Story on Using Your Voice

City: San Francisco

Industry: Tech

Sometimes that starts with some (reckless) courage and a single, company-wide email.

Last year, I found myself in an unfulfilling and frustrating job. I didn’t like what I was working on. I didn’t like the culture. I emailed HR, set up meetings with managers, had deep lunch conversations with coworkers. Nothing changed. So I quit.

On my last day, I sent an email to the engineering org about my frustrations and disappointment with the culture. I was terrified. My heart was racing, my palms sweaty.

The moment I received my first “+1” email response from someone I’d never met, my heart soared. Then another, and another. People reached out just to say thanks for standing up for those of us who felt the same way. This frustration wasn’t unique to me.

Months later, a reporter emailed me and said he’d gotten ahold of my internal email and wanted to publish it. I was wary, dreading being misrepresented. Over the next several months, I worked with him to craft a story. I wasn’t sure I should put my name to it – would I get in trouble? Legal trouble? I paid a lawyer $600 to review my NDA and found out there was little chance I would be sued.

Within a week, the story was published with my name on it.

I began to see my name in headlines – good headlines. People were supporting me. People were using me as an example for why we need change. It was better than I could’ve possibly imagined.

I have never been afraid to speak up and use my voice, and I know this privilege is not had by all. Sometimes it just takes one voice to be heard for others to realize they’re not alone. Sometimes that starts with some (reckless) courage and a single, company-wide email.

I will never regret hitting “Send.”