My diversity and inclusion (D&I) work dates back to 2008, when I chaired the corporate-wide staff council and worked with colleagues to conduct focus groups with staff about diversity. The report that resulted from those focus groups highlighted the need to institute corporate-driven diversity structures, which eventually led to a Diversity Advisory Committee, a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) office with a director and full-time staff, a Diversity and Inclusion Council, and employee resource groups. I’ve had the privilege of being an active driver throughout this process.
Now I have my eyes set on diversity in Silicon Valley.
Society’s changing demographics mean a changing workforce and consumer market. The future health of the tech industry relies on a diverse workforce that is prepared to design and develop for the masses. But with African Americans, Latinos, and women severely underrepresented, there’s a lot of work to do. The industry needs innovative recruitment and talent development models that address diversity and inclusion. New pipeline programs are a proactive first step. But the field needs more research to inform such strategies.
In April of 2017, the Kapor Center for Social Impact released a much-needed report highlighting the voice of people that voluntarily left tech jobs. I’m interested in more research that focuses on the voice of industry professionals to shed light on issues like expectations surrounding education, experience, and competencies, and how these expectations are conveyed to candidates; measures to help new staff socially integrate into the workforce and into the external community, along with their effectiveness; and ways in which interviewers assess “cultural fit” when considering candidates. These and other insights will help those who aspire to work in the technology industry prepare, and also help the industry identify blind spots that can interfere with building a diverse workforce. I’m also interested in conducting evaluations of pipeline preparation and recruitment programs focusing on traditionally untapped populations to generate insights and lessons learned that can inform these initiatives as they evolve and are replicated in different settings.