How To Be A Woman Leader In Sales

Sahr Siddiqi
Johanna Kupe
Sahr Siddiqi, Johanna Kupe
How To Be A Woman Leader In Sales

The sales industry is booming - but according to to a study by Gartner, "only 19% of women in sales are in leadership positions". Yelp is on a mission to change that...

The sales industry is booming - but according to to a study by Gartner, "only 19% of women in sales are in leadership positions". Yelp is on a mission to change that statistic. Join Sahr Siddiqi, Associate Sales Director and Johanna Kupe, Diversity Recruiting Specialist of Yelp for a live virtual Q&A to answer all of your questions about how YOU can become a woman leader in sales!

During this chat, you'll also have the opportunity to learn all about the open roles at Yelp, tips for your application, and what they are looking for in their next sales leader!


Sahr Siddiqi

I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska and went to Creighton University which is also in Omaha. Needless to say, it was time to spread my wings from the Midwest after college and I landed a job at Yelp in Phoenix, Arizona as an Account Executive. After a year in Phoenix, I wanted to keep exploring a new city and transferred as an AE to the Yelp Headquarters in San Francisco. Over the last 6 years at Yelp I have been in 3 different leadership positions within the sales department and continue to grown and learn new skillsets every day.

Johanna Kupe

I'm Johanna Kupe, I was born in Europe (Luxembourg to be exact) and mainly raised in Clarkston, Michigan where I went to the private liberal arts school Kalamazoo College. I then completed my Masters at Indiana State University, and after that, I was ready to move to a new & big city and pursue a career in recruiting. I always wanted to be in a position that created a lasting, positive change in the lives of others, communities, and organizations around me. Couple that with my passion for social justice, when given the opportunity to move into the Diversity Recruiting Specialist role at Yelp, I was excited about the impact I could have on the sales department and the company as a whole. Joining Yelp and stepping into this role has been an amazing opportunity, continuing the great work of others before me and partnering with some incredible people, and I know many more great things are yet to come from Yelp. We're just getting started!

Audience Q&A:

Q: Why are the topics of diversity and inclusion so important to the Yelp team?

A: JK: It's no secret that we live in a country and in a world where things are inherently unequal, and I think so many of us are working on making equality more present, especially within our workplace. Work is where we spend a majority of our lives. So, you definitely want to be in an environment where you feel comfortable to bring your full and authentic self to work. That's actually one of our values at Yelp - authenticity. And so, we want to create an environment where people are able to do so. And actually, 52% of our leadership are women. It does kind of decrease as we look at women of color in those leadership positions. But diversity is very important to Yelp, and we're being even more intentional when it comes to increasing our diversity efforts.

And I think the fact that we're doing this chat, and my even being in my position, as well as being able to partner with organizations like PowerToFly, is indicative of our commitment to really devoting resources and time to making sure that our work environment is a place that celebrates diversity and is inclusive - and that we create a sense of belonging and community within the company. We've only hit the tip of the iceberg even though Yelp has been around for a long time. But, we're still reaching our full potential, and I'm continuing to work on building an environment where everyone can be their authentic self and focus on excelling in their role without having to worry about other things. After all, we don't stop being who we are as soon as we walk through the doors of our workplace. So we definitely want to continue to make the workplace be a place where people can be themselves fully. And I think we have the right people within the company that are making the right decisions and having those tough conversations to make sure that we continue to cultivate a culture that celebrates diversity and wants to especially increase representation of protected classes or underrepresented individuals in positions of leadership - that's one of our huge initiatives.

The reason why we initially started to partner with PowerToFly was - for myself, I do focus a lot on developing our sales leadership, and our company is continuing to grow, and this is a huge opportunity for us to bring in talent to the company that has a diverse background and a new perspective to help sustain that growth. With our sales management positions, one of the positions we're hiring for in our various locations, that's an area where we really want to have more representation of diverse individuals.

Q: Why are women so underrepresented in sales?

A: JK: Like I mentioned earlier, at Yelp, we actually have a good balance, which is something that we're definitely proud of, but I know that's not the case at every company. And this may be a huge generalization, but I think that most people associate certain traits to a role like sales that aren't traits typically associated with qualities that women have or qualities that aren't celebrated or met with positive reinforcement when women exert those types of traits. So that includes being assertive, persistent, and demanding. I think we have these biases that have been kind of put into our minds over time that that's what you need to be a successful salesperson and that those are attributes that a lot of male individuals have so it must be a male position or industry. But obviously we know that that's not the case. Also, I think that a lot of times when people think about sales, there are some attributes that people don't automatically think about. For example, to the opposite of being assertive, someone who's also empathetic, understanding, and sensitive. I think those are also attributes that make a really great salesperson, but those are associated usually more with females. And so, I think there's kind of that disconnect that has happened over time, thinking that this is the one mold that fits for a successful salesperson. We obviously know that that's not true - we know that women are just as capable of being assertive, empathetic, and successful in their role as a salesperson, just as a man would.

So I think that over time, we've had this picture in our mind of what a successful salesperson looks like. And there's even a change in the language that we use - now we say salesperson versus salesmen, which is how we used to classify that role. So I think that even just shows that over time we realized that women can be assertive, and that's something to be celebrated. And I think the more we see that, the more doors it opens for women to be successful leaders in sales.

SS: I agree. I think sales is an uncomfortable job. You have to put yourself out there so you have to get outside your comfort zone. And women from an early age are taught to not go outside your comfort zone, to not step over any lines, and to not push any boundaries. In sales, you have to do that. Like in order to get a sale, you have to, to Johanna's point, be assumptive, you have to command some situations, and you have to be solutions oriented. And women from an early age are taught to not do that. And so I think that's why they're probably underrepresented. But to Johanna's point, I also feel that's not necessarily true. Especially in the environment we work in, at Yelp, I don't notice that there's less women than men. At times, I feel like where are the guys at - there's only two girls in here, which is great. So I think it's a lot of the characteristics that Johanna was talking about.

Q: When you began your career, did you ever imagine that you would be a leader in a male-dominated profession like sales?

A: SS: It was funny - I was trying to answer this question, or I was trying to think of how I was going to answer this question, and I don't feel like I've ever really noticed, or I was never raised to notice, that this profession is male-dominated versus this profession that's women-dominated. So I would have to credit my parents on that. I grew up with an older sister, my mom, and my dad, but there's three females in the house and one male. And usually if people grew up in that environment, the females kind of dominate. We were definitely the louder voices in the household. So I think growing up I was never raised in a way like you have to do this profession or you can only climb the ladder here because of x. I never felt like gender was an issue.

So when I first started my sales career, which I did start at Yelp, I think I was lucky to be in an environment where I saw a lot of women leaders, and I saw a lot of women being promoted just like males. I never thought twice like, oh, I don't think I can do this because this seems very male oriented. In fact, I was always encouraged, and I think the reason for that was just because of my network. So one, my family, my parents, and my sister always pushing me to be the best I can be, and also the network I formed, my professional network I formed within work, that never necessarily stopped me. So, no, I didn't really imagine myself being a sales leader, but it didn't have anything to do with me being a female, if that makes sense.

Q: As you've gone through your career, who has been really inspirational to you, and why?

A: SS: So for me, it's funny because I have a lot of inspiration. I would say three or four out of my six managers have been women. So those are easy inspiration because I see them doing the job that I eventually started doing, and I saw them excel really well. Outside of work, definitely my mom - she is very inspirational in every single way. She's extremely strong, extremely confident, and she works her tail off to this day.

But I would say that my number one inspiration is actually my grandpa, who is a male. And the reason he's inspirational is just because of the passion he has for the work he does. He's a doctor, and he lives in Pakistan, where my family is originally from. He is 85 years old, and he is still a practicing doctor, so he still goes into work six days a week. And the reason that he's inspirational to me is not because he's an amazing doctor, and he has all these accolades that he's built up over the last 50 or 60 years of his career - it's because he truly loves what he does. And that inspired me a ton as a kid. Even when he was on vacation, when we would ask him what he missed about home, he would say that he missed his patients. He was really excited to go back and see them. And that always struck me when I was little. And the older I've gotten, it struck me even more that he has this much passion for what he does.

It always inspired me to find passion in any job I did. So I think that's something that's been instilled with me since I was little. And I think when you have passion, compassion, you love what you do, and you love the people you're around, you're naturally going to be successful in what you do. Whether you're a doctor, a sales leader, an engineer, a recruiter, whatever you are, you have to be passionate about what you're doing. And that's something my grandpa taught me.

JK: For me, it would have to be my mother. So she, similar to what sounds like your mom, Sahr, has just been working her whole life. And my parents are from Congo in Africa, and so, the odds they had to overcome for me to even be here in San Francisco, speaking to you guys, and even in the position that I'm in, and my siblings being successful in their fields, they had to do so many things. And my mom just taught me so much about strength, resilience, being persistent, and assertive - all those attributes that we were talking about that you need to be successful in sales or in these male-dominated fields.

But she, and both of my parents, really taught me, similar to Sahr, that it doesn't matter what role it is - just have a strong work ethic. And the fact that I am a black female, I have to work 10 times as hard to maybe see the same recognition. And so that's kind of instilled a strong work ethic in myself and in all my siblings and that nothing is out of our reach. Just seeing from where my parents started to where we are now, they're really like the sky is the limit. And I think also being raised in a predominantly female family as well - so there's five girls and only two guys in my family - and really seeing a lot of strong women around me has also shown me that there is really no limit to what I can achieve. So I think my mom, my siblings, and my dad, too, have all been very inspirational for me.

Q: At times, the sales world can feel like a "boys club" even at Yelp, what's your advice to overcome this and not be seen as "emotional" when you just truly care and are passionate about your work?

A: JK: I think it's kind of similar to what I said about letting your work speak for itself, and sometimes you might unfortunately have to work harder to get half the credit. But make sure to do what you're supposed to be doing very well and then also seek out a mentor or people to champion you. Find someone who will advocate for you, who sees your passion and your potential, and who can advocate for you when you are looking to maybe aspire for another role within the company or seek a promotion. Those are some steps that you can take to kind of cultivate a community within your workplace so you don't feel like it's just you, and so you have someone to bounce ideas off of or learn from other people's experiences. I think that's a huge thing. I think we as humans just thrive in communities, and so I think the more we connect with those around us, the more it benefits us, and we're able to succeed, not just personally, but as a unit.

As far as coming up emotional in certain situations, I know that in some work environments, people do kind of frown on people being overly emotional. In my eyes, I think we could do with more vulnerability in the workplace. I've been reading and watching a lot of Brené Brown - I'm all about vulnerability. But I know that in some workplaces, you have to be a little bit more mindful of how your passion comes across. I think that as long as you're coming from a side of empathy while also being able to look at things objectively and communicating your feelings clearly, you shouldn't be afraid to stand up for yourself or make your stance known. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of figuring out how to communicate that. And that's where it's important to have a mentor or someone to go to so that you can kind of think these things through out loud, and then go to whoever it is that you need to discuss this issue or idea with, so that you don't come off too emotional or maybe they're distracted by emotions.

But I personally love vulnerability, and I think that it creates trust in each other, especially in a workplace where it can sometimes feel like you have to be heads down and that's all you have to be focusing on. I love connecting with people, and I think being vulnerable with one another is how you get to that next level of connectivity that then also leads to better creativity and innovation in your role and as a team.

SS: I agree with all of that - I especially agree with creating a network and an outlet that you can reach out to. I would also separate facts from feelings - this is something about which I give advice to my sales team all the time. It's important to figure out - is it a fact that there is a boys club, or do you feel like there is a boys club? So if you feel like there's a boys club, there's a deeper issue. Like, why are you feeling that way? Are you left out in meetings? Are you not speaking up when you have an opinion? Is your opinion being shut down?

And if those things end up actually being facts, then there is a problem, and that's something worth speaking up about. Reach out to HR, reach out to your manager, and reach out to someone who is going to advocate for you and help you break this barrier because then it's a big problem.

If you realize the answers to those are no, like you can speak up and your opinions are being valued, then that feeling might just be you feeling that way. And in that case, go with what Johanna was talking about - speak up for yourself, let your work speak for itself as well, and understand that if there is a boys club, create a girls club! I think we all have the power to do these things and sometimes we just, and understandably so, can feel like we're just getting shutdown, not being included, or feel like we're being getting pushed out. Then it's time to create your own version of it. Use your humor if you have it, and have fun with it. But the first step is facts or feelings, and if the facts align with how you're feeling, then do something about it. And honestly, a boys club is not a good thing, and feeling left out is not a good thing. And that's something HR should probably be aware of as well as our managers so we can get some advocates on your side.

I just learned this, and I feel like I should share this. I learned this from Miriam Warren who's a VP here at Yelp, and she works with diversity and inclusion a ton with all of Yelp. She did a presentation recently for managers, and I want to mention this one thing that she talked about as she spoke about diversity and inclusion. She talked a lot about how people from similar backgrounds, or who look alike, or maybe went to the same school, or are the same gender in this case, are likely to gravitate towards each other, and they're not actually doing it on purpose. They don't realize they're doing it - it's unconscious. And so, if there is a boys club, they might not necessarily know that they're doing it on purpose. They might not know the impact that they're having - like their intent might not be bad, but their impact is, obviously. And so, it's important to let that group of people know that you're feeling left out and then present a different way to do things, along with making a plan with them. And I would argue, especially if they're reasonable people to work with, that their eyes will open up, and they might not even realize they're doing it.

JK: On that point too, that is a huge thing where it requires people to be vulnerable enough to admit that they have been unconsciously or subconsciously gravitating towards this group of people, or maybe they're only looking to promote people who look like them or are in the same town as them. And again, it's a natural thing to gravitate towards those that you have these strong similarities with, but I think it takes huge levels of vulnerability, self-reflection, and emotional intelligence for someone to realize that this is something that they have been doing and then figuring out a plan to stop that from happening.

And if you are in a good organization, and you have great leaders, I think a lot of leaders can see things inductively like that and understand the importance of not having those kinds of boys club mentalities. I think that's a great thing about Yelp, too - the fact that we're partnering with PowerToFly, the fact that we're having these manager summits where a workshop on diversity and inclusion is a huge focus of the summit, and that we've done unconscious bias trainings with our recruiting teams and managers. We're having these tough conversations, and they're very necessary because some people may not even recognize that they're doing these things because no one's ever talked to them about it. So you can't fault someone for not knowing what they don't know. And I think that's where we all need to be empathetic of one another and figure out how we can work together to move forward to a better community, a better workplace environment, and things of that nature.

Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

A: SS: I believe that the last question kind of answered a lot of this, but males, in general, are known as good communicators. They're also known as being very confident and very charismatic. So a lot of the characteristics that many males possess are good characteristics of being a good leader. Women are not usually considered all of that. And so, sometimes it might seem like it's uncharacteristic for a woman to be speaking up, whether she's speaking in front of a group of people or doing one-on-one coaching. It might seem uncharacteristic because a woman's supposed to be kind of like that sidebar, not necessarily the main bar. So I think that's probably why there's a barrier - I think the barrier is the stereotypes associated with women, not necessarily like any kind of truth to it.

JK: I would agree with what you said, and add on the fact that because of what we as women have maybe been taught previously, we may not do as good of a job of advocating for ourselves since that's not normally the role that we've played within an organization. So I think it's important to be doing more of that and working more collectively as a unit as women holding each other up. When you look back at things, the reason that we're even here today is because of other women that paved the way. And so, we should be doing that every chance that we get - we're on the shoulders of other women that got us to this point, so let's lend a hand and pull up those other women who are still trying to get to positions of leadership that we're in, or into industries that other women are in. And we need to continue to really work to consciously advocate for ourselves and each other because I know we want to excel in what we're doing, but I think it's super important to continue to pay it forward, and make sure that it doesn't stop with us. It's not that women are holding other women back, but I think we can be doing a lot more to help each other excel further.

Q: What traits make leaders successful in a sales environment? Do you experience any resistance when you're leading men?

A: JK: In terms of the traits that make leaders successful, I think we've touched on a few of them - they include being assertive, being confident, and having strong communication skills. And I think being empathetic and having high emotional intelligence is super important because whether it's in the sales environment or not, if you're a leader, you're managing people. And so you need to be able to understand a whole array of different types of people and understand that not everyone likes to be communicated with the same way, likes to receive recognition the same way, or is receptive to constructive criticism the same way. So I think it takes a lot of that self awareness and understanding of people to be effective on that front.

SS: I don't have much to add, but I think EQ, the emotional intelligence, is huge. In sales leadership or any kind of people leadership, you need to know people, you need to understand people, and you need to form connections. That's number one, and once you do that, you build that trust. And if you can build trust with your sales team, they are going to run through walls for you, and you're going to run through walls for them. It's an actual team then. And from that, it's important to focus on high accountability, which is making sure that your team's doing what they're supposed to be doing. Obviously it's great to have a lot of trust, but if you're not coaching and holding them accountable to help make them successful at the job, then you're only doing half the battle. So coaching them to be successful through accountability is huge as well.

And then, to answer the second one, I've been very lucky in that I have not experienced resistance from managing males in the past or in the present. I've been very lucky with the team I have. I don't think I've ever felt that a person doesn't respect me because I'm a woman. And I know that that's a real thing, and I know that it's happened to other people at Yelp and beyond. And so personally, I don't have any stories or experience that way. I would guess the big reason I don't have that is because I have done a pretty good job with creating good relationships with every single person. I do make it a really, really strong point to have a good personal connection and build that trust.

Q: Do women in your profession have a hard time getting promoted?

A: JK: I feel like at Yelp that's not true. I think we're super lucky to be at a company where it isn't that hard. I think it's really important to just, again, let your work speak for itself. It's important to be doing the work, having a strong work ethic, and being strong at communicating what it is that you aspire to accomplish. Like I mentioned, I had only been with the company for less than a year, and I was moved into a position that I had spoken about before and that I had desire and a passion of doing within recruiting. And now I'm in it. I think the same goes for Sahr and how she's been able to move up the ladder. And so many other women within Yelp have had the opportunity to move about the company.

So I think we're very lucky that Yelp has created an environment where it doesn't matter what gender, ethnicity, or whatever it may be, that you are - it's really about the work that you've put forth, and if you also believe in what we're doing here and the impact that we have on the surrounding communities. That is ultimately what we look at. I know that's not the fact at some other companies and organizations, which is unfortunate. I think for us at least we're in a pretty great place.

SS: I think generally, probably yes, women have a hard time getting promoted for all the reasons that we've said before - they're afraid to speak up, or they're looked down upon. Maybe they're looked at as emotional and not being able to handle a higher level position. But yes, I'm going to echo what Johanna said in that we've been lucky that I've never felt that way at here at Yelp.

Q: Were your promotions things that you have advocated for yourself? Or was it the scenario where there was a role open, you applied, and then got the role? What did that look like at Yelp?

A: JK: So for me, I got into the sales recruiter position, and I would have my one-on-ones with my manager, which I think is super important to meet weekly to discuss how you're feeling and for the manager to understand what are your career aspirations. After all, we all know you're maybe not going to stay in that position forever, or you have personal goals that you would like to achieve and that's connected to your profession, so how can we make sure that those things are aligned as much as possible.

And during my one-on-ones, I voiced my passion for social justice and wanting to create a more inclusive world around me. At the time, there was another colleague of ours who was doing more of these diversity initiatives. So my manager encouraged me to reach out to her and to reach out to Miriam, our VP of Diversity and Inclusion and Belonging, and to have these conversations with them of how I can continue to help them in whatever initiatives our company has, alongside of my sales recruiter responsibilities. And so, I was able to do those kinds of side projects and still impact the company in that way, just not fully as my role. Then, six months go by, and there was an opportunity for me to step into this role.

And I think it's something that I didn't personally know that that position was open and wasn't trying to get my name on the table for that. But, I think just through my communication with my manager about what I was doing and how I had been partnering already with various people within the company on these diversity initiatives, kind of made it more of a no-brainer for her to advocate for me to step into that role. And I think that is also a huge testament to my manager for thinking of me, understanding what my motivations are, and wanting to make sure that my time here aligns with those things. So, shout out to my manager Lauren Miller for that - I was very lucky to have another female in a leadership position advocate for me, see the potential in me and the passion that I had for this type of work.

SS: Yes, I spoke up about it for sure on what I wanted, and I also had awesome mentors and managers that helped me get where I wanted. So I would say it was a combination. I don't think I was just like me pushing, pushing, and pushing - I think I'd come up with an idea, my managers would talk to me about it, and it would then become like a career pathing conversation, which helped a ton. So I think career pathing conversations with your manager or your leader are very important in order to get promoted. I would also say you don't have to have the title to be doing some of the job. I also think you can ask for extra help. For example, when I wasn't a manager, and my direct manager was out of town or on vacation, I would step up and do a lot of the duties that she would do. It wasn't because it was in my title, and it was my job - it was because I was forming the skill set to learn it and to show that I wanted it.

Q: As a sales leader, how do you create a culture of collaboration and keep the positive vibe flowing?

A: SS: So first and foremost, there needs to be a crystal clear goal. I've actually been in leadership and sales leadership, particularly for the last four or five years, and I've had a lot of mess ups with teams where my team's not collaborative, when my team's not working well together, or the culture's really awful, and people genuinely dread coming into work. And the reason that's happened is because everyone's on a different page. It doesn't feel like a team anymore.

And so, when I think of collaborative teams and teams that work together to reach a certain goal, I'm not even a sports person, but it's hard not to think about sports, and the best teams that win championships over and over again. Those teams, the one thing that they all have in common is they're working for something greater than just like what the revenue goal is in sales. They're not working to hit quota or hit target - they're working for something bigger. And that's the manager's job to create that - what is this vision you have for your team? What is this goal you have for your team that you're working towards? How often are you talking about it? Is the team bought into it, or is it just you bought into it? And so that manager needs to be extremely passionate about it. The manager needs to talk about it constantly, needs to remind them of what that goal is, and get the team really, really excited and bought into it. And as far as collaboration goes, that's the manager's job to force it.

I've managed sales managers, and I think sometimes they're feeling like their team isn't collaborative and just doesn't work well together. It's the manager's job to make them and force them to be collaborative, whether that means doing things like brainstorm sessions together or running sales contests.

Q: I'm a wife, mother, and the only female sales leader in my organization. How do I maintain a winning attitude for my household and my team/ workplace?

A: SS: I'm not a wife, and I'm not a mother, and I can only imagine how difficult that is while having a full-time job. So one, to whoever put in this question - kudos to you for doing both of those things because being a mother is a full-time job.

I think my advice for the best way to have a winning attitude is if you can be fully present when you're at work, and then be fully present when you're outside of work. You have to be present as a sales leader - sales is all about making sure that you're leading a team to success and creating that passion and energy with your team. If your mind's at home, or about the 20 other things that are going on in your life, it's going to be hard for you to be present at work. And then the same thing holds true when you're at home. When you leave your eight to five job, you have to actually leave it so that you can be extremely present for your family.

And so, again, I'm not a wife, and I'm not a mother, but that would be my advice just in general when people are juggling a lot of things outside of work versus in work - just to force yourself to be fully present. My other advice would be to reach out to a network of people that are in a similar situation like you. I think it's important to have a community, a network inside of work, or a community outside of work, in order to really understand tips and tricks on how to handle those responsibilities.

JK: Just to kind of add on top of that, I think it's huge to be able to set those expectations at work. Being a wife and a mother is super important - that's a huge part of who you are. And so I think sometimes it's not going to be realistic to be able to leave your family out of your head at work, especially if say you have a sick child or something like that at home, and that's a part of you. So you're going to be worrying about that, no matter what. And I think it's about just setting those expectations in the beginning - stating that you have a family and that your family is important to you. For example, if something were to happen, and hopefully your workplace is understanding of that, you can say that you're going to leave and take care of that, along with making up whatever time you need to.

And a great thing about Yelp, too, is that we have these communities that you're able to tap into because we have a Yelp Parents group, and we definitely celebrate new mothers coming back into work. We also have rooms where if you're a nursing mother, you can go in there and take care of that. Because again, you're not going to stop being a mother as soon as you walk through the Yelp doors. And so, we definitely celebrate that. We've also had events where parents are able to bring their kids to work, and we have toys and food for them. These are things that can be celebrated, and you don't have to feel like you have to keep it so separate all the time. But of course you want to be able to do your job effectively, so there are moments where you're able to just focus on work, and the same thing is true for turning it off when you go home so that you can be fully present for your family.

Q: What positions are the team at Yelp looking to fill and hire for right now?

A: JK: So we have a lot of openings in our various offices that are sales, general and administrative positions, or engineering positions. But as far as some of the roles that I'm really focusing on, and as it relates to sales, our company is growing very rapidly, and we bring on new account executives every single month for our various locations. And so we have the entry level inside sales representative position that we're always hiring for. But with that, we are also looking for a lot of great sales leaders to come into Yelp and to help sustain that growth. We're looking for sales leaders to bring in a new perspective and bring in diverse ideas to the company through their leadership. I'm very actively working to source great diverse candidates for our sales leadership positions.

Because like I mentioned, we have a great amount of female leadership within our organization, but we are looking to increase ethnic diversity in our leadership as well. I think sales leadership is an area where we haven't previously hired and in such a large capacity. So it's definitely very exciting to bring in all of these different perspectives on a leadership level. And I think that is obviously a big reason why we partnered with PowerToFly, so that we could tap into a network of exceptional sales professionals to come in and contribute to the growth that Yelp is having at this moment.

In addition, I know we're also hiring for a lot of our engineering positions and also focusing on diversifying those positions, too. I've been able to work with our engineering recruiting team a lot, and they're amazing, too, so check out those positions.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Yelp?

A: SS: I'll keep it very simple - support. The support I've gotten, from not only my peers but from the people above me, is one of a kind. I've been lucky to have most of my career at Yelp, so maybe there is this much support everywhere. But the kind of support I get from my leaders and my peers, it's hard to find. They're always rooting me on - it's like they're my biggest cheerleaders. I'm always getting positive affirmations from so many different people within this company. So the support is amazing.

JK: I would say, echoing what Sahr said, there's so much support and energy at Yelp. One of our values is being unboring, and I love that because I could be at one moment focusing on sourcing candidates and doing an interview, and then it's time for one of our various team activities. So we have those different moments which keeps it fun and exciting. Even though we are doing important work, I think it's important to not take yourself too seriously all the time. I also think that as you have those moments, you're also in a sense being kind of vulnerable, just being kind of this silly person at work, and that allows for more creativity and excitement in the work that you do. I do love the fact that I am able to bring those elements of personality to work.

Q: Do you have any tips for someone who’s interested in applying to join the team at Yelp?

A: JK: I would say that a huge thing that we look for are people who are passionate about the work that we do here. We look for people who are passionate about what Yelp provides to not only the consumers who use it to find businesses that they can trust and are going to be worth their time and money, but also, what we're able to do for these businesses who are on the platform and how we're affecting their livelihood. And we're not a company that's out there buying people cars to get them to come here - it's really about believing in what the company does.

And so I think it's really important if you're going to be part of the Yelp family to really believe in that and to believe in the people that you're working with because I think you have to be connected in some way to be successful in your role and be successful here at Yelp. So really showing that passion and understanding the work that we're able to do here and how big of an impact it is, is really important. Obviously you have to have the qualifications to do the job, but I think understanding that, being proactive, and doing your research, that shows a lot when you are going in the interview process. So be really intentional, and always ask good questions - at the end, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, never say you don't have any. Ultimately, I think really just being intentional and being passionate about the work that we're doing here as you're interviewing, will win you a lot of points.

Meet The Speakers

Sahr Siddiqi
Sahr Siddiqi

I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska and went to Creighton University which is also in Omaha. Needless to say, it was time to spread my wings from the Midwest after college and I landed a job at Yelp in Phoenix, Arizona as an Account Executive. After a year in Phoenix, I wanted to keep exploring a new city and transferred as an AE to the Yelp Headquarters in San Francisco. Over the last 6 years at Yelp I have been in 3 different leadership positions within the sales department and continue to grown and learn new skillsets every day.

Johanna Kupe
Johanna Kupe
I'm Johanna Kupe, I was born in Europe (Luxembourg to be exact) and mainly raised in Clarkston, Michigan where I went to the private liberal arts school Kalamazoo College. I then completed my Masters at Indiana State University, and after that, I was ready to move to a new & big city and pursue a career in recruiting. I always wanted to be in a position that created a lasting, positive change in the lives of others, communities, and organizations around me. Couple that with my passion for social justice, when given the opportunity to move into the Diversity Recruiting Specialist role at Yelp, I was excited about the impact I could have on the sales department and the company as a whole. Joining Yelp and stepping into this role has been an amazing opportunity, continuing the great work of others before me and partnering with some incredible people, and I know many more great things are yet to come from Yelp. We're just getting started!

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