“The most important lesson I learned was the power of showing up.”
Safiya Walker reflects on her time running track at Brown University and the sense of responsibility she felt toward her teammates, coaches and the family, friends and fellow students who supported her throughout her athletic journey.
“Even if you’ve been up all night studying for a final exam,” she says, “you owe it to yourself and everyone else to show up at practice the next morning and give it your all. I’ve taken that attitude with me into my professional career.”
Having joined Ripple’s business development team in 2019, Safiya has given her all in both her Business Development Associate role and by becoming a champion of inclusion across the business. In June 2020, she helped found Ripple’s Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce in response to the civil unrest taking place in the United States. She later went on to establish Black at Ripple, an Employee Resource Group (ERG) based on a shared identity, with the aim of providing members with an additional source of support and encouragement.
“At Ripple, ERGs are structured communities of individuals who share a certain part of their identity, whether it’s Black, LatinX, women or LGBTQ,” explains Safiya. “One of the things we do is provide a safe space to have those difficult conversations about what’s happening in the world. For the Black community, that can be around George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests around racial equality, or what it’s like to be a Black person at a global corporation.”
Black at Ripple and the other ERGs help create an inclusive culture at Ripple to encourage and support a diverse workforce that better represents the true community the company is in. Safiya believes Ripple’s employees should holistically reflect what the human race looks like across the globe.
“What excites me about working at Ripple is that I get to work with people all around the world,” she says. “I’m seeing the impact of payments and finance in different places. The issues that different countries or cultures have when it comes to getting money in the hands of family and friends.”
That sense of everyday excitement is important to Safiya. As a senior in college looking for career advice, she was advised to “do what excites you the most”, an idea she also applies outside of work. Safiya replaced her workouts on the track with intense Yoga Sculpt classes, both as a student and instructor, while she also loves to cook.
“I like to eat more than I like to cook actually,” she laughs. “One of my favorite dishes is blueberry scone, which can be a semi-healthy breakfast food or more of a dessert if you want. It reminds me of home and blueberry picking as a kid with my grandmother.”
While she hasn’t had the opportunity to share her blueberry scones with her Ripple colleagues lately, Safiya is still showing up. Whether it’s a virtual happy hour, networking event or taking a lead on inclusion, she is there with enthusiasm and inspiration.
“I show up because you just never know where it’ll take you,” she concludes. “You’ll also surprise yourself with your own sense of resilience and ability to get the job done once you’re actually there to do it.”