“At BUILDUP, we are passionate about inclusion and having a tech ecosystem that represents and reflects the U.S. and the world,” says Wayne Sutton, who is a partner at the firm. On Tuesday, June 24, from 7 – 9 p.m., members of the tech community will convene at Impact Hub Oakland (2323 Broadway) to discuss how to make their industry more inclusive and diverse at Building Innovation: Creating an Inclusive Technology Ecosystem.
In the last month, Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn have released their diversity data to the public. “Some of the most powerful and innovative companies are struggling with diversity,” says Sutton. “This is the perfect time to have a discussion.” The panel will include representatives from Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Kapor Center, TechCrunch and CODE2040.
“I’m excited about the potential for impact that we can create from discussion between the community organizations and the companies that are working in the diversity and inclusion space,” says Amy Schapiro, director of the CODE2040 Fellows Program. “There are very few opportunities for people running such important programs to come together in such an intimate conversation.”
Schapiro plans to speak with attendees after the panel about ways to connect with her nonprofit and placement opportunities at local companies for her fellows. For Schapiro, part of the work is letting companies know that there are organizations that can help diversify their teams and serve as a resource.
“I think early on, for a lot of companies, there is a need to hire and build products quickly and they recruit from a small personal network,” says Schapiro. Leah McGowen-Hare, Master Technical Instructor for Salesforce, has worked in the tech industry since the 1990s and says one of the hardest things is breaking in.
“Once you’re in, you’re in. You can’t be a developer faking the funk,” says McGowen-Hare. “We’re not going to solve the problem in one night, but I want people to leave inspired and I want to open minds to different ways of thinking.”
The event is not just for companies who want to learn how to be more inclusive, however. Organizers hope to see attendees who are at different stages of their careers, entrepreneurs and community members who are interesting in how technology is impact Oakland.
“Not everyone has access to people from Google, Facebook and Oracle,” said Sutton. “Here, the audience can ask questions and give feedback. I hope that the panelists can also learn from the experience.”