Twitter keeps poaching the most diverse top talent

The company's two-year hiring spree is creating a technical dream team of the most inclusion- and ethics-minded leaders in the industry.

Twitter keeps poaching the most diverse top talent

Rumman Chowdhury, the head of Twitter's META team, is just one of several well-respected, ethics-minded female leaders to have been hired for major roles at Twitter in the last year.

Twitter just poached Bumble's head of product design, a woman widely respected in her field for building with inclusion and accessibility. Lara Mendonça will lead Twitter's work using design to encourage meaningful conversation.

Mendonça, whose title will be senior manager of product design, is just the latest in a string of widely-respected, increasingly diverse, and ethics- and inclusion-minded hires over the last two years at Twitter: We broke down a quick list of some of the notable names (though this is by no means exhaustive).

  • Mendonça made a name for herself at Bumble with her vulnerability theory of design, which she told the Wall Street Journal was born out of her own experiences as a bisexual woman with ADHD from Brazil.
  • Rumman Chowdhury: Twitter's new head of its ML Ethics, Transparency and Accountability team (called META internally), Chowdhury was hired in February, just months after launching her own AI-ethics focused group called Parity AI. Chowdhury is one of the most widely-respected leaders in the AI ethics field, and news of her hire at Twitter drew widespread industry praise.
  • Jutta Williams: Hired nine months ago as the product lead for the META team, Williams left her job as senior technical lead for central privacy at Facebook after only a year. She helped lead Google's AI health research before her time at Facebook.
  • Rinki Sethi: The new CISO at Twitter filled the long-open role in September 2020; she was previously the CISO and VP at Rubrik and VP for information security at IBM.
  • Nikkia Reveillac: Twitter's head of research was promoted from interim to full-time director in June 2020, after less than a year on the company research team; she previously worked at Colgate for more than 13 years, spending her last few leading its research insights team.
  • Maya Gold Patterson: The young woman in charge of designing Twitter's audio-chat Spaces product made a name for herself writing about the challenges and frustrations of being a Black woman in tech.
  • Christine Su: The former "activist-entrepreneur" working on farming and climate change tech became the head of product for conversational safety in early 2020. In that role, she's focused on increasing user choice and control over the Twitter experience.

Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's head of consumer product, and Dantley Davis, Twitter's chief design officer, both joined the company earlier (2018 and 2019, respectively), but they often profess the same philosophies as many of these newer hires. Twitter has spent the last two years emphasizing conversational health and user safety in its product announcements, and it appears the company is building out its team to reflect those commitments internally.


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Photo: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

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