Employee Spotlight: Mara Kern

Mara Kern is Carrot’s Director of Talent Acquisition. Based in Brooklyn, Mara joined Carrot in April of 2021 and leads the Talent Acquisition team here at Carrot. She manages a team who recruits top talent for every department in the organization, including Technology, Product, Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Finance, and Global Operations. The team is essential to creating a rewarding and inclusive employee experience starting with recruitment and throughout their career with Carrot. 

Mara is also co-leader of Rainbow Carrots, one of Carrot’s first Employee Community Groups (ECGs). ECGs are employee-led groups focused on fostering diversity, inclusion, and belonging within Carrot. Rainbow Carrots aim to foster a space of community and advocacy for LGBTQ+ employees. We sat down with Mara to discuss her role in employee recruitment and retention and her experience as a co-leader of Rainbow Carrots. 

When did you join Carrot?

I joined Carrot in April 2021.

Why did you join Carrot? 

When researching Carrot, one of the first things I noticed was how inclusive the benefit was. As a proud queer person, I have always known that forming a family may look different for me. Ever since eighth grade, I've been interested in adoption, so seeing that adoption was not only covered by Carrot financially but also in navigating the adoption journey piqued my interest! When I saw how holistic Carrot was in providing support for folks whose journeys may look different because of their sexual orientation, I immediately felt connected to the mission and the work that was being done here. 

My first interview was with our Founder and CEO, Tammy Sun, and as soon as I hung up the phone, I knew I wanted to be a part of the team. I left our conversation feeling energized and excited about the work and what I could bring to the organization, and over two years later, I can still say it is the best decision I've made in my career!

You lead our Recruiting function. Since you joined, we’ve quadrupled in size. What advice do you have for people who are applying to Carrot?

Don’t give up, and be quick! I know how daunting job searches can be, and the number of applicants we have received has grown by over 11x in one year. Continue to check out our socials and careers page and tailor your resume to the role you’re applying for. With the increase in applicants, we look for as much alignment as possible when moving resumes through to initial interviews, so be sure to make the connection clear on why you’re a good fit for the role you’re applying to. Once you land the interview, ensure you’ve done your research, and if you are comfortable, I always encourage candidates to speak to their ‘why Carrot’ to help them stand out as an individual. 

What is the best thing about your job?

One is the people who work at Carrot. I have never worked somewhere with so many genuinely kind people. It is our secret sauce here and something that makes me so proud to be at Carrot. My colleagues genuinely care about one another and what is going on with their colleagues as individuals. 

The other is, of course, our mission. Knowing that my work directly impacts people and families and that we’ve allowed people to form families who otherwise may never have had that opportunity is one of the most powerful things I can imagine! 

In addition to your Recruiting role, you’re also an active member of Rainbow Carrots. Can you share more about your involvement in the ECG and any highlights since you’ve been here?

Rainbow Carrots was one of the first ECGs at Carrot and began before I joined. With the inclusive nature of our product, I think we attract folks who feel seen by our company and product, which unfortunately isn’t all too common for the LGBTQ+ community. It has been amazing to have a group to connect with who can relate to often feeling ‘othered’ whether in a workspace, by family, or in personal life. One of my favorite things we’ve done is a discussion session surrounding being queer during the holidays. There is so much power in knowing that you are not the only one who deals with all of the emotions that can come with being a member of the LBGTQ+ community and how that affects your life experiences that others may not realize or understand.

What are some initiatives Rainbow Carrots have done/plan to do?

We have done a few events internally, including a drag queen story hour last year, a sip and paint event, and we are working on a bagel-making class in the coming weeks (rainbow bagels of course)! We also ensure we have educational posts set up during Pride month; this year, we are focused on some of the attacks we are seeing against our community regarding anti-LGBTQ laws and brand boycotts and tying that back to how Pride began as a riot. I hope we can work on some additional external events or panels in the future! We also have an exciting partnership we are looking forward to announcing soon, so stay tuned!

Why are ECGs important for DEI and building community at Carrot?

ECGs are imperative spaces for underrepresented groups to connect and find commonality and belonging in the workplace. It can be easy to think you are the only person with a particular lived experience in a workplace and not show up as your full authentic self to protect yourself, but building connection and community with others can allow someone to show up with all of that experience and perspective that makes a product offering like Carrot’s even stronger. Carrot supports millions worldwide, so we have the ability internally to be advocates for all of those folks and how their journeys may differ, be that through Rainbow Carrots, or one of our other ECGs like Black at Carrot, Las Zanahorias (our LatinX group), Carrot Spoonies (our group for those with chronic or mental illness), Carrot AAPI, or Parents of Carrot.  

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