Focusing on Intersectionality and Combined Progress and Efforts — Matthew Welch of Ripple

AllVoices Team
AllVoices Team
December 2, 2021
5 Min Read
Focusing on Intersectionality and Combined Progress and Efforts — Matthew Welch of Ripple

This post is a part of our series, Culture Champions — Spotlighting the actionable advice, tips, tricks and learnings from top ERG leaders who are making a difference in their workplaces and communities.

Meet Matthew Welch, Manager of Technical Recruiting at Ripple. Matthew is a talent acquisition specialist working on international and engineering opportunities at Ripple across 8 offices world wide with a focus on Diversity and Inclusion. His goal at Ripple is to find the best talent and build lasting relationships.

What was your journey to becoming an employee resource group (ERG) leader? 

It all started when I was about to turn 21 and come out and decided to take a job at the LGBTQIA Resource Center on the suicide prevention hot-line. I went from being scared of what people would think of my queerness to being a righteous advocate for mental health among LGBTQIA youth. From there I worked several jobs where HR/ERG’s were not a thing, and eventually ended up at Ripple nearly 6 years ago. At the time I was the only “out” employee and wanted to create a community here at Ripple. Pretty organically we started “Pride at Ripple '' and started focusing a bit more on Ripple Employees bringing their true authentic selves to work. The reception from the company was always so warm and caring but, we wanted more always. A few years later we hired a Head of DEI at Ripple and we formally created the “Pride@Ripple ERG” along with 6 other ERG’s here at Ripple.  I immediately knew that I wanted to continue having an impact in our community space and volunteered to be a lead!

“The Pride at Ripple ERG aims to bring support, resources, collaboration, career growth and empower Ripple employees not only at work but also out in their global communities – all while being able to bring one’s entire self to work without editing.” 

Tell us about some of the tangible ways that Pride at Ripple encourages folks to bring one’s entire self to work.  

We are committed to providing a safe space here at Ripple for us to collaborate, share our stories and to build a close-knit family. Ripple allows us to connect with the wider LGBTQIA+ community and participate in Ripple-led initiatives. 

We aim to create a diverse and inclusive workspace, that will help facilitate and grow careers here at Ripple and beyond.

As for some of our practices here at Pride at Ripple, we like to have thought leadership talks to bring groups together and create a more inclusive community within pride but also across our ERGs (intersectionality), we have a slack channel Pride@Ripple, a mailing list, a donation matching programs for LGBTQIA foundations, and we encourage employees to dress and express in the way that they feel most comfortable and confident. 

As the Manager of Technical Recruiting at Ripple NYC--is Pride at Ripple involved in the recruitment of talent? If so, how? 

Pride at Ripple and all of our ERG’s are very intertwined within our recruitment process. Jim my VP of Talent is a co-lead of pride with me, and Sarah Z one our Lead Recruiters runs our Able@Ripple ERG. We take alot of what we learn from our Ripple Community ERG meetings and put this directly into our recruitment process. One initiative I am very excited about launching any day will be our ERG Ambassador Program. This Ambassador Program allows prospective candidates an opportunity to speak with a member one of our 7 ERGs and learn about the communities we have built here at Ripple. It is an amazing way for us to really leverage our ERG’s within the recruitment process. 

How are you celebrating and honoring Trans Awareness Week this year? What is your advice to other ERG leaders across companies who’re aiming to make their workplace more trans-inclusive? 

This year for Trans Awareness Week we programmed a week of content for the company, including every day facts, readings, statistics etc on the trans-community. We of course will be also highlighting some of our transgender Icons like Laveren Cox and more. 

This year for NCOD we actually did a Trans awareness and identity talk with one of our employees in a fireside chat format. We are so lucky to have had this employee share their story as a parent raising two children,  both of which transitioned in their young adulthood to the opposite sex. We had the entire office in tears as every person who tuned in could not help but relate to our panel and how hard as a parent this journey can be! 

Overall we just want to bring extra awareness this month, and really start flexing on pronouns usage in the workplace and every day. 

How do you work with other ERGs at Ripple? 

Our ERGs here thrive on the concept of intersectionality, we frequently will partner with another one of our ERGs around events and speaking tracks. For National Trans Awareness Week we are actually meeting with the Able@RippleERG to discuss how we can be more inclusive and accommodating to our trans communities. Remember its all about being able to be your true authentic self at work.

Do you have executive sponsors of Pride at Ripple and if so, how are they selected? 

We are very lucky at Ripple to have executive buy-in to be a part of and help lead every one of our 7 ERGs.  I was lucky enough through my experience managing technical recruiting to partner with our VP of Data as our executive sponsor. I noticed that within Engineering DI #s really struggled the most, and we had a VP who was super passionate about changing this and he has been an amazing Ally and Pride ERG exec sponsor! 

In this case I choose our executive sponsor but most of the time our executives get really passionate about one of the ERGs and we gladly will accept their help as a sponsor.

What are the ways that you’re celebrated and compensated as an ERG leader at Ripple? 

At Ripple we really love to celebrate with our ERGs, we love to get our ERG’s together and focus on intersectionality and combined progress and efforts. It helps to motivate Ripplers across the organization to rise up to the occasion and celebrate their unique self and feel proud of being exactly who they are. As for compensation, Ripple does not pay us for our extra efforts in our ERGs, I do it because I love creating community with my fellow Ripplers. 

What advice do you have for folks looking to start or lead an ERG within their organization?

The first piece of advice I have is, “stick to it”. It is never easy to launch a company wide effort like launching ERGs, it takes alot of hard work and dedication and a can do attitude. First comb through your organization and see who has that passion for inclusion, set the stage and start warming these individuals up to lead different ERGs. I highly recommend not starting with just One all encompassing ERG as the messaging gets muddled. Talk with your future ERG leads and see what they feel needs to be represented more at your company and create ERGs for those needs.  

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

How to be an Ally!

  • #1: Understand your privilege 
  • #2: Listen and do your homework
  • #3: Speak up not over
  • #4: You’ll make mistakes! Apologize when you do
  • #5: Ally is a VERB 

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