Proudflare: Inside Cloudflare's pioneering DEI efforts

A group of Cloudflare employees wearing t shirts bearing the Cloudflare logo with a rainbow added to the side, againststood and sitting for a photo, against a wall with a large version of the same graphic. To either side of them, a rainbow-assortment of balloons is floating.
(Image credit: Cloudflare)

Cloudflare is working to set an industry example through its LGBTQIA+ group and efforts to protect marginalized communities, with a senior figure at the company urging tech leaders to go further with their diversity.

Jen Taylor, chief product officer at Cloudflare, told ITPro that employers should aim to exceed basic diversity and inclusion efforts with active allyship, in order to properly support their employees and spark innovation within the workplace.

Shortly after joining Cloudflare in 2017, Taylor was approached by employees at the company about the possibility of starting an internal community for LGBTQIA+ employees.

The result was Proudflare, the company’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG), for which Taylor was asked to become the founding executive sponsor.

The ERG operates around the globe, running events and providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies at Cloudflare.


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“One of the things people often talk to me about is how important Proudflares and these ERGs are in general for helping people find their community within the organization,” Taylor said.

“Finding allyship, finding and feeling like they have a safe environment where they can ask questions, where they can ask for help, where they can raise important topics and really be an important part of the overall Cloudflare community.”

For some employees living and working in regions where marriage equality has not been brought in, or LGBTQIA+ lifestyles are even criminalized, the ERG can provide a chance to open up around other members of the community and receive support.

Taylor stressed that pride month is as much about visibility as it is a celebration.

“Pride started as a form of protest, of creating visibility,” she said.

“It’s been partnerships across a variety of diverse communities that have helped us transform that focus of visibility from one that is of anger to one of celebration and inclusiveness.”

‘Walking the walk’

Taylor told ITPro that the degree to which an organization is inclusive and diverse derives in large part from the perspectives of its leadership.

"It's not just making it an imperative, but also walking the walk,” she said.

"It's demonstrating that in your business practices, in how you run your meetings, in terms of how you hire. It's about demonstrating that in terms of cultural norms you create, in terms of how you treat your employees, and how you recognize and reward your employees. 

“It needs to be infused within the context and the fiber of an organization.”

Taylor has seen attitudes improve across the industry since she first entered the workforce, both for LGBTQIA+ people and for those from different perspectives, or race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“When I came out of undergrad, I didn’t feel like I was really welcome to be my full self, I didn’t feel comfortable being out or talking about my personal life,” she told ITPro.

“Now I feel really encouraged to be myself, and feel supported in the work that I do.”

As a queer woman who worked her way up in tech, Taylor noted the powerful effect of embracing active allyship and community-building throughout a company and urged others who consider themselves allies to join ERGs and support their LGBTQIA+ colleagues.

Taylor also urged leaders looking to drive transformation and positive change should work hard to become active allies.

Employees from marginalized groups could be nervous about seeking mentorship, so those serious about making a difference should work to “advertise themselves as ‘I’m open for mentorship, for advocacy”, Taylor said.

All sectors still have work to do when it comes to making LGBTQIA+ employees feel supported and able to be their full selves.

In February, Proud Ventures’ LGBTQ+ Founder report revealed that almost a quarter of LGBTQIA+ startup founders fear revealing their identities, in case it affects their funding negatively.

Almost 80% of founders in the report said they had hidden their identity from colleagues, and more than a quarter stated they would never come out within the sector.

Protecting the community through Project Galileo

Since 2014 Cloudflare has run Project Galileo, a program through which it provides free security to businesses at risk of cyber attacks including those maintained by minority groups, activists, or journalists.

This includes the likes of The Trevor Project, which provides crisis support for LGBTQIA+ youths, and the gender equality and diversity movement Women’s March.

Politically-motivated cyber criminals often use distributed denial of service (DDoS) to force websites offline.

Websites run by anti-racism groups were subject to DDoS attacks in 2020, with Cloudflare having blocked more than 135 billion malicious HTTP requests in one weekend coinciding with protests against police.

“It is safe to assume that at any moment, any of the organizations in Project Galileo and probably multiple of them, are on the receiving end of an attack,” Taylor said.

Cloudflare uses all of its globally-available technologies for Project Galileo and works with third-party groups that vet requests to join the project so that it isn’t making the sole decisions on which organizations are included.

To protect participants, the full list of groups that receive help through Project Galileo is not publicly available.

Above all, Taylor stressed that improved diversity is a net benefit for all within a company.

“The way that you actually facilitate innovation is, you bring diverse perspectives to the table, you put interesting problems in front of them, and you encourage people to to dig in and bring their perspectives,” she said.

“And so, for us, building in diverse and inclusive workspaces is a business imperative because we need those diverse perspectives in order to facilitate and drive the innovation that we're delivering, we need our environment to be inclusive.”

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at or on LinkedIn.