University of Iowa alum Kyra Seay’s passion for making a difference for women led her to an executive position at Bumble, a dating app created by women.
Ever since she was a college student at the University of Iowa, Kyra Seay said the women in her life have been instrumental in making strides in her career, leading to her stepping into the role of director of social innovation and transformation at Bumble.
During her college years, Seay was a part of Iowa Edge, served as co-captain of the Bollywood dance team Iowa Andhi, started her own student organization called Students Abolishing Slavery, and worked at the library all five years.
While she was a senior, Seay said she was more focused on the projects she had in college than she was with getting a job afterward.
Last minute before she graduated, the former chief diversity officer at the University of Iowa, Georgina Dodge, messaged Seay and offered her a job in Education Services Support at the Center for Diversity and Enrichment at the university.
“Someone saw me and the work that I was doing and fitted me to the perfect opportunity, and I am so grateful for that work,” she said.
Uncannily, the same situation arose when she applied for her job at Bumble, a platform that connects people for relationships, friendships, or business opportunities.
One thing that is so different about it compared to other dating type apps is when members of the opposite sex match on Bumble, women are required to make the first move, shifting old-fashioned power dynamics and encouraging female empowerment from the start.
“I made the first move and reached out to the executive on LinkedIn,” she said. “When I was ready to go back to work for someone else, I needed to work at a company for people I believed in [and] for a product I actually used.”
She said when she first moved to Dallas, Texas, she used Bumble BFF to find her friend group there. She said she then made a list of places she wanted to work, and Bumble was at the top.
While she waited to hear from the company, she said she received a box of Bumble swag. As soon as she got the news, she threw on a Bumble sweater and danced around her apartment.
“I got my job through networking and sending a very thoughtful but brief message to the person in leadership,” Seay said. “I made sure to make the case on what I could bring to the team and why we were value aligned.”
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Seay now works at the woman-founded company in Austin, Texas, as the Director of Social Innovation and Transformation, a position she created.
“I have my own team where we focus on operationalizing diversity, equity, and inclusion work cross functionally and globally,” she said.
She said her team works from a partnership model where they work with their marketing, product, brand, customer experience, and executive leadership teams on a variety of projects.
“It is quite the opportunity and of course close to my heart’s work and my background from [working at Iowa],” Seay said. “We are a company that is pushing the boundaries and challenging bias and inequity with our apps, the dating sphere, and the technology industry,” she said.
One of the campaigns Seay worked on had the tagline, “Glass ceilings make great dance floors,” and she said that described her experience working at Bumble.
“It is really fun to be doing that alongside women that are so passionate and committed to this work,” Seay said. “To be next to some of the powerhouses that I get to be next to at work is truly a dream.”
Lexi Noonan, senior at the UI and president of the student organization Women in Business, said the thing that stands out to her about Bumble is that women leaders are powerful, and women love supporting other women.
“I think Bumble is a great example of girls that support each other and that work really well together that come together for a huge cause,” Noonan said.
When looking at the position she holds at Bumble, Seay said she learned that she doesn’t have to follow a clear path to be successful.
“All too often we assume that there is only space for a specialist, or someone who has a very clear-charted path,” she said. “If you hear that internal voice saying, ‘this is not it,’ and you want something else, go after that and that is okay if that path is not already charted because you can chart that yourself because there is space in the world for generalists too … you just have to believe in yourself.”