Have you ever been to a tech conference and thought to yourself, “Dang, there are a lot of white guys here.”
If tech conferences were sentient beings with voices (coming soon in tech conferences 2.0!), they’d reply in a weird robotic voice: “Guilty as charged.”
That’s because, as forward-thinking as the tech industry is, it is woefully behind the diversity curve. Recently released demographics from some of tech’s biggest behemoths are especially discouraging, with numbers all hovering around 59% white employees in the U.S. and 70% male worldwide.
We’re not throwing shade – those numbers are largely representative of the tech industry in Silicon Valley, and there are all kinds of outside factors contributing to the results. Releasing this data and acknowledging the need for change are important first steps towards a more diverse future.
But there’s a tech conference out there taking a bigger step – and it’s not chock-full of white dudes! It’s called Tech Inclusion, it took place last month, and we’re proud to have participated in something that we believe will make real progress in the diversification and quality of tech in the years to come.
We were especially proud that our CEO Jody Vandergriff participated in the Succeeding As a Female Founder panel along with Watsi co-founder Grace Garey, The Startup Couch founder and CEO Mandela Schumacher-Hodge and My Money My Future founder and CEO Ramona Ortega. And people were obviously listening, as #techinclusion15 trended on Twitter during the panel – number one in San Francisco and number six in the U.S.
Another Tech Inclusion highlight was the career fair. It was a late addition to the proceedings, but a natural fit as both companies and a very diverse group of attendees converged into the same space for a few days. Our very own recruiter Matt Whitledge reported that the talent level was incredibly high: “I wasn’t expecting to see such a large crowd of tech talent under one roof!”
And we have to pat our own back just a little bit here: Webdammer Katie Sculley said that our shirts, which proudly proclaimed that our company is 40% more female than the average tech company, were a big hit with the crowd.
We also hosted a closing happy hour that really helped connect people who just spent two days learning about and committing to true diversity in the tech world. Diversity-themed drinks, a rousing few rounds of Would You Rather and a fantastic group of people – what more could you ask for?
Tech conferences are usually great for networking, partnerships and new leads. But rarely are they this inspiring. We’ll be back next year – hope you can make it, too!
Want even more details? Check out this medium.com article by our CEO’s panelmate Schumacher-Hodge.
And in the spirit of diversity and job fairs, we’re hiring!