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Practical Diversity

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Talk given at OpenTech 2013 sharing experiences of creating inclusive diverse cultures, giving some practical tips for improving diversity.

Published in: Technology, Career, Business
  • I like the 'bake more pie' quote – I'll have to plagiarise that in future :)
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Practical Diversity

  1. 1. PRACTICALDIVERSITYMERI WILLIAMS@GEEK_MANAGER
  2. 2. DIVERSITYEXPERIENCE• Moved recruitment from 70-30 M-F to50-50 in IT function of a largecompany.• Founded LGBT network that wasrecognised by Stonewall as a StarPerformer; 5 years in the WorkplaceEquality Index.
  3. 3. I’M A BIT OF ADIVERSITY STATISTICFemale…Gay…Foreign…Employed (this is a bad thing if you’re foreign…)Disabled…Atheist…BUT grew up hugely aware of (unasked & undeserved)privilege I had growing up white in Apartheid SouthAfrica.
  4. 4. IT’S A SPECTRUMInclusionDiscrimination
  5. 5. NOTDISCRIMINATINGIS IMPORTANTLEGALLY, IF NOTHING ELSE
  6. 6. BUT TOLERANCEIS A TERRIBLEWORDWOULD YOU WANT TO BE TOLERATED?
  7. 7. WOULDN’T AFULLY INCLUSIVEENVIRONMENTBE BETTER?PROTIP: HELPS EVERYONE!
  8. 8. SOME THINGSTHAT WORK…(SOME OF THESE SURPRISED ME)
  9. 9. REDUCE FEARIncreasing opportunities is worthy &important.But reducing fear is equally so.(tips: reduce impact of failure, risk ofhumiliation, increase friendly audience)
  10. 10. FRAME GUIDANCEALTRUISTICALLYAdvice which focuses on how to “dobetter for yourself” has a very limitedappeal. (a la “steal more pie”)Altruistic advice (a la “bake more pie”)appeals to a much broader audience(including non-individualistic cultures…)
  11. 11. WHEN WE REFRAMEDNETWORKING…
  12. 12. ROLE MODELING MATTERS• When a woman presents/represents atrecruitment events, more womenapply• When you present a monoculture,people make assumptions you won’tlike
  13. 13. THE MOST IMPORTANTQUESTIONBest predictor of recruitment ANDretention?Someone’s ability to agree with:“Someone like me can besuccessful here”
  14. 14. PRIVILEGE 101The number one thing that privilege givesyou is a belief that you CAN.(… go to university … work in the industryyou want … marry who you want to … getout of bed each morning…)BELIEF YOU CAN IS A PRIVILEGE.
  15. 15. PRIVILEGE 102The other thing that privilege convincesyou of is that you are there because ofyour skills & abilities.BELIEF YOUR INNATE SKILLS GETYOU WHERE YOU ARE IS APRIVILEGE TOO.
  16. 16. “DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOUWANTED TO BE SO SENIOR?”Male leaders tend to say:“Yes, I always knew I could do more.”Female leaders tend to say:“No, but my mentors believed in me,and I trusted they were right.”
  17. 17. JOHNNY CLEGGThey taught us to forget our pastAnd live the future in their image…They said“Learn to speak a little bit of English,Don’t be scared of a suit and tie.”Learn to walk in the dreams of the foreigner.I am a third world child.
  18. 18. MOST ADVICE READSAS“BE MORE LIKE ASTRAIGHT CIS WHITEGUY”FINDING A WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL ANDSTILL BE YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT
  19. 19. SOMETIMES SYSTEMSARE LOADEDCompanies that assess effectiveness / performanceand then AUTOMATE pay rises based on this tend toreduce the gender pay gap.One interpretation:“Pitching for a pay rise” inherently favours men, whotend to be more confident in their abilities and morecomfortable talking up their results.Shy/humble guys suffer too.
  20. 20. PRACTICALDIVERSITYRECAPSOME THINGS THAT HELP
  21. 21. PRACTICAL DIVERSITY1) Assume fear. Then focus on reducing it.2) Advise people to bake more pie, not steal more pie.3) Connect people with role models.4) Grow more role models. Encourage them to be visible.5) “Someone like me can be successful here?”6) Tell people you believe in that they can.7) Tell people you believe in that they are there becauseof their skills. (no one likes being a diversity stat)8) Find ways to be true to self AND successful.9) Look at whether your processes/systems discriminate.

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