Faces of Unity: Paul Saiedi
In this Faces of Unity post, we’re highlighting Paul Saiedi, Unity’s first Global Head of Inclusion. Paul heads up Unity’s commitment to creating and expanding diversity and inclusion across the company, and works to remind us that we have an opportunity in all of our actions to impact how we can create a sense of inclusion at Unity! Read on to learn more about Paul’s journey at Unity.
What do you do at Unity?
I’m the Global Head of Inclusion, which means I get to come in every day and help us build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Inclusion is about the environment and experience that each community and individual has at the company, while diversity is the varieties of different backgrounds and skills each unique employee bring into the workplace. Each day I work closely with senior leadership, Recruiting, Human Resources, Marketing, Engineering, Sales, Ads, and employees from all departments to see how we can expand diversity and inclusion across the company.
What does an average day at work look like for you?
On an average day, I start work at 7 a.m.; I’ve always been a morning person. We have a world-class recruiting team, so often I’m working with them to plan our strategy at a conference or for one of our internal hiring events. My job is to help them, our company, and our industry hire some of the best and the brightest talent out there. I also spend time with passionate and driven employees who help me each day to listen, learn, and partner in identifying and executing on bringing more underrepresented employees into our workplace. At some point, I typically also meet with our executives and leaders to discuss ways we can build in more inclusive processes and structures into the teams they manage. I always end my day with a quick 20-minute walk to the San Francisco waterfront where I catch a ferry back to my house in the East Bay. I use the walk and the ride home to reflect on my day (I’m a huge fan of mindfulness practices) and to read an article or publication highlighting new research about building a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
What were doing before joining Unity?
Before Unity, I was at Twitter where I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to help design, scale, and implement an inclusion strategy for the company globally. Before that, I wore many other hats, including working as the Executive Director of a non-profit leadership program and as a Cultural Studies college instructor at the University of Maryland. No matter what job I have done, in one way or another I have always been a teacher. Even now at Unity, I’m encouraged and inspired to continue to teach our organization how to drive inclusive behaviors in the ways we recruit, interview, hire, and support a diverse workforce.
What made you decide to work at Unity?
I wanted to work at Unity because it is rare that you find an organization that is passionate about improving and driving for inclusion, not only at the employee level but at the highest leadership levels. Here at Unity from our CEO down, leaders are hungry to implement and support inclusion however they can.
What cool projects have you worked/are you working on?
One of the coolest projects I am working on now is designing an inclusion workshop. It’s a workshop that allows employees, at every level of the company, to learn about how they can be better allies and drivers of inclusion while also building their skills around the language they use and how they can build-in simple everyday approaches to more respectful and empathetic ways of working together.
What do you think about our company culture?
The thing I enjoy most about Unity’s culture is how we allow people to shine and do their best work. Unity fosters a culture of improvement and empowerment, where employees are told on their first day that they do not need to «prove» anything, that we hired them to be themselves and to do their best work.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love to cook and host dinner parties with my partner. Every Sunday we gather a group of friends at our place to talk, laugh, and break some bread together. I think that sharing food is a wonderful way to bring people together.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?
I don’t know so much that I was directly told this, but it has been modeled to me by a mentor of mine, Tanya Odom (if you don’t follow her on Twitter then you should @TMODOM). It’s that leadership is about kindness, empathy, and above all, a mindset of mindfulness. When we embed mindful approaches to people and programs we get so much more accomplished, and even more importantly, we build lasting positive relationships along the way. In other words, how you get there is as important as getting there.
What would you tell someone considering a career in your field?
For someone considering a career in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity work, the best advice I could give is to take opportunities as they come to you because even though they may not look like the ideal job, there is something vital to be learned from every opportunity. There is not really a clear path to Inclusion work, rather, you gain the skills you need to drive this work from a ton of different places. For me, that meant honing my skills in research and teaching from working at a university. For skills in community building and organizing, I draw from my time in the nonprofit world and in my longtime passion and commitment to social justice organizing. My formal education in Cultural Studies has also been integral in shaping my approach to Inclusion. By studying the histories and structures that create our shared cultural experiences, I approach inclusion within a corporate tech space from a systems-thinking mindset, centered on long-term change rooted in small everyday actions that everyone within the organization can participate in. Culture for me is fluid and changes each day, it is created by everyone within an organization through all the little decisions they make, and the ways they are inclusive or not. At Unity, I want everyone to do their small part, and in doing so, I know that we can create a culture that not only supports a diverse workforce but allows it to thrive.
What would you tell someone considering a career at Unity?
Apply! Being part of a company that is having and will continue to have a huge impact on so many industries through the tools and services we offer is exciting. Every time I learn about a product launch I am in awe of what our teams at Unity are creating. You not only feel, but you know that you are contributing to something special when you work here!
If you’re interested in joining Unity and Paul on our mission to democratize development and foster a workplace that represents the best of inclusion and diversity, check out our careers page! We’re hiring in more than 25 cities around the world!
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