Throughout March and April, Code The Dream (CTD) hosted Gender Diversity In Tech, a series on why gender diversity matters and how to promote it in your workplace.
Three events anchored the series:
- Roundtable with Industry Leaders
- Power Up Those Skills Workshop
- Idea Exchange: Partner Conversations
Each event gave participants the opportunity to learn from CTD staff, mentors, and partners who offered their own experiences and expertise on how to create more inclusive and diverse tech environments.
One of the common themes throughout the conversations was the importance of investing in others. During the Roundtable with Industry Leaders, CTD Co-Executive Director Daisy Magnus-Aryitey said that part of being an ally to someone is “listening to their dreams, listening to their trajectory and saying ‘How can I be an active partner in helping you get to where you want to be?’”
Active partnership can show up in a variety of ways, like uplifting a colleague for a promotion or passing up public speaking opportunities in favor of someone rarely asked to share their story or showcase their talents.
“If you’re constantly in a spotlight or constantly find your way into those rooms for those conversations, ask for a plus one, ask for somebody else to take your space and be able to amplify somebody else’s voice,” said Sarah Chick, senior manager of strategic engagement at RTP.
Making space for someone doesn’t just uplift that one person. Representation matters. “You cannot be what you cannot see,” said Hollins Gause, head of growth at the Marcy Lab School, during our Idea Exchange live conversation. Highlighting a diversity of people with varied experiences allows others from non-traditional backgrounds to visualize a similar path for themselves.
At times, it can be hard for people from non-traditional backgrounds to succeed in tech, a field where they are underrepresented. But Sweetie Browne, global IoT sales chief of staff at Cisco, encouraged folks to “know your worth” and use the skills they have, no matter what they are, to “learn how to articulate your strength and be your biggest advocate.”
This idea was covered in detail during our skill-building workshop on How to Navigate a Male-Dominated Workspace. Elliot Thompson, senior software engineer at Propel and CTD mentor, said they understand the challenges of transitioning from another career into technology and believe that diversity of skills can be just as valuable as other attributes.
“If you’re coming from business or marketing or customer service, that background is also its own type of diversity. That is going to be a huge value add to any team that you work on. So being able to bring over that sort of cross-functional experience can actually be a bonus to your experience rather than a detriment.”
At Code The Dream, our mission is to create opportunity that changes lives, build technology that benefits our communities, and support the diversity that drives a more just and innovative world. We are thankful for the many people throughout the CTD community who make that mission possible, including those who gave their time and expertise to our Gender Diversity In Tech series.
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