On average we spend 1/3rd of our day, as adults, at a job—the places we work constitute a substantial part of our life, thus helping ensure that the workplace is a safe and equitable environment. This is part of why SendGrid focuses so heavily on our culture and enabling each of our Gridders to do their very best work.

We can all agree that our world is far from perfect. Change often doesn’t come easily, and, in a world with hard costs and personal tolls, the cost of change is hard to quantify in dollars alone. But when a tremendous will and capacity to create meaningful change is discovered we should all do what we can to support that effort, especially if it is one that seeks to change something as fundamental as our workplace.

Putting a stake in the ground

With that in mind, it’s our great pleasure to announce that SendGrid has decided to help change the workplace dynamic by donating toward the completion of a documentary called Pioneers in Skirts.

Pioneers in Skirts is a social impact documentary confronting the gender-bias and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.

SendGrid is committed to creating a safe work environment that focuses on diversity and gender as more than important factors in considering our applicant pool. SendGrid has made a point to give back: from working with college students through our Grad to Gridder program to forming a STEM Volunteer Club to encourage underrepresented students to explore a STEM career, the ‘Grid is eager to make a difference.

About the film

Ashley Maria, the director, grew up in a world where girls are taught to be powerful. They’re told, “If you dream it, you can be it,” and are encouraged to work towards their dreams. But, what happens when dreamers grow up?

Pioneers in Skirts dives into the reasons for the drop in female ambition in the workplace, such as unfair perceptions and sexism.

The filmmakers travel the U.S. speaking to experts to find solutions. You can watch the Pioneers in Skirts movie trailer here:

We have a long way to go

The hiring practices at one company alone will not change the world. Sure, it has created an amazing environment here at the ‘Grid but we have our sights set on much loftier goals.

If we firmly believe in a fair and equitable workplace being a major driver of not only the success of the business, but a way to improve the world we live in, then we had better do something about it.

Stop for a moment and consider the numbers:

  • An NCWIT study that analyzed 2,360 global companies, found that companies with women on their executive boards outperformed companies with all-male executive boards.
  • Another study surveyed 1,400 team members across 100 teams at 21 companies and discovered that gender-balanced teams were the most likely to experiment, be creative, share knowledge, and fulfill tasks.
  • In the most extreme cases, a lack of gender diversity in the workplace can actually be life threatening as in the example of how the seat belt was developed.

SendGrid’s corporate social responsibility

SendGrid is committed to elevating the communities in which we live and work. During our IPO, we joined the Pledge 1% Movement, committing 1% of our equity over the next ten years to making a positive social impact. You can learn more about our efforts here.

Something personal

The question of “what kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation” is an important one to ask. How do we want our society to evolve? What kind of behaviors can we immunize our children from to make them more successful?

What kind of behaviors must we put an end to because they’re not hallmarks of the better angels of our nature? The leap from hunter-gatherers to subsistence farmers took millennia—the transition from old norms to an even playing field where all people are on similar footing regardless of their gender must come sooner, and it’ll only happen through active participation, awareness, and conscious decisions by business leaders everywhere.

These are the kinds of questions, stories, and themes that Pioneers in Skirts raises, and in turn, has given me pause—what kind of world do I want to leave behind to the daughter that will soon be joining our family?

Yes, this story has become incredibly personal for me—because it is more than my future daughter’s story, it is the story of sisters, mothers, brothers, fathers, families, colleagues and bosses.

It is the story of how we as a people shape the world we want to live in and the kinds of storytelling that helps us untangle the complex, unresolved narratives from yesteryear. The future isn’t amorphous—the future is what we make of it. Here’s to a brighter 2019.

Head over to the official site of Pioneers in Skirts to learn more about the film. 



Len Shneyder
Len Shneyder is a 15+ year email and digital messaging veteran and the VP of Industry Relations at Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and he drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends based on the massive volume of email SendGrid delivers on behalf of their customers. Len is a longtime member of M3AAWG (the Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) and served on its board in addition to Co-Chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the EEC (Email Experience Council) where he serves as the organization's MAC Chair. The EEC is a professional trade organization focused on promoting email marketing best practices. The EEC is owned by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the ESPC (Email Sender & Provider Coalition) on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.