Inside Audible

Women at Audible Create Paths to Career Growth, Support and Friendship

A group of Audible employees who are members and leaders of Women@Audible sit on the steps in our Innovation Cathedral building. Posed for a group photo, someone has obviously said something funny that has them all laughing and leaning into or looking at each other.

Jamie Quiroz was hired at Audible well into the pandemic. With offices closed and employees working remotely, she didn’t have the usual chances to meet, get to know, and network with her new colleagues. Without “water cooler moments,” as Quiroz puts it, “it can be challenging to get to know others,” especially those outside of her team. To give herself more opportunities to build camaraderie, Quiroz joined Women@Audible, one of several employee-led impact groups that facilitate mentorship, professional networking, and belonging at Audible.

Through the group, Quiroz was set up to meet female employees around the globe for virtual, casual coffee chats as part of an initiative Women@Audible kicked off at the start of the pandemic to help keep employees connected. Called “Let’s Be Friends,” the meet-ups were centered around icebreaker questions inspired by the Audible Original podcast Freunde sein?, released in Germany. Sibylle Schwarz, who works in Audible’s Berlin office and spent several years as co-lead for the EU chapter of Women@Audible, helped conceive the idea. “We wanted to create something that brings back the ability to just meet a random person and find out together common topics that make you both tick,” she says.

The enthusiasm for the program has spawned others like it, always with an eye toward global accessibility. Parris Brown, who works on Audible’s customer service team and heads up Women@Audible’s events committee, organized a “Meet Me Mixer” that different locations could take turns hosting in order to help manage the differing time zones. During the initial mixer, Brown says, everyone decided they’d need to make the event longer, that it was so refreshing to talk about life with colleagues they’d never met, or who lived half a world away.

Along with the opportunity to connect and network, providing mentorship is one of Women@Audible’s core goals, and Brown found her own mentor thanks to an event the group organized around the Audible Original By Sophia Chang, The Baddest Bitch In the Room. Chang “was speaking about the mentors in her life and how everyone should have someone they can identify with and who advocates for them,” says Brown, who then raised her hand and asked how she could find a mentor of her own. As it happens, a senior vice president who was present volunteered on the spot. The two connected regularly, discussing the personal and professional. “We have built a friendship that I suspect will be long-term,” says Brown. “I also learned that she is just as human, even being in a very senior role, and that we all have to find our strengths and hone those skills.”

There are multiple chapters of Women@Audible in the cities we operate in worldwide, with more than 20% of global employees involved. Women@ members are often active with other impact groups as well, including Moms@Audible, Women in Tech (WiT), Black Employee Network (BEN), AudiblePRIDE, and UNIDOS. The group joins forces frequently with WiT and Moms@Audible to organize panels, workshops, and public events throughout the year, especially during Women’s History Month, and together they work with Audible’s editorial teams in each marketplace to curate content that highlights women’s stories and voices. The groups have also been key advisors on promoting Audible initiatives that affect women the most, such as the range of supports the company offers employees to help with caregiving, or the “Next Chapter” Returnship Program that helps professionals return to the workforce after time away to raise families or care for a relative.

“We are working intentionally to improve representation and growth opportunities for women at all levels of the company worldwide,” says Susan Jurevics, Audible’s EVP, Head of International and the executive sponsor for Women@Audible. “Making Audible a place where women can thrive at every stage in their career and personal life is a responsibility I am personally very invested in.”

Women@Audible engages with our local communities as well. The UK chapter created a program with The Girls Network in which 12 volunteer mentors were paired to work one-on-one with young women from under-resourced backgrounds. Over the course of a year, the pairs will focus on building confidence, learning new skills, and meeting more female role models. In the US, Women@Audible coached 22 students on how to adapt their group written-novel, Daughters of the Community, into an audio production as part of a pilot program created in collaboration with Audible’s Global Center for Urban Development (GCUD) and the Newark nonprofit International Girls Academy.

“This workshop not only helped introduce these students to new opportunities, like we strive to do for our own members,” says Monica Tirri, co-lead of Women@Audible and a member of the corporate communications team, “but it also drove forward our impact group’s mission in elevating women’s stories and lived experiences.”

Quiroz says the mixers and coffee chats have helped her keep up her friendship with colleagues, admitting to “geeking out” to whatever they’re listening to, reading, and watching. “It’s helped me to feel much more connected to the wider Audible team,” she reports. “Getting to meet so many friendly, interesting, and supportive people makes working from my little Brooklyn apartment all the better. I appreciate how Women@Audible has created a space for those connections and conversations.”