Powerful messages shape the narrative of tomorrow through the feedback loops of today. A transformational conversation starts by sparking an idea that gives birth to action – and is intended to incentivize everyone to join and contribute. What matters most then – for shaping a powerful narrative – is nurturing diverse point of views – in order to discover and create new spaces for all. And, when you have an inclusive forum to hold a critical conversation – one that rests upon data and culture FOR EVERYONE – truth starts to unveil itself through emotional responses that have the power to shift the status quo.
“We’re at a critical moment in tech – there’s tension in the conversation and we cannot turn back,” explained Cathryn Posey, founder of Tech By Superwomen when explaining the nature of commitment at this year’s Tech Superwomen Summit in San Francisco. “Progress is a long-term strategy. Let’s not swing back, let’s make sure we break through.”
To replay the videos of the presentations, go here >>>
We learned, we laughed and yes, we cried, during the two very special days at Tech Superwomen Summit 2018 – all emotional responses pointing to the birth of something that may prove to be a flexion point for diversity and inclusion in tech. As the conversation at the Tech Superwomen Summit continued to unfold, we heard some incredible stories, hard-hitting data points and practical approaches to move the narrative forward into action. Some of the top quotes / takeaways include:
- “Change the systems to be what you want them to be. Systems can be kind or cruel, depending on who you are.” | Megan Smith
- “We need to get rid of classrooms with walls and realize the Earth, universe and multiverse are our real classrooms.” | Dr. Yvonne Cagle
- “How do you disagree without being disagreeable? It’s not important to be right, it’s important to be effective!” | Nora Denzel
- “As you grow in your career, lead by example.” | Alolita Sharma
- “Justice means getting the implementation right.” | Jazmyn Latimer
- “The future of tech requires love and imagination. Enumerating transgressions is not the only path forward – the need to identify and amplify solutions is.” | Nicole Sanchez
- “$1.2B spent on D&I, but companies still struggling to move the ball.” | Cathryn Posey
- “Our future is dependent on our actions now. Change is not an accident.” | Pamela Rice
- How do you shift the onus of the emotional labor of community building so it’s not solely on those trying to make a better workplace? Billie Wei responded by saying, “Buy-in from leadership.”
- “There are no more ‘poor girls’ or ‘bad guys,’ there is only all of us working to improve D&I in tech.” | Ciranda de Morais
- “How do you measure ambition? Start by giving people as many opportunities as possible to ignite their passion.” | Makinde Adeagbo
- “How to do D&I well? Define the problem specifically, make a hypothesis and then iterate from there.” | Makinde Adeagbo
- “Great talent comes from anywhere. There is a certain privilege that comes from going to a top university and not everyone has the means or the mentorship that leads them to those spaces.” | Billie Wei
- Tiffani Ashley Bell on facing bias for her race and gender: “It’s figuring out to navigate that and succeeding anyway.”
- “Increasing representation does not mean lowering the bar. It means putting more work into finding suitably qualified candidates.” | Jez Humble
- “I’m rooting for every woman and person of color in tech, and I hope you’re rooting for me, too.” | Erin Teague
- “Just keep going. You’ll encounter people who will doubt you, discount you, and underestimate you. Use that as fuel to prove them wrong and succeed. If you’re going to doubt me, I’m going to show you just how wrong you are.” | Tiffani Ashley Bell
- “Raise your hand. Ask the question. Push the envelope. Going in with the pioneer mindset, understanding the added burden that comes with being the pioneer, and sharing those responsibilities with others.” | Ann Miura-Ko
- “Senior engineers can influence culture by embracing kindness and social norms in code review.” | Raquel Romano
- “We don’t need a magical wand or vibranium to be superwomen, we’re already there.” | Kamilah Taylor
To see all the photos from Tech Superwomen Summit 2018, go here >>>
So, is the tech industry an instrument for good or is it every person for themself? Is there something bigger we want to reach for? A place where everyone comes together – regardless of gender, gender expression and identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion – so that no one gets left behind? Or worse – reverts back to the status quo?
That is not only up for you to decide, it is your duty – your call to action – to address the challenge head-on within your own networks, companies and communities.
One of Megan Smith’s closing statements at the event was that “the future will be based on who we include.” If that’s true, then the data shows that greater diversity and inclusion in tech can only breed better products to delight our customers, better career opportunities to empower our colleagues and unbounded innovation for the benefit of next generations to learn and build from moving forward.
In closing, one of the underlying themes you’ll notice as you watch the replays of the videos and see the social and blog content coming out of the event is that we cannot choose how others think or act, but people can choose their attitudes in the face of double-standards, paradoxes, closed doors and improbable odds to do [tech] anyway.
“It is your right to try, to fail and to build without meeting a bar or standard any higher than the one you set for yourself. So go change the world. Make shift happen. Anyway.” | Cathryn Posey, Founder of Tech By Superwomen
Want more videos from TSWS18? Be sure to check out these interviews with Soulcast Media here >>>