Fortune, Nonprofit Leaders Launch National Working Group to Drive Bold Agenda Around Diversifying the Nation’s Tech Pipeline

National Leaders in Business, Technology, and Philanthropy Form Cross-Sector National Working Group to Bridge the Gap Between Underrepresented Populations and U.S. Tech Jobs

NEW YORK (December 15, 2016) – Per Scholas and the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) together with Fortune and nonprofit leaders launched the Diverse by Design National Working Group to inspire and activate the private sector to make workplaces more inclusive, equitable, and diverse.

The Diverse by Design National Working Group will elevate what’s working to drive and sustain diverse workforces, form alliances that bridge gaps between America’s untapped talent and fast-growing organizations, and leverage data and evidence-based practices to influence HR and business decisions.

The National Working Group was developed as a result of a June 2016 convening, hosted by Per Scholas and ITSMF, called Diverse by Design, which was intended to elevate the conversation about building diversity, inclusion and retention in the workforce. The second event in the Diverse by Design series convened earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

“Diverse by Design is about how our actions as corporate and community leaders can have a lasting effect on society and add new and fresh value to the movements already underway in tech diversity, inclusion and retention,” noted National Working Group co-chairs Toacca Rutherford, Chief Development Officer for Consumer Business Banking and Auto IT, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Gene Waddy, CEO, DIVERSANT.

Research shows that diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform their counterparts, yet 97 percent of domestic senior leadership teams fail to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. Additional research from INROADS suggests diversity strategies must be built around retention, career pathways, and talent intake.

The National Working Group is composed of leaders in the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors focused on uncovering, distilling and promoting best practices that attract, develop and retain more diverse and inclusive talent to all ranks of the tech sector.

Members include:

  • Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Global Head of Diversity Staffing, Google
  • Plinio Ayala, President & CEO, Per Scholas
  • Harvey Butler, Global Head of Supplier Diversity, Barclays
  • Charles Eaton, EVP of Social Innovation, CompTIA
  • Forest Harper, President & CEO, INROADS
  • Brian Johnson, Senior Director, Surgical Innovation, Johnson and Johnson
  • Viola Maxwell-Thompson, President, Information Technology Senior Management Forum
  • Earl Newsome, Global CIO & Vice President, Praxair
  • Marysharon Owens, Senior Vice President Global Marketing, Workspace, Bank of America
  • Toacca Rutherford, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Barb Short, Managing Director, Strategic and Corporate Engagement, CECP
  • Gene Waddy, CEO of DIVERSANT
  • Yvette Wright, VP, CTS Program Management Office, BNY Mellon

Over the next three years, the Diverse by Design National Working Group will engage business, government and social sector leaders through proven pathways to build and retain a more diverse and inclusive tech sector.

The National Working Group is focused on uncovering, distilling, and promoting best practices that attract, develop and retain more diverse and inclusive talent to all ranks of the tech sector. The group will next meet and report publically on progress during the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo. in March 2017.

Full press release can be found here.

The Diverse by Design event series is hosted by Per Scholas, a national social change organization that prepares motivated adults who are un- or underemployed with the technical and business skills to launch life-changing careers in technology. The event is co-hosted by ITSMF, the only national organization dedicated to exclusively cultivating professional talent among African-American IT executives.

Diverse by Design is generously supported by partners including Google and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Per Scholas and JPMorgan Chase have worked together for more than 20 years to drive positive social change and over the past three years, JPMorgan Chase has been a signature partner with Per Scholas. The title emphasizes the company’s commitment to hiring Per Scholas graduates, volunteering staff hours for mock interviews and mentorship opportunities, as well as event sponsorship and board participation.


About Diverse by Design

Diverse by Design is a national conversation series hosted by Per Scholas and the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF). The event brings together C-Suite individuals, employer partners, policy makers and workforce development professionals to discuss best practices and intentional solutions for moving the needle on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Diverse by Design has hosted two events, one in New York and another in Washington, D.C. and plans to carry the movement across the country. To learn more about the initiative and the individual convenings please visit….

About Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national nonprofit that drives positive and proven social change in communities across the country. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development, we prepare motivated and curious adults who are un- or underemployed for life-changing careers as IT professionals, and we create onramps to businesses in need of their talents. Today we provide our solutions in six cities across the country: Atlanta, Georgia; Greater Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; the National Capital Region, and New York, New York. To date, Per Scholas has trained over 6,000 individuals, helping them build lasting, life-changing careers in technology. To learn more, visit

About Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF)

Since its inception in 1996, ITSMF remains the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive-level talent among black technology professionals. ITSMF offers career-advancing, leadership development programs and holds quarterly Symposiums focused on preparing the next generation of diverse technology leaders to impact organizational innovation and growth in the global marketplace. To learn more, visit

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