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Create belonging: A /dev/color conversation with Kareem and Faisal

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Last year, Pinterest announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership with /dev/color, a global career accelerator for Black software engineers, technologists and executives. Our team sat down with Kareem Williams, Data Scientist, and Faisal Gedi, Software Engineer, to dive into their roles at Pinterest and involvement in /dev/color. 

Hi Kareem and Faisal! Thank you for joining us today. Let’s start with a quick introduction. 

Kareem: I’m Kareem Williams, a Data Scientist on the People Analytics Team. I’ve been with Pinterest for just around 18 months. I’m also a part of the Blackboard Pinclusion Group (Employee Resource Group). I chose Pinterest because of the opportunity to build analytic solutions, the team diversity and, of course, the Pinterest brand.

Faisal: Hi! I’m Faisal Gedi, a Software Engineer on the Lower Funnel Ad Formats team. I’ve been at Pinterest for a little over four years. I’m also a part of the Blackboard Pinclusion Group (Employee Resource Group). Pinterest was actually my first role out of college and the platform’s unique mission to inspire people led me to start my career here. I felt that Pinterest was doing good on the internet.

Outside of being a Pinployee, you’re also a member of /dev/color. Can you share more about your /dev/color journey?

Kareem: My introduction to /dev/color was an in-person conference in 2022. It was an amazing experience where I got to see black technologists thriving, networking and building community with each other. Meeting the leaders of /dev/color and hearing about the partnership with Pinterest motivated me to take the leap and join /dev/color. Since then it’s been a great experience where I’ve been able to mentor, get mentorship, build my network and learn from great minds! One of our recent highlights of my /dev/color experience was a community conversation that Pinterest hosted in our San Francisco office. It was a powerful experience, where the community touched on personal stories relating to identity and career development.

Faisal: I was lucky enough to join /dev/color as a new graduate, fresh out of college. It was very helpful during that initial time period for me, particularly because my squad was made up of people from many different levels of tenure. We had new grads, senior engineers and even a chief of staff. This allowed for me to have a wide spectrum of perspectives on my career journey. Many of my squad members had been in the exact same position as me and were on the other side to give me advice. I also loved the accountability that the group created, we pushed and helped each other achieve goals we had set for ourselves. As time went on, I’ve been able to also be a mentor to newer members of /dev/color which has been very rewarding. 


What would you want /dev/color members to know about working life at Pinterest?

Kareem: Pinterest allows for a very flexible lifestyle and launched PinFlex, our work model, last year. Even before PinFlex was introduced, I enjoyed a flexible work life balance. The Pinterest culture encourages hard work but also well-being for employees. Meaning, you have the autonomy to live and work where you choose with generous time off and the ability to craft your own work day. 

Faisal: The amount of growth opportunities at Pinterest are endless. I’ve been grateful to constantly learn something new here. I am always being challenged, but more importantly, I have expanded my knowledge with each and every project. Things that seemed like a black box before have become very clear to me. All of this, in addition to being able to contribute to impactful work while learning, has been amazing.


What’s one piece of advice you have for someone going through the application & interview process? 

Kareem: STAR methodology + wins and learns. I’m a huge fan of the STAR (situation, task, action, result) methodology. Make sure to prep by writing out a clear narrative of your specific contributions on a project. Be sure to have anecdotes about what went wrong and what you’d do differently next time. Always be sure to highlight your success and impact in your work.

Faisal: Being able to talk about your past projects and impact. We spend a lot of time at different companies, and to be able to succinctly talk about how you spent your time there is very important. It's important to know the takeaways from different projects you’ve worked on and how you were able to create change and/or impact.


What has been an impactful inspiring moment for you at Pinterest?

Kareem: For me, the most impactful moment was Blackboard’s Bloom conference. Bloom is a celebration of Black professionals, a time to come together and invest in career development, find inspiration from acclaimed speakers and leave feeling empowered with a sense of belonging and the tools and resources to excel. I was unable to attend the in-person event, but as a virtual attendee, I still felt very much connected to the experience and will always cherish the time. 

Faisal: I’ve always loved our annual internal company event, Knit Con. It really is a time when I am most reminded of what it means to be working on the Pinterest platform. I leave the conference being inspired not only to do my job better but also leave inspired about my interests/passions outside of work. I always get introduced to a new hobby after the conference. Similarly it’s great to see some sessions led by my coworkers who I didn't know were so talented! 


We have to ask, what are you currently Pinning? 

Kareem: I’m currently going through a major renovation project at home, so I’ve got tons of renovation and home decor Pinned.

Faisal: I’ve been getting into Pottery/Ceramics and taking multiple semesters of classes, so I am always looking for inspiration around that. I also have taken an interest in Graphic Design, particularly poser and album cover art!


Your next career opportunity is here. Explore open roles at Pinterest! 

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