"What 4 Companies Are Doing To Promote Inclusivity In The Tech Community" - Michael Hines
Below is an article originally written by Michael Hines at Built In, and published on July 7, 2020. This article includes information about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Tech companies across the United States are reexamining their values and recommitting their programming, hiring and products to be more inclusive of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in light of the recent protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism spurred by the killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and other Black people. In addition to reflection, this is also a moment of action, one that asks companies to acknowledge where their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are lacking and strengthen them.
According to the numbers, companies don't have to look very hard to find areas of improvement. Black tech workers make up less than 5 percent of employees at Salesforce, Facebook, Slack and Microsoft and less than 10 percent of employees at Twitter, Uber and Lyft. A study by San Jose State University, which used anonymized data provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, found that 10 large Silicon Valley tech companies employ no Black women and that three large Silicon Valley companies employ no Black people at all.
These stats lay bare just how much work the tech industry has to do to become more inclusive. We have a better idea of what that work entails after talking with leaders at Relativity, Ball Aerospace, Compass and Livongo. For these companies, inclusivity isn't just an internal initiative but one that extends to their communities via student mentorship programs, fellowships for talent typically overlooked by the tech industry and pledge programs designed to drive investment toward Black professionals.
CASSANDRA BLACKBURN, HEAD OF INCLUSION, DIVERSITY & BELONGING AT RELATIVITY
When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusivity, where does Relativity have the most room for improvement?
Relativity is committed to building awareness across the organization through education. Right now, we are driving learning and introspection through monthly events and by offering educational resources. In our view, the more educated we are, the better we can drive change.
A few example sessions that we have held in recent months include a panel conversation in partnership with The Nova Collective discussing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and an internal panel discussion on the ways that allies shape the LGBTQIA+ experience and the intersectionality of our individual journeys. We also offer resources, coaching and support in understanding what it means to be an ally to our Black Relativian community and how to take action.
We plan to build upon these educational opportunities and continue diversifying our talent pipeline by partnering with diverse professional groups and universities to maximize the high performance of our teams. Relativity partners with various organizations across the country and in the Chicagoland area, including National Black MBA Association, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers and Latinas in Tech. However, we acknowledge there will always be room for improvement and are dedicated to learning and growing to foster a more inclusive workplace.
The Relativity Fellows program aims to expand economic opportunity in the Chicagoland area by finding, certifying and employing untapped talent in traditionally overlooked communities.
What is your organization doing to promote inclusivity in the tech community?
Our Social Impact program aims to build inclusivity within the broader tech community. We believe education is at the core of inclusive environments because when we know more, we do better.
Over the years, Relativity has committed $2.92 million in direct financial and in-kind donations to local public schools and nonprofits. Our Wired to Learn program enables local public schools to purchase the technology they need to close the opportunity divide for low-income students who otherwise may not have access to things like computers or calculators. Our monthly Geek Grants are awarded to educational or technological organizations working to make technology more accessible and STEM careers more inclusive.
Additionally, this summer we are kicking off the Relativity Fellows program, which will feature 10 to 12 fellows in its inaugural cohort. The Relativity Fellows program aims to expand economic opportunity in the Chicagoland area by finding, certifying and employing untapped talent in traditionally overlooked communities. By the end of the program, all fellows will be certified on our software and ready for placement in a full-time position with Relativity, our partners or our customers.
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Heidi Sager loves math, but she also loves working with people.
She always has, which is why she enjoyed her part-time job working at the IT department of the University of Colorado while she was studying electrical engineering. (She'd started in computer science, but explains that it "wasn't for her" and switched her major.) She helped students and professors with word processors, basic programming, and software checkout, and took a full-time job after graduation as a UNIX system administrator.
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Diversity Reboot 2021: The One Hundred Day Kickoff<p><strong>When</strong>: February 1-5, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free!</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://summit.powertofly.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>We had to include our own Diversity Reboot on our list of the best diversity and inclusion events to attend in 2021 because we know firsthand how the quality of 100+ expert speakers, the enthusiasm of 10,000 participants, and the cutting-edge tech that enables meaningful virtual networking and job fairs combine to create a truly epic five-day experience. This year, the theme 100 Day Kickoff harnesses the energy of the new government's first 100 days in office to help jump-start personal and professional plans to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. </p><p>Following the February summit, we'll have a monthly series of smaller virtual summits on topics spanning everything from returnships to LGBTQ+ advocacy, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!<br></p>
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When</strong>: February 3-4, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/virtual_events/upcoming_virtual_events/the-future-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-2021_kcxf8glq.html#detail" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This virtual conference put on by HR.com focuses on how social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have pushed DEI at work beyond legal compliance and into a major factor of any company or brand's culture, employee engagement, and performance. Topics include how to uncover and resolve pay gaps across your team and hire top-level diverse talent.</p>
Workplace Revolution: From Talk to Collective Action<p><strong>When</strong>: March 8-12, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$820</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://cvent.me/ZQ4BbE" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>The Forum on Workplace Inclusion's 33rd annual conference includes 12 session tracks, from DEI Strategy to Social Responsibility, along with 59 workshops and daily networking sessions. This year's theme focuses on one question: "What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?"</p>
Diversity: How Employers Can Match Words With Deeds<p><strong>When</strong><strong>: </strong>May 19, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register</strong><strong>: </strong>Early bird registration is $49 and general admission is $149</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://hopin.com/events/may-virtual-conference-diversity-how-employers-can-match-words-with-deeds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here</a></p><p>From Day One is hosting monthly conferences in 2021 focused on different ways for companies to foster strong relationships with their customers, communities, and employees. May's half-day virtual event is focused specifically on how companies can make diversity promises that don't fall flat and features workshops, panels, and a fireside chat.</p>
Hire with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<p><strong>When:</strong> August 18, 2021</p><p><strong>Where: </strong>Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$195</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hci.org/conferences/2021-virtual-conference-hire-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-august-18-2021" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This conference put on by the Human Capital Institute is one of 12 virtual conferences that HCI has planned for 2021. This one focuses on fair and inclusive talent acquisition, including how to attract diverse talent, implement inclusive hiring practices, and addressing bias in employee selection. Other conferences will focus on optimizing talent strategy, engaging employees, and developing your workforce.</p>
Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> September 26-29, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual, broadcast from Chicago, Illinois</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Was $799 for regular access to the virtual conference in 2020; 2021 pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://ghc.anitab.org/attend/registration/" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>Grace Hopper might be the best-known conference for women in tech. Through keynote presentations, networking sessions, job fairs, and community-building activities, vGHC reached over 30,000 women for their 2020 conference and are expecting even more in 2021! While not a conference focused exclusively on diversity and inclusion, many speakers plan to focus their talks on creating environments for women to thrive in the male-dominated tech field.</p>
Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> October 25-27, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual and in person in Austin, Texas as of now</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management's biggest conference of the year saw 1,200 DEI leaders participate last year; SHRM hopes to see even more come to learn, be inspired, and to walk away with a playbook of implementable strategies to create truly inclusive workplace cultures.</p>
AfroTech 2021<p><strong></strong><strong>When:</strong> November 8-13, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Early bird pricing is $149 for individuals and $249 for corporate attendees; regular pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://experience.afrotech.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>AfroTech is a conference hosted by Blavity, a tech media platform for Black millennials. It focuses on emerging tech trends, connecting Black talent with top tech recruiters, and providing networking and educational opportunities, with an overall goal of building a strong Black tech community. Over 10,000 people participated in 2020. While the conference isn't focused specifically on DEI, its main audience of Black tech talent is an important one to understand and to engage at work and beyond, and several speakers plan to focus on issues of race and inclusion at work. </p>
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