A Year of Roundtables: Helping Diverse Cultures Succeed in the Future Tech Force

Omoanatse McCarther Headshot and text

A Year of Roundtables: Helping Diverse Cultures Succeed in the Future Tech Force

Written by Omoanatse McCarther

In the dynamic landscape of technology, integrating DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives have emerged as a pivotal factor for fostering innovation and advancement. Throughout 2023, Diverse by Design hosted a series of thought-provoking roundtable discussions as part of our “Futures Month” initiatives. These sessions were meticulously designed to dissect success narratives and furnish pragmatic insights tailored for technology leaders. The overarching objective was to empower leaders to seamlessly embed diverse cohorts into their DEI frameworks, thereby fostering a more inclusive trajectory for the future.

These virtual roundtables transcended mere anecdotal accounts, offering actionable guidance. Each session distilled pivotal takeaways, practical strategies, and implementable tips. The intention was to create a roadmap, deciphering invaluable insights that can equip technology leaders to cultivate teams that are more diverse, inclusive, and primed to tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

Black Futures Month Roundtable

Our inaugural roundtable featured esteemed panelists, including Athenia Figgs from EY, Damien Howard from Per Scholas, and Oche Idoko from Barclays. The focus of this dialogue centered on the imperative of cultivating mentorship programs for Black technologists. Emphasizing the reciprocal benefits inherent in participating as both mentors and mentees, the discussion underscored how such engagements foster meaningful connections and facilitate pivotal opportunities crucial for career advancement. Access to these programs was underscored as a transformative gateway for Black individuals navigating the tech landscape. All while acknowledging and celebrating Black Futures Month, highlighting the extraordinary achievements of black technologists.

Women’s Futures Month Roundtable

We celebrated the contributions of women in tech during our Women’s Futures Month roundtable, highlighting Dr. Marian Croak’s groundbreaking work while echoing the revelation that only 15% of engineering jobs are held by women, underscoring the imperative for change. In our Women’s Futures Month Roundtable, we celebrated the achievements of women in the tech industry while casting a forward-looking gaze. Despite women comprising a mere 19% of the tech workforce, the conversation pivoted towards fostering greater opportunities not only for women but also for other underrepresented demographics in the tech domain. Central to the discourse was the imperative of dismantling barriers obstructing women’s progression into tech roles and leadership positions. The emphasis was not solely on recognizing challenges but on catalyzing actionable measures to engender a more open and inclusive tech ecosystem conducive to the flourishing of women professionals. A notable highlight was the commendable increase in women technologists from 33% to 41% in 2022, signaling promising strides forward.

Pride Futures Month Roundtable

During our Pride Month roundtable, the spotlight illuminated avenues for enhancing opportunities for diverse technologists through collaborative efforts with employers and the establishment of supportive environments tailored for underrepresented groups. The dialogue shed light on strategies employed by Per Scholas and other entities to address the underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ individuals in recent diversity initiatives within the tech sector. Key considerations encompassed the use of inclusive language, avoidance of assumptions pertaining to gender identity or sexual orientation, and the provision of dedicated resources for employee groups. These initiatives are geared towards fostering connectivity and advocating for diversity while urging companies to champion LGBTQ+ inclusion in the tech workforce actively.

Hispanic Futures Month Roundtable

We concluded our series for 2023 with a celebration of Hispanic and Latinx voices in the tech community. The remarkable contributions of leaders like Elizabeth Agosto, Laura Gomez, and Karla Monterroso underscored the pivotal role Hispanics play in building the global tech landscape. With Hispanics constituting only approximately 8% of the tech workforce (as per a Pew Research Center report), our speakers imparted invaluable insights on empowering and uplifting Hispanics in the tech realm. The discussion underscored the significance of bilingual resources wherever feasible and underscored the imperative of acknowledging alternative educational pathways, recognizing that not all individuals have equitable access to traditional four-year college education. These insights underscored a commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for Hispanics, ensuring equitable opportunities for success irrespective of background. 

Looking Ahead in 2024

The preceding year’s roundtables served as a poignant reminder of the transformative potential of diversity within the tech industry. They underscored the necessity of embracing diverse perspectives and backgrounds as catalysts for innovation and progress. Let us not overlook the fact that diversity is not merely a moral imperative but also a potent driver of business success.

As we express gratitude for your unwavering support throughout 2023, we extend an invitation to join us in shaping a more diverse and inclusive future in technology. Let’s carry the momentum of this year into the next, united in our commitment to fostering change. Join us on February 29 for “Diverse by Design Presents Securing the Future: Embracing Diversity in Cybersecurity,” where we will delve into how diversity in action yields tangible outcomes, particularly within the cybersecurity domain. Register now to be part of this transformative dialogue.

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