Being a ‘first’ or ‘only’ can be alienating.
As the only woman engineer or leader in several stages of her professional journey, Chandni Jain was continuously reminded of her uniqueness. To overcome this challenge, she chose to view it as an opportunity rather than a hindrance — but doing so successfully required support.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had exceptional mentors and managers throughout my career,” she said. “Their guidance and support played a pivotal role in my becoming the confident leader I am today.”
For Lauren Volpi — who summarizes her 20-year career thus far as a “series of firsts” — being the first woman on her team to be a mom and becoming the first woman vice president at her previous company were both experiences that now greatly inform her leadership style.
“Having kids and being ambitious are not mutually exclusive, but it can be challenging,” Volpi noted.
Similar to Jain’s experience, Volpi’s path has been bolstered by mentors and managers who, as she put it, “paved a path for me to succeed.” She now pays forward that support to her team.
“Just as my managers have paved a path for me, I try to make it easier for my team to vocalize their career aspirations, have choice in all their personal and work priorities, and have more flexibility,” Volpi said.
Now working together at DataGrail, Jain and Volpi — the company’s senior software engineering manager and SVP of marketing, respectively — perpetuate the environment of support and authenticity that helped them grow throughout their career.
WHAT DATAGRAIL DOES
DataGrail is the privacy control center modern brands rely on to build customer trust and outsmart business risk. Backed by more than 2,000 pre-built integrations, DataGrail automates privacy workflows and supports compliance with regulations like GDPR and CPRA. DataGrail services millions of consumers through companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Overstock, Instacart and New Balance.
How DataGrail Makes the Workplace Better for Women
One of the core company values of DataGrail is to “embrace your authenticity at work” — and the company truly means it.
“We place a strong emphasis on fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce to cultivate respect, psychological safety and collaboration,” said Jain. “Our communication guidelines underscore the importance of expressing thoughts responsibly and inclusively, principles consistently upheld by our leadership.”
One of the ways that Jain sees DataGrail put authenticity into action is through the company’s flexibility. Jain adds that DataGrail understands the importance of work-life balance and offers adjustable work hours, which greatly enhances her productivity while allowing her to be present for her family.
“Being remote has helped plenty with flexibility,” added Volpi, who also emphasized the company’s generous parental leave — for parents of any gender or lifestyle.
“Back in 2013 when I was a new mom, there was no paternity leave, so it was really up to the mom to take time off,” she recalled. Upon returning to the office after the traditional 12 weeks of leave, she remembered struggling with the work-life balance. “Between meetings and work, I still had to find time to do things like pump, travel for work and do night feedings. It was not easy, and I had to accept that I was not going to be amazing at all the jobs of mom, boss and wife.”
At DataGrail, Volpi sees a big difference from her parental leave experience 10 years ago. “DataGrail has a diverse team with parents of every gender taking leave to be at home with their kids,” she said. “This normalizes being a working parent.”
“DataGrail has a diverse team with parents of every gender taking leave to be at home with their kids. This normalizes being a working parent.”
“Recognizing the significance of work-life balance is essential,” Jain added. “Many women exit the workforce due to its absence, with the consequences impacting not only them but the organization as a whole.”
BENEFITS AT DATAGRAIL FOR PARENTS
- Flexible work schedule
- Remote work
- Work stipend for office expenses
- Family and medical leave
- Generous parental leave
- Building Healthy Family program with Anthem
- Mental well-being support
- Tools to assist with financial goals
- Anthem’s Online Will Tool
Diversity at DataGrail
Jain noted that she is interested in studying how DEI works in the current remote and hybrid work culture — which is important considering that DataGrail is a remote-first company.
“What sets DataGrail apart is its remarkable diversity within the management team, encompassing a wide range of genders, backgrounds and experiences,” said Jain. “This enriches the workplace environment, making it a fantastic place to work and continue to grow.”
“The diversity on DataGrail’s management team enriches the workplace environment, making it a fantastic place to work and continue to grow.”
It’s worth noting that 40 percent of DataGrail’s workforce is women, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. Perhaps most notable though, is how DataGrail welcomes open and frank conversations about DEI, implicit bias and how employees feel about the workplace.
“At DataGrail we have a number of different ways our team members can share feedback,” said Jain, giving the example of the company all-hands where employees can submit questions for the executive team to address live.
“We also have a DEI-related Culture Club that focuses on relaying back to the leaders the most important information on how people are feeling,” she continued. “The most important, though, is the feedback between teams and their direct leaders. This is at the crux of what we need to be successful as a company and should always be leveraged for anything important, especially DEI-related topics.”
Support from managers and mentors is what both Jain and Volpi credit for their own career growth, despite being the ‘first’ or ‘only’ among their peers. Creating a structure and environment to cultivate those relationships is crucial for a workplace that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, according to Jain.
She concluded, “The journey toward establishing a more inclusive workplace for women is an ongoing endeavor, demanding unwavering commitment and a dedication to continuous improvement.”