GoDaddy Employee Advocates for the Future of Technology’s Enablement of Black Success

GoDaddy holds itself to a high standard of stewardship in areas where it can have the greatest impact and influence, from building a more inclusive workplace culture to engaging with and empowering its customers regardless of age, race, gender, location or socioeconomic background.

Learning Program Manager, Desmond Sweet, in his almost four years at GoDaddy, is committed to GoDaddy’s mission of empowering entrepreneurs everywhere, making opportunity more inclusive for all. This means spending his days welcoming new employees to GoDaddy, developing leaders, and fostering more collaborative teams. Desmond is also dedicated to educating, inspiring and celebrating the Black in Technology community within and outside of GoDaddy as president of the GDBIT (GoDaddy Black in Tech) employee resource group.

February is Black History Month, a time for reflecting on the past while focusing on the future and particularly, the role everyone can play in creating equitable opportunities for all. Importantly, this includes considering how people might empower not only their own lives, but also honor a communities’ collective lived experiences and build opportunities for success.

In recognition of Black History Month, GDBIT hosted GoDaddy customer Malik Muhammad, founder of Malik Books – an African American bookstore that specializes in books full of cultural diversity – to discuss the power of education, knowledge, representation, resiliency, entrepreneurship and empowerment. Desmond facilitated the event and shared his reactions.

“What makes Malik Books different? Malik would tell you that one of his differentiators is the fact that he is a bookstore that only sells books by Black authors and with Black characters,” said Desmond. “But after talking with Malik the other day, what makes Malik different, in my opinion, is Malik. He is full of energy, excitement and anticipation of what a good book can do for someone in their future.”

When it comes to impacting someone’s future, Desmond knows firsthand how access to resources can change an entrepreneur’s life. As a volunteer for Empower by GoDaddy – the company’s signature social impact program that supports entrepreneurs in underserved communities – Desmond became one of the first employees to pilot You Empower, a 12-week, skills-based, full-time employee volunteer assignment where employees are paired with Empower by GoDaddy nonprofit and community partners. The goal of the pilot was to provide GoDaddy employees with an enriching professional-development experience while delivering much-needed additional digital support and training to underserved Empower by GoDaddy microbusinesses.

A particularly eye-opening moment for Desmond during his rotation with You Empower came while he was teaching a digital-skills workshop for Black women business owners. He recalls working with young entrepreneurs who were both excited and emotional about publishing their websites – a common obstacle for many fledging microbusinesses.

“The empowerment they felt in taking a leap of faith in their businesses and control of their futures literally brought some of them to tears,” said Desmond.

Inspired by these interactions, Desmond notes how important programs like Empower by GoDaddy and You Empower are for humanizing the entrepreneurs he serves every day through GoDaddy and reminding employees of their purpose as part of the greater company mission.

“No longer is the job about picking up the phone to answer the fourth customer service call of the day,” he said. “No longer are you – if you are in my shoes – facilitating a class of engineers on how to effectively manage and coach direct reports. Now, you bring yourself into work and say, ‘When I provide effective coaching to the people that are on my team, I am helping them develop software and develop information that will help somebody who has potentially been in a dire situation, use a product that is easy to understand, that can get them online very quickly, so that they can begin to chase their dreams.’”

Desmond emphasizes that he will continue seeking opportunities to make an impact on people’s livelihood and will do whatever it takes to push technology forward into Black communities.

“I want to make sure that little brown boys and girls everywhere know that technology and the future of the workforce in this world is in their hands. And just because they didn’t grow up in the house of an engineer, or in a neighborhood that had coding programs within their elementary school, doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in this space. I am inviting them here, and I will prop open doors and leave them open, so that the people behind me can come pick up where I left off and continue to move this work forward.”

Empower by GoDaddy Spotlight Series:By partnering with diverse local nonprofits and community organizations around the world, Empower by GoDaddy aims to reach those who haven’t otherwise had access by offering skills training, resources, and mentoring to help accelerate their business journeys. This article is part of the Empower by GoDaddy spotlight series that shines a light on the individuals who make this unique initiative possible.  

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