Editor's Note: Take an inside peek at life at Alteryx with a new blog series that highlights our incredibly talented employees. First up, we have Dennis James, director of Global End User Services and active member of AlterQ, our Employee Resource Group (ERG) that aims to empower the LGBTQ+ community and its allies by providing visibility, support, and resources to create an inclusive culture and attract diverse talent.
How did you end up at Alteryx? What attracted you to the company and the role?
My journey to Alteryx was a bit coincidental. I was working in an IT leadership role at an airline and was approached online (through LinkedIn) by one of Alteryx’s talent acquisition pros. My background and experience were a very close match to a new role they were adding, and that connection opened a series of conversations that lead me here.
Though I had an excellent mentor and some great people on my teams (not to mention free flights to anywhere in the world!), Alteryx’s roadmap and growth potential in the data science and technology space was very appealing to me. At Alteryx, I’ve had the opportunity to be on the ground floor of growth and to make tangible marks in how we grew.
My previous company was mature in their DE&I journey and being your authentic self was not only welcomed but expected there. Leaving that feeling of comfort to take what I learned there and apply it to a younger company that was just starting out in that journey, was both terrifying and exciting at the same time.
In your personal life and at previous companies, what kind of involvement have you had with DE&I Initiatives? Why does LGBTQ+ equality matter to you?
I have always looked for ways to be a part of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. A space where everyone is respected and heard – one where everyone feels free to make a meaningful contribution. As a gay man from the rural Midwest and part of a conservative Mennonite extended family, married to a Bolivian man from a strict Catholic upbringing, I have experienced firsthand throughout my life how bullying and discrimination can not only lead you into self-doubt, self-hatred, and depression, but also how it can also severely limit your ability to thrive and contribute 100% to yourself, to your loved ones and friends, and to your career. It is vital that everyone feel safe to be their authentic selves and in turn, that is when we get the best from people.
At my last company, I was an active member and leader in the Houston chapter of their LGBTQ+ ERG, organizing social, educational, and charitable programs and events; as well as being part of panels providing input into employee engagement and talent programs, people, policies and processes that reflect the diverse employees, customers and communities the airline served. As a leader of people from all over the world and as a member of a multicultural family myself, I felt it important and necessary to also be an active ally/advocate member of their multicultural ERG.
Aside from being a member of AlterQ, I am a current member of LGBTQ Center Orange County, which provides support services for LGBTQ+ youth, health and wellbeing programs, social justice advocacy, and more to a broad spectrum of cultures, ethnicities, ages, and economic backgrounds.
Tell us about AlterQ and what the team is prioritizing
AlterQ has set out to define its mission of empowering the LGBTQ+ community and its allies by providing visibility, support, and resources to create an inclusive culture and attract diverse talent, and set goals and priorities aligned with that. Our current priorities are centered around raising awareness and growing our membership, to ultimately include local/regional chapters; finding ways to reach and be a resource to those who aren’t yet comfortable or ready to come out; highlighting the importance of allyship and what it means to be an ally, providing fun and educational programming and events; identifying and contributing resources to causes and organizations around the world that support and protect the LGBTQ+ community and support our mission; and promoting Alteryx as a diverse, equal, and inclusive workplace.
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