The Future is Diverse: How Creating Diverse Teams Will Change the Face of Tech and Promote Profitability

The Future is Diverse: How Creating Diverse Teams Will Change the Face of Tech and Promote Profitability

The past two months have presented multiple moments of reflection and consideration as I have personally thought about Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March. With Per Scholas, I have had the opportunity to commemorate these important moments through our Black Futures Month and Women’s Futures Month initiatives, as we bring light to the stark disparities facing Black and women technologists across the sector. I am able to stand on the shoulders of Black women who paved the way for women like me, look back at their accomplishments, and consider what the future holds for both diversity groups with excitement coupled with the understanding that there is still so much to be done.  

According to the latest research from Boston Consulting Group, diversity is a key driver of innovation, finding that diverse teams produce a minimum of 19% more revenue. However women in the technology sector continue to hover around 28% of workers nationwide, and Black talent makes up only 8% of the technology workforce. Considering these dire statistics, it’s safe to say that there’s room for improvement in diversifying the tech workforce. I recently hosted Per Scholas’ Black Futures Month and Women’s Futures Month Roundtables and learned so much from my guests. Below, you’ll find my four takeaways.

Black Technologists From Days Passed Remain Motivation for Black Futures

During Per Scholas’ Black Futures Month Roundtable in February, I was joined by panelists Athenia Figgs, Senior Technology Leader at EY; Damien Howard, Per Scholas Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer; and Oche Idoko, Director, Americas, of Cyber, Technology, Data, and Change Risk at Barclays, to celebrate the contributions of Black technologists past and current, as we do our part to create Black tech futures. Our panelists each acknowledged Black technologists they admire, which illustrated the many ways Black Futures are fueled by Black History. 

Additionally, as our panelists discussed the work of past Black technologists, we considered our own journeys working alongside the tech industry and how we could diversify the tech landscape for the future. Prior to joining Per Scholas, I found myself being very passionate in advocating for others. That is what led me on my journey to being a DEI practitioner, joining as Senior Director of Per Scholas Diverse by Design last summer. The power we hold to change both the perception and the reality for so many diverse technologists is humbling.

Per Scholas learners

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging are Driving ROI

In recent years, there has been a massive investment into diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and the research is clear. Diversity makes good business sense; so good that McKinsey and Company research revealed that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above industry means. Considering such a high return on investment is incredible, and one that can be achieved when organizations embrace DEIB&C, diversify their workforce, and move forward from announcing diversity initiatives into driving action and results. 

One aspect of a company’s return on investment comes from the pillars that diverse teams are smarter and more innovative. A Harvard Business Review article lifts up recent studies that prove diverse teams are smarter, lead to improved group thinking, remain objective, and are more innovative, leading to more revenue-generating opportunities for companies big and small. Another perspective is how diversity gives businesses a competitive advantage. Companies with a diverse workforce can better connect to different customer groups, therefore increasing market share. It’s a key factor in achieving a competitive edge by bringing new perspectives and fresh ideas, increased market knowledge, improved team dynamics, talent acquisition and retention, and better brand reputation overall. Athenia Figgs mentioned, “Companies have tech goals that are linked to outcomes with revenue and efficiency. We showcase the experience of practitioners on teams, and because the team is diverse, results show that they are more stable and have solutions. People come up with interesting solutions because they are a diverse team.”  With new perspectives and remembering the history and contributions of past Black technologists, we can enhance Black Futures in tech.

Women Technologists are Diversifying the Tech Industry

This Women’s History Month, we brought to light the best practices, strategies, and solutions to create more Women tech futures. I hosted the Women’s Futures Month Roundtable with panelists Jamie Feldman, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Sales & Account Management at Per Scholas; Maria Medrano, Co-Founder & CEO, Inspirame; and Rashida Ricks, Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Inclusion, CGI Federal. Between all of us women and our involvement in leading the way to create a space for more women to be in tech, I am confident that we will continue to see the number of women in the tech landscape grow.

At Per Scholas, we’re in the business of unlocking potential and changing the face of tech. That’s why this Women’s History Month, we celebrated the contributions of women technologists from past to present for Women’s Futures Month. I’m proud to share that in 2022 alone, Per Scholas trained 1,545 women technologists for high-growth careers, creating strong women futures and contributing to their companies’ bottom lines and their local communities. Nationwide, more than 40 percent of our learners identified as women. But so much more needs to be done. 

A Sense of Community, Resources, and Organizational Support Will Take Us to the Next Level

One consistent theme of our Women’s Futures Month Roundtable was community. All of our panelists stressed the importance of “finding your tribe” as women and building a support system from leaders and mentors – both female and male. This was an important takeaway for me because it is important to provide support, understanding, and resources as a business for women to have a sense of belonging and feel important. When women feel empowered and supported, there is nothing we aren’t capable of doing. What made our Roundtable unique was that it didn’t just represent women; it represented minority women. By being part of the Roundtable, we were able to show that Black and Latina women have a place in technology as technologists.

One powerful recommendation I made from Jamie Feldman’s remarks was to join an ERG (employee resource group), and if there wasn’t one that fit what you were looking for, to create it yourself. This sense of community and empowerment is key for leaders in an organization to build so women will thrive at work. The ambition of women is unmatched, and as we encourage more women in the tech landscape to voice their ideas and challenge the status quo, there will be profitability and success for your business, which inspires me as a woman of color. 

The Future is Bright!

With the messaging from the leaders from Per Scholas’s Black and Women’s Futures Months Roundtables, I am hopeful for a diverse and inclusive future in tech. There is still work to be done to improve on statistics and DEIB&C initiatives at various organizations, but with the ideas our panelists mentioned and leaders like them working to make a difference in diversity, the future is bright. To see some of my favorite moments from the Roundtables, visit the Per Scholas YouTube page! We have more events like this planned to open the doors for more conversations centered around diversifying the tech landscape – stay tuned for our Hispanic Futures Month Roundtable this fall!

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