Tech Inclusion San Francisco - Day 2 Recap

Tech Inclusion 2017 – San Francisco – October 19th, 2017


Out of the many in-depth panel discussions, I found this one the most impactful:


The first panel was moderated by the founder of Change Catalyst/Tech Inclusion, Melinda Epler along with Charlotte Burrows – United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Scott Wiener – California Senator, Kelly Jenkins-Pultz – Regional Administrator at US Department of Labor,  and Jennifer Anastasoff – Officer with the US Digital Service.
















The panel touched on the responsibility for Government officials to be actively involved in the Tech ecosystem, the situation of pipeline vs. retention.



Here are the thoughts from Ms. Burrows, Mr. Wiener, Ms. Jenkins-Pultz, and Ms. Anastasoff as it relates to Government officials having responsibility to be involved in the Technology Ecosystem:

  • Ms. Jenkins-Pultz: Ms. Jenkins-Pultz believes that the Government does have an obligation to be part of the Technology Ecosystem on two fronts – 1. Ensuring compliance with existing laws and 2. Encouraging Innovation and developing a Business Case Study that promotes Business Diversity. She said that the U.S. Department of Labor is focused on promoting this.

  • Ms. Anastasoff: She believes that Technology has a role to work for Government in different ways, and strongly believes that Technology-based companies have a tendency to include niche markets. She believes that every company should be involved.

  • Ms. Burrows: In her role with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Ms. Burrows talked about how her employer is focused on individuals getting treated fairly – regardless of what their background/skill set might be. She said that talent should dictate what opportunities might become available, not an individuals’ background.

  • Mr. Wiener: Senator Wiener indicated that there is an odd, and challenging relationship with Technology. He said that in his role, he always tries to strike a balance between having good regulations in place and acting in the best interest of the public, while also knowing that government doesn’t have all the answers.

Here are the thoughts from Ms. Burrows, Ms. Jenkins-Pultz, and Ms. Anastasoff as it relates to the pipeline vs. retention situation:

  • Ms. Jenkins-Pultz: Ms. Jenkins-Pultz indicated that while many women are graduating with Computer Science and Engineering Degrees, only 1/5 of them are landing careers in STEM-related fields and Engineers. She said that in the Technology industry, their male counterparts are 2x more likely to land a job. 

As it relates to retention, Ms. Jenkins-Pultz indicated that most women are working in a hostile work environment, which will lead to more females leaving an organization.

  • Ms. Burrows: Ms. Burrows said that many under-represented minorities, African Americans, and Latin Americans are not being given Senior Leadership opportunities which might be the reason that the Diversity numbers might be where they are.  One solution that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking to fight this roadblock is to require companies that employ over 100+ employees to submit data by race/gender. She said that out of this study, 9% of under-represented minorities, African Americans, and Latin Americans are coming out with Computer Science and Engineering Degrees, while 5% of the 9% are being hired.

On the retention front, Ms. Burrows agrees with Ms. Jenkins-Pultz that the work environments that women work in have to drastically change in order to create a more inclusive work environment.


In Addition to the panels that were taking place, there were also 5 Solo Talks that took place on the Breakout stage that I thought were impactful. I was also fortunate enough to MC these Solo Talks. They were:


Becoming Inclusive Leaders, Mr. Torin Perez: This talk focused on having a new vision for diversity and inclusion and how it can create a safe space for everyone.





























These were some of the takeaways:

  • There are 3 Actionable Ideas to create a Diverse and Inclusive work environment – Snap out of Autopilot, Learn outside your box, and Answer the call

60 and Gay in Tech, Mr. Jeff Tidwell, Boxador: This session focused on Jeff Tidwells’ 35 years in the Technology industry and how he survived a radicalized outcast.




























These were some of the takeaways from his talk:

  • Try to be an advocate for what you believe 


Technologies on the Frontlines of Impact and Justice, Ms. Meghan Nesbit, Twilio: This talk focused on how innovative organizations are using technology to blaze new paths in Inclusion, Equity, and Justice around the world.








These were some of the takeaways from her talk:

  • Make technology accessible to Non-Profits.

  • By working for a non-profit, it doesn’t give a free pass on Diversity and Inclusion.

  • Apply your skill set in different ways that contribute to an organization’s solution.


    Class Straddler 101, Ms. Michelle Glauser, Techtonica: This talk was about Socioeconomic Diversity and Inclusion from the standpoint of Techtonica, a tech apprenticeship program for locals with Low Incomes.




































These were some of the takeaways from her talk:

  • Make technology accessible for everyone.

Dropout Entreprenuer: How Diversity and Inclusion saved my Personal and Professional Life, Mr. Steven Matly, SM Diversity: This talk was about how Steve Matly, CEO/Founder of SM Diversity founded his company.





























These were some of the takeaways from his talk:

  • Be passionate about what you believe in.


Overall, this conference was great to get different perspectives on how Diversity and Inclusion should be integrated within the Technology field, and in particular, Silicon Valley.

































To learn more about Tech Inclusion, please click here


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