of like the Business Insights arm of data engineering. So I started I started small on data edge.

Laurence Bradford 7:53
Nice. So I probably should have asked this question before ask the last one. So a lot of our listeners are in the early stages of their tech career journey, you know, a few months in some in a few years in, could you just explain to us like what data engineering is?

Jenn Clevenger 8:10
Yeah, yeah, of course. Um, I guess a super simple explanation is that a data engineer is an engineer whose primary responsibility is building systems to ingest, store and prepared very large amounts of data for analytical use algorithmic use, machine learning, operational finance reporting, basically all of your internal customers that may want to do anything with your offline data. And this kind of includes things like building large scale data processing systems, technologies like Hadoop, spark running distributed data warehousing solutions, like vertica, which is what we have here at Etsy, redshift, snowflake. There's a whole slew of things that kind of roll up under data engineering, but the one commonality is large amounts of data.

Laurence Bradford 9:01
Yeah, and we've had guests on the show in the past that have talked about data science, data analytics, and other areas are trying to recall we've had, you know, as we're doing this show for years now, so I think even data visualization, what, like in like the data landscape, where does data engineering sort of fit in between some of these other things?

Jenn Clevenger 9:25
Mm hmm. Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I think it depends company but but broad strokes. You can think of data science, analytics, data, UX, all of those things as customers or stakeholders of the foundational data engineering team. So if you think about let's, let's use data science popular example. Lots of people are talking about data science these days, both from the machine learning perspective or analytics perspective, data scientists take data and they use it as inputs for modeling or analysis, what have you, but that data needs to come from somewhere, someone needs to be in charge of ingesting that data, you know, storing it somewhere, making it accessible. You know, operating or creating systems that make it easy to understand and pull the data out. You can think of it you know, people say data lake you can think of, but you can think of the sheer amount of data that especially like, for example, Etsy, like an e commerce company is gathering on a day to day basis, all of that data has to go somewhere in a semi organized way. Otherwise, it's just kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Laurence Bradford 10:40
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And, like, you don't have to give like exact numbers or anything because you may not even I know like, you may not even be fully aware, but like I said, data team activities engineering team, how big is it compared to maybe some of the other engineering teams?

Jenn Clevenger 10:56
Yeah, no, that's a that's a totally valid question. Our data ends change. is about 30 people. And our overall engineering body is about three or 400.

Laurence Bradford 11:06
Okay, that Okay, so that makes sense. I was like, you know, depending on what the other number is, as it sounds like a lot like 30 because because I was working in a pretty small startup about a year ago, and we only had one day engineer, but you know, the company only, like 90 people. So, okay, so 30 out of like you said, three to 400 or something?

Jenn Clevenger 11:25
Yeah. One of the things that's really interesting about this space is you're absolutely right in that the size or needs of the company can make space for any size of data engineering organization. You know, I went to a dinner once for like an Engineering Leadership dinner and I was talking to a woman who was also a head of a data engineering. org in her org was hundreds of people and she was one of many heads of data engineers. So there are multiple data engineering branches, and you To them had hundreds of people, but her company was way, way bigger. And so it's, it's a really interesting area to get into because it scales in such a in such a in such an interesting way.

Laurence Bradford 12:12
That yeah, that is so interesting. So with data engineering though, you were working in FinTech, you're working in finance before. Where did you learn these like data engineering skills? Were you traditionally taught like in university or a program, or were they something you learned on the job?

Jenn Clevenger 12:29
Yeah, that's a great question and kind of it. It was what made it so hard for me to kind of break out of FinTech. And the short answer to the question is, I learned it on the job. Um, my background was in technology. So I had the foundation to kind of understand engineering at a certain level, but everything specific about data engineering, I learned here at Etsy and, and they're kind of they're kind of like, I have two thoughts. There. One, there's something about the culture at Etsy that really promotes and supports learning and growth in a way that I have not seen at other companies.

Jenn Clevenger 13:12
So it in my opinion, this is something that I tell people that apply for jobs, you are looking at Etsy as a as an employer. Like if you're a person that wants to keep learning and expands the scope of the things that you know, in an environment where you feel like you can ask as many questions as you want, and not ever feel like you're asking a dumb question. You know, people always say like, oh, there's no such thing as a dumb question. But to actually exist in a, in a culture where it really truly feels you can ask as many questions as you want, and people are just so happy to answer those questions for you. That's what it feels like you and I think part of the culture, that learning culture here and that like, inclusive culture helped me to become way more successful in an area that I had previously no experience. I think that is really important.

Laurence Bradford 13:55
Yeah, that's, I mean, that's really amazing. Also, to be hired. From the outside, because I've interviewed people on the show and know lots of folks, as I'm sure you do, who will make like internal internal company moves or promotions, right will move from one team to another. And next thing you know, well, few years later, they're now a software engineer. And they originally were on customer support or something. But that's really awesome that you were able to come in from like another company and finance and then able to learn those skills. And now, you know, four years later, you're Yeah, still there and doing doing great things. That's really awesome. I'd love to know a bit about what your day to day looks like now.

Jenn Clevenger 14:35
Yeah, so my day to day, I spent a good portion of my time in meetings. I spend a good amount of time trying to kind of like think strategically about what we as an organization or as a department or as a company can do better and then I try and push those ideas forward. It's different from what I've seen. first started, and I was kind of more of a day to day manager of the work so that the job has changed quite a bit. One of the things that I think we do really well here is we create very separate and specific career tracks for individual contributors, or the engineers on the icy side into the individual contributors. And also for management as a discipline. So a lot of places where I've worked before, you know, everything kind of ladders up into management. So you start as an associate or whatever, it is a contributor on the ground and you work your way up. And eventually, the only next step left is to become a manager of the team that you're working on.

Jenn Clevenger 15:40
And I think what's hard about that is for people who are you know, for example, engineers at heart and don't want to manage people or manage projects or be strategic or you know, create organizations shape organizations, it really creates a ceiling on on the on the upward movement, so Like, I love how Etsy has created, you know, like, a clear path forward in terms of career trajectory and and, and your own ability to make a difference and be successful in each individual track. So the reason I say that is because for me, um, you know, I feel like the the career trajectory from for manager for like an entry level manager to, you know, Senior Manager to director to senior director is very clear. And, and, and it differentiates my experience here versus other places. You know, before I kind of felt like when I was a manager of a team, my job was to tell people what to do and make sure projects get delivered.

Jenn Clevenger 16:45
And here it's more about creating a healthy culture on the team and shaping the organization in a way that's the most effective and spending one on one time with your reports to make sure that they are supported and that they understand that their career path and that they have opportunities and are continuing to grow the one on wall one on one culture here is really, really strong, a lot stronger than anywhere that I've ever seen. And I've tried to honor that by making sure that you know, you don't blow off one on ones. If you're busy. You always make sure that you have them and have meaningful conversations. You always make sure you spend time you know, at least once a quarter to not just talk about the day to day but also talk about career growth and movement. And so you know, that building relationships part of work is something that I really value. It's one of the best parts of my job and I spend a lot of my time kind of thinking about the overall health of the organization and trying to build those relationships and an understanding in that way.

Laurence Bradford 17:44
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Laurence Bradford 19:09
Yeah, yeah. So for the listener, and we obviously mentioned this a few times, but you're in a director role now, right? So a lot of your work is, as you just said, is it recruiting the culture and the more of the strategy? I'm going to assume you're not in, you're not in like the day to day working with AI with maybe some of the technologies that you did when you were starting out because you're right, managing the team and hiring and doing all those kinds of things, which I think segues into something really wanted to get into while we were chatting today, just about like the work Etsy has done, as far as diversity goes, because I read a stat and looking in my notes trying to find it. Exactly. I don't want to misquote it, but it was something about the percentage of women Oh, here it is, I think 33% female women on the data engineering team. Or an engineering team?

Unknown Speaker 20:01
So it's actually 33%. At the end of the entire company in technology, which is really, really high. It's unheard of for tech, and for data, and we're actually closer to 50%. And we also believe it or not, and this is also great. We have an all women management team on the data engineering team.

Laurence Bradford 20:20
Wow. Yeah. But it's because I in I don't, oh, gosh, I don't know, like the most recent stats on the top of my head. But I remember a few years back reading an article about it could have been data science, but I imagine it's not too different. And they were saying they were like, it was like 90% men at that time that were in the world of data science. So yeah, that's really awesome that you have 50% on the data engineering team. So like, what kind of like, like, how, how does that happen? Or like how are you know, and I know every company is different and there's this is like, could be a whole episode topic in itself, but like, what have you Done, I guess to prioritize having these, you know, having numbers like such such priority when it comes to this?

Jenn Clevenger 21:06
Yeah, um, you know, I hesitate to answer the question, What have I done because it's not a thing that I've done on my own. I certainly support it. But I came into a culture that at sea that is constantly talking about, you know, gender and racial inequality in the workplace and fairness and transparency and diversity and inclusion is two separate things like those are conversations that happen all the time. It is a thing that I noticed as soon as I joined that was different from my previous experiences. Because like I said, I grew up in tech, I've been working in tech for a really long time. It is a very male dominated field just at the outside there simply are not very many females to even choose from or to hire. So the pool is very shallow. And so I think, you know, I think What Etsy does really well and I have happily been a part of that is to make sure that we are talking about these issues every day and being thoughtful at every step of the process, not just hiring and recruiting.

Jenn Clevenger 22:13
So, you know, how do we level the playing field in terms of the types of resumes that we can get in the door? How do we make sure that we're giving everyone a fair shake in terms of being able to, you know, come to the table and have a chance to interview? And then and then for the people that we have at Etsy, how do we make sure that we create an inclusive environment, so that people don't feel the differences around them as kind of a forcing function making them have met, like, making them uncomfortable in some way. And like a perfect example is, I can talk about my experience, you know, so I started my career in finance and technology, and those are both very, very male dominated fields. So my experience has always been, you know, since I graduated university that I have felt a little bit out of my own skin like that I've spent a lot of time trying to be a certain way because that is what I saw around me. And trying to create successes in a way that I saw success around me. It was just I was a product of my environment. And I think something that is very, very different about Etsy is because Etsy has this long culture of, you know, supporting and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Jenn Clevenger 23:30
People can come here and look around and see. So for me, I came here and I looked around, I saw so many different paths to leadership in a way that I had never seen before. And it made me feel like I can just be my best self like I can be me and not try and be someone that I'm not or not try and be you know, like, like I told you before I had, I was pregnant with my second kid so I was already a mother I had had this experience where, you know, I used to go to work and I tried not to talk about my kid or, you know, be too mom, like, because I didn't want people to think that I wasn't really committed to my career and that I didn't really want success in the same way that other people did at work. And that was just a reality that I had embraced, like, you know, it was a thing that I thought I would have to do that the road would be harder that, um, you know, it just would never be as natural for me as it was for the people that I saw around me. But Etsy with Etsy, and any company if you can kind of foster this diversity of thought through diversity of humans that come in the door, and create this inclusive environment where people can look around and see Hey, there are a million different paths that I can take to success and I should be able to leverage the things that are best about me and lean on those things as hard as I can. In order to create my own version of success. You know, I don't need to jam myself into a stereotype just because You know, that that's what I've seen out in the world? Does that make sense?

Laurence Bradford 25:04
Yeah. And I would love to talk about the flip of that. So what can a person who is interviewing and looking for a new job in tech, right, because most of the people listening to this show, that's, you know, that they're looking for jobs in tech or will be at some point? What can they be on the lookout for to make sure the company they're interviewing with or applying to has a culture that is supportive and aligns with what they want?

Jenn Clevenger 25:29
Yeah, that's a great question. And and I love that you asked that question, because it implies will should demand it and that I think is where it starts. People should demand that they can be in a workplace where they feel included, and some things that you should definitely like very specific things you can ask about our Do you have programs to help support? You know, people in people have different backgrounds or different interests. So a company A great example at Etsy we have a pretty strong employee resource group program we call them er, G's employee resource groups. And anyone can form them and you find them to create these bodies of support for the things that you know, that speak to you. So for example, I am in there is a parent's er g that I'm in and so it gives you an outlet where you can speak to other people and have camaraderie and share stories and lean on each other to to make sure that you have a strong support network. There is an Asian resource group so I'm Korean so you know, for people who want to the Asian resource group does a ton of food related outings, you know, and so it's just like a great time to get together and bond and and meet other people who have similar experiences to yours. In order to make it easy to be at work and be yourself and feel like you can embrace all of the different parts of yourself. And bring your whole self to work.

Laurence Bradford 27:01
Yeah, that's a really great example. And so for people out there, there's a lot of folks listening who have families, or are starting a family soon. Or again, have families already, because a lot of the listeners are a bit later in their career. What kinds of things can they look for when interviewing that? Just to be on the lookout for if they're supportive of like parents?

Jenn Clevenger 27:26
Yeah, I mean, definitely asked about their parental leave policy. So and even just asking about it will give you a signal about how the company feels about it. So for example, when I first applied here, you know, by law, you don't have to disclose if you're pregnant if you're applying for a job. I did by choice because I wanted to see what the reaction would be, you know, if I said because I already had a job, so I was leaving a place and I was super pregnant. So if I was going to go somewhere else, they'd better be a place that will support me as a pregnant person. So I told my boss when we were interviewing or my not yet boss that I was pregnant, just kind of to poke and test the water to see what they would say. And and he said, You know, he said all of the right things, like I said before, he said, You know, this is not a short term, but we're hiring for the long term. This absolutely doesn't matter to me, it doesn't change anything, just in case it changes anything for anyone else, you know, up the chain as I'm getting approval for this hire. I don't think it will.

Jenn Clevenger 28:30
But I'm just not going to tell them because it doesn't matter. And that answer to me just kind of like lifted entire weight off my shoulder and told me I know, this is a company and this is a boss like this person who I will be working for, like he is subscribing to the right types of, you know, thoughts when it comes to, like balancing work in life. And I think I think it's not like parents disproportionately have that pole outside of work, but being A parent just means you have something outside of work that is also really important. And everybody has something outside of work that is also important, you know. And so I think I'm kind of asking questions about for parents specifically, what is the parental leave policy?

Jenn Clevenger 29:14
You know, if I have to work remotely every once in a while, because I have this or that commitment, like we should be unafraid to ask, ask these questions. And the reason I say that is because I have always felt guilty about asking them but we shouldn't feel guilty everyone has something outside of work that they like, or do you know, a hobby belong to a band, have an aging parent have a brother or sister they take care of a friend who's very needy or just your own self care, like people should be allowed to exist outside of work 100% and exist that work 100% and still be considered, you know, a successful person.

Laurence Bradford 29:48
Yes. So as you were talking, I was thinking I was like putting myself in the shoes of someone who was interviewing, and especially if I was like new to tack and maybe you Like, you know, just fell off pressure about getting my first job. And I was like, I would be so scared to ask about that. Even if I wasn't planning on having kids sooner. I just was curious. Because it's like, you know, how do you like how do you kind of bring that up? Like, I don't know if you've any tips, like maybe like maybe you've you've seen people ask in a really good way before cuz I'm sure you interview a lot of people like, and I also just want to also add that I feel like so many companies now publish your stuff publicly online, like, I haven't checked, but I would not be shocked, right, if Etsy has like, their culture handbook or whatever their site, wherever the word is available online, which may even cover some of these topics.

Jenn Clevenger 30:37
Yeah, um, I totally agree with you. And I remember being in that position so many times, like needing the job more than the job needed me, you know, that feeling as you're interviewing, and that's hard. It's really hard. And so I guess, so to answer your question, like, how do you go about asking those questions in a way That feel good. And and I love your suggestion, which is you lean on what the company says they do, because you're right, a lot of companies are publishing, you know, best place for working moms great number like top 10 diversity and inclusion in diversity magazine, I'm just making those up. But you know, it is a thing that people use as a as, you know, recruiting fodder to get people in the door.

Jenn Clevenger 31:27
And so I encourage people to absolutely lean on those things, we should be holding companies, you know, accountable for the things that they are saying that they do well, and I've worked, you know, I haven't worked in million companies, but I've worked at a few and all of them had something like that, that they were proud about, but I hadn't seen it implemented, you know, quite so where it like, permeated everything in the culture and the way that it does here. And so if you ask about it in the interview, asked about it in the context of what the company is actually said. You In public that they do well. And I think that's a good way to kind of like bring it up and show that you're interested in the company and show that you kind of researched the culture. And then you can tell from the answer back, like how passionate the person or the people are, who give you an answer to those questions about whether or not you know, the we're walking the walk or or just talking the talk.

Laurence Bradford 32:22
Yeah, so. So you've been working in tech for, you know, a good amount of time now. And just from the time I've even been in tech, which has been since like, 2013, I've noticed on my own, like, different changes to the landscape as far as like diversity and inclusivity goes, I'm just curious, like, what have you noticed over the years, how, how this has changed, like, if you think it's changed at all?

Jenn Clevenger 32:53
Yeah, I have. It's been super interesting to me, and I've been in tech probably You know, over 15 years if you count school and so yeah, the change has been super interesting. It's It's my perspective is probably a little bit colored from the fact that I started in finance in tech. So like very, you know, I'm very skewed, I think. But I think that like,more women and all minorities for that matter are talking more openly about things like creating equality in the workplace. But things that don't seem fair that might not have been obvious before, you know, conversations about how to level the playing field and, and something new that I've never experienced before is this is our advocates like having male advocates. When I first started at Etsy, you know, like I said, one of my first experiences was, wow, everyone here is kind of talking about this notion of, you know, leveling the playing field and trying to make it fair and creating more equality, both gender and racial in the workplace. Interesting. And then you know, one day I found myself in a meeting with two other males.

Jenn Clevenger 34:03
And they were kind of trying to explain to me and convince me the benefits of, you know, explicit sponsored sponsorship for women to help them to get to more senior levels and mentorship and creating programs and what can we do more and that to me, was a huge change, you know, it had It's exhausting having to constantly be a person that advocates for your own cause, you know, women for women and, you know, minority for your own minority. And it's, it's refreshing to exist in a place where everyone is trying to raise the floor together. And it just feels it feels like that is a thing that is happening more today. This awareness is bringing more and more advocates on onboard whereas before it kind of felt more like, at least for me, like a like a solo solo game.

Laurence Bradford 34:50
Yeah. And I can imagine just thinking about working in you know, finance and technology. And then you know, now working at Etsy, where the numbers you should are really impressive, like how it must feel to be around. You know, so many other women and so many other minorities in tech. And that's like the kind of thing that I feel like I noticed the most even though now I'm not even working full time anymore at like a tech company. But it's like when I first started out, I remember feeling more alone. And now I feel like I see more people like me around me even if it's just like on social media or something. I feel like there's more people exactly, as you said with the conversation. Like, it feels like there's just so many more open conversations and a lot of what I'm seeing again, is online, but you know, still counts for something on blogs and podcasts and what have you that are talking about these kind of things.

Jenn Clevenger 35:43
Yeah. And, and, and, like, I will say, you know, I mentioned earlier that are all women leadership team on data and, and I've been thinking a lot about this, like, what is it at Etsy that that we're doing so differently and so well, that is creating, you know, this this great culture And I asked these three women, you know, what is it about being on an all women leadership team that is the most impactful to you? And they all unanimously, you know, kind of turned to me and said, you know, the thing that's the most notable about it at Etsy is how completely unknowable it is, you know, no one talks about it. We're not people aren't pointing their finger at our team and saying, like, Oh, that's weird. How did that happen? Like, it's just, you know, one of the managers would like, I'm just, I'm not a women leader. I'm just a leader of this team, and I'm just doing my job. And that is super refreshing to just be able to concentrate on the work and not have to constantly be like the mental weight and energy of having to carry this other thing. You know, it disappears if you have such a diverse landscape that there's literally nothing to point at anymore. Like I'm not saying that we're there. We still have a lot of work to do. But, you know, I'm starting to see little snippets of it and it's awesome.

Laurence Bradford 36:53
Awesome. I think that's a really great place to wrap things up. Thank you again, Jen for coming on the show where can people find you online.

Jenn Clevenger 37:01
Yeah, sure, probably the easiest way to find me is on LinkedIn. Jenn Clevenger.

Laurence Bradford 37:07
Okay, perfect. We'll include a link to that in the show notes and anything else we talked about today, again on the show notes, links to all that. Thank you again for coming on.

Jenn Clevenger 37:15
My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome.

Laurence Bradford 37:24
If you'd like today's show, I would really appreciate it if you left a rating and review on iTunes, or whichever podcast player you're tuning in on. Ratings are extremely helpful when it comes to the show's rankings. And by leaving a review, you would be helping me reach more listeners and spread valuable knowledge about breaking into the tech industry. To leave a review on iTunes, go to That'll take you straight to the iTunes page. And right there you can leave a rating interview. Thank you so much for supporting the show.

Key takeaways:

  • If you’re job-hunting while pregnant or about to start a family, find companies who are willing to look at the long-term opportunities and benefits of hiring you, rather than the short-term inconvenience.
  • Get clear on how inclusive a company is at the interview stage by asking questions about their parental leave policy, remote working options, attitudes to work/life balance, etc.
  • Learning and growth don’t stop when you’ve got the job—you can learn entirely new fields if you’re in a company that has a culture of supporting ongoing learning.
  • In a director role, most time is spent thinking strategically and forming a healthy culture rather than working with hands-on technologies day to day.
  • It’s important to make diversity and inclusion a normal day-to-day conversation, so there’s a culture of transparency and thoughtfulness in making sure diverse voices are heard throughout the company.

Links and mentions from the episode:

Where to listen to the podcast

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If you have a few extra minutes, please rate and review the show in iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show. I would really, really appreciate it!

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