Women’s HERstory Month: Women Pushing for Inclusion on Twitter

Women on Twitter BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Twitter/BELatina.

It’s International Women’s Month all year long here at BELatina News, where we keep discovering and celebrating the empowering women that inspire us 24/7. 

In researching empowering women to further highlight in our platform, we came across the women pushing for inclusion in one of the most popular social media apps: Twitter. Online micro-blogging is massive – boasting 38 million daily active users in the U.S. alone (as of Jan. 2022). 

Digging into the Twitterverse, though, we found some of the most incredible and innovative women that are doing their part in making sure that the platform covers every voice – including our marginalized communities.

We talked to three women who work in the platform: God-is Rivera, the Global Director of Culture & Community; Yari Blanco, a Senior Manager in Multicultural Partnerships; and Gladys Perez,  the Head of IDEA Programs.

They shared with us how they make sure their voice is being heard throughout the platform and how they got to their current powerful position. If they can do it, you can too!

As the Global Director of Culture & Community on Twitter, what does your day-to-day work look like to elevate inclusion on Twitter?

God-is Rivera: What I mostly focus on day-to-day is how we both build and maintain a full ecosystem around how we are serving, supporting and recognizing historically marginalized voices on Twitter and then ensuring that their experiences and feedback is integrated into how we evolve the service they depend on every day — Twitter. This includes several outputs from building processes around how we communicate community feedback to other internal teams, advocating for voices for paid brand partnerships, or meeting with voices 1:1 to better understand their experiences.

That said, my parallel focus each day is also to consistently support my incredible team as they do this work alongside me. It’s important to me that they have the resources and overall well-being that they need to perform the team’s functions and continue to thrive in their careers. This work is rewarding but can also be emotional and intense, so I try to focus on the people doing the work as much as the work itself. 

Do you have any advice for women trying to leap into the same industry?

God-is Rivera:  My advice is to not always wait for an opening or position that currently exists or is within the current structure that is in place as of now. I am beyond grateful that I was able to create the last two roles that I held in two different industries: advertising and, currently, tech. To me, it was about noticing a gap and then brainstorming a solution to try and solve that gap. 

Also, when I was more junior in my role, I didn’t yet have the traditional background for the roles that I wanted. So I created my own freelance company and offered to work with different companies and organizations that I felt aligned with my core values and gained a ton of expertise. I think the current moment is such a great time for people of color of all ages and backgrounds to pursue careers in tech. As the last two years have taught us, to truly build effective processes and products that work and don’t crumble, we MUST consider the experiences of all different groups of people because operating from a default lens is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst.

So I say we NEED you here, and don’t be afraid to reach out to those of us who are in this industry at all levels, so many of us are committed to lifting as we climb and want to see us all win.

How does your role help drive inclusivity on Twitter? 

Yari Blanco: I work on projects across music, television, and film that highlight people  whose art sits at the intersection and represents a multitude of people. From a Latina trap artist from Argentina to an Asian American actor making waves in Hollywood. Everything I do has a lens of inclusion built into it because I am super-serving multicultural communities through the projects I choose to work on.

What led you to this position? 

Yari Blanco: I’ve been in this space since my first internship in college. Working at Twitter and holding this role felt like it was specifically made for me. Not just because I’ve worked in different sectors within entertainment, but because I genuinely care about traditionally marginalized communities. At Twitter, I get to participate and bring positive content that celebrates the incredible contributions each of these groups/individuals bring to the world and our platform. 

As a woman, have you faced any challenges while working on brand partnerships?  

Yari Blanco: Yes. Entertainment is not an easy field. Many people gatekeep because that was what they learned they’re supposed to do. Or men who don’t always respect my authority. But thankfully, here, our team has each other’s back, and if ever there is anything shady happening, we have no qualms about calling it out. I always tell my partners I’m never going to lie to you or pitch you on something I don’t believe in. We’re a team, even if we work for two different entities. If we can agree to trust and respect each other, we can make magic happen. 

As an advocate for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility at Twitter, what exactly do you do to get this done at the company? Twitter is such a broad platform serving people all around the world, so we’d like more insight to know how you tackle these types of issues on a daily basis.

Gladys Perez: I am super lucky to lead our IDEA Programs team and oversee Learning & Development, Social, Comms, Events, & Global Business Resource Groups (BRG)  programs aligned across Inclusion, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at Twitter.

The way I think about this work is ensuring we are cultivating an inclusive culture where any Tweep can belong — through internal and external events and communications, positioning Twitter as an employer of choice for diverse talent on our social handles: follow @TwitterTogether!, amplifying the work of our BRGs, and learning and development programs for everyone, but especially Tweeps from historically excluded backgrounds. 

In practice, this looks like ensuring our BRGs have the resources they need to deliver programs, learning, and development opportunities around allyship and inclusion. They do this by hosting global events that celebrate diversity and acknowledge world events. 

When traumatizing world events impact Tweeps, we ensure they get the support they need from us through programs with mental health professionals, that allies get education opportunities through speaker events with subject matter experts, and connect the dots across a number of teams to drive alignment. 

Before working for Twitter, what did you do? How’d you get into this position, and what interested you in doing so?

Gladys Perez: I sometimes have to pinch myself when I think of my work. 

As the eldest daughter of two Mexican immigrants from very humble backgrounds, who saw my parents be so generous with their time and resources growing up in helping community members acclimate to life in the U.S., I always knew I wanted to work in enabling access for others. And I feel so fortunate to be able to do that through my work. I’ve held roles at public schools, nonprofit organizations, local government, philanthropy, and now tech. All of those roles prepared me for the work I get to do now. 

I got to Twitter through a sponsor from my last job. She saw my work and connected me with the team at Twitter. At the time, I was working on a Public Affairs team in a corporate giving and talent development role (weird combo!). I wanted to pivot into the diversity and inclusion space and make a more formal connection between the work I was already doing — my role here did just that! 

Follow each of these powerful women’s voices on Twitter: @GodisRivera, @theYariBlanco, and @ItsGladysPerez.