January 23, 2019

Representation Matters

In this post, we discuss representation and inclusiveness in the technology industry through the lens of an annual event in San Francisco


The topic of racial equality or Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been a growing topic in the Silicon Valley in the last few years.

As I sat down to write my goals for 2019, I took a moment to reflect on the highlights of this important event I attended in 2018. Hands down, Salesforce's first annual Racial Equality Summit: Representation Matters, was a highlight. The presenters were engaging, the content was powerful and they delivered their message eloquently. I’ve attended events and helped where I thought I could. This event and the people behind it made me want share what I've learned along the way, to use my voice.

The summit focused on how we can all inspire, empower, and elevate underrepresented communities in technology. If this is not a topic you’ve followed, here are some crazy statistics:

Technology is literally shaping our lives and future. Can you imagine your life without Lyft? Netflix? or Mobile boarding passes? Just think about that for a second. Going back to yellow cabs, Hollywood video late fees, and printing a boarding pass? No thank you!

As a young minority female, it took me a few years to wrap my head around exactly why my presence in technology is important. Without adequate representation of minorities and women, technology is being created by a very small percentage of the population for the entire population.

Some of the jobs that today’s young people will have, don’t even exist yet. Technology is changing everything. It has become its own language, evolving over time. Imagine if the language we spoke today wasn’t shaped by input from parents, siblings, peers and the larger community!

As the daughter of immigrant parents, growing up speaking Spanish, I am aware of the inherent advantages I have in my life having grown up in the United States, speaking English.

Those same advantages and disadvantages exist with technology and how it’s developing. I want to be part of shaping the language and empowering others in my community to be part of it too. But we can’t do it alone, and we shouldn’t. After all, diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35% and who doesn’t want that?

I don’t have all the answers but I do know that it’s not enough for minorities and women to stick together. Rather, we need involvement from the majority and work together to create change.

What is your organization doing to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace?

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