Trustpilot Women in Leadership: An interview with Taylor Cunningham, founder of TWIL
In 2018, Taylor Cunningham, Trustpilot’s Senior Global Director of Customer Marketing founded Trustpilot Women in Leadership (TWIL) to help foster female leadership within Trustpilot’s workforce. We sat down with Taylor to chat about TWIL and her vision for the future of the program.
To start, what is TWIL and what does it provide to its members?
TWIL is an employee-led resource group for women, whose mission is to foster strong leadership at Trustpilot by identifying, empowering, and equipping high-performing women to move into leadership positions.
What inspired you to start TWIL?
The idea for TWIL was born in 2018 when Trustpilot’s executive team was all men, and there were very few women in senior leadership positions. I saw so much potential in my female peers and colleagues but we lacked inspiring figures in senior leadership to look up to - plus I feared that a lack of diversity in senior leadership could hold Trustpilot back from innovating creatively, hiring competitively, performing financially, and retaining top talent, and I wanted to make sure that high-performing women at Trustpilot could connect with each other and were encouraged and empowered to progress in their careers, and do so at Trustpilot.
Why do you feel it’s important for Trustpilot to support an organization like TWIL?
By supporting TWIL, Trustpilot affirms its commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels of leadership. I’m so proud to work for a company that responded to the TWIL proposal with enthusiasm, encouragement, and unfettered support.
What challenges have you faced starting a grassroots organization within Trustpilot?
It was a bit intimidating to shine a light on our lack of gender diversity at the senior level when the audience for my “pitch” was the all-male leadership team. Happily, the senior leadership team was extremely supportive and encouraging, and they were already focused on bringing more balance and diversity to the business, so TWIL’s grassroots initiative was a nice complement to what was happening strategically from the top-down. The other challenge was asking my colleagues-turned-TWIL-cofounders to volunteer time to this initiative on top of their full-time jobs, but of course these women didn’t disappoint either. We do have to keep our timelines and expectations realistic because no one is dedicating 40 hours/week to TWIL programming, but everyone is enthusiastic to spend extra time to make sure the initiative is a success.
What are some of the successes TWIL has seen since its founding?
I’m most proud of our expansion from two US offices (NYC & Denver) to our London office and Copenhagen global HQ. When we started TWIL, our vision was huge but our expectations were modest, and to see my colleagues all over the world running with this idea and making it their own is so humbling and inspiring. Our programming has included several successful events and initiatives, such as fundraisers, networking events, skills trainings, and more, but I was most impressed by the TWIL team in Denver, who identified a non-profit organization Women's Bean Project down the street from our office whose mission and model align perfectly not only with TWIL but with Trustpilot as an whole. In addition to raising money and awareness for the organization, the team also arranged to offer a Trustpilot subscription to Women's Bean, free of charge. This partnership was so far beyond what I had imagined for the initial scope of TWIL and I’m so inspired by my colleagues’ initiative and creativity.
What are the global growth plans for TWIL?
We’ve officially launched TWIL in NYC, Denver, London, and Copenhagen, and of course I’d love to see its reach expand to our other offices in Melbourne, Vilnius, Berlin and Edinburgh. Hopefully this is something we can focus on once we’re all back in the office!
How do you see TWIL differing from office-to-office?
I hope TWIL continues to adapt to meet the varying needs of the women in each of our offices. Different countries and cultures create different environments, and of course there are different demographics in each of our offices. For example, in NYC & Denver we have a large New Business Sales presence and predominantly American employees, while Copenhagen is our Tech and Product hub and is very diverse from a nationality perspective - women in these different fields have different needs and challenges, and cultural backgrounds present different perspectives and priorities, and I expect and encourage the priorities and programs for the offices to reflect these.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years with TWIL?
My hope is that TWIL serves as a model for future Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at Trustpilot that will support diversity and inclusion across the board. I also see a lot of opportunities to partner with ERGs from other businesses in SAAS, tech, sales, ecommerce etc. so that we can support and elevate impressive women throughout the industries we touch.
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