DEI ‘Is Who We Are, Not What We Do:’ A Global View on Inclusivity From a Manager and ERG Co-Founder

Sponsored by Thoughtworks

Joy Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of Thoughtworks.

Joy Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of Thoughtworks.

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What makes your company special? At Thoughtworks, the answer to this question is culture. “Thoughtworks’ culture has DEI at the core,” explains Joy Elizabeth, a senior product manager at the company. “This part of our culture is what can scale any programming and initiative because it is who we are, not what we do. We are diverse. We are equitable. We are inclusive.”

Thoughtworks is leading the way in driving real change through their efforts to make tech reflective of the world around them and by building a more equitable future via their focus on inclusion, commitment to championing equality for women in the tech industry, creation of a safe and collaborative work environment for their over 9,000 employees, and more! 

It’s no surprise that 95% of FGBers would recommend Thoughtworks to other women!

And Joy isn’t just witnessing this culture — she’s one of the people who is driving it! In addition to her day-to-day role, Joy is also a lead for two of the company’s employee resource groups (ERGs), Caregivers and Tilt Shift. These groups are designed to support women and caregivers of all genders to create an inclusive environment where people can balance their personal and professional lives.

“I co-founded the Caregivers employee resource group because I aligned with this as a missing community here at Thoughtworks and, though we had a community through a chat group, we needed support in building it into a program and actualized ERG,” she explains. “I joined Tilt Shift to use all my skills to advance our company to be the best it can be for our female and underrepresented employees.”

In this article, we caught up with Joy to learn more about the accomplishments of her ERGs and how she makes time to support others. Here’s what she had to say!

Exploring a successful ERG. 

A core part of Thoughtworks’ DEI strategy are their ERGs, which are not only sponsored and supported by the DEI council and leadership, but also given the space to engage with employees across the business and invested in via time, budget, plan, and representation. It’s clear that ERGs are valued and given the tools they need to succeed and make a true impact at Thoughtworks — and each group defines their own path across the 17 countries that Thoughtworks calls home. 

As an example of their impact, one of Joy’s favorite accomplishments her ERG has been a part of is launching their 2023 International Women's Day virtual event. That’s because “this year, we didn’t focus only on North America,” she tells us. “Instead, we hosted a global panel of women at Thoughtworks. This theme is one I am most proud of because as I traveled to other country offices, I was personally impacted by different cultures. When designing this event, Joy says that she was able to “help women in North America have a taste of being a global Thoughtworks woman.”

Making time to support other women. 

Sometimes, it can be challenging to figure out how to uplift others — especially when you’re busy yourself. So how can you make sure you’re building time in your schedule to empower other women?

For Joy, the answer to this question is mentorship — with an emphasis on global mentorship and mentoring those of different genders. “I believe part of advancing women’s equality shows up in different leadership methods, and seeing women mentor men is one path that I believe is critical,” she tells us. “Of course, I mentor those who identify as women as well, and I believe that a holistic picture is needed for equality to be fully achieved. In mentorship, I not only lift up other women, but act as an example by leading those who identify as men.”

As for why Joy makes time for this on top of her daily work, it’s because she’s one of the many Thoughtworkers who is passionate about DEI. “I take on this extra role with the goal to advance others, and I believe this sacrifice is required to make an impactful change,” she explains. At Thoughtworks, they are able to accomplish their DEI goals through the passion and aid of employees like Joy!

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