What struck you about Tinder when you joined?
Cherelle: After working at a much larger company, I was looking for a place where I felt I could have more of an impact. Tinder is also a vibrant company spearheading new ways to go about dating. That was intriguing to me. I was especially interested in seeing how Tinder affected the world of dating after COVID-19.
Eric: First and foremost, I was impressed by how diverse the job interview panel was—right away, I really loved that Tinder was super diversified. Tinder just accepted me for who I was. It felt like they were saying, “Hey, you don’t have to fit into the tech bro culture.”
How did you find your way to a leadership position within the Black@Tinder ERG?
Cherelle: The Black@Tinder ERG was one of the first things I sought out when I started here. Having this resource is really significant, especially for marginalized groups. The number of Black people in tech is growing, but we’re not as prominent as other heritage groups within this industry. There’s something to be said for the ability to be your true, authentic self and feel comfortable and safe doing so. Being able to foster that type of energy was really important to me.
Once I connected with the ERG, I started volunteering and just naturally fell into a leadership position with Eric. It felt like we were hanging out, not like work.
Eric: I’m very passionate about DEI. At my previous job I wanted to step outside of recruiting and do more D&I work, but I wasn’t able to. At Tinder, I’m able to create impact beyond my normal day-to-day responsibilities. Just being an ERG lead for Black@Tinder enables me to invest in D&I.
When you’re at a large company, there are hundreds of people who can do the same thing you’re doing. It can seem as though you’re easily replaceable, nothing but a number. Maybe it’s the smaller scale of the company, but you’re able to have more of an impact here. People look to you for your ideas. The sense that I can be replaced tomorrow if I don’t perform well is completely gone.
Tell us about the importance of Black@Tinder’s role within the company.
Eric: The ability to be your authentic self cannot be taken for granted. I am Black, I am male, I am queer. Being accepted at other companies can be rough; you can be seen as threatening or viewed as a stereotype. But at Tinder it’s encouraged for me to not only be who I am, but also to express my ideas. Often, at other companies, it’s hard to have a voice. Here, I have one. That’s important to me.
The truth is, I’m someone who speaks even if I’m being silenced, because I’m bold and passionate, but the environment here makes it easy to be bold. Aligning with Black@Tinder and bringing that vibrancy to the company is significant to both of us.
Cherelle: Absolutely. And representation matters. When a lone minority is in a boardroom, quarterly business review, or any other high-level conversation, that person’s voice can feel like it’s silenced.
Fortunately, similar to Eric, I choose not to be silenced even when I’m put in those situations. I’ve always made it a point to use my voice no matter how different my opinion may be, or if it’s going against the grain. In my position as a Workplace Operations Manager, I really honor diverse perspectives.
That’s been a major focus in building Black@Tinder; we always make it a point to amplify being bold and taking up space. A lot of the time being quiet is the easiest thing to do, but we need diverse perspectives, especially when building such a wide-reaching platform. If everyone looks the same and has the same opinion, you’re going to miss out on multiple groups and markets.
What are some of the goals you’ve defined for Black@Tinder?
Cherelle: We have a lot of internal conversations with Black@Tinder members about different growth opportunities on the platform and ways we could spur top-down decisions. Right now, we’re trying to translate those conversations into action by staying connected to our executive sponsors and building a rapport with leaders across the different teams at Tinder.
We host monthly virtual sessions with our members and we take notes, send out surveys, and really try to leverage their feedback, whether it’s about implementing different products on the platform, new policies, or a new team they want to build. We also have members who identify external nonprofit organizations for us to invest in and support. Eric and I want everyone to make an impact as much as we are—we’re all building the boat together.
Beyond that, we also have social activities. We just had a summer event we organized in partnership with other Black ERGs across various industries. There were doctors, entrepreneurs, YouTubers—so many different people. That was a great opportunity to build community outside of Tinder. For that event, we hired all Black participants—we had a Black entertainer. It was a really good time.
Eric: I’d also add that we try to be conscious of D&I within and bring our Black@Tinder goals into our individual teams and roles. For example, I’m on the recruiting team at Tinder, so I try to stay aware of any need for diversity sourcing, tailor my conversations accordingly, and just keep D&I at the forefront of my work. We’re always holding each other accountable.
How does Tinder support you as employees and as Black@Tinder leaders?
Eric: Before Tinder, I was overworked—getting up at midnight on a Saturday and working until 4 a.m. Here, the culture is completely different. Tinder definitely encourages us to keep mental health top of mind. I love the fact that we get wellness days. My bosses are always saying, “If you need to take some time off, please do. Don’t work too hard. Things will get done when they need to.” That is so pivotal. I’m used to being told to get things done, whatever it takes.
Cherelle: I agree 1,000%. Like Eric, I was very much overworked before Tinder. It felt like there was pressure to work so hard, plus, I’m just naturally a hard worker. Between the two of those things, it’s easy to get burned out. I feel like Tinder knows its employees are people versus just seeing us as numbers.
As a Black@Tinder lead, I feel really supported. At my last company, there weren’t as many women in leadership roles. Here, both my manager and her manager are women of color. It feels good to have that representation. That’s been really significant to me. Seeing my team take my opinions seriously is another way I feel supported. I feel my voice is heard; my team comes to me for advice and insight, and I’m pulled into conversations as a thought partner. All of that is really validating.
How does Tinder champion your individual growth and the upcoming goals of Black@Tinder?
Eric: Tinder definitely sees growth as central to a team member’s experience. At past companies, I felt that I wasn’t advancing, even after two-plus years. Here, they make a dedicated effort to talk about where you see yourself in a year from now and how to get you there.
Cherelle: I’ve also noticed that people at Tinder hone in on everyone’s strengths and build people up based on those. If you’re in a role that’s not the best fit for you, there will be support to reshape the role so that you’re winning more than trying to keep up.
Eric: In terms of the ERG, we have a lot of initiatives planned for Black@Tinder members coming up.
Cherelle: I’m really looking forward to everything we have planned for Black History Month in February. We’re hosting a series of Lunch and Learn events with keynote speakers who’ll discuss navigating mental health, unblocking impostor syndrome, preventing burnout, and other things that directly affect us as professionals. Mental health awareness is really important, and it’s not talked about enough in our community.
Overall, we’re focused on building people up as both professionals and individuals.