December 19, 2016 BestCompaniesAZ

Four Things You Didn’t Know About the Silicon Desert

By Lee Vikre | @LeeVikre

We’ve heard all the stereotypes about living and working in Arizona, but there are some companies not being pigeon-holed by them, especially among award-winning companies. These cool companies are giving us more reasons to love the Silicon Desert.

Here are four of them:

You don’t have to be a military veteran to work for USAA. Despite what you may have heard, there are lots of non-military employees at USAA in Arizona. “We look for people who support military values, not only veterans”, says AVP, HR Operations Gay Meyer. “There is quite a bit of diversity in the Phoenix-area population and we want to tap into it.”

Erin wasn’t a military veteran, she was a radio personality – and she found a satisfying career change with USAA. Read her inspiring story here.

The best place for female grads to launch a tech career is in Arizona. GoDaddy released their 2016 gender diversity and salary data recently, and showed that 50% of their new-grad hires in engineering were women, up from 39% in 2015. “Here at GoDaddy we’re not only talking about diversity, but equality. We feel it’s extremely important to show men and women are paid the same in the same role,” said Auguste Goldman, Chief People Officer at GoDaddy. Read more here.

The most innovative company, led by the most innovative person, and one of the 100 best in the country. In Arizona? Yep. Nextiva won the Spotlight Award for Innovation from Arizona’s Most Admired Companies in 2016. CEO Tomas Gorny was named the Most Innovative Person in VoIP in 2015, and Nextiva was just named one of the Best Medium Workplaces in the country by Fortune. Nextiva represents the cutting edge in tech, learn more here.

A world-class LGBT-friendly company in Arizona? In a state known to be conservative, it might seem like tough going for LGBT talent. But Charles Schwab has had a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index since 2004. With more than 3,400 employees, Arizona has the largest number of Charles Schwab employees in the country. Read more here.

About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.