by Elana Lyn Gross
Originally published: March 20, 2017
The adage you can’t be what you can’t see succinctly sums up the need for corporate diversity. Enter Glassbreakers, a Bay Area-based enterprise software solution for diversity and inclusion founded by Eileen Carey in 2014. Glassbreakers originally focused on female mentorship within companies, but based upon the requests of chief diversity officers from Fortune 500 companies, Glassbreakers has shifted to providing a platform for employees to connect based on personal identifications from race to gender to sexual orientation and personal interests like book lover, hiker and foodie. The algorithm connects like-minded employees to generate community and employee engagement, which impacts the company’s bottom line. Carey and her team found that: “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income and nearly 28% growth in earnings per share, and organizations that leverage employee ideas and knowledge meet product revenue targets 46% more often and product launch dates 47% more often than their industry peers.”
Elana Lyn Gross: What inspired you to start Glassbreakers? What was your career path?
Eileen Carey: I was inspired to start Glassbreakers because I could not accept the systemic barriers to leadership in today’s workforce. I am passionate about civil rights and I believe the macroeconomic impact of equal representation in powerful roles in global corporations will lead to career opportunities for oppressed communities and greater financial returns for businesses. My career path was fostered by my role models—women on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley who mentored me and fueled my ambitions because they led by example. Not everyone has access to mentors, and it’s hard to be what you can’t see. I went from being a writer to a marketing manager in luxury goods to a member of the global public affairs team in one of the world’s biggest banks to a communications lead in a fascinating enterprise software company all before I started Glassbreakers. The one thing all my career experiences had in common was the brilliant women who managed me.