Building Community in Tech with Elizabeth Stock53:42 with Treehouse
Everyone deserves an inclusive workplace so they can thrive to their fullest potential. Presenter Elizabeth Stock covers the importance of community support in the tech industry, particularly for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks.
Hello everyone, it's Tony again, hey listen, 0:04 we have a wonderful guest this session. 0:08 And she is experienced nonprofit leader and the executive director of PDXWIT. 0:12 Her work is centered on distributing systems and 0:19 technology, an equitable future for humanity. 0:23 Through advocacy, mentorship and scholarships, 0:27 PDXWIT is advancing the careers of women, non-binary and 0:31 underrepresented people in tech. 0:36 Y'all welcome to the stage Elizabeth Stock. 0:39 >> All right, thank you Dr. Joe Sato, 0:41 hi everybody I'm Elizabeth really excited to be here today. 0:44 I am going to make sure I'm ready to share my screen here, 0:49 all right, so good morning everyone. 0:54 As Dr. Joe Sato said, I'm Elizabeth Stock, my pronouns are she her. 0:58 And just gonna pop over the chat looks like people can hear me, see me, okay, 1:01 great. 1:06 So I'm really grateful to Treehouse for asking me to speak. 1:07 And at first, I have to admit I was a little bit hesitant, 1:10 as my background is in nonprofit work and community organizing and social justice. 1:14 So I thought, why would a bunch of technologists want to hear from me? 1:20 But then I realized what a unique opportunity this is, the opportunity to 1:25 connect with people who are about to blaze a serious trail in the tech industry. 1:30 An industry that is no big deal, shaping the future of humanity. 1:35 So you all have the power to change the world, and 1:39 I am not gonna pass up an opportunity to connect with you. 1:42 So technologists, in my opinion, need to know how critically important it 1:46 is to have a strong network and community, if we wanna survive this industry. 1:51 Especially if you don't look like, sound like or 1:56 think like the typical individual who's dominating this industry. 2:00 We can all play a role in building a strong and 2:05 equitable community, but we have to stick together and 2:07 elevate one and other, and I'm here to talk about how we can actually do that. 2:11 You can take this information to your own tech community, and 2:15 hopefully apply it in a way that works for you. 2:19 So I'm gonna go ahead and 2:22 share my screen now, hold tight, okay. 2:26 [SOUND] Okay, share, here I go, here it is, 2:33 share, bear with me for my notes for a minute. 2:38 Present, all right, hopefully we're good, 2:42 can you all see my screen? 2:48 Okay, got to find my notes, here they are, okay, so 2:50 I'm here to talk about building community in tech today. 2:56 And the full name of my talk which is not listed here on this slide, 3:01 really should be. 3:06 Building Community in Tech means calling myself out on my shit, and 3:08 feeling okay when other people call me out on my shit. 3:13 But I wasn't feeling like that would look very good in the marketing materials for 3:16 this conference. 3:20 So I just shortened it a little bit, but 3:21 that's really what I'm gonna be talking about. 3:23 And a quick note, I'm supposed to say here, go ahead and maximize the slides so 3:25 that they're big and I'm small. 3:29 I'll give you a second to do that, so here's my plan for today. 3:31 I'll probably talk for about 30 to 35 minutes, and then I'll leave time for 3:36 questions and discussion. 3:40 I'll be sharing some personal stories and 3:42 somewhat embarrassing truths about my own journey. 3:44 And this is from childhood, all the way up to some very recent 3:48 examples of my own white fragility bubbling up. 3:52 And I'll leave you with three simple but not so easy steps we can all take 3:55 to build and participate in community that fosters and advances inclusion in tech. 4:01 Disclaimer, some of what I say today is gonna be challenging for some, 4:07 as we're gonna talk about some really difficult and often taboo topics. 4:12 So I wanna be sure that people take care of themselves as we move through this 4:17 presentation. 4:22 I also wanna mention that I'm in the basement of my house, 4:23 pandemic life, we're all here together. 4:27 The door is locked, but my kids are here and they're getting smarter. 4:30 So I'm crossing my fingers that they won't try to break in, or pick the lock, 4:35 but I cannot make any promises. 4:40 So before I dive in though, I want to ground us in some terminology and 4:42 acronyms that I'll be throwing around. 4:47 I'm sure many of these are familiar to all, but 4:50 just in case I want to cover a couple. 4:52 So first off, I will use B-I-P-O-C or BIPOC, this stands for Black, 4:55 Indigenous, and People of Color. 4:59 The reason that I use this abbreviation instead of people of color, for 5:02 example, is to center and give clear visibility to those who have, 5:07 particularly in this country, banned, systematically abused and oppressed. 5:11 I also wanna make a note here that if I'm specifically talking about 5:17 a particular group, then I'll say that. 5:22 For example, if I want to talk about the Latin x community, 5:24 I will say Latin x, I'm not gonna say people of color. 5:28 Grouping or BIPOC, so in my view, grouping all races 5:32 that aren't white into one singular term is a form of 5:37 colonialism in Eurasia and I'm trying to avoid that. 5:42 Second, I will use GNC, this stands for gender non-conforming. 5:47 So folks whose gender doesn't fall into conventional mainstream definitions, 5:52 nonbinary folks fall into this category. 5:58 And lastly, you'll see some Es, some Ds, some Is some D & Is, these stands for 6:01 equity, diversity, and inclusion, or diversity and inclusion. 6:07 When I'm discussing these terms, I'm gonna try not to lead with the word diversity. 6:13 It is a popular word, but it's also a meaningless word if it's 6:19 not coupled with equity, inclusion and justice. 6:24 So having that letter be the first in an acronym or the first word you say 6:28 when you're talking about issues of inclusion, feels wrong to me. 6:32 Having said that, it's a pretty go to word, so as I'm citing different sources, 6:37 they may use that word first, but I will mirror my language to reflect that. 6:43 And I wanna share a bit about myself before we get started, 6:48 I'm Elizabeth, I mentioned that, I'm white. 6:53 I am cisgender, so my biological sex matches 6:57 the gender in my heart, in my head and my soul. 7:01 I'm a mom to two boys, who hopefully won't break in, I have two dads. 7:06 I am able bodied, and I have a lot of unearned privilege, 7:16 you can see it on this list. 7:21 And there's a lot I didn't mention, a lot a lot, I'm kind of dripping with it. 7:23 So let's talk about unearned privilege, this captures 7:29 the advantages people have simply because of the way they were born or 7:33 the context or family they were born into. 7:38 For example, I was born with white skin, so 7:41 I have privileges associated with being white. 7:44 Having white skin doesn't automatically make my life easy, but it is certainly 7:47 not a factor that makes my life more difficult, that's unearned privilege. 7:53 So some examples of my own on unearned privilege, 7:58 my first job at the age of two was due to unearned privilege. 8:02 The reason I had the opportunity for that job, was because I had a certain look. 8:07 This is the look, and on every job, whether it was a commercial set or 8:13 a TV show, I was surrounded by people with white skin. 8:18 The other actors, the directors, the crew, the onset teachers, 8:22 if I was in an ensemble cast, there were likely a bunch of white kids. 8:27 And perhaps one black kid, or one Latin x kid, 8:32 or a kid in a wheelchair, maybe. 8:37 But definitely not all of those identities at once, and 8:40 certainly no intersectionality of identity. 8:44 So, my chances of booking work were exponentially greater than 8:47 actors who didn't look like me, this was unearned privilege. 8:52 And today 30 years later, I sit in a position of influence, 8:56 running an organization that I was qualified to run in part because of 9:01 the education that I had as an actor growing up. 9:05 Not because I was particularly talented, but 9:09 because people like me were on TV, and I had a certain look. 9:12 There's improvement in that industry, but 9:17 that's not what I'm here to talk about today. 9:19 So back to some other examples of my unearned privilege, I can shop and 9:21 not be followed or monitored closely by security or other customers. 9:26 Honestly, I could probably steal and not be noticed. 9:31 Similarly, I can stencil black lives matter on my front steps without 9:35 passers by harassing me or accusing me of defacing public property. 9:40 I can safely ask someone to leash their dog without the potential of being harmed. 9:46 This next one is somewhat Portland specific, and I know this is a national or 9:53 international audience, but it's worth mentioning. 9:58 That I can almost always expect whiteness to be the most represented space in 10:02 any public space I'm in here in Portland. 10:07 And so that's some information about me, my unearned privilege. 10:12 But another big thing to know about me is that I run an organisation based here 10:16 in Portland. 10:20 We're called PDXWIT, or Portland Women in Tech, or 10:20 PDX Women in Tech, we'll answer to all of those. 10:24 Our mission is to empower women, non-binary, and 10:27 underrepresented people to join and stay in tech. 10:31 And I'll share a little bit more about PDXWIT. 10:35 But first, 10:38 I think it's important to tell you about why we need an organization like PDXWIT. 10:39 So if technology affects everyone in some way, which it does, 10:45 shouldn't it also reflect and consider everyone as it's being iterated, 10:50 and developed, and perfected? 10:56 Well, it doesn't. 10:58 And yes, some progress has been made. 11:00 But there's not nearly enough diverse representation among 11:03 those who are defining and creating technology. 11:08 Folks from diverse backgrounds who are currently working in the industry aren't 11:12 feeling like their companies' EDI initiatives are effective. 11:16 So even if they're working in the industry, 11:20 they're lacking a sense of belonging and inclusion. 11:22 And that leads to dismal retention rates. 11:26 Here's some data to back up what I'm saying. 11:29 So every year, PDXWIT does a survey where we collect data to understand 11:32 the experiences of people in the tech industry across the country. 11:37 We just closed our 2020 survey last week. 11:42 So the most recent data set we can look at was from last year, 11:45 but it certainly is still relevant. 11:48 We had about 5000 responses. 11:50 And we were aiming, like I said, I don't know if I said this, but we were 11:52 hoping to look into the articulated culture that a lot of tech companies may 11:58 have around diversity and inclusion versus the experienced or expressed culture. 12:03 So we know tech companies talk a big game when it comes to how 12:09 much they value diversity and inclusion. 12:13 Yet the representation, especially as we move up the leadership ladder, 12:16 is simply not expressing that value. 12:21 It's being articulated, but not expressed. 12:23 We also wanted to be sure to see where disparities may exist between 12:26 the perspectives of white and cisgender people versus BIPOC or 12:32 gender non-conforming individuals. 12:36 Spoiler alert, there were major differences in perception. 12:40 So the first question was, that we're gonna look out today, 12:45 was does your employer talk about diversity and inclusion as a priority? 12:48 So in gray here we have white and cisgender men and women, 12:52 in orange we have BIPOC and transgender, non-conforming respondents. 12:56 You can see here that of the white and cisgender men and 13:02 women surveyed 50% or more, up to 63% in the case of white women, 13:06 believe their employer talks about diversity and inclusion as a priority. 13:11 Only 30% of BIPOC, or trans, or 13:16 gender non-conforming individuals responded yes to that same question. 13:19 It's a pretty big difference. 13:25 Similar story when it comes to whether respondents felt like their company is 13:27 authentically taking steps to prioritize diversity and inclusion. 13:31 Again, are these companies articulating a certain stance and 13:35 authentically taking steps to make it happen? 13:39 Once again, over 50% of the cis and 13:42 white respondents said yes, while far less than 50% of BIPOC, 13:45 or gender non-conforming, or trans folks did. 13:51 So oops, [LAUGH] you might wanna see that. 13:55 There's certainly something breaking down here, and 13:58 we will come back to this data point. 14:01 But I also wanted to share some qualitative data that sums up what 14:03 might be going on in the tech industry. 14:07 So we had an open field in our survey for 14:09 the question of what is one thing that you wish would stop in this industry. 14:12 These responses speak for themselves, but 14:17 I'll read them anyway in case you have me on in the background. 14:19 The sense that now that I'm here, a queer Latina, 14:23 our team as a whole is diverse and our work there is done. 14:27 I sometimes feel tokenized or like others are using me as a shield. 14:31 I'm tired of being the only black person in the room. 14:37 People need to stop asking me where I'm really from. 14:43 So back to this data point. 14:48 Companies very well may be trying to create diverse and inclusive environments, 14:50 but their initiatives are clearly not resonating with individuals who 14:55 are the most underrepresented in this industry. 15:00 One theory on this, perhaps actions and 15:03 initiatives around diversity are coming from the top. 15:06 And remind me, who is overwhelmingly at the top of tech companies? 15:10 Yeah, white and cisgender people. 15:16 So I am glad that white and cisgender people are happy with their 15:19 own efforts around inclusion and diversity. 15:24 But really, 15:28 what is the point of these efforts if they're only pleasing dominant groups? 15:29 And let me make something very clear before I move on. 15:35 I'm not suggesting that these company leaders see this data and 15:38 go to their BIPOC, or trans, or gender non-conforming, assuming 15:43 they at least have some, employees for guidance on how to do better. 15:48 I have yet to see a job description that says, if you're from an underrepresented 15:54 group in tech, you will also be expected to educate the white employees at this 15:59 company on what we should be doing about equity, and diversity, and inclusion. 16:03 So if you're not writing this into your job description, 16:09 that means you are not paying for this labor. 16:12 And it is labor, do not expect this to come for free. 16:15 If you wanna have optional focus groups within your company or have your BIPOC, 16:19 or trans, or gender non-conforming employees give you feedback, 16:24 you need to pay for this, and it needs to be optional. 16:29 And you need to pay well. 16:32 I would recommend starting in at least $300 an hour, but that would be a deal. 16:34 So back to PDXWIT, the organization I help run, and why we're here and what we do. 16:40 I'm not gonna read through all this, hopefully it sorta speaks for itself. 16:46 This isn't meant to be a commercial for my organization, 16:50 although you're welcome to join us. 16:53 But our hope, through our programming, is that we're filling a gap, 16:55 creating community, and supporting individuals who are trying to break into 17:00 this industry or trying to stay in this industry once they find a job. 17:05 We're also supporting companies in doing better when it comes to equity, diversity, 17:09 and inclusion. 17:14 Through our programming, we're filling some gaps. 17:15 But it's our ultimate hope that an organization like ours would be 17:18 unnecessary. 17:22 We know we have a long way to go, though. 17:23 And if you're not already, become a member. 17:25 It's free, we're not a typical professional organization. 17:27 Membership basically just means you come to our events sometimes, or 17:30 read our newsletter, or pop into our Slack. 17:35 We're here, there's no barriers to entry, and I'll share more links later. 17:37 And here's our rad team. 17:44 So the top row's our staff team and the bottom row's our amazing board. 17:45 We also have over 100 active volunteers who help advance our mission, 17:49 and we were all volunteer-run just until a couple years ago. 17:54 As an organization, we often get asked 17:58 by tech companies who are struggling to build diverse teams for help. 18:01 Our first question to these company leaders is, 18:06 what is your current leadership makeup? 18:09 Show us your numbers. 18:12 Unsurprisingly, these leadership teams are almost always white, 18:14 and almost always white men of a particular age range. 18:19 So when we're asked that question, we let companies know that there's not a quick 18:22 and easy fix when it comes to creating rich and 18:27 diverse teams that foster inclusion and belonging. 18:29 It goes way beyond the annual diversity trainings, 18:32 or special logos, or statements. 18:36 PDXWIT team did not always look like this. 18:39 And it took intention, authenticity, and vulnerability on the part of our board 18:42 to assemble a team that truly mirrors our community and demonstrates our values. 18:47 So as a white person doing my best to lead this organization and 18:54 advance inclusion in a space that is historically and 18:59 presently not great at it, I've learned a few things. 19:02 I have so much more to learn. 19:06 So I figured, as I learn, I should start sharing some of this. 19:08 So first, it's important for me to know when to show up and when to stand down. 19:13 Second, there is no end point, 19:20 no goalposts signifying our arrival at a more equitable world. 19:23 This work is ongoing and eve-revolving as we peel back the layers and 19:28 learn more about ourselves and each other. 19:33 This is not a skill you master, it's not a boxy check, it's forever. 19:36 Lastly, it's important to know that if it feels really good, 19:44 I'm probably fucking it up. 19:49 Any warm, fuzzy feelings I start to feel are likely a sign that my activities 19:51 are benefiting me more than the cause I'm working towards. 19:56 Sorry to say it, but advancing justice and 20:00 equity should be uncomfortable for white and privileged people. 20:03 We've been comfortable for a very long time. 20:08 Once a white person starts to see the injustice around them, 20:11 it's easy to go to a place of guilt and shame. 20:15 But neither of those things are typically productive. 20:19 And they also make it about you and your ego. 20:22 So instead, acknowledge your privilege and think about ways you can leverage it. 20:26 And I'll share some examples. 20:31 But also, you've probably recently heard about 20:32 performance allyship or optical allyship. 20:37 And I wanna touch on that for a minute. 20:41 So Latham Thomas coined the term optical allyship in May of 2020. 20:43 But the concept is something that's been explored for a while. 20:49 Thomas defines it as allyship that only serves at the surface level to 20:52 platform the ally. 20:57 It makes the statement but does not go beneath the surface and 20:59 is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress. 21:02 Acts of optical allyship may include social media posts or alarm signs. 21:06 And it's not that these activities aren't okay, they are okay, but 21:13 they cannot be the only way we show up. 21:17 Ally, if we wanna use that term, and I'm using air quotes, 21:20 must be willing to become uncomfortable. 21:24 Because their discomfort is a sign that they're privilege is shifting, 21:27 making space for others to have access to spaces and 21:32 opportunities that BIPOC may have historically lacked access to. 21:35 I read something yesterday that said, that a black woman posted on Instagram, and 21:39 it said, being black is not the barrier, white supremacy is the barrier. 21:44 And that really stuck with me. 21:48 And as white people, we need to step aside and be aware that we 21:50 are creating barriers just by being in a space, taking up that space. 21:54 So how many of you saw something like this over the last couple months? 21:59 This is a template that many organizations use to show their support for BLM. 22:07 Many did this and then went back to business as usual, 22:15 never said another thing, never did another thing. 22:20 This is a prime example of optical allyship. 22:24 So in my personal quest towards non-optical allyship, 22:33 I have been using three rules of thumb. 22:37 And this is not meant to be a complete list by any stretch. 22:39 And I also wanna dig into the term ally for a minute. 22:42 It is inherently passive and does not guarantee action all the time. 22:45 A person can decide when they wanna be an ally and when they don't. 22:50 So what we often see with allies is that when things become uncomfortable or 22:54 start to risk the ally's position and power, 22:59 they remove themselves from the situation. 23:03 And I've really appreciated the term accomplice as an alternative. 23:06 It demonstrates a commitment to long-term ongoing engagement, 23:10 even if that means the accomplice is gonna lose some privilege and some power. 23:14 This is the type of involvement, and intervention, and 23:19 behavior that can actually contribute to long-term change. 23:23 So here are my three rules of thumb. 23:27 And again, this is not meant to be a complete list. 23:29 Move aside, practice humility, and create dedicated spaces. 23:35 All right, so an example of moving aside. 23:43 Earlier this year, I was asked to join a panel on diversity and 23:46 inclusion at a large tech company headquartered in Portland. 23:50 I was excited about the opportunity and I felt equipped to talk about the subject. 23:54 Before I committed, I asked the organizer of the panel who the other speakers were. 23:58 And I wanted to just get a sense of who else would be there, and 24:03 I wanted to know if there was gonna be diverse representation on the panel. 24:07 The person organizing the panel told me they were really excited 24:11 about the diversity because so far it was all women. 24:15 I probed further and eventually learned that it was all white women. 24:19 This organizer was doing what a lot of white people do, which is looking at 24:24 whiteness as the default rather than saying it out loud specifically. 24:29 She was also implying that a group of white women would, 24:34 being on a panel, would lead to a rich discussion about diversity. 24:38 So at that point, I decided I would not be participating as a panelist. 24:44 But I wanted to use the opportunity to nominate my incredible colleague, 24:49 a Filipina woman who's a member of the LGBTQ community, to participate instead. 24:54 Not only would this add a level of legitimacy to the panel being organized, 24:59 but it would add far more, but 25:04 she would add far more to the discussion than I ever could. 25:06 And it was a bit of a loss for me, I do love being on panels or speaking, 25:10 but it was a tangible way for me to move aside and create space. 25:16 So as for practicing humility, I have a visual to go with this lesson. 25:21 This was the graphic that PDXWIT released on our Facebook page soon 25:28 after awarding our last round of scholarship funds, just about a month ago. 25:32 I'm wondering if you notice anything about this graphic. 25:37 It's problematic, and I wish I had been the first to notice. 25:43 But I didn't, and I wasn't. 25:47 It took someone reaching out to our Facebook page, 25:50 pointing out that the two white-passing recipients were on the top of 25:53 the graphic stacked above the BIPOC recipients. 25:58 The person who reached out with this feedback is a black woman 26:02 named Kyoshi Owens, and she knows I'm sharing this example today. 26:06 When I initially read this message from her, 26:10 my first reaction was to feel very defensive. 26:14 I wanted to immediately tell her that it was just one of several different 26:18 versions of the graphic, and we had to resize and reorient the photos for 26:22 different social media platforms. 26:27 And I wanted to tell her that the white-passing individuals pictured had 26:30 broken down barriers and experienced their own inequities. 26:34 And I wanted to feel better about myself and about the organisation. 26:37 But instead of doing that, instead of whitesplaining, 26:44 my mistake, I paused and I really considered the feedback. 26:49 And I decided to see it as an opportunity to demonstrate humility 26:54 on the part of our organization and myself. 26:59 My instant white fragility almost blocked me from doing that. 27:02 I wanted to explain it away, I wanted to prove myself as one of the good ones. 27:08 But I should have caught this before it published. 27:13 And to be honest, I am surprised I didn't. 27:17 But it's a reminder that I still have massive blind spots, 27:20 and that if I'm gonna do this work, 27:25 I have to be open to criticism, and feedback, and discomfort. 27:28 So yeah, it was a big lesson for me. 27:34 Growth is uncomfortable, and it doesn't have to feel good. 27:37 And as I mentioned earlier, if it does feel good, and if it feels warm and fuzzy, 27:40 I'm probably fucking it up, because it's performative and ego-driven. 27:46 So lastly, remember, I wanted to talk about creating dedicated spaces. 27:52 So earlier I was talking about some of my unearned privilege, 27:57 specifically here in Portland. 28:01 I shared that I could pretty much guarantee that any space I go into, 28:03 whether it's a restaurant, or a tech meetup, or a movie theater, 28:07 white people will be the majority. 28:11 I realize this is Portland-specific, but even in cities that are more 28:14 racially diverse than Portland, it is critical that spaces exist for 28:19 BIPOC only, for black women, for LGBTQ folks, for trans men. 28:24 These exclusive spaces need to exist. 28:29 And to convey the importance of exclusive spaces for BIPOC, 28:32 I wanna cite Kelsey Blackwell, a black woman who wrote 28:36 an article called Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People. 28:40 I've referenced and shared this article with many individuals 28:45 to question the importance, and value, and legitimacy of exclusive spaces. 28:49 And I gotta tell ya, the people questioning the value, and legitimacy, 28:53 and importance of exclusive spaces are typically white people. 28:58 So let's just noodle on that for a minute. 29:02 I recommend you read Blackwell's full article, but 29:06 I also added some quotes on this slide for you to read and I'll link it at the end. 29:09 But here are some quotes that stood out for me, I'm just gonna let you read them. 29:15 I'm gonna read this last one, though. 29:30 The values of whiteness are the water in which we all swim. 29:32 No one is immune. 29:35 These values dictate who speaks, how loud, when, the words we use, 29:36 what we don't say, what is ignored, who is validated and who is not. 29:42 I'll link this article at the end of the presentation. 29:47 I highly recommend you read the whole thing. 29:51 So hopefully it's clear that I see the value of these spaces, but 29:57 how is the organization I run following through on this particular idea? 30:01 So events are a huge part of what we do, or what we did pre-COVID. 30:05 They're all virtual now. 30:10 But every month we would have five or 30:11 six events in person to bring together anywhere from 50 to 300 30:14 people in the PDXWIT community to network, learn, and connect. 30:18 We have all kinds of recurring events, including BIPOC in tech, 30:23 how to study for a technical interview. 30:28 And all of these events are meant to be spaces where people can really meet one 30:31 another and connect. 30:35 And I'm also thinking about the fact that this is absolutely a digression. 30:37 But these events were happening in person and hundreds of people were shaking hands, 30:41 and eating off of the same appetizer trays. 30:46 And enclosed confined spaces for hundreds of people and it's just blowing my 30:48 mind right now to think about ever doing that again, post pandemic. 30:52 But back to my topic here at these events, 30:56 PDXWIT which creates breakout and breakout sessions in person for 31:01 VIP OSI only for for LGBTQ folks only. 31:07 And since late May PDXWIT has actually been holding virtual space for 31:11 racial justice conversations within the PDXWIT teams. 31:16 So among our staff and our volunteers, we come together as a full group, 31:20 and then we break into two groups BIPOC and White Allies. 31:26 The space for BIPOC, is not one that I'm in. 31:31 So I can't speak to what is being covered. 31:34 But the space for white allies is a space to share resources and connect. 31:37 And so far, this has been very well received. 31:41 So I'm glad we're able to follow through on this value. So to review, 31:48 here are the three simple but not so easy suggestions that I wanna leave you with. 31:49 And as you go out into the professional tech world, 31:54 no matter what your background is or what realm or 31:58 niche within tech you'll exist in. 32:02 I just want to challenge you to see it is your responsibility, to create and 32:06 foster a more exclusive tech space. 32:10 Especially if you go out into this industry due to unearned privilege. 32:12 The stakes are high. 32:17 Technology is not going anywhere. 32:19 And it has a direct impact on all of us, and of course on future generations. 32:22 And as technologists, we can hold our companies, and our teams, and 32:28 our bosses, and our peers accountable. 32:33 And I know many of you are not here in Portland. 32:37 And, well, we are headquartered here as an organization, we are a space for 32:42 anyone and everyone. 32:46 And pretty much everything is all virtual at this point. 32:47 So the only blocker I can think of right now is the timezone. 32:50 But even that is not too tricky. 32:56 We're dealing with that today. 32:57 So you're invited, please, you're welcome to join our movement. 32:59 Here's some various ways to find us online. 33:03 And I also wanna mention that we actually have one of our happy hours tonight, 33:06 and it's at 5 o'clock. 33:11 So coming off of in virtual events thing maybe this doesn't sound great. 33:13 But we're gonna have a bunch of recruiters on site ready to connect with people in 33:18 real time about positions they have open. 33:23 Off the top of my head I know we have Survey Monkey, VMware, TEKsystems, 33:25 New Relic, Candlelight, and a bunch of other companies who are hungry for talent. 33:29 So I know we have many talented people watching this. 33:34 And I'll let you know how to register for that. 33:37 And I mean it's just another hour in front of a screen, so 33:42 I feel like we can handle that. 33:46 And here are some sources I'm happy to share these in some other way. 33:49 But for now I wanted to be sure it share some links, and 33:53 I'm gonna open it up to questions. 33:57 So I'm going to stop sharing my screen. 33:59 How do I stop sharing my screen? 34:06 Okay, hi, I'm here now. 34:11 Looks like I have a question. 34:16 All right. 34:17 How do you manage to keep hope when working in inclusion work? 34:23 That's a big question. 34:27 I don't always feel hopeful. 34:29 I think it's when I hear the little success stories from people 34:32 who are making connections, and learning from one another, 34:37 and leveraging their own privilege. 34:42 As I mentioned in my presentation that gives me hope but 34:46 it's through those individual connections. 34:48 But sometimes I just feel like giving up, to be honest. 34:51 [LAUGH] There is a big, long road ahead when it comes to really affecting deep, 34:56 systemic change. 35:00 So I try to keep hope. 35:02 And part of it is just also taking care of myself and 35:03 setting boundaries with my time and heart. 35:07 How can I as a BIPOC woman stay confident when pursuing a job 35:10 as a software engineer? 35:15 So caveat, I'm saying this as a white woman. 35:17 But I really think that being sure that you have community around you and 35:20 people who are going to build you up. 35:25 Who will have the time to do a practice interview 35:28 will give you some of their time to review your resume. 35:32 And actually, I'm plugging PDXWIT again, 35:36 just cuz I think it's a great organization. 35:38 But we have all of those resources available, live and in real time. 35:41 So yeah, accessing those resources and also just knowing that you're smart and 35:44 your perspective is hugely important, and will make a better tech industry. 35:51 So trusting that about yourself and knowing that you're here for a reason, and 35:57 you have gone through the training you've gone through. 36:02 And it's not easy to go through that level of training. 36:05 So this sounds cheesy but, believe in yourself. 36:07 Let's see, how can BIPOC tell when they're being 36:10 given opportunity at work versus being tokenized? 36:15 That is such a nuanced and good question. 36:19 And I thought about talking about it in my presentation, 36:23 because there's no way to know for sure. 36:27 But what I would recommend is directly asking that question. 36:30 So if you're asked to take on a special project or 36:35 even if you're asked to have your photo used for marketing materials. 36:39 I think it's perfectly okay to say, why do you wanna use my photo? 36:46 And have whoever is asking you, answer that question. 36:50 It's going to make that person probably feel a little uncomfortable. 36:55 Because people in positions of power aren't typically used to being questioned 37:01 or challenged, but it's really important to do it. 37:05 And let's see, do I know of any PDXWIT type organizations in Austin? 37:08 I don't off the top of my head, but truly at this point we're here for you. 37:14 So if you wanted to, I can explore that a little bit. 37:20 But for now what I would recommend is tagging yourself on to the PDXWIT 37:24 community, seeing what we're about, and 37:28 then maybe consider starting a small community in Austin. 37:31 I mean a lot of people say Austin and Portland are kind of sister cities. 37:35 So it would make sense that there's something there, but 37:39 I haven't heard about it. 37:41 And as of now PDXWIT doesn't have like a chapter model. 37:43 Let's see here. 37:46 Hi, Elizabeth, can you speak to how these ideas 37:50 still specifically group segregation based on identity. 37:54 And I want to be I'm repeating this question htat use the word segregation. 37:58 I think that's kind of a loaded term. 38:03 But I wanna repeat the question. 38:04 So can you speak to how these ideas specifically group segregation based 38:06 on identity can lead to cohesion rather than separation. 38:11 So from my perspective, I think if people feel seen, and empowered, and safe. 38:15 They're going to not only be at their best in that group, but 38:21 take that feeling with them into a larger group setting where things are no mixed. 38:25 So I think the quotes from Kelsey that I shared are really powerful in that regard 38:31 that really if you are a non-white person in a space that is dominated by whiteness. 38:37 Which the tech industry, frankly is Then no matter what you are having 38:44 to flex your muscles to sort of be seen, to know what to say. 38:49 And having spaces where you can safely talk about that. 38:54 Marcus Carter, who's mentor of mine here in Portland calls those brave spaces, 38:57 not safe spaces but brave spaces. 39:02 Because you can really just kind of be who you are, and 39:04 have a supportive network who has been there through similar challenges. 39:08 And then you take that sort of feeling of empowerment and apply it. 39:13 And I'm not saying that everybody should only exist within their own bubbles, 39:17 that would be the wrong thing. 39:20 But I do believe that people need to charge off one another and 39:22 charge off people who have had similar experiences. 39:26 Okay, yeah, so how can companies recruit wholeheartedly for 39:30 diversity instead of tokenizing candidates? 39:36 Does it start from diverse leadership at the very top? 39:40 Well, thank you whoever asked that question because you answered it for me. 39:42 Diversity starts from the inside out. 39:47 And I know that some people might say like chicken or egg situation, 39:50 how do you do it if you're not there yet. 39:54 But you just set some standards for your company. 39:57 So the leader of a company, you can go to your board, to your investors, 39:59 to your other leaders, and say. 40:04 Here's our current diversity numbers, 40:06 here's where we're lacking in representation. 40:09 Let's set a goal as a team, to go to increase by whatever percentage. 40:12 That means you're not going to just hire the next person you see that 40:17 feels qualified. 40:21 But instead, you're gonna take a broader view. 40:23 Take your time. 40:27 Also, look at your interviewing. 40:28 Look at your rubrics for scoring. 40:31 Who is on your interview committees? 40:33 Who is looking at your job postings? 40:35 Where are you posting these opportunities? 40:37 So I really do believe it comes from the top. 40:41 And I see far too often that companies may be have some diversity at 40:43 their entry level. 40:48 But then as you move up the ladder, things get less and less so. 40:50 And at that point, it really is more about internal retention efforts and 40:54 less about recruitment. 40:59 But I think when people talk about the pipeline and trying to build a more 41:00 diverse pipeline, it doesn't necessarily get at the root of the issue. 41:05 Which is that usually the people at the top are, may be no fault of their own. 41:10 But as they've started these companies, 41:15 they hired the people they already knew, they hired the people who felt familiar. 41:18 We know that implicit bias is very rampant in every realm of the world. 41:24 So they likely got to a point where suddenly they realized all 41:27 of their leadership was white, or cisgender, or white, yeah, white women. 41:32 I just wanna say, white women are absolutely part of the issue as well. 41:39 Let's see. 41:44 [SOUND] Wow, these are such good questions. 41:45 I wanna make sure I'm not missing anything. 41:48 So I do self care? 41:52 I'm so glad you asked because we actually, I was just writing a newsletter 41:53 blurb that's gonna go out next week about self care and wellness and 41:58 the importance of that. 42:03 And also the importance of confronting the current narrative around self care and 42:04 wellness because it's not for everybody. 42:09 It's often out of reach and cost money for 42:12 people to engage in the traditional self care. 42:15 So going to yoga. 42:19 Having a nap. 42:19 Having a nice house where you can escape from your kids. 42:21 Did I mention I'm currently locked in the basement, the door is literally locked? 42:24 All of those things are, yes, ways to escape, 42:30 but also absolutely come with privilege. 42:32 And so, I think it's really important when we talk about self care to 42:34 think about ways that don't cost money, like setting limits with our time. 42:39 Snoozing our slack notifications after a certain time of day. 42:45 Ensuring that you set aside time to, 42:49 if it's your family that gives you kind of energy. 42:52 Or if it's cooking a meal, or if it's being outside, going on walks, 42:56 all of the things that we know kind of build us up. 43:01 And I am absolutely guilty of not always doing those things. 43:04 I was definitely emailing Liz who was coordinating this last night at 10 PM. 43:07 So I didn't do a great job with boundaries yesterday. 43:13 But most days, I really try to have a distinction between work and home. 43:16 But I also see this as my responsibility as a human. 43:21 So if I'm not in work mode, but I hear something that's problematic or 43:25 if I see something that's problematic I'm not just gonna be like, 43:30 well, I'm not wearing my equity hat. 43:35 I guess I'll just look the other way. 43:38 I'm going to hopefully do something to call it out. 43:40 Okay, let's see. 43:44 Regarding the breakout session, yes, 43:45 there are breakout sessions for GNC or queer people. 43:48 So just last month at our happy hour, we had a really fun, 43:52 a bunch of different breakout sessions. 43:56 So we come together as a group and 43:58 then we have different kind of meeting links that people can pop into. 44:01 So because it was June, we actually had sort of a mini pride party for 44:06 one of the breakout rooms. 44:10 And the facilitator that, I wasn't in there, but it sounded really fun. 44:12 But they piped in music and people were both networking and kind of celebrating. 44:17 And also having pretty deep conversations about the inter-sectional roots of pride. 44:22 And especially considering where we are with racial justice in this moment as 44:27 a country. 44:31 So yeah, these breakout rooms are definitely happening. 44:32 So the question of PDXWIT providing mentor, 44:35 it came up, and I wanna be sure to talk about that. 44:39 So I am incredibly proud of the mentor program that PDXWIT has. 44:43 And I don't know, may be someone in the chat may be ways you can 44:47 share a link to pdxwit.org/mentorship. 44:51 So If you go to that part of our website, you can sign up for 44:55 two different ways to engage with mentors. 44:58 You can either go through a traditional route of being paired with a long term 45:01 mentor who will, probably meet with you monthly or quarterly. 45:06 Of course, it's all virtual right now. 45:10 But you can get set up for that long term sponsorship and connection. 45:12 And/or you can get set up with what we call ad hoc mentorship or 45:17 on the spot mentorship. 45:21 So if you have a job interview coming up and 45:22 you just want someone to look at your resume or do a quick mock interview. 45:24 Or give you some kind of coaching on a conflict you're having at work, 45:28 then you can sign up for more one time encounters. 45:33 And so, it's really fast, you just click the button and suddenly you're taken to 45:36 a menu of different people with photos you can connect with. 45:41 So you can kind of see what their backgrounds are professionally, and 45:44 personally, and culturally. 45:49 And you can pick a time slot with them, and 45:51 then you get set up to do pretty instant video call with the mentor. 45:53 So yes, mentorship is a big part of what we do, and it is so 45:57 critical in this industry to have mentors. 46:02 I also just wanna make a plug that you can be mentors too. 46:05 Even if you're pretty early on in your career in the industry, 46:08 most of you have been working through a coding program. 46:12 Or have been through other experiences professionally that would probably lend 46:15 themselves really well to say, college students or 46:20 younger people who are Thinking about going in that direction. 46:22 So I personally think sometimes a mentor who's more recently joined the industry 46:26 might be a better source than someone who's been in it for 20, 30 years. 46:31 All of it is important, but I just never want people to sell 46:36 themselves short in terms of what they can offer. 46:40 So how does disability play into the conversation? 46:43 So in terms of our organization and what I am aiming to do. 46:47 We are just trying to create visibility on the fact that the tech 46:53 industry is not necessarily made for people who are not able bodied, 46:58 who don't have perfect vision or hearing. 47:04 So we are really careful about where we host our events when we're 47:08 doing them in person. 47:12 So what types of venues and spaces are we gonna take up. 47:14 Are they going to be physically accessible? 47:17 Are we going to have an ASL interpreter on site? 47:21 Which we always do for our virtual happy hours and our in person happy hours. 47:24 And also, I think someone mentioned social anxiety and I'm glad you did because 47:29 that's something that we're just now starting to talk about as an organization. 47:35 I don't have much social anxiety so it honestly hadn't occurred to me, 47:41 and I'm happy to admit because I'm practicing humility. 47:46 But it hadn't occurred to me that a happy hour with 200 people would not be 47:50 everybody's cup of tea. 47:53 And it's only been since COVID that we've veered into virtual where I'm 47:55 seeing all of these new people engaging, 47:58 who are like, I never wanted to go to your events in person. 48:00 But I'm so glad now I can go to it online from the comfort of my home without 48:04 feeling like I have to talk to people and meet people in person. 48:09 And so, out of that we're going to once we do start meeting in person again, 48:13 we're always gonna have a virtual component too. 48:17 So that can help with the people with more social anxiety. 48:20 And then another thing about disability. 48:24 And I don't know if I would even call this a disability, but 48:26 I wanna talk a little bit about neurodiversity. 48:31 So the tech industry is full of all different kinds of brains, and 48:34 minds, and including people who might be on the autism spectrum or 48:39 have just a different way of thinking. 48:44 And interviews, LinkedIn, kind of all hands meetings, 48:46 all of those kind of typical things you see in tech do not lend 48:51 themselves very well to people who are neurodiverse. 48:55 So our organization has tried to have awareness events about this and 49:00 both, as I said before, online and 49:04 in person spaces where we can have speakers touch on those topics. 49:07 All right, let's see. 49:11 So how do we tackle ageism in tech? 49:14 So I'm glad you asked about that too. 49:16 That's another big thing that I wouldn't say were successfully tackling yet. 49:20 But we do have a recurring event series called Experienced Women In Tech. 49:25 And it's really meant for 49:30 people who have more than 20 years of experience in the industry. 49:32 And they also sometimes go by the name, Seasoned Women In Tech. 49:36 And it's a cohort of people within the PBXWIT community who meet in person. 49:41 Who also have a private channel, 49:46 where they can talk through the experiences they're having. 49:48 And I would say in terms of how I or 49:52 my organization confirms this is really just talking about it and calling it out. 49:54 I hope you learned it in my presentation, but may be I didn't emphasize it enough, 49:58 but But there is a very small common age bracket for people in this industry. 50:03 I'm on the other side of it, and I'm not particularly on the older side. 50:10 So I know this is a problem. 50:16 Not only a problem for opportunity, but also, it leads to a lack of 50:18 innovation if we're not seeing diverse ages reflected across teams. 50:23 So it is an issue, and it's an ongoing one. 50:28 All right, well, let's see, maybe, 50:34 What are the things we should look out for when applying to a workplace? 50:40 So I would say number one thing you do after you read a job description, so 50:43 in that job description, be looking out for benefits that are specific. 50:49 So do they have trans healthcare, for example? 50:54 What does their parental leave policy look like? 50:58 What's their remote policy look like? 51:02 So looking at all of those things are really important. 51:05 And I should mention PDX has a job board where we 51:08 have badges that companies can basically, 51:11 that's the first thing you would see if you're looking at a PDX board job. 51:13 So look at that. 51:18 And then the very next thing you need to do is go to their website and 51:18 look at their leadership team. 51:22 If you can't find it, 51:24 it probably means they're not feeling particularly proud of the makeup of it. 51:26 So trying to do a little more digging. 51:32 Look on your LinkedIn. 51:35 See if you can find anybody who's connected with that company. 51:36 Because odds are, if they're not willing to show their numbers, show their work, 51:40 externally, then you're probably not gonna be joining a particular diverse team. 51:46 That's not to say you shouldn't apply for those jobs. 51:52 If it still feels like a great opportunity, 51:54 If it still has the benefits and flexibility you need, then go for it. 51:57 But I would say just go into it eyes wide open, knowing that at the start it 52:00 might not necessarily be the environment that will foster as much inclusion. 52:06 Yeah, so the question came up of, should I connect with folks from the company if 52:16 I'm interested in the job I see at the company, even if I don't know them? 52:21 And the answer is yes, absolutely. 52:26 I just know being in my role, and also other places that I've worked, 52:29 I loved it when people would cold call me and reach out to me and say, hey, 52:33 I just noticed you're hiring. 52:37 I don't know anybody at the company, but this job is really interesting to me. 52:39 Your company, obviously praise their company a bit. 52:42 Say I love how you're doing this on this, and 52:46 that'll get the person's attention that you're connecting with. 52:49 And do [INAUDIBLE] build those relationships. 52:52 And yeah, don't be afraid to put yourself out there. 52:54 That's really, ultimately, the way people get jobs these days, 52:58 is through these connections, not through sending out 100 resumes. 53:01 All right. 53:07 Let's see, last minute advice. 53:10 All these are such good questions, and 53:14 I just really appreciated how engaged you've been. 53:15 So I don't think I have anything to add besides what I've already said. 53:17 And I will work with the organizers of this event to share some 53:21 of those resources with you all that I cited in my presentation. 53:26 Because I feel like those writers and 53:30 those leaders in this industry do things way better than I ever could. 53:32 So thanks for listening. 53:36
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