Name: River Lynn Parrhesia Bailey
Designation: Agent 0069
Role: Senior Software Consultant
Special Skills: Empathy Driven Consulting, Development and EDI Work
Aliases: Mx River Lynn
Location: Waco, TX
Favorite Emoji: 🤔
That’s probably gonna be all the work I’ve done around equity and inclusion and all that. There’s a lot of individual areas, including the newsletter that I write every month. I think that’s a pretty important thing. Then I was involved in a lot of other efforts as well, including the homeroom groups, getting ERGs (employee resource groups) up and running, and helping to redefine some of the processes around the re-leveling process and annual reviews.
I guess the biggest thing would be to see where we are as a company at the end of this year in terms of equity, inclusion and diversity—to see if the efforts we’re putting in now are really paying off versus just being surface level changes that don’t really make a difference.
Homerooms are weekly small group meeting with a consistent group of 3 to 5 people, meant to create and strengthen connection and relationships throughout the company. Each person gets a couple of minutes to share what is on their mind while the other attendees listen. All conversations in homeroom groups are private to that group.
Oh, gosh, there’s a lot, honestly. I really like the autonomy that Test Double provides for being able to contribute both to our clients that we work with every day, but also to the company as a whole. I know a lot of companies I’ve worked for have been very rigid in what you can and cannot do, where you can contribute, and all that. I like that, at Test Double, we have roles and responsibilities, but anytime somebody sees something that needs to be done, needs to be changed or whatever, they can bring it up. And if it’s something that they don’t know how to do it, they can still go and begin working on it, talk with people, figure out what’s going on—help to create the change that they want to see. And that’s supported very much from the top of the company all the way down.
I think that same mentality of autonomy translates into what makes us unique as a consulting agency. We’re not just butts in seats, outsourced hired coders. We bring all of our experience, all of ourselves, really, into our clients to help them improve. We try to make sure our clients are in a better situation when we go home for the day—when we leave that client at the end of the contract—and to really help them move forward to create something sustainable.
A big thing for me lately has been privacy, security, and safety around data, and how that translates into features and how the software works. A client I was working with previously was building an app that had the ability for people to connect with each other to do certain things to collaborate. And in the process of helping this company design that, there were a number of features where it became apparent that people who should not have access to somebody’s contact information might be able to get access to it. Through certain conditions where somebody is connected to multiple people and doesn’t want one person to have whatever contact info, but they might be able to get to it because of connections to someone else.
So there’s a lot that’s been talked about on social media, especially, where people have connections with other people and how that privacy and safety plays out. There are huge glaring problems in social media with privacy and safety and harassment. That’s something that’s become important to me in the last couple of years. Seeing the possibility of that on this project really solidified the need in my mind to think through those types of scenarios. What that really comes comes down to is one of Kim Crayton’s four principles where lack of diversity becomes a risk management issue.
I got my legal name and gender marker changed on all my IDs last year. That was a really exciting thing for me to be able to get done, especially during a pandemic. There were some huge delays and challenges along with that because of the pandemic—like updating my Social Security information with the federal government. There’s a Social Security office like maybe six miles from my house. I had to send them certified, return-receipt mail with all my information, because I wasn’t allowed to drive over to their office and hand it to them due to the pandemic. Things like that caused a lot of delays but eventually it all got taken care of. Beyond that I think just having survived 2020 was memorable.
With the COVID vaccine, and being fully vaccinated now, I’m looking forward to in-person appointments for my doctor and my therapist again. As a trans woman in a smaller city, it’s hard to find the kind of care I need. But I’m extremely fortunate to have both medical and psychological care from doctors and medical staff that care deeply about me. Of course it’s not just fortune to have them in town, but also the privilege I live with that allows me to afford this level of care.
There’s a lot of answers to that for TV and related media. In general everything Star Wars and Marvel that Disney+ has been doing recently for the last year, like The Mandalorian. I’m currently watching The Falcon and The Winter Soldier every Friday. I watched all of Wandavision prior to that. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Loki series. There’s just a ton of Star Wars stuff that’s heading to production now and being released soon—I’m really excited about all those.
As far as books go, I read a lot of books around antiracism and social justice. I’ve been doing that for a couple years now, at least. And one of the books that’s really been coming back to mind recently is written by Shawna Potter. The book is called Making Spaces Safer. The book itself focuses on safety in physical spaces. Shawna is a vocalist for a punk metal band, so she deals with a lot of safety and privacy things like that in physical spaces, like bars and concert halls. But the principles that she writes about are 100% applicable to the business world and remote work in software development. The ideas center around not being able to create a space that is truly safe for everyone but having plans, having written policies, knowing what to do when something goes wrong. It’s important to be able to apply that equitably and fairly across all the different situations as they happen—not leaving a ton of room for personal bias and things like that to creep in because all the policies are written and clearly available for everyone to read.
An empty house. I’ve been working from home for 12 years now. I don’t ever want to work in an office again. I am very much an introvert though. And I desperately want an empty house while I work again…my wife at work and my kids at school. That will be wonderful.
That would be the 6 foot tall, 50-pound, stuffed Snorlax behind me. I’m a big fan of Snorlax. I didn’t really get into Pokémon a lot when I was growing up. I knew about it but wasn’t super interested. Now that I have kids of my own, they got into Pokémon a couple years ago, and I found Snorlax and fell in love. I absolutely love Snorlax. And I had a lifelong dream of having a stuffed animal larger than I am, so this worked out perfect. I’ve also got a whole bag and wallet set. It’s a Loungefly backpack and wallet with Snorlax, and also a Snorlax carrying case for my Nintendo switch.
This interview is based on a recorded conversation with River Lynn Bailey and Cathy Colliver.