Inclusion and Diversity in Tech

I turned on the ButtonClickAdmin Podcast during a 2 hour drive. Lucky me, the post was called “Diversify Your Feed” with one of my ultimate heroes, Mary Scotton, Salesforce Developer Evangelist. If you haven’t noticed, Mary has been focused on inclusion/diversity in tech. She held a keynote at SE Dreamin’ which I’m sad to have missed (especially Karaoke Keynote). Out of the podcast, you’ll find practical tips (see below for the list) on addressing the issue of inclusion/diversity in tech and unconscious bias.

Mary tweeted me asking me what I thought about the podcast. So here I go! I think that Mary is right on. We, myself included, need to reflect on and reveal our unconscious bias (bias’ that we make, but are unaware of) on people of different backgrounds, gender, race, etc. Why should we do that? Because “the subtle assumptions we make about people can have lasting effects on who we’re promoting, who we’re hiring, who we’re putting in leadership positions” stated by Natalie Johnson (article about “unconscious bias” from Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/3036627/strong-female-lead/youre-more-biased-than-you-think).

Personally, there has been a “mental” struggle for me as a female woman of color to have a tech career because I don’t see a lot of individuals like myself doing the same things that I do. I am American with East Asian decent (Chinese to be specific) born and raised in NYC. When I go to any tech meetups or conferences (in major or small cities) and don’t see people like me, it can be discouraging. I’ll admit that sometimes, I question if I belong in tech. On top of that, I question if I should be a tech leader! Thankfully, I do have a diverse circle of friends/mentors to support me, especially one female Chinese-American who is a very seasoned Senior Salesforce Consultant at Deloitte that I call on for support and coaching.

One thing I hope tech companies would consider when addressing diversity, is not lumping all Asians Pacific Islanders (APIs) together when conducting stats on their workforce. When APIs are grouped together for statistics, it often produces misleading stats. For example, this is always an issue when federal/state grant dollars aren’t adequately/proportionately distributed to specific communities because the census doesn’t capture or distribute research for each API population so you can’t see that some groups need more support than others. API groups can include Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and more!

If you want to learn more about Diversity/Inclusion in Tech, here are some tips!

  • Complete the Trailhead Module on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Diversify your social media feed
  • Attend different types of events
  • Build relationships with and make time to listen to individuals who are not in your regular social/work circles.
  • Create training material that takes inclusion/diversity into consideration
  • Follow Mary’s blog (maryscotton.com)
  • Join WITDiversity user group in the success community led by Shonnah Hughes and Toya Gatewood
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