How diverse perspectives create a better workplace — and product

As a quality assurance engineer on the Kibana team at Elastic, Bhavya Raju Mandya makes an effort to see things from a different perspective. 

“My job is to break things,” says Bhavya. “I like impersonating a cat, being curious, seeing what happens if I knock something off, or moving something or changing the order to figure out what gives. The end goal is to protect and defend the quality of Kibana and that makes me happy.”

The value Bhavya places on curiosity and diverse perspectives is a direct result of her experiences. Bhavya grew up in the South of India, in a province called Karnataka. She studied software engineering and worked in Bangalore before moving to Montreal with her partner. 

“India is vast and diverse, with many different skin tones and features,” she says. “In South India, my skin tone is considered “quite fair,” and my family belonged to an “upper-caste” Hindu community. This meant that I grew up with a lot of privileges that I didn’t see at the time. Here in Canada, I’m a South Asian immigrant and that means dealing with certain preconceptions and judgments. The challenges I face as an immigrant here also help me learn and reflect on the privileges I enjoyed back in India. This diverse experience helps me grow and find my place in the local community and keeps pushing me to show up for my values.”

Bhavya Raju Mandya

Bhavya Raju Mandya

Bhavya searched for a workplace that valued and celebrated curiosity and diverse viewpoints. “It’s really, really important for me to be working in a place where people understand that we all have different perspectives, and to respect them — and that this is also reflected in the company’s values,” she says.

When a friend shared a job posting at Elastic for engineers, Bhayva applied for the role.

Elastic’s products really interested me — I had worked with them in open source — but I was really impressed with the openness during the interview process. Everyone I met was so honest, and accepted me for who I was. I even interviewed with Shay Banon, our CEO, who was CTO at the time. That kind of accessibility to leadership, and finding acceptance when being myself, felt amazing.” 

Once she joined, she learned about venues including the company’s diversity Slack channel, where Elasticians “are putting themselves out there to help educate others about their unique perspective.”

Bhavya realized that the openness that she experienced, though, went even deeper than relationships with coworkers — it’s also been an asset in her role as a QA engineer. “It’s my job to escalate problems that people might not see at first,” she says. “That requires different perspectives and sometimes difficult conversations. At Elastic, I’ve never had to shy away from a topic because I feared repercussions. I feel like I can talk to anyone in the company, about anything, and do the work that I find meaningful.”

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