In Fairygodboss’ Celebrating Male Allies series, we share the stories of extraordinary male allies across industries, including those who are helping elevate women and pave the path to gender equality in the workplace.
Since men still hold most positions of leadership today, we believe it’s critical that they raise their voices to help advance women at work — whether that be through participating in women’s ERGs, making sure their female colleagues have a seat at the table and more.
Our next male ally is Joe Lawrence, the Diversity & Military Talent Attraction Manager at GoDaddy. We interviewed Joe about his efforts to improve gender diversity at work.
Tell us a little bit about your role. What are your key business priorities, and why do you think gender diversity is important in the workplace?
I manage our Military & Diversity Talent Attraction program at GoDaddy. We have offices all across the globe and strive to create a culture based on acceptance. As such, my job is to make sure we’re attracting diverse and military talent into our company. When attracting talent, we participate in recruiting events, community meetups, job boards and partnerships within the communities where we live, work and play.
I feel blessed every day that I get to do this for a job! I meet new people daily and enjoy working with partners in the community. I’ve been in the field for almost four years and I have to say it’s the best role that I’ve had in my career.
As for why gender diversity is important to me, I feel that it’s key to have different voices and opinions at the table. Although, we don’t all agree with everyone’s opinions, it can give us a different perspective. In terms of promoting diversity at GoDaddy, we find it critical that our diverse employee population reflects the customers we serve.
What is one of the biggest obstacles to workplace gender diversity that you see?
It’s hard to pick one. I think awareness and company support are my top two. People need to understand why it’s important to have a diverse workforce. For GoDaddy, a diverse team offers us a wider set of life experiences which can inform how we build products for our customers. As for company support, we need companies to implement programs and policies that contribute to not only diverse hiring, but also creating opportunities for promotion.
At GoDaddy, we have employee resource groups (or ERGs). For example we’ve created a Women in Technology ERG, a LatinXs in Technology ERG and GoDaddy Veterans ERG. In this way, GoDaddy isn’t just encouraging diverse hiring, we are promoting an environment of inclusion.
In your opinion, what’s the first step men can take to be stronger allies?
Participate. Even if you don’t think an Employee Resource Group is geared towards your interests or background, I encourage everyone to join all ERG’s and learn ways you can be an ally to the group. We can learn so much by participating and opportunities like this will only promote a culture of inclusion.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to ambitious women in the workplace?
Speak up! At GoDaddy, we encourage everyone to voice their opinions, as it will only make the company stronger. GoDaddy has done an excellent job of creating a safe space in which all opinions are valued, such as implementing our company-wide employee survey, GoDaddy Voice.
Speaking up could also mean raising your hand to volunteer for projects and taking risks in order to learn something new. I’ve taken many risks in my career. Some have paid off and some have not. Situations like this also gives leadership an opportunity to see how you react and how you recover after failures. Lastly, finding mentorship is critical to your career journey. If you have an ally or someone within the company that you can go to for advice, that is very important.
Why is your company a great place for women to work?
GoDaddy has so much to offer women. As I mentioned, we have our Women in Tech ERG. They work on creating an environment here at GoDaddy that makes us an attractive place to work for women in Tech. GDWIT facilitates career advancement for women and makes sure that we are contributing to the broader industry discussion around gender equity in a meaningful way. Our GDWIT members also have the opportunity to attend large conferences like Lesbians Who Tech, Grace Hopper, and AfroTech to name a few. GoDaddy has also implemented internal programs like GoDaddy Voice, where employees are encouraged to voice their experiences at the company to inform leadership of what is successful or the areas we need to improve on.
Internally, we also try to eliminate unconscious bias, by creating evaluations such as employee scorecards in which everyone gets reviewed the same way and at the same time. Lastly, GoDaddy was founded on the idea of empowering the everyday entrepreneur with the tools and support they need to build their business online. Much like how we help our customers, empowerment and inclusion is paramount to our company culture.
Tell us about one of your female role models. How has this person made an impact on your career?
I have to say my mom. My parents divorced when I was young and it was a rough transition for me. My mom rarely received support from my dad and that was hard for her. She also supported my sisters who were 10 years older than me.
She wanted the best for me and at times that meant her going without. After my sisters moved out when I was in the 5th grade, it was just her and me. She worked as much as she could to provide for us and made sure I didn’t go without. Now, that didn’t mean everything was handed down to me. At that time, not getting something sometimes didn’t go well with me and I didn’t appreciate what all she DID give to me. But, seeing it now, I’m so grateful.
In 2016, I lost my mom suddenly five days before Christmas. So it’s been rough not having her around. She taught me to fight hard and to push through when you are struggling. You may have to go without sometimes but just roll with the punches. That has helped me through my over 20 years of work experience. It’s something you can’t be taught from a book.
Lighting Round: What are your passion projects? What do you do when you’re not working?
I love anything community and meeting new people. I relocated a few years ago to Texas and only knew one person. In just a short time I’ve met so many people in my community and it’s given me opportunities to get involved and volunteer at so many organizations. Besides that, I LOVE travel (New York is my favorite) and then spending time at home with my pups. I have 3 dogs (well, 1 ½ dogs) lol. I have a boxer mix and then 2 chihuahuas. Bailey, Peanut and Gracie Lou Freebush.
Lightning Round: If you could have dinner with one famous person — dead or alive — who would that be?
This is a tough question to answer. I can think of so many! I recently watched the documentary Ruth Bader Ginsburg and found it so fascinating. I never knew her story and in just two short hours I learned so much. Everything she had to overcome and struggles she went through just for being a woman. She fought so hard for gender diversity and other rights for women. I have so many questions to ask her. She was and still is incredibly brave and it not afraid to voice her opinion.
Lightning Round: What’s your favorite book?
Anything by Angela Darling. She’s amazing and is a great friend as well!
Lightning Round: What’s one food you could eat every day for the rest of your life?
Thai food! Especially Pad Thai or Red Chicken Curry… YUMMY!
Do you know a strong male ally at your company? Send them our questionnaire here.