06 Jan 5 Minutes with Dalana Brand
Honoring a Vow to Invoke Change
When Dalana Brand, vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity at Twitter, started her career as a corporate finance professional, a job interview changed her profoundly. The interviewer asked, “Why would a woman be interested in the male-dominated automotive industry?”
“Despite all of my skills and experiences, the only thing he seemed to be concerned about was the fact that I am a woman,” she says. Though she got the job, “I vowed to make sure that I open doors for other women.”
Brand has made good on that vow and done much more to build inclusive environments in human resources roles at such companies as Comerica Bank, Whirlpool Corporation, and Electronic Arts. Diversity Woman talked to her about gender equity and DEI priorities in the midst of the pandemic and beyond.
Diversity Woman: You served as an ambassador for the Inaugural Cohort of the United States of Women, working within the community to push for full gender equality. What did you learn that can be applied to the fight for achieving gender equity?
Dalana Brand: The experience reinforced what I always knew to be true—that by coming together, we can accomplish so much more. I think we focus a lot on achieving and sustaining parity in the numbers. The harder part is changing the hearts and minds of people. That takes collective action and coalition building, and that’s what the United States of Women is all about.
DW: How can technology companies like Twitter best support women who aspire to senior level positions?
DB: At Twitter, we ultimately recognize we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility as a media company to use that service to amplify voices of women and to highlight the issues of gender inequality, whether that’s through our platform, through the partners we engage with on a regular basis, and certainly through our community outreach efforts.
I’m really proud of the work that Twitter Women, our business resource group, is doing to create the infrastructure and the environment to support and bolster female leadership at the company.
DW: What are Twitter’s biggest DEI priorities as we adjust to working during a pandemic?
DB: Even before the pandemic, Twitter had a strong focus on trying to create a decentralized workforce. Once the pandemic hit, the entire company was allowed to work in a very decentralized and remote fashion. We see that decentralization effort as core to our ability to become the most diverse tech company in the world. Having a more distributed workforce gives us access to a plethora of diverse talent that we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.
DW: What are some of the most pressing issues that DEI professionals will face in the next five years?
DB: If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that things change fast. So just staying vigilant and present to everything that’s going on globally is first and foremost what DEI professionals need to focus on. Another is human rights, in particular here in the US with the political undertones that we have.