Opinions & Insights
Meet our Netlifolks: Amina Gass
As we celebrate Black History Month, we want to highlight some of our amazing team members to amplify their voices during this critical month. Meet Amina, People Operations Manager at Netlify.
What was your path to Netlify and what drew you to us?
When I started looking for a new role I was critically researching organizations that value diversity and inclusion. I think it has become a very hot topic but what I've noticed is that there's a lot of talk but not a lot of "how" so I was instantly drawn to Netlify because I loved their approach to diversity. It was embedded into the ecosystem of our culture. I was also impressed with the diversity percentage representation. It showed that they get diversity and really care and I wanted to help contribute to that. I'm a passionate believer that diversity leads to innovation and being able to contribute to a high-performing team was important to me.
I was instantly drawn to Netlify because I loved their approach to diversity. It was embedded into the ecosystem of our culture.
What were your initial impressions of the company?
When I initially interviewed at Netlify I was able to talk to members of the major leadership team including engineering and Netlify's founders, Matt and Chris, and I got positive vibes. It felt like my personal values aligned with the company's overall values. I was extremely enthusiastic and excited after the end of the interview process and am happy to be given the opportunity to work with such a great group!
It's funny when thinking about my onboarding experience because I was joining the company to help improve it! Basically, when I started there was a short checklist around onboarding at the time. I had a quick call with one of the leaders and was able to roll with it and lean into start-up life. I think that's also just a part of my personality and attitude overall though so I didn't mind jumping in and working with what I had at the time and slowly making it better and becoming integrated along the way. Our onboarding experience has been more formalized now for both domestic and international employees, and it really speaks for itself. Lots of new hires are giving us kudos. I was also able to meet with every major stakeholder and get the vision for how our founders are invested in bringing in the right people.
Tell me more about your team and role at Netlify.
Our People team consists of three parts - People Operations, Office Management, and Talent. Under the People Ops function, I contribute to the full complete lifecycle of an employee, so I touch everything after the offer stage with new hires. I oversee our People programs like employee training, launching 360 feedback, and much more.
When it comes to my day-to-day, I look at the overall employee lifecycle and think through our strategic anchors, which is like considering a customer journey and customer experience and how we think about our People initiatives. I contribute to what we are offering benefits-wise and how we can make that experience much better for our team members.
I also help with employee relations where I work with our frontline managers in terms of coaching and development goals. I'm a people champion and I want to create conditions where we're creating a safe work environment. We all contribute to our culture and providing the team with principles like active listening and how to give feedback is important. I scope out drafting inclusive language so that we're all mindful, which is something I'm proud of. As we're looking at our roadmap in the future, I'm considering how we look at international hiring and making sure we consider both domestic and international team members with our people initiatives, leveling up that strategy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day, I try to be mindful about scheduling out time blocks so that I can get my work done. Typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be segmented as more meeting-centric days, whereas Tuesday and Thursday are more heads-down work. I also make sure that I dedicate space to holding meetings, whether it's with a team or individually, and being conscious of timeboxing my calendar to get projects done.
What is the team culture like and how do you typically communicate?
One of the biggest areas that I focus on is team culture. On my team, we work with some badass individuals that live out our values and it's consistent across the team. The People team proactively communicates leveraging internal tools and we lean heavily on documentation to align with transparency. We have an empowering team with lots of cross-collaboration. It feels like we're a united front and we have a super solid team that's willing to give a helping hand to anyone. As a company it's awesome to see people giving out kudos for work that you do together, it makes me feel proud to have that as part of our culture and it helps make us one of the best places to work. Communication is significantly important to me and is one of my personal values that I believe strongly in. Our teams communicate daily through Slack and memorialize a lot of our activities through Notion.
The People team proactively communicates leveraging internal tools and we lean heavily on documentation to align with transparency. We have an empowering team with lots of cross-collaboration.
What's an exciting project that you've been working on or a rewarding project?
One of the most exciting things that I'm working on right now is managing our regular employee pulse survey. A theme from the survey was wellness. Our team member's wellness is important, especially while everyone is dealing with Covid, and to help alleviate stress, we've been able to think through revamping our mental health offerings. It's exciting being able to define what that looks like consistently across the board.
One of the most rewarding projects that I've worked on has been encouraging and speaking up about the Black Lives Matter movement. It's meaningful to have an executive team that is speaking out. For example, we're participating in conversation internally and externally but also provided the opportunity for donation matching to groups working to support voices and efforts to address these human rights injustices. I'm proud of that because I really understand what our Black team members are going through. I also want to make sure that team members have the opportunity to check in regularly too, and we're there for them if they need it. We're an organization that champions diversity and inclusion, which means speaking out while also supporting our team.
One of the most rewarding projects that I've worked on has been encouraging and speaking up about the Black Lives Matter movement. It's meaningful to have an executive team that is speaking out.
What's has your experience been like working remotely?
I was originally a part of SF HQ so I was going into the office to work since I live in San Francisco. Because we have a heavily distributed team, I also worked from home Tuesdays and Thursdays to be able to share some of the same experiences as my remote team members. We've always had a remote-centric and remote-friendly culture. When Covid happened the resources that I had at home were limited and it was critical for me to have a proper working set-up to help with my productivity. So Netlify helped local employees during this time by offering a work equipment stipend that I took advantage of. I got a proper desk and monitor. At first, the transition was challenging but then we made the decision that we were going to be fully remote while the pandemic is being worked through and I took the critical steps to set myself up properly to support remote work.
Is there a particular memory or moment from your time here that stands out.
My favorite memories so far have been the times that we're able to get together for our All Hands events. It's nice to be able to see everyone and have conversations to get to know some of our team members. It also helps facilitate a strong culture overall. The energy at All Hands is just infectious - hard to describe but it's such a wonderful feeling.
What are some fun facts about you and your passions that you have outside of work?
As a fun fact, I actually speak four different languages and English is not my first primary language. I come from a large Somali family where I'm one of six siblings. In my free time, I love to sing, journal, and do musical improv. I'm a life learner and love to read, watch documentaries, and be out and about in all things beach/nature. I used to be a heavy traveler but with Covid, that's a little tricky.