In eight years, Gopuff has learned a lot about timing.
It’s certainly a core part of the company’s business to deliver food, drinks, household items, and other everyday essentials to customers in minutes. And while the app has become a staple for customers in over 1,000 cities across the U.S. and Europe, Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility Sanya Brown states that Gopuff’s ability to show up when needed isn’t limited to dropping off orders.
In December 2021, a powerful tornado tore through Kentucky, leaving a path of devastation and chaos in its wake. Without skipping a beat, Brown said Gopuff sent truckloads of supplies to help people regroup as they recovered from their losses, donating goods and funds equaling $100,000 total. In January of this year, a fire ravaged an apartment building in Philadelphia where the company is headquartered, spurring Gopuff into action, donating to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. Gopuff also stepped in to make a donation without hesitation when Colorado was experiencing extreme wildfires, and again when a Miami condo building in Surfside collapsed. And just recently, Gopuff showed our support for the Buffalo community after the supermarket shooting in May by donating food to two local food banks to support the victims and their families and temporarily waiving delivery fees.
“I could go on with more examples,” Brown said. “But it all comes down to us living our mantra of ‘being there in an instant’ when we’re needed most. As a group, we’re intentional about assessing how we can engage with the community in the moment and do it to the best of our abilities.”
It’s no fluke that Gopuff is able to act so rapidly.
Because the company has prioritized building relationships with local communities, Gopuff has been able to leverage its resources in meaningful ways, delivering the most impact possible through partnerships with local aid organizations, founders and consumers. “I know that no matter how big we grow, we have a physical presence in every community we serve, so we will always be hyperlocal,” Brown said.
But Gopuff’s definition of community isn’t limited to the world outside the company, said Senior Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Jacqui Hopkins. It also means building an equitable, diverse and inclusive company where every employee feels like they are free to be themselves at work and thrive. To Hopkins, now’s the time to have those important conversations around DEI and fully integrate Gopuff’s values.
“Having been in hypergrowth mode for quite some time,” Hopkins said. “We’re defining who we are as a company, creating our culture at the ground floor and deciding who we want to be.”
So, what exactly is Gopuff? An organization the team is proud to be a part of.
Let’s take a look at Gopuff’s internal plans for increasing its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. What does the roadmap look like for DEI?
Hopkins: We’re in the process of setting standards around diversity and inclusion, and getting the conversation started. We’re looking at our internal processes and procedures to really dig deep and examine how we operate.
Right now, we’re auditing our entire hiring process, from attraction to application to interview, to learn more about how we hire to become the most inclusive and equitable recruiters in the industry. Additionally, we’re looking at our performance management — how we get employee feedback and how we score our employee performance. To ensure that our process is inclusive, we’re examining workforce and succession planning, leadership development, and training.
What do employee resource groups (ERGs) look like at Gopuff? Why are they important to build culture?
Hopkins: We have four ERGs: one for veterans, one for the LGBTQIA+ community, a women’s group, and a group for employees who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. These ERGs are already robust, but we’re now formalizing them and making them more organized as the company continues to expand. Like many tech companies, much of our corporate team operates remotely, so bringing people together and creating a sense of community and belonging is really important to us.
Due to the networking and professional development opportunities they bring, ERGs are crucial to fostering a sense of belonging in organizations. They help cultivate positive and inclusive environments for employees so that we all trust we’re working for and with culturally competent people. These groups can influence policies and procedures while making the environment more welcoming for everyone. This kind of equitable workspace can support an open forum for the exchange of ideas. For me, employee resource groups are the bedrock of a company’s culture.
Senior Software Engineer and co-chair of goPride ERG Tria Ward: Within goPride, the resource group for LGBTQ+ employees, we strive toward several initiatives to build a sense of belonging. Our goal is to create a space where people feel comfortable being their authentic selves and living their truths. We are also consistently working to both normalize and advocate on behalf of the perspectives and cultures that fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, particularly as they relate to workplace life. An important component of this is surfacing the needs of LGBTQ+ community members in the workplace and helping to boost their signals when needed.
Our ERGs are empowered with a platform to help inform the internal workplace environment and hiring decisions, as well as externally facing product-and-service-offering decisions. This helps enable the company to meet these communities in a well-qualified way while providing employees with the opportunity to directly serve the interests of the broader communities they come from.
What are some recent DEI initiatives Gopuff has launched? What was the impact?
Hopkins: We recently held a program for Black History Month called “Affirming Black Voices.” We brought in a guest speaker, and I moderated a talk with two of our Black employees. This was the first in a series of events where we intended to create open conversations around race, social justice, diversity, and belonging. Our goal is to build an environment where we can talk about things that are difficult and impactful to us as individuals, as well as how we relate to one another.
I’m particularly proud of that first event. It was Gopuff’s way of demonstrating to me, as a new employee, that it’s a safe environment to have these kinds of conversations. More than anything, I’m proud of the participation and attendance from the workforce. You can put as much work into an event as you want, but if the interest isn’t there, it won’t go far. What I’ve come to realize in the short time I’ve been here is that Gopuff is hungry for these conversations.
Ward: Being a largely remote company, working to foster a sense of culture and community can be challenging. One has to rethink what “culture” means in an online environment. With goPride in particular, much of our focus has been on planning online activities and creating space online, like holding a virtual meet and greets and encouraging community via Slack. An initiative that one of our pillar champions just started is called “Talk About It Tuesdays.” Once a week, we pick an LGBTQ+-related topic and post a video or article about it to our Slack channel to encourage discussion.
Additionally, goPride’s Drag Bingo event, which occurred during Pride Month last year, absolutely left a lasting impression on me. The company hired a drag queen to run a bingo game remotely. In addition to being an extremely fun event, it was very affirmative and celebrated LGBTQ+ culture in a very concrete and positive way.
How does Gopuff extend this concept of community outside the company?
Brown: Gopuff has a small-business accelerator program called “Put Me On” which has been a collaborative effort between several cross-functional teams. The program is designed for underrepresented entrepreneurs, who go through a six-month program with different workshops about key areas of business, like merchandising, the supply chain, general management, and more. They also have one-on-one meetings to make sure they’re not only surviving on Gopuff’s platform, but thriving.
Our goal isn’t just for them to succeed on our platform, but for them to also be successful in their own right. Some of these businesses have local and regional distribution, but they want that local focus and attention. We also have some smaller, local businesses that are only located in one city, like Miami. We’re thrilled to meet these businesses where they are and help them grow.
How does Gopuff leverage its platform to boost others in the community?
Brown: This year, we launched “Say It Loud,” where people interested in shopping at Black-owned and Black-founded brands can buy products. I’m excited to see us meet this need and figure out a way to support a large portion of our consumer base, who are BIPOC.
Through this initiative, we were also able to launch a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) during Black History Month. We went to three HBCUs and brought two Black founders with us from our inaugural “Put Me On” class: Jen Martin of Pipcorn and Charisse McGill of French Toast Bites, who brought cold brew. We partnered with James Harden’s Impact13 Foundation to provide scholarships to those three schools as well as transportation for the tour. This program allowed students to see meaningful representation of Black founders, and created a tremendous amount of engagement. It was a magnificent moment with high impact.
How else does Gopuff’s platform celebrate communities — especially if they’re hyperlocal?
Ward: I think Gopuff’s “magic sauce” lies within our network of hyperlocal presence. By having a physical presence in every market that we serve, we have an opportunity to connect with the local community. This includes connecting with people on the consumer side of the market and forming partnerships with local businesses and corporate leaders. By operating our own locations, we have the power to make localized, community-centric decisions with regard to staffing, inventory and product offerings. Through our involvement in local community events, we demonstrate our concrete commitment to these communities while making connections with people that help inform our own decision-making.
I believe that regardless of the size and scope of your company, if you have a local presence, you are working with a local market. Working with local markets always involves connecting with community members. People like feeling genuinely valued, and companies that celebrate local culture demonstrate that they are invested in those communities and care about the people in them. That’s important for building trust.
Gopuff has also contributed both goods and financially to communities. Can you walk us through some of those initiatives?
Brown: We are uniquely positioned to show up when our local communities are experiencing times of crisis because we have the resources and infrastructure to really make an impact.
In addition to what we’ve shared, we also have a partnership with Feeding America, through which we donate excess goods across the United States. We also have a great relationship with Covenant House, an organization that provides critical services for youth experiencing homelessness and/or trafficking. We’ve donated food, cleaning supplies, and resources to nine of their locations so far. It’s thrilling to be on the front end of this work, ensuring that we’re being intentional with how we engage communities and that we make a tremendous impact. We try to live by our mantra of “being there in an instant.”
Now, looking ahead, the Gopuff has ambitious plans to continue expanding its presence globally without losing sight of what drives its team to show up locally every day: making life a little bit easier for everyone.