Diversity & Inclusion

SEEN Spotlight: Kelsey Brennan on Breaking Down the Barriers Between Developers

Kelsey Brennan

As Nasdaq continuously strives to advance inclusive growth and prosperity, we spotlight our Software Engineer Employee Network (SEEN), an employee resource group (ERG) for Nasdaq colleagues who are enthusiastic about software engineering. The group seeks to bring like-minded individuals together by fostering a sense of community for software professionals in a fast-paced technology environment. We spoke with Kelsey Brennan, a software developer based in Michigan, about joining SEEN and her goals for the network.

What is your role at Nasdaq, and could you please describe what an average day looks like for you?

I’m a software developer within the NFF program, leading the development of the new reference data management solution. I work with our internal customers to determine the requirements and roadmap for the project, and then develop and test new features together with my team. A typical day for me is usually a mix of meeting with various internal customers to help them integrate with our solution and pair-programming with my teammates to build new features.

When and why did you decide to join your employee network group? 

I decided to join SEEN at the very beginning, and I’m a member of the steering committee. Moving to remote work made it harder to stay connected with other developers within my own office, let alone across the company. I think SEEN will play an important role in building a worldwide sense of community among all of the technology professionals at Nasdaq.

Please tell us about a memorable experience you had at your employee network group. 

When we were choosing the logo for SEEN, we had a long discussion about where the slash should go in “<SEEN/>” and the different implications it would have if it were at the beginning or end of the tag. That’s exactly the kind of conversation we’re hoping to spark in the network, so it was a really great start!

As an ally of your employee network group, what is one thing you would like to tell others? 

You should join SEEN! It’s not only for developers; we are a community for anyone interested in software engineering and wants to learn more about it.  

Why is discussing and advocating for diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace important? 

I joined Nasdaq in Stockholm right after graduating from college, and for a long time, I felt very intimidated and rarely spoke up since I was usually the youngest, the only American, and the only woman in a group. After a while, I realized that nobody else really cared about any of those things, but those feelings of not belonging, even if they were mostly self-imposed, really held me back at first. It’s important to be vocal about our commitment to belonging and to back it up with concrete actions so that everyone feels confident contributing in the workplace.

What would you like to achieve at your employee network group?

I would like to break down the barriers between developers in different business units so that we can all learn from each other. There are so many interesting projects at Nasdaq, but it can be difficult to even know what exists. I hope that through tech talks and social events, we can learn about all the cool software that’s being built at Nasdaq and spend less time reinventing the wheel if another team already has a solution to a problem.

Why is celebrating different representations in the workplace important? 

The different paths that we have all taken to work as software engineers at Nasdaq give us different approaches to problem-solving. That, in turn, gives us a huge collective capacity to innovate.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.