At Yelp, we are proud to have nine employee resource groups with chapters across our global offices. The employee resource group for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersexual and Ally community is OUTburst. While preparing for Pride celebrations at our San Francisco HQ, I was lucky enough to catch up with Ed Jajeh, Director of Tax who is one of our ERG Executive Sponsors, championing diversity & inclusion at Yelp.
What does it mean for you to be the Executive Sponsor of OUTBurst at Yelp?
It’s an amazing opportunity where I can support and also learn. Since the way society thinks about gender and sexual identity is constantly evolving, it’s imperative as a company and as individuals to keep up and ensure we are moving appropriately with the changing times. As Executive Sponsor for OUTBurst, I am part of helping that process here at Yelp — whether it’s providing feedback on bathrooms, pride or other events or issues that impact our employees, users or customers. While my role is to provide feedback and guidance to the group, I’m also learning so much from the passionate and motivated employees.
Why is it important for companies to value diversity & inclusion?
For Yelp to be successful, we need to embrace the broadest market of users and the diversity and inclusion of our workforce is an important part of how we do that. Our workforce needs to look like our users. Day to day, as we make decisions from mundane to strategic, diversity of opinion plays an important role in making the best, well-informed decisions. If we all looked and thought alike, Yelp would not be able to fully reach today’s audience, let alone tomorrow’s.
Why is it important for employees to join Employee Resource Groups?
Employee Resource groups provide a few things: 1) they advocate for issues that are unique to the employee group; 2) they educate employees at all levels of the issues; 3) they provide professional and personal development; and 4) they show us we’re not alone, that there are others like us at the company. For these reasons, it’s important that you are counted. The employee resource groups provide a real service to the company on how we can be better not just for our employees but for our customers and users.
How do you celebrate PRIDE?
Year round with my partner and kids just being who we are. Last year, we attended SF Pride for the first time (with our kids) which we enjoyed, although the kids got a bit bored by noon. We tend to focus on smaller pride events and have marched in Oakland pride with our kids’ school for the last few years.