I Am Because We Are
On May 5th, 2021, I had the strongest out-of-body experience ever at work. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. An immense feeling of pride, gratitude, and happiness overcame me as I watched the virtual graduation of the inaugural class of the Netflix Pathways Bootcamp. My first thought was to quickly shut off my video camera to hide my emotion. Instead, I leaned into that vulnerability to give the students a subtle sign of the indelible mark they’ve left on me and the greater Netflix community. Hearing the students’ experiences, and their excitement for what’s next is a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. My hope is that this program is the catalyst to creating more opportunities for the next generation of future leaders for our company and our industry.
As someone who has spent the last decade working in the early talent space, I’ve learned the value of representation, and the power of what happens when students are given access, mentorship, and an opportunity to showcase their talent. My true north is centered around student development and opening doors into the corporate world for those who have been historically excluded. After thousands of interactions with students, it remains clear that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.
I attended a small private New England College and at times, I felt lonely. Because I felt out of place, I lacked the confidence to reach out to alumni for networking or mentorship opportunities. Though I had much of the same academic achievements, I didn’t know how to navigate the corporate world. When employers came to campus for info sessions or recruiting opportunities, I looked across my peers and thought, “I don’t belong here,” or “I have no chance of getting the job.”
It wasn’t until I found Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a year-long career development program for underrepresented students, that I understood what I was truly capable of. The combination of seeing and meeting others that looked like me, and coaches that pushed and believed in me, unlocked newfound confidence that I could do anything. There aren’t enough programs like this to reach the number of students that need it, and it’s one step we’re taking at Netflix to create more access and opportunity.
The program we’ve built at Netflix accelerates participants’ technical skills across UI/UX, Data Science, and Software Engineering, while providing opportunities for professional development. Our goal is to further prepare students for Netflix, the tech industry, and the broader job market. Most importantly, we want them to unlock their own potential. We are committed to their success and as part of the program, each student receives a Netflix mentor. In addition to seeing Netflix employees that look like them, it’s also valuable for students to see themselves in our series and films. Which is why we arranged discussions with Dear White People stars Ashley Blaine Featherson and Marque Richardson, as well as Jingle Jangle writer, director, and executive producer David Talbert.
As mentioned in our company inclusion report earlier this year, we have learned that diversity and inclusion are key to innovation. In order to future-proof our company and foster creativity, it is critical that employees come from different backgrounds. While we have made great strides in diversifying our workforce, there is still work needed to address our current gaps, while expanding access to underrepresented communities. This starts with being intentional about building future talent pipelines.
A few key facts about our upcoming Spring 2022 cohort (for all six schools):
- Application is now live at netflix.2u.com until November 29, 2021 at 11:59pm PST.
- Students can apply for one of three tracks: Java, Data Science, or UX/UI.
- The program is a two-semester commitment; the foundations course is one semester (17 weeks) and those who successfully complete this course will have the opportunity to progress into the advanced course the following semester.