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Erica Baker
A picture of Erica Baker.
Baker and Internetdagama 2016.
Born 1980 (age 40–41)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Alaska
Occupation Software engineer

Erica Joy Baker (born 1980) is an engineer and engineering manager in the San Francisco Bay Area, known for her outspoken support of diversity and inclusion. She has worked at companies including GitHub, Google, Slack, Patreon, and Microsoft. She gained prominence in 2015 for starting an internal spreadsheet where Google employees reported their salary data to better understand pay disparities within the company. Kara Swisher of Recode called Baker the "woman to watch" in a profile in C Magazine.

Early life

Baker spent her childhood on the move, first in Germany, where Baker was born while her parents were deployed there, then New Mexico, Florida, and Alaska. Both her parents were in the US Air Force. Baker started writing and making websites as a teenager.

Career

Baker's first job was as a Windows Domain Administrator for the University of Alaska Statewide Systems at the age of 21. She then moved to Home Depot for a year, doing network operations and mobile desktop support. After this, she switched to Scientific Games to do desktop support.

Google

Baker worked at Google from 2006 to May 2015, in various roles, ending with the role of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE). In July 2015, after leaving Google for Slack, Baker revealed in a series of tweets that she had started an internal spreadsheet at Google for employees to disclose their salary information. Based on the spreadsheet, a number of her colleagues were able to negotiate pay raises. Baker reported that a number of her colleagues sent her peer bonuses for starting the spreadsheet, but her peer bonuses were denied by management. The spreadsheet sparked discussion on Google's pay disparities, non-transparency in pay determination, and potential gender and ethnicity differentials in pay. The spreadsheet continued to be updated until 2017, when updated data from the spreadsheet was reported in the New York Times.

Slack

From May 2015 to July 2017, Baker worked as a build and release engineer at Slack. In February 2016, Baker, Megan Anctil, Kiné Camara, and Duretti Hirpa accepted TechCrunch’s Crunchies award on behalf of Slack for Fastest Rising Startup.

Kickstarter and Patreon

In June 2017, TechCrunch, and USA Today reported that Baker was leaving Slack to join Kickstarter as director of engineering, reporting to Lara Hogan, the newly appointed VP of Engineering, and working in Brooklyn. Although her role did not officially involve diversity and inclusion, Baker said that fostering diversity and inclusion would be part of her job. However, she ultimately stayed in the San Francisco Bay Area and became Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon.

Microsoft

In January 2019, Baker joined Microsoft as Principal Group Engineering Manager.

Work on diversity and inclusion

After creating the spreadsheet on Google's salary data and then leaving Google, Baker has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion on her blog and in other public fora. She was behind #RealDiversityNumbers, a Twitter movement to acquire numbers for various companies around retention and number of lawsuits settled out of court. Baker was critical of Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff's remarks that suggested that inclusion efforts for ethnic and racial minorities were taking a backseat so that the company could focus on gender issues. She also denounced a video series by Elissa Shevinsky, the author of Lean Out, stating that it only addressed the diversity problem superficially. Meredith L. Patterson took issue with Baker's comment and accused her of having a conflict of interest. Baker, along with Tracy Chou, Freada Kapor Klein and Ellen Pao, was one of the founding members of Project Include, a startup launched in 2016 to provide diversity and inclusion strategies to client companies. Baker also has a strong interest in genealogy.

Public appearance

Baker was interviewed by WIRED's Davey Alba at WIRED Business Conference 2016. In January 2017, Baker was a keynote speaker at the Women of Color in Computing conference held by Mills College. In March 2018, Baker was a featured speaker at the Bond Conference. Baker was also a featured speaker for a Berkeley Center for New Media panel and Wall Street Journal's Women in the Workplace Forum both in October 2018.

Philanthropy

Baker is on the board of directors for Girl Develop It. She is also on the advisory board of Hack the Hood and is a tech mentor for Black Girls Code.

Awards

Baker was on the list of the BBC's 100 Women announced on 23 November 2020.

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