Working in HR, are there particular types of people you try to hire at Twist?
There are so many types of expertise needed for us to do what we're doing. We need scientists who bring chemistry and molecular biology skills to develop our cutting-edge technology. But we also need really talented software engineers to write the code, and a sales force that helps customers understand Twist’s technical advantages as well as our commitment to customer support, just to name a few of the many critical roles we hire at Twist.
What attracted you to Twist?
I knew Twist would be a really open, celebratory place to work. And thankfully, I've been lucky to always work in supportive environments. I studied biology and music in undergrad, and then I moved to San Francisco. I did an AmeriCorps program teaching health education to high school students and worked as a research associate for an HIV prevention clinical trial at the SF Department of Public Health.
How do you identify?
Queer is the label I would use for myself, and then female – she/her pronouns. Talking about sexuality, and who you are and what's going on in your life, and having conversations about some of these taboo topics, has always been part of my professional career, starting right out of college when I was doing STD and HIV testing in a youth health clinic.
You see a lot of potential employees; anything that consistently comes up as a reason they are attracted to Twist?
When I interview people, female candidates often say: I'm so excited you have a female CEO. And, our multinational exec team brings diverse perspectives. The fact that we have Diversity is in our DNA as one of our taglines, that’s important. People want to belong and feel like they’re not going to be the only one. It sends a powerful message from the start that diversity and belonging matter at Twist.
Consistently, I hear that people feel they can be themselves. I'm always thinking there's more we could be doing to boost belonging. People talk about that a lot, especially at a startup. Unlike many startups, where if you look around, your first five hires all look the same and each new hire is going to make it harder to bring in diversity. We want a vibrant work force that can solve a diverse set of issues and I’m pleased to say we have that in the win column.
Why is diversity important to Twist?
The research shows having a more diverse team doesn't make the work easier; it makes it harder. There are more perspectives on how to solve a problem. Sure, you could have five people in a room and everyone says: Me too. Totally. Yes, yes, yes! But you don’t need five people to do that. If nobody else brings a new idea to the table, you just need one person. But when you have these different perspectives, yes, it can be harder in the moment, but you get better outcomes.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am really proud to work with the colleagues I have, and to be extremely comfortable being myself at work. I trust that's the experience for most people at Twist, and I think that's a beautiful and unique thing to have at a company.