Designing experiences to bring us together
Damon Guidry has looked for and longed for community all his life. As a kid, he was shy and quiet, and often felt like he didn’t fit in or belong.
During this year’s Black History Month Celebration, an internal event hosted by Adobe’s Black Employee Network (BEN), Guidry shared his experiences growing up in Berkeley, California — Guidry was part of the first fully desegregated Berkeley Unified School District class to go from kindergarten to 12th grade — as well as his journey to eventually finding his calling in building a successful career in the events industry.
“What we’re doing is not a small thing, and our goal is to enable real transformation,” Guidry said of his work in Global Workplace Events at Adobe. “When that happens, we’ve done something really important and almost magical.”
We spoke with Guidry about his passion for creating those kinds of experiences and why he believes events are an essential ingredient in cultivating community.
This year’s theme for Black History Month at Adobe is “Joy, Community & Creativity”. What does that mean to you?
A big part of my job is promoting our brand and values, not to external customers, but to employees globally. When I think about the goal of this particular Black History Month, I really think about employee stories. I believe wholeheartedly in what we're trying to accomplish, and it’s my mission to help bring employee voices and experiences to life. As I mentioned in my video, creating spaces where people can be authentic and connection can thrive: this is what makes Adobe a special place to work.
What role do events play in fostering connection?
It’s about transformation. Our goal with events is to bring people together and, hopefully, guide them to feel differently at the end of an experience than they did when they got there.
For Black History Month events, for instance, we want participants to feel pride, to understand the history. Maybe they’ll learn something and will pay that forward, or maybe they’ll share what they’ve learned, sign a petition for a cause like the CROWN Act, or get more involved locally.
Events are bigger than just throwing parties. I think about events with our Employee Networks, like Women at Adobe. If 200 women gather to talk about gender equity and our company, and leadership is listening, that's a huge cultural difference. Or Pride at Adobe hosting a Glow Up Celebration showcasing performers, retrospectives, and employee perspectives. Our employees feel connected, and it shows the world what kind of organization we are.
In your video, you mentioned you had an unconventional path to joining Adobe. Can you share more about that?
I have a non-tech background. I went to school online and got my degree older than many people do. It’s funny; I actually used to think I wanted to be an architect.
I didn’t know anything about event planning, but then I got a job at a company that produced private and special events. It opened my eyes to what’s involved and what events can achieve — and I realized that, like architecture, at the end of the day it’s about designing experiences. I realized it was a calling.
I worked with Adobe as a contractor in events before moving to full time, and now I think my role here is unique. I rarely directly touch our products and instead support the people who do all the engineering magic. That’s made me work even harder to understand and advocate for Adobe's culture.
What about Adobe made you want to join as an employee?
Some tech companies focus on offering perks, like free food, parties, and ping pong tables in the breakrooms. They talk about a “culture of fun,” but it often doesn’t add up to anything meaningful. What I saw at Adobe, and what I’ve worked to strengthen and bring to the forefront, is a sense of purpose around why we gather.
Sure, everybody wants to work at a fun company, but it’s even more important that they also feel connected and engaged — and most importantly, recognized and heard.
As we’ve shifted toward more virtual and hybrid ways of working and meeting, what is your hope for the future of events?
We will always strive to host events with purpose. To go back to this month’s theme: We share joy. We celebrate creativity. We are building community.
This has only grown in importance as we’ve gathered virtually more often. Virtual events can be difficult, but one of the beautiful things about them is that they have made everything more accessible and democratic. It's strengthened community because it makes it easier for people from around the world to connect with one another.
We're moving towards a world where it's much easier to find the people you connect with, and I’m excited for that. Regardless of how the technology changes, what we’ll always try to do with events and beyond is help people find their people, no matter where they are, and bring them together in meaningful ways.