Internal Snapchat Memo Raises Questions About Company’s Diversity

Last November, on her last day working at Snapchat, a former software engineer sent out a memo criticizing the company’s culture to her roughly 1,300 colleagues within the engineering department.

In her email, Shannon Lubetich hinted at Snapchat’s failure to adequately promote diversity within the company by listing the traits that can be used to describe an engineer, including being compassionate, a woman, and a person of color.

“It’s fine if this list doesn’t describe you,” wrote Lubetich. “But it’s not fine if you think, consciously or subconsciously, that these traits prevent you from being a good engineer.”

According to Cheddar, which released the memo publicly for the first time Tuesday, its contents resonated with many in the office, who viewed it as exemplifying the tech industry’s larger, long-standing cultural and gender issues that haunt Silicon Valley.

“What was encouraging was that a lot of employees I had never met responded to me,” Lubetich told Cheddar. “They thanked me for writing it and said that they also felt the same way.”

Unlike many other tech giants, Snap has not yet publicly released numbers regarding diversity within its workforce. In an interview with MSN, Lubetich claims that for the first two months of her position, she was one of only two women working in the engineering department of its San Francisco office.

“I want people who maybe feel the same way, but don’t feel empowered to speak out about it to know that they are not alone and to know that it is okay to criticize a culture and try to make it better,” said Lubetich.

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