SAN FRANCISCO — Slack has hired Leslie Miley, the former Twitter engineer who sparked public debate for challenging the social media company’s commitment to advancing diversity.
Miley joined Slack as a director of engineering for its growth team. The hire underscores the high-profile tech start-up’s reputation for driving the conversation about Silicon Valley’s white male-dominated corporate culture and for trying to remake its own.
“The culture Slack is building here, the people they have and the things that they say are important to them really resonate with me as a human being, not just as an African American,” Miley told USA TODAY. “Empathy and engineering, when was the last time you heard those two words spoken in the same sentence?”
Slack is one of the youngest tech start-ups to be vocal about its efforts to disrupt the typical tech start-up hiring practices by placing a priority on building a more diverse workforce. Slack’s chief executive, Stewart Butterfield, has pushed in public forums for the tech industry at large to be more inclusive.
In February when the company won a “Crunchie” award for “fastest rising start-up,” a team of engineers, all women of color, accepted it. Slack, which offers a communications tool for businesses and other groups, recently raised $200 million at a valuation of $3.8 billion.
A tiny fraction of the work force at major technology companies in Silicon Valley is African American or Latino and, despite a recent outpouring of money, rhetoric and resources, progress has been slow in boosting the ranks of underrepresented