Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



April/May 2018

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Diversity In Action

Brocade: bring your whole self to work

Now hiring across the board, this “always-evolving” company offers employees a variety of perks and opportunities for growth, inclusion, networking and volunteerism

Brocade provides a comprehensive range of data center storage and networking solutions. “We’re looking for people with a passion for technology and experience in hardware and software development, information security and network management, as well as database, Linux, Unix and IT storage administration,” says Joni Podolsky, global inclusion, diversity and outreach manager. “We are always evolving and innovating.”

Brocade has an exceptional engineering department, Podolsky says. “We’re hiring in all parts of the company and have immediate openings for software engineers, hardware engineers and test engineers. We’re also looking for people who have storage or networking protocol experience.” Other valuable skill sets include Fibre Channel, OpenFlow, Open Daylight, network security, and ASIC design and verification. “Last year, we acquired Vyatta, a software networking company that has grown into the Brocade Software Networking division (BSN) developing SDN/NFV solutions. BSN hires software engineers with skills in Linux Kernel development in L3-Routing or OpenStack.”

Diverse hiring with an eye on veterans
Brocade’s recruiting efforts are enhanced by relationships with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Center for Women and Information Technology and the Anita Borg Institute, as well as local organizations in Broomfield, CO and San Jose, CA. Brocade has facilities in both cities.

As a provider to the federal market, Brocade makes an effort to hire veterans and helps them acclimate to the corporate environment. Brocade recently held a job fair specifically for technology-oriented veterans in partnership with a nonprofit organization called Project Hired, which assists individuals with disabilities. “We invited ten other corporations to participate, with the goal of helping unemployed veterans find meaningful work in the high-tech sector,” Podolsky says.

Jobs at Brocade are posted at brocade.com/company/careers.

Creating problem solvers
Brocade provides a two-week university development program (UDP) for college graduates who are hired into the company. “Our executives are involved in orienting these new employees, who are tasked with solving real business problems,” Podolsky says. “Teams tackle business cases and research recommendations. They present solutions to challenges like how to collect and analyze customer feedback, or find better ways to leverage internal social media to promote the company and engage our customers.”

The UDP program is part of Brocade’s early careers program, which is designed for ongoing engagement and development of its early-career employees.

Expanding diversity initiatives
Brocade’s diversity program as a dedicated resource is relatively new, Podolsky explains. One area where attention is being focused is women. “Our Women in Networking (WIN) initiative was started in 2010 after an employee survey showed that our women’s ratings of their employment satisfaction were consistently lower than men’s.”

Women wanted to see more opportunities for networking, professional development and work/life balance. They also wanted more opportunities for outreach to bring women into technology and leadership roles.

“About 1,000 employees are now members of WIN and forty-three percent are men,” says Podolsky. “I think the men realized they were just as anxious as women to learn about leadership and developing their personal brands.”

In addition to WIN, Brocade has employee resource groups (ERGs) for black employees and military veterans. Although each ERG has a council, so far only WIN has a formal mentoring program. “About fifteen percent of WIN members participate in the mentoring program. However, anyone in the company can participate,” she explains.

The company has expectant mother parking that is distinct from parking for disabled employees. “We want to make it clear we’re a company that promotes families,” Podolsky says.

Celebrating community and culture
Brocade gives each employee forty hours a year in time off for community volunteer work. In addition, Brocade hosts Teen WIN, a five-day competitive summer program for children twelve to fifteen, where participants learn networking concepts, do usability assessments, and give presentations. WIN participates in the annual Dare 2B Digital conference for middle school girls, where company representatives talk to students about careers in technology.

On the cultural side, employees celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights celebrated in autumn every year. The Diwali observance includes henna artists, a talent show, and a potluck feast of Indian dishes. “It’s a fun way to create cultural awareness and understanding,” says Podolsky.

“The idea is to come to work as your full self. We believe that makes you a stronger leader and a better team player, and enables you to think about the world in innovative ways.”



Headquarters: San Jose, CA
Employees: 4,100
Budget: $2.2 billion
Business: Comprehensive network solutions

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