Erica Baker

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Erica Baker
A picture of Erica Baker.
Baker and Internetdagama 2016.
Born1980 (age 38–39)
Alma materUniversity of Alaska
OccupationSoftware engineer

Erica Joy Baker (born 1980)[2] 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 Google, Slack, Patreon, and Microsoft.[3][4][5][6][7] 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.[8][9][10] Kara Swisher of Recode called Baker the "woman to watch" in a profile in C Magazine.[11]

Early life[edit]

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[12]. Both her parents were in the US Air Force. Baker started writing and making websites as a teenager[13][14].


Baker's first job was as a Windows Domain Administrator for the University of Alaska Statewide Systems at the age of 21[15]. 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[16].


Baker worked at Google from 2006 to May 2015, in various roles, ending with the role of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE).[17][18] 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.[10] 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.[9][19][20] 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.[21][8]


From May 2015 to July 2017, Baker worked as a build and release engineer at Slack.[22][5] In February 2016, Baker, Megan Anctil, Kiné Camara, and Duretti Hirpa accepted TechCrunch’s Crunchies award on behalf of Slack for Fastest Rising Startup.[23]

Kickstarter and Patreon[edit]

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.[3][4] Although her role did not officially involve diversity and inclusion, Baker said that fostering diversity and inclusion would be part of her job.[3] However, she ultimately stayed in the San Francisco Bay Area and became Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon.[6]


In January 2019, Baker joined Microsoft as Principal Group Engineering Manager.[7]

Work on diversity and inclusion[edit]

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 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.[5] 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.[24] 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.[25] Baker also has a strong interest in genealogy.[26]

Public appearance[edit]

Baker was interviewed by WIRED's Davey Alba at WIRED Business Conference 2016[27] [28]. In January 2017, Baker was a keynote speaker at the Women of Color in Computing conference held by Mills College.[29] In March 2018, Baker was a featured speaker at the Bond Conference.[17] 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.[30][31]


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.[32][33]


  1. ^ "Erica Baker". Techies Project. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  2. ^ Erica Baker - Keynote - IND16, Internetstiftelsen i Sverige (Internet Foundation in Sweden), 2016-11-22.
  3. ^ a b c Megan Rose Dickey (June 8, 2017). "Kickstarter hires Slack's Erica Baker as director of engineering". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Guynn, Jessica (June 8, 2017). "Erica Baker leaves Slack for Kickstarter". USA Today.
  5. ^ a b c Megan Rose Dickey. "Slack Engineer Erica Baker: Diversity Efforts Need To Extend Beyond Gender". TechCrunch.
  6. ^ a b "#WCW: Recovering From Emotional Challenges, Doing Aerial Acrobatics, And Loving Donuts". techsesh. October 18, 2017. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Brown, Dalvin (28 February 2019). "Diversifying tech: Black professionals are finding success in spite of the odds". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  8. ^ a b Buxton, Madeline (September 9, 2017). "A Google Employee Spreadsheet Shows Pay Disparities Between Men & Women". Refinery29. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Weinberger, Matt. "Engineer says Google managers denied her bonuses when she tried to expose salary inequality". Business Insider.
  10. ^ a b Campos, Danilo. "@EricaJoy's salary transparency experiment at Google". Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  11. ^ "Kara Swisher". C Magazine. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "Techies". Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  13. ^ "Erica Baker, Engineering Manager". POCIT. Telling the stories and thoughts of people of color in tech. 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  14. ^ "Techies". Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  15. ^ "Techies". Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  16. ^ "Techies". Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  17. ^ a b Furie, Jason (February 21, 2018). "Bond Welcomes Patreon's Erica Baker". BackerKit. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Bond Conference by Backerkit". Gray Area. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  19. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (August 11, 2017). "A Crisis Forces Google to Uphold Its Values While Fostering Debate". New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (July 21, 2015). "Ex-Google Employee Exposes Unequal Pay With Spreadsheet". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (September 8, 2017). "At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More Than Women". New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  22. ^ "Episode 33 – Erica Baker (Part 2)". Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  23. ^ Alice Truong (February 10, 2016). "Slack sent four black female engineers to accept an award and make a statement on diversity". Quartz. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  24. ^ Meredith L. Patterson (2015-12-21). "Totalizing Politics and Insurance Rackets". Status 451. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  25. ^ Isaac, Mike (May 3, 2016). "Women in Tech Band Together to Track Diversity, After Hours". New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  26. ^ Bort, Julia. "The 39 most powerful female engineers of 2018". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  27. ^ (2016-06-17), Inequality is Everyone's Problem, retrieved 2019-03-15
  28. ^ Antohi, Monica (2018-04-30). "The Business Magazine for Women". THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  29. ^ "Mills College to Host Conference for Women of Color in Computing". Mills College. December 11, 2017.
  30. ^ "Special Events- Hacking Politics: Symposium". Berkeley Center for New Media. October 19, 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  31. ^ "2018 Women in the Workplace Forum". The Wall Street Journal. October 23, 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Erica Baker Is Campaigning for Diversity in Silicon Valley". Lifetime. February 26, 2017.
  33. ^ Phillips, Charles (July 26, 2018). "4 Inspiring Technology Leaders Who Beat the Odds to Find Success". Phillips Charitable. Retrieved 24 October 2018.

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