AllVoices Advisors: Q&A with Shadiah Sigala

By Claire Schmidt
January 9, 2020

Welcome to AllVoices Advisors, a series introducing our amazing advisors here at AllVoices. We’re on mission to create safe, happy, and healthy workplaces for all and we’re lucky to have a team of experts dedicated to helping us along the way.

Today we're sitting down with AllVoices advisor, Shadiah Sigala. Shadiah is a serial tech entrepreneur, now founding Kinside, a modern child care benefit. Kinside serves hundreds of employers by connecting their employees to tens of thousands of reserved spots at top rated daycares and preschools nationwide. Prior to Kinside, she was Co-Founder and Chief People Officer at Honeybook. We're thrilled to share what she's learned along the way.

What made you decide to join AllVoices as an advisor?

Firstly, everyone knows that an early stage startup lives and dies by the strength of its founding team. I have known Claire Schmidt (CEO of AllVoices) for 7 years and I believe in her as an incredible force of nature.

Secondly (but not quite secondarily), I am a strong believer in gender equity. AllVoices has a fundamental mission to level the playing field in the workplace.

How is AllVoices changing the way company leaders address bullying, bias, harassment and other workplace issues?

The mere fact that AllVoices is growing shows that we’re in a very special time and place where companies are accepting their responsibility as cultural and social hubs. AllVoices is creating space and riding on the edge of this very important new wave.

Why is company culture important and how would you describe your company’s culture?

We say that we’re a “startup for grownups.” Most of us are seasoned startupers, in a different phase of our lives...we have families, kids, and robust roles in our communities. We have fun and enjoy our jobs incredibly, but we work incredibly diligently so we can go have dinner with our kids. While you won’t find ping pong tables here, you will have access to a fantastic paid family leave policy.

How do you think company leaders can better protect whistleblowers and people who speak up to change their company culture?

One of the fundamental tensions in organizations is that HR is by design intended to protect the corporate organization. We are seeing a shift towards HR teams taking more responsibility for the well being of the individuals inside an organization. There are myriad tactics a company can take to better protect whistleblowers. But a company must first accept the fundamental change happening in the role of HR.

What steps have you taken to create companies that are diverse and inclusive?

Let me give a very practical piece of advice to companies looking to amp up diversity: start at the most junior levels, and do college recruiting. The pipeline of diverse candidates is fabulously rich at this level.

As a company leader and working mother, how do you think employers can help protect against the motherhood bias?

For starters, I think the fact that I occupy the CEO space as a mother is a form of activism, in and of itself.

Practically speaking, one of the most powerful things that leaders can do is to model taking time off and prioritizing their personal and family lives so that their teams feel comfortable doing the same.

What skills do you admire most in a leader?

The ability for a manager to connect with their employee (truly -- both emotionally and functionally) is the single strongest indicator of how much that person will develop and flourish in their role.

What are you most passionate about in this phase of your career?

To date, we have recruited our team at Kinside almost exclusively from our networks. Being at a more experienced phase of our careers has given us an incredible advantage. The bonus is that we get to work with people we’ve loved to work with in the past!

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Always say yes to opportunity. Figure out how you’re actually going to achieve the job or challenge later!

Don’t get caught off guard by employee feedback. AllVoices can help.
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