Fostering an Inclusive, Sustainable Culture with Kami Hoskins of GoDaddy

Oct 25, 2023 10:00 AM ET
Campaign: Empower by GoDaddy

Originally published on The Impact Podcast with John Shegerian

Listen to the podcast here

As Senior Director of Legal Operations and Training and Head of Corporate Sustainability & ESG at GoDaddy, Kami Hoskins leads strategy and innovation for GoDaddy’s legal department. She develops curriculum and trains employees on topics such as anti-discrimination/anti-harassment, positive employee relations, compliance, and privacy.

John Shegerian: Do you have a suggestion for a Rockstar Impact podcast guest? Go to and just click Be a Guest to recommend someone today. This edition of The Impact Podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet, and your privacy, and is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit This episode of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Closed Loop Partners. Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy investor in the United States with an extensive network of Fortune 500 corporate investors, family offices, institutional investors, industry experts, and impact partners. Closed Loops platform spans the arc of capital, from venture capital to private equity bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. To find Closed Loop Partners, please go to

John: Welcome to another edition of The Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian. I’m so excited to have with us today, Kami Hoskins. She’s the Senior Director of Legal Operations and Training and the head of corporate sustainability and ESG at GoDaddy. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Kami.

Kami Hoskins: Thank you, John, so much for that warm welcome. I am so excited to be here.

John: We’re excited to have you, and we’re going to get into all the important and impactful things you’re doing at GoDaddy with your colleagues. But before we go into that important information, I want to know a little bit about the Kami Hoskins story. Where did you grow up and how did you even get on this path to become a lawyer and eventually go into this new industry of sustainability and ESG and everything else that we’re going to talk about today?

Kami: Well, thank you for the opportunity to share that. I am a Phoenix, Arizona native, so born and raised. Yeah, my father’s family came from Alabama, and my mother’s family came from Washington State by way of Minnesota, and they met each other in the healthcare industry and planted our family’s roots here in Phoenix. And I have always been a lover of words and language. So in my undergraduate degree, I studied English and communication, I minored in Spanish. And then, spent some time working in industry and got candidly a little bit bored. And so went back to school and got a master’s degree in intercultural communication and rhetoric. And that was two of the most fun years of my life. Just waxing philosophical with brilliant minds about topics related to intercultural dynamics, diversity, and inclusion. But I got to end that program and I asked myself, now what? What am I going to do with this? It’s great. It was really fun. Lots of great ideas and concepts. So I ended up applying both for PhD and for JD programs, and I was accepted into both PhD and JD programs but decided to go the JD route because I really, I’ve been a lifelong volunteer and I really wanted to apply my skill sets more sort of tactically in the community. And I thought that the JD route would give me that opportunity. So I went to law school and studied hard down at the University of Arizona, and when I came out of law school, it was when the economy was at a very low point. And so I was with a private law firm and they said, here’s your bankruptcy code Kami, you’re going to be a bankruptcy lawyer.

John: Oh my gosh.

Kami: And at first I was like, hmm. But then I like became kind of this huge bankruptcy nerd and really ended up enjoying it because the complexity of the cases and just working with the colleagues in the bar. And so I spent 12 years in private practice and my practice area is, like I said, were bankruptcy, but also employment law, and commercial litigation. And the opportunity presented itself to join GoDaddy about three years ago, and really were looking for help with their legal training, so compliance trainings, that kind of thing. And I thought, you know what? It’s great, let’s do it. But of an in-house law professor of sorts is kind of how I saw myself. Then our new CLO joined and she asked me to stand up a legal operations team then had an opportunity because the former head of our ESG team moved on to a new opportunity. She asked me to help out, and I have been helping out with ESG for about a year and just actually have been delighted to discover that it’s this strange perfect opportunity that meets all of my various interests within one field. And so I took on the responsibility to help out the company and the team, but I had been really excited by the potential that this field really offers.

John: That’s wonderful. Wow. And we get to meet because of this show over the last 16 years. We get to meet so many fascinating and wonderful people doing very important work in the field of ESG and sustainability. But that’s a whole new road, how you came through the law, but also with your other formal educational training. It’s like you said, it’s all merged together now in this role. This is a very important role you have at GoDaddy. So before you, was there a chief sustainability officer or somebody else in the role heading up corporate sustainability and ESG at GoDaddy?

Kami: Yeah, for sure. We had a very talented person. Her title was senior director.

John: Got it.

Kami: So she led the team for several years.

John: Got it. Okay. So now you have these very interesting hats that you’re wearing, still director of legal operations and training. So you have your law professorship hat on there, but then also the head of corporate sustainability and ESG, which can be very wide and very narrow. So talk a little bit about a day in the life of Kami Hoskins at GoDaddy, and how do you divide your day, and how big are your teams on both sides on the legal side and on the corporate sustainability and ESG side. How big are the teams that help you do this important work?

Kami: It’s a great question. So, organization is my key to success. I have some colleagues who will always remind me of how organized I appear, which is very flattering. But on the legal operations side, I have one person in addition to myself that helps our chief legal officer run the business of the department. So we really focus on technology tools and processes and improving the efficiency of our team’s work. And then on the sustainability side, there’s five of us in total. And I have to say, the reason why I’m able to do or wear so many hats is because of the phenomenal people on my team. They’re just tremendous human beings, but also really dedicated professionals. And so a day in the life is really just having engaged conversations with them, problem-solving, thinking through strategy, and just listening really closely and helping make good decisions.

John: So, you released your sustainability and diversity report in April or so of this year. Talk a little bit about some of the greatest hits or highlights from that report that you are the most proud of.

Kami: Absolutely. So obviously we’re making tremendous progress on our greenhouse gas reduction goals. So we reduced by 35% since our baseline in 2019. And continuing to make good progress. And then also, I love how we’re able to highlight the tremendous work of our signature social impact program, which is called Empowered by GoDaddy. And we can talk more about that if you like, but to me, it’s really the sort of the shining star in terms of the way that we show up in the corporate sustainability world. And then I just also like how we’ve focused on the success of really supporting our employees and how I also think that’s a huge opportunity or a huge place we’re good at E shines, especially compared to some other employers, is just really investing in the talent that we have and creating an environment where people can really bring their whole selves to work.

John: Well, let’s talk about that a little bit. The Empowered By GoDaddy program. I got excited about having you on Kami today is, first of all, GoDaddy is almost nowadays the first step towards becoming, living the American dream of being the entrepreneur, the innovator, etcetera. Having your own website around your vision or your business is, and getting it from GoDaddy, I remember back to ’98 when I first got in the internet business, I remember going to GoDaddy was the place. And so talk a little bit about the Empower by GoDaddy program and why that’s been around since 2017, and why that’s so important to inclusion, diversity, and also the service to the underserved or historically marginalized communities across this country.

Kami: Absolutely. So, like you said, we’ve been working on this program since 2017, and what we do with Empower by GoDaddy is partner with local nonprofit organizations across the US, Europe, and Canada. And those nonprofits are embedded in communities and are able to reach the communities of entrepreneurs that we’re really hoping to serve. And through that partnership, we really hope to level up these entrepreneurs through knowledge, really, it’s just I think often about how there are gatekeepers in our society for knowledge, and if you’re not on the right side of the gate, then you don’t get access to the information. And so a huge part of what we do with Empower is to open the gate, the floodgate to information about, like you just said, getting online, building your business, building your brand. And so we do that through three real main pillars, through Empower. So it’s that information sharing or training through courses, it’s also networking. So I think that’s another huge and important way for knowledge sharing is to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs. And then finally, it’s through mentorship. So we really work with nonprofits that can help have that sort of one-on-one coaching conversation with these entrepreneurs to help invest in them, to level them up in their journey.

John: That’s so exciting. And there’s real stats that back the evolution of what’s happening and the importance of the Empower by GoDaddy. Can you talk a little bit about woman owners and then also African-American owners and African-American woman owners, pre-pandemic, post-pandemic? How those numbers have grown and why the importance, the real true importance of empowered by GoDaddy and the proof that it’s working?

Kami: Absolutely. So there’s been a tremendous increase in all of those communities like you just said. And in fact, black women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs within the United States, and that definitely has accelerated post-pandemic post-2020. And so it’s absolutely needing to meet the moment and make sure that they, and other communities who are underserved have the access to resources to really be successful in their ventures.

John: Got it. Let’s step back and go back to the two big hats that you wear. Director of Legal operation, but also head of Corporate Sustainability and ESG. Kami, as you and I know this whole industry of sustainability is relatively new. 20 years ago or so, when I got in the recycling industry, there were no chief sustainability officers. And even post Inconvenient Truth, we had a little bit and pushed forward for sustainability in America, but then when the 2008 financial crisis hit, it sort of then petered out again. It seems as though within the last two or three years with Larry Fink and BlackRock leading the way with regards to this whole terminology of ESG and people not only talking a good talk in corporations and organizations, not only talking good talk but walking the walk, that sustainability and the shift from the linear or circular economy and the need for real ESG results is here to stay. But there’s also been a politicization of this terminology, ESG. Let’s first break it down and understand, you can make corporate sustainability in ESG as wide as you want, or as narrow as you want. How do you and your team approach trying to understand what’s the most important issues for GoDaddy besides the core mission of being a good and profitable business, which you are, but in terms of what you want to accomplish in terms of net zero, planet positivity and all the other importance sustainability trends that seem to be out there today?

Kami: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the alphabet soup and like the various interests and pressures. And so we really are focused on all three of the tenants of ESG. So environmental, social, and governance. And, yeah, we have a materiality analysis that we did a couple of years ago. And so using that as a guide for what’s important to our stakeholders and being sure that we’re being responsive to those individual’s needs. So we focus on our customers, our employees, and our operations. And so it’s really important to us in addition to the investors that are paying close attention that our employees feel good about where they’re working. And I think so that’s a huge part of that conversation. And so I think, like I said, empower is an awesome opportunity to showcase the S within the ESG. And then in terms of our goals, like I said, we set Scope 1 and Scope 2, and we’re making awesome progress towards that. And we continue to stay like really close to that and continue to think about what our go-forward strategy is to make sure that we’re showing up correctly with the environment and also with respect to the pressures that we’re seeing, you know, just from the regulatory landscape and being sure that we’re staying in front of that.

John: Yeah. Talk a little bit about inclusivity in a workplace culture. I’m 60 years old now, Kami and I grew up in Queens, New York, and one of the first integrated public schools. And New York itself is a melting pot and a diverse place to grow up in terms of race, ethnicity, color, everything, it all comes together. So to me, that was just my normal growing up. But I’ve had the absolute honor and pleasure to interview on this show, Martin Luther King III, and we’ve talked about, although we’ve come far, we really haven’t come far enough, and we still see that obviously during the pandemic, it was for the world to see the tragedy in Minnesota, obviously, and still the ongoing ethnic divides and racial divides that we have. Can you share some of your best strategies and trainings that you’ve learned along the way to really foster inclusivity and diversity in the GoDaddy workplace?

Kami: Absolutely. So I actually have been obsessed with social justice and diversity for decades. So I actually started in that work when I was a sophomore in college and was involved in a leadership program for social justice. And so I really, the very young age, started to understand what it is that causes people to have those disconnects on various social identities. And so I have really I think been able to benefit from that early exposure to those concepts. And so I’ve used that throughout my career, and I’ve been a proponent and advocate for that work throughout my career. So I do a lot of training around diversity and inclusion. I’ve done it within GoDaddy, but I also do it for outside organizations and did that in private practices for my clients who I would train employees about these concepts. And so it’s like one of my favorite things to do is to talk to people about these concepts. And I think really what we need is more like reasonable rational conversations, but with a framework about why we do what we do. I think that that’s what’s missing from so many conversations.

And so whenever I train folks on these topics, I really try to embed the conversation in theory, so human communication theory in particular, and help them see how the scholarship out there has helped us understand sort of why humans do what we do. And then with based sort of that information making better decisions that are less exclusionary, less discriminatory, and more inclusive. And I just can’t stop having those conversations because it’s always just this light bulb aha moment when people come to see that. Our brains are almost hardwired to organize people into groups and then to put value attributes to those groups, and then to fail to see ourselves in that other group, and then all of the complications that flow from there. So, yeah, and that’s my background in terms of my ethic and how I approach diversity and equity and inclusion training. And then I can certainly talk more about how that shows up at GoDaddy if you like.

John: I’d love you to, I’d love you to continue that in terms of you framed up the macro beautifully. Let’s talk about the micro now. How you bring all that, all of your great experience and your love for the topic and your ability to train on that topic to GoDaddy, and how’s that played out there?

Kami: So it takes a village, as they say. So we have very talented leaders in DEIB, but that’s what we focus on here in GoDaddy. And then it’s really, it’s a fabric of our company. It truly is. So, prior to joining GoDaddy, I was in private practice with law firms. So, there’s a specific culture of certain law firms. But when I joined GoDaddy, it was like this tremendous breath of fresh air. I truly felt I could bring my whole self to work and also be valued for my contributions in a way that I’m not going to disparage my former employers, but it was a palpable difference when I joined the company. And so, to me, the way that shows up is not just in training, but we do take training very seriously. So we train on compliance topics like anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, or code of conduct, but we’re also really clear to make sure the employees understand that we don’t retaliate.

So we want people to come forward and to share their concerns if they do feel like something is not going as they would like within the company, they need to let us know so that we can investigate and address their concerns. So creating that culture, like that open door culture, that willingness to be comfortable to speak up, I think is a huge factor in our success. And we’re very careful about protecting that. And we’re also, I think, extremely proud with the results for how that shows up. So we survey our employees on an annual basis and just do a temperature check on a number of things, but in particular, we ask them how they feel about coming to work every day. We ask them how they feel about how their interactions with their colleagues are, and so we have incredibly high response rates to those surveys. So 86% of our employees participated last year.

John: Wow.

Kami: 90% of those employees said that they feel like they have a positive [?] that they can be themselves at work. And then 84% of those employees said that they feel like their colleagues treat them with respect. Those are tremendous numbers. We’re a global company. We have a very diverse workforce, and the fact that so many of us do feel similar to me, that we can be our full selves, I think is just tremendous. So a lot of that is just those micro-moments leaning into those conversations. We empower our managers to have conversations where employees can bring their concerns forward and feel heard and validated and just creating that environment of it’s like an ethic of kindness and a human first approach, which I think is just, it’s very palpable.

John: I love that. I want to come back to that in a second. But first, for our listeners and viewers who just joined us, we’ve got Kami Hoskins with us today. She’s director of Legal operations and training, and the head of corporate sustainability and ESG at GoDaddy. To find Kami and our colleagues in all the important work they’re doing, please go to Or you could also go to to learn more about all the great things that Kami and her team are doing at Kami, let’s go a little bit further though, with regards to what you were just talking about post-COVID, you have this trend of people wanting to work at home now. How does it work at GoDaddy? Does everyone, or do most of the employees sit under one roof, or is it a very dispersed workforce and do a lot of people post-COVID work from home? And is it harder to get them to engage in the whole cultural aspect and creating a– how do we say it the right way? A harmonized culture that you’re aiming for at GoDaddy post-COVID? Or have you found a way to work around some of these new trends as well?

Kami: So we are still predominantly working from home, the vast majority of our employees across the globe.

John: Wow.

Kami: So we do have office locations and several locations across the globe, and for most of us, it’s a voluntary opportunity to come in whenever we want. So it absolutely, like other employers with those challenges, it’s definitely required us to pivot. And so I think I’m heartened by our statistics from our survey last year that despite the fact that we’re still all dispersed and working from home, so many of us are still feeling switched on and engaged, I think is great, but it’s absolutely required, like I said, the pivot. So we’re a very slack-heavy organization, and we are a very camera-on organization, which I think makes a big difference. I think there are some employers where employees may be Zoom or Team Space, but they don’t have cameras on. And so for many parts of our company, it’s sort of just the expectation and it still feels like that engaged moment in conversation. It’s not at all the same, right? Like it’s going into the office and being together. So then we also work to create those moments where possible, where we have a large number of employees within a certain geographic location, and an office available. We are working on getting them together and continuing that good energy.