Tech Inclusion 2017 – New York – August 15, 2017
We attended the Tech Inclusion New York conference, sponsored by Viacom and hosted by Change Catalyst/Tech Inclusion. The conference took place from August 9 – August 10 in New York City. The 2-day conference featured a Career Fair along with Career Coaches that met with job seekers at Galvanize, while the second day featured the Tech Inclusion conference.
A group of senior level executives across different industries/spectrums addressed Diversity and Inclusion, and provided insights about their efforts to prevent anti-Diversity/Inclusion practices both at a local level and a national level. They also discussed the role of Diversity and the impact in their companies.
Out of the many in-depth panel discussions, I found these four the most impactful:
A panel discussion was hosted by Melissa Rowley, along with students from the Gen Z era. The takeaway was the role that Diversity and Inclusion played in the students’ learning specific skills – web development, coding and the impact on their business careers, and their definition of Diversity in the local community.
The next panel discussion was about the Intersection of Media and Tech. It was hosted by Kodi Foster, the Senior Vice President of Data Strategy of Viacom along with other executive leaders from Viacom, Twitter, and Nickelodeon. The panel focused on explaining how they are actively integrating Diversity and Inclusion in their respective corporate policies. Their policies address the perception that male counterparts are more likely to gain more traction rather than their female counterparts “in the boardroom” and how females should not be silent, but rather speak up about making sure the pay levels, treatment, are leveled. The discussion was very encouraging in that there are companies truly making the effort towards equity and fairness for all employees.
Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion in the workforce, by Jennifer Brown highlighted that everyone has a “Diversity Story”, and how successes/failures shape an individual in the workforce in a diverse environment. Ms. Brown talked about some of her personal obstacles, such as having surgery and being a member of the LGBTQ community, overcoming her struggles and turned it into a successful consulting company. The insights were very valuable because we need to appreciate that diversity has “layers”, creating a culture of one.
Xian Horn discussed her family’s immigrant story and her disability, Cerebral Palsy. She addressed the unlikely situation for a Chinese person to hold leadership positions and how because of her disability, it caused her to be an advocate of individuals with disabilities through different government initiatives. Today, she is the Founder of Give Beauty Wings, an organization that provides self-esteem programs for “all ages that are tailored to individual and organizational needs.” This discussion was truly motivational!
Overall, we found this event impactful, insightful and innovational-given. The diversity of attendees- from start-ups and mature large companies, topics that provided unique provoking perspectives & thoughts that otherwise go unchallenged.
We encourage anyone looking to maximize the impact of diversity at a business and personal level to attend!
To learn more about Tech Inclusion, please visit their site here!