By Shelley Newhouse
Last year, I transitioned into a new position here at Credit Karma. I was proud and excited about the opportunity but, also terrified. During my first few months in my new role, I struggled with my confidence. Was I qualified? Would I actually be able to do the things people thought I’d be able to do? As I settled in and began to feel comfortable in the role, I realized that my “impostor syndrome” is extremely common for a lot of women. That is when I started to wonder whether other women at Credit Karma were having the same feelings. This led to a conversation with my manager about starting a women’s group at Credit Karma. She was very supportive and worked with me get it started.
Photo credit: Shelley Newhouse
I wasn’t sure what the appetite would be for a group like this since Credit Karma was already a supportive place committed to making people from all backgrounds feel welcome. I started by pulling together a group of eight women from different areas of the company one afternoon to chat over wine and cheese. I was inspired by how passionate the group was. We brainstormed about how the group could be structured and made a commitment to get others involved, too.
The next day, I created a Slack channel for us to continue the conversation and invited the eight women to join. I watched in awe as they each invited a few women, and those women invited a few more women, until nearly every woman at Credit Karma had joined. It all happened in less than an hour. Clearly, women at Credit Karma wanted to a safe place to share their experience.
Due to the momentum we’d created, the company’s leadership supported us with a budget to hold an offsite kick-off celebration (our office couldn’t hold us all in one space!). At the kickoff, we focused on how Credit Karma could continue to support women and how that could benefit everyone at the company. The group has expanded beyond women, with many others at the company joining in support of women in tech. Multiple women have stepped up to lead initiatives and plan events. I’ve witnessed my colleagues coming together to form support groups, taking the initiative to schedule a monthly “Women in Engineering” happy hour, planning holiday festivities, and collaborating with leadership and Talent Ops to tackle inclusion initiatives such as addressing unconscious bias. Most recently, the Women of Credit Karma made plans to gather at a few of the Women’s March events.
The shortage of women in leadership and in technical roles is a real issue in the industry and one that Credit Karma is constantly working to overcome as a hyper growth technology company. I’m proud to work with this impressive group of women at a company committed to being a part of the solution. You can expect to hear more from the Women of Credit Karma in 2017.
Shelley Newhouse is talent brand manager for Credit Karma.