Pride is celebrated at Landed 12 months a year. What exactly does that mean? Well, you could look to our hiring practices; as of this month, 12.5% of Team Landed identifies as LGBT+ (compared to 5.6% of American adults).
But to us, a better indicator is the day-to-day experiences of the LGBT+ community at Landed, and whether they feel our values are being upheld in practice. So we asked a few teammates to share their perspectives with us. Here’s what they had to say...
Building an inclusive culture
Since Landed’s earliest days, each member of the team has had a role in shaping the culture. But for Co-Founder Alex Lofton, centering our work around inclusion has always been a personal goal:
“As a gay, Black man, I seek to be a part of places where the priority on belonging guides key decisions. I believe we are guided in this way at Landed, and I'm pumped to see us get better and better at living into our values even as we scale our efforts to help more and more essential professionals build financial security in the communities they serve."
To achieve this, the team felt the need to be clear about what those specific values are and how they can be modeled.
“One of our four company values is 'Prioritize the Human'," Alex added. "When we define this further by the values-based actions we expect of ourselves and those with whom we work, we articulate these as our ‘values-based expectations’ or ‘ViBES’, which include:
- Treat everyone we work with as more than their roles or goals for the company: you aim to get to know all of our stakeholders as whole, complex humans.
- Connect authentically with vulnerability, joy and compassion: you are not afraid of disclosing emotions at work; emotions help us build authentic working relationships.
- Champion diversity: you are an active ally in building an inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
“These expectations work as a system to hold us accountable to build the kind of work environment in which we as individuals feel safe, confident, and as though we belong. In helping to start and continuing to build Landed, it's always been and remains a top priority of mine to be a place where everyone who is committed to our mission and values can thrive and be the best version of themselves. This is SOLID business sense and more in line with the kind of world I want to live in than what many of us may see in other corporate cultural settings.”
How that culture is experienced
As the ViBES framework has evolved, we have asked ourselves continuously whether these ideals match the day-to-day experience of Team Landed. In the case of Relationship Manager Jah’von Whitaker, he is pleased to feel embraced within the company for who he is:
“Landed has always sought out to have a culture of inclusion and this is undoubtedly shown when it comes to the LGBT+ community. From day one, I have felt comfortable about showing who I am living in my truth at Landed. I have always been met with warm smiles and an authentic nature about events going on in my community and life. Landed proactively seeks and values the voices and experiences of LGBT+ team members, and I love that I work in an environment where I can simply be myself, an out and proud Black gay man.”
Jah'von went on: "Being able to express this also speaks volumes, and I feel very fortunate, because I know that this is not the reality for everyone in their workplace. I thank Landed for being so inclusive and providing spaces for open discussion through multiple channels. This company has acknowledged and taken a bold stance on the fact that I matter and belong, not only as an employee, but as a member of today’s society.”
Those who have been around for a while have had similar experiences. Paula Davis, who joined us in March 2018 and now leads the Relationship Manager team, has found at Landed the freedom to refine not only how we work together, but also her sense of self:
“My colleagues at Landed know me as a fierce advocate for clarity, specificity, and unambiguousness. If we're working on a new project, I will persistently nitpick until we know exactly what success will look like, and how we will actually measure that, what we mean by each word we use, etc. I'm in favor of clear definitions that are easy to use and responsibilities that are clearly delineated. Being at Landed has been a welcoming environment for the part of me that is on a crusade for clarity, but it has also been a welcoming environment for the part of me that has struggled to find a definition that fits who I am. The path to identifying as a bisexual woman has been paved by the safety and comfort and support and example of those around me, including friends and colleagues here.”
Paula added: “Our mission is to help essential professionals find financial security. It is in no small part the security that Landed has offered me that has allowed me to engage and grapple with fluidity, complexity, and definitions to find a place that feels like home.”
Maintaining the culture, remotely
For teammates hired during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding community in an age of remote work can feel especially challenging. This led Nam-Chi Van, who joined Landed as a Software Engineer in July 2020, to take matters into their own hands:
“Since I've been remote my entire employment here at Landed, it's been a little difficult to get a sense of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace. Which is why I started the #pride Slack channel. I wanted to build a safe space for Queer folks in the company, where we could share news, banter, and just 100% be our authentic selves.”
(In the meantime, #pride has become one of our most popular Slack channels, attracting not only additional members of this community, but others across Team Landed.)
More recent hires have found a similar sense of belonging within the team, despite the obstacles many in this community encounter across the corporate world. Felipe Aranda, our newest Relationship Manager based in Seattle, sees real value in authenticity:
“Being LGBTQ+ in the workplace for me comes with two components. Early in my career I hid that I am gay man to my co-workers. I initially hid it because i didn’t know how to navigate that conversation in the workplace. I had shared some of my reservations on 'coming out' at work with my first friend in Seattle. And he asked if I was proud to be a Latinx person in the workplace and I told him, 'Yes of course, I love my brown skin, and my brown skin brings representation to the table.' He was able to open my eyes and make me realize that being my true authentic self at work also brings representation to the table."
Felipe knew from the interview process onward that he would be accepted at Landed:
“While I was searching for a new role and company it was important to me that I work for a company that values its team members being their authentic selves at work. I feel extremely comfortable being my authentic Gay self at Landed. I was over the moon to see on the JD that part of Landed’s mission statement was to attract and hire a diverse workforce. Being brown and Gay is something at my core that I am proud to bare and share.”
Happy Pride, all! 🏳️🌈