Official this week, the Bay Area has a new Rattler in its ranks. Slack, the professional messaging and file sharing startup, has hired FAMU alum Kristy Tillman as its new Head of Communication Design.
Tillman joins the Slack team after previously leading design at Society of Grownups, a startup that focused on financial literacy for young adults. Previous to that, Tillman’s resume boasts of design work she’s done for high profile companies such as IDEO, Reebok and PUMA. In addition, to working as a designer, Tillman co-founded The Human Utility (formerly known as the Detroit Water Project), an organization that provides water bill assistance for people in need.
In her new role with Slack, she’ll use her skills to drive Slack’s design and vision strategy for Slack.com and other public facing websites. She’ll also be responsible for the recruitment of Communication Designers and have input in Slack’s inclusive design hiring process.
Perhaps a bit of foreshadow — On June 19th, Tillman tweeted Slack’s official twitter account stating, “Wish @SlackHQ had a boomerang feature. Where I would be able to schedule messages to post.” She engaged in a brief exchange with the official account, and though it may have seemed like a small-scale conversation, it was likely the beginning of a fruitful relationship between the two. And now, she’ll grab the reigns on design elements at Slack.
Tillman’s hire at Slack is a promising development for both the tech industry and diversity advocates. In past couple of years, Silicon Valley has come under fire for its lack of diversity. However, Slack has demonstrated success in being able to attract top technical talent. In April, Slack hired Leslie Miley as the Director of Engineering. Miley previously worked at Twitter and became the center of a diversity in tech conversations last year after pinning a blog post titled, ‘Why Diversity is Difficult.’ In addition to Miley, prominent engineer and diversity advocate Erica Baker is also employed at Slack.
Tillman, Miley, and Baker are representative of a professional culture that should be the norm at many companies. Through their hiring and subsequent work from the inside, perhaps Slack can have a large impact on the overall tech industry, and Silicon Valley’s offices and boardrooms can start to reflect the user bases that consume their products.