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Meet Eve Lewis: A driving force behind inclusive recruiting at Uber

March 4 / Global

We want to make Uber the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace in the world. Recruiting has always been a driving force in many D&I initiatives and we have made significant progress, but there’s still a lot to do. That’s why last year we welcomed Eve Lewis as our first-ever Global Head of Inclusive Recruiting to work at the intersection of Diversity and Recruiting and seize the enormous opportunities to accelerate our journey.

You’ve spent over 20 years driving diversity and inclusive marketing and Talent Acquisition programs at some major companies. Why did you join Uber?

“Prior to coming to Uber, I was at a place that’s noted for having diversity as part of its DNA, and Uber was never even in my consideration as an employer of choice as a black female. I’d heard a lot about the journey Uber’s been on and didn’t understand the incredible things going on in the company. Once I started having conversations, I realized that external perceptions don’t reflect what the company is truly doing and driving in this space. Uber is a remarkable platform to drive change in D&I in a way that’s scalable, efficient, and makes a difference.”

What is inclusive recruiting? Why say ‘inclusive’ rather than ‘diverse’? 

“The concept around diversity recruiting has evolved. Diversity is the ‘what’—the mixture of people you bring into a company. But diversity without inclusion is meaningless. Inclusion is cultivating psychological safety and a sense of belonging so people can perform to their highest abilities. It’s something we are all striving for regardless of our diversity. Everyone wants to be respected, valued, and supported. Coming to an organization where you can be your full self without feeling like you have to be something others expect you to be. That’s the difference. Inclusion is the ‘how’—the framework and the environment that allows people to bring their whole selves to work and do their best work. It’s the feeling, a culture, and environment that supports all employees regardless of their background—because frankly—we could effectively recruit diverse talent, but if we don’t have an inclusive environment, they will not stay at Uber.”

What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve?

“In general, we know the pipeline of diverse talent in tech is stagnant in the volumes we’d need to achieve parity. We need to get creative and expand the aperture. We need to think beyond the criteria that we have historically used. As dynamic as our talent needs are, we have to think beyond the pedigree that we have traditionally used to vet talent. Is a traditional degree necessary? It’s really about skills—can we align training or other resources to build those skills in talent communities that we have not typically tapped into? We have to expand our criteria if we’re serious about hiring diverse talent. Are we really bringing in high potentials who can do the job, but lack the experience? Are we considering how our biases also limit who we view as high potential? Can we hire on potential and give someone a roadmap for driving their career?”

What’s top of mind for you right now?

“We need to be really creative about how we view and advance talent throughout the company. We need to look at opportunities to upskill people for their next roles and give them the training and programs to help. How can we think differently to help diverse talent onboard to Uber and contribute? We need to think more holistically about the skills and talent required to do the job to drive Uber forward.”

What inspired you to work in the D&I space?

“When I came out of college, I wasn’t in D&I. Some of my early career roles were aligned to recruiting. Doing outreach and candidate engagement, I started working with diverse constituency groups and found that it was my passion. Inclusion matters. Recruiting is an environment where you have to come up with unique and tailored strategies. It made me question value props and our ability to attract diverse talent. D&I doesn’t have simple answers or solutions, and that made it appealing to me.”

Any tips for maintaining an inclusive mindset?

“Keep an open mind. Continue learning and expand your knowledge from a cultural standpoint. Travel. Engage with different communities. Ask questions. Be curious. Inclusion is about pulling down walls and being vulnerable, curious and non-judgemental. 

Everyone can, and should be instrumental in driving inclusion. One of our strongest sources of hires are employee referrals. When you think of making a referral, I’d encourage you to also use diversity as a filter. 

If you have ideas or strategies around inclusive recruiting, reach out to me!”