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Practical Diversity: Creating Space to Be Awesome

Practical tips for improving diversity & inclusion in your organisations, with a focus on creating environments in a broad variety of people can be themselves and be successful

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Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
PRACTICAL DIVERSITY: CREATING
SPACE TO BE AWESOME
Marching Towards Diversity event
July 2017
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/3667608102/
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
I’m A Bit of a Diversity Statistic
 Woman… (working in tech)
 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 South Africa.
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
My childhood
was FULL of
signs like these
Horrible & horrific
but impossible
to escape
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
I CANNOT DENY THAT PRIVILEGE
In fact, the most useful thing I can do is assess,
understanding & acknowledge that privilege

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Practical Diversity: Creating Space to Be Awesome

  • 1. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager PRACTICAL DIVERSITY: CREATING SPACE TO BE AWESOME Marching Towards Diversity event July 2017
  • 2. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/3667608102/
  • 4. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager I’m A Bit of a Diversity Statistic  Woman… (working in tech)  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 South Africa.
  • 5. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager My childhood was FULL of signs like these Horrible & horrific but impossible to escape
  • 6. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager I CANNOT DENY THAT PRIVILEGE In fact, the most useful thing I can do is assess, understanding & acknowledge that privilege
  • 7. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check out the original article from Peggy McIntosh: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html In Apartheid South Africa, ALL systems were set up to actively & blatantly give advantage to white folks and disadvantage non-whites. We are less good at spotting this when it isn’t so blatant.
  • 8. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “We have to aggressively, and uncompromisingly, attack the pernicious lie that the technology industry is a meritocracy. Perpetuating this myth only serves to bolster the egos of those who have succeeded already, at the expense of saying that people who are underrepresented in tech today aren’t present because they aren’t good” – Anil Dash
  • 10. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager NOT DISCRIMINATING IS IMPORTANT Legally, if nothing else
  • 11. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager BUT TOLERANCE IS A TERRIBLE WORD Would YOU want to be tolerated?
  • 12. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WOULDN’T A FULLY INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT BE BETTER? PROTIP: Helps Everyone!
  • 13. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Diversity is a Spectrum Active hatred & discrimination (*isms) Micro aggressions Indifference Active inclusion Tolerance
  • 14. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “A micro-aggression is telling young boys that they are very smart, and telling young girls that they are very pretty. ” - Faruk Ates @kurafire
  • 15. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager So How Do We Move Right Way? 1. STOP allowing underprivileged groups to be pushed away (actively/deliberately OR passively/unintentionally) 2. START building actively inclusive environments
  • 16. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager EVERY ROLE IS CAPABLE OF VIRTUOSITY
  • 17. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE NEED TO STOP LEVELLING PEOPLE OUT TO EQUAL CONSISTENT MEDIOCRITY AND INSTEAD FOCUS ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF DIFFERENCE
  • 18. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE RESOURCE UNITS
  • 19. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE ARE COLOURS … OR FLAVOURS WE ARE BETTER IN COMPLEMENT, IN CONCERT WITH EACH OTHER
  • 20. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 21. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE JUST NEED A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 22. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 23. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WHAT IF WE THINK OF PEOPLE AND ROLES AS A MATTER OF CASTING?
  • 24. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager HOW DO WE ASSEMBLE A GREAT TEAM WITH COMPLEMENTARY ABILITIES?
  • 25. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 26. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Craft Inclusive Environments 1. Am I EXPECTED here? 2. Am I RESPECTED here? 3. Can I BE MYSELF and BE SUCCESSFUL here?
  • 27. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager IT’S TEMPTING TO FOCUS EXTERNALLY, BUT STRIVE TO GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER FIRST (AUDIT & UPDATE POLICIES, TRAININGS, ETC)
  • 28. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Some Things That Work… (some of these surprised me)
  • 29. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check the Signals You Send • Logistics matter – do all your events exclude people in particular groups? (e.g. those with caring responsibilities) • People can’t judge your intent – only your actions (you can harm without meaning to) • Language matters (what default are you assuming?)
  • 30. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Reduce Fear Increasing opportunities is worthy & important. But reducing fear is equally so. (tips: reduce impact of failure, risk of humiliation, acknowledge risk IS DIFFERENT for those in underprivileged groups)
  • 31. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager EDUCATE YOURSELF & OTHERS ABOUT PRIVILEGE & IMPLICIT BIAS If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll keep getting what you always got
  • 32. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 33. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Privilege = Difficulty Setting of Game of Life http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/
  • 34. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Implicit Bias Very interesting Harvard research into implicit bias – we don’t realise it, are not ACTIVELY but rather PASSIVELY discriminating There is a site with tests you can do that reveal your bias: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
  • 35. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager http://xkcd.com/385/
  • 36. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check If Systems are Loaded Companies that assess effectiveness / performance and then AUTOMATE pay rises based on this tend to reduce the gender pay gap. One interpretation: “Pitching for a pay rise” inherently favours men, who tend to be more confident in their abilities and more comfortable talking up their results. Shy/humble guys suffer too.
  • 37. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Johnny Clegg They taught us to forget our past And 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.
  • 38. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager MOST ADVICE READS AS “BE MORE LIKE A STRAIGHT CIS AMERICAN WHITE GUY” Finding a way to be successful and still be yourself is important
  • 39. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 40. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 41. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager VALUE THE WHAT OVER THE HOW Know when people need telling what to do (Hint: it’s not often) Help them get what they need the rest of the time (Hint: not just someone else telling them what to do) Learn, practise, use coaching skills
  • 42. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Frame Guidance Altruistically • Advice which focuses on how to “do better for yourself” has a very limited appeal. (a la “steal more pie”) • Altruistic advice (a la “bake more pie”) appeals to a much broader audience (including non- individualistic cultures…)
  • 43. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager When We Reframed Networking…
  • 44. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager As much as 40% better Much energy is spent if you have to hide your private life, or pretend to be something you’re not
  • 45. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Role Modeling Matters • When a woman presents/represents at recruitment events, more women apply • When you present a monoculture, people make assumptions you won’t like
  • 46. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “Did You Always Know You Wanted to Be So Senior?” Men leaders tend to say: “Yes, I always knew I could do more.” Women leaders tend to say: “No, but my mentors believed in me, and I trusted they were right.”
  • 47. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager The Most Important Question Best predictor of recruitment AND retention? Someone’s ability to agree with: “Someone like me can be successful here”
  • 48. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Practical Diversity 1) Assume fear. Understand risk. Then focus on reducing. 2) Advise people to bake more pie, not steal more pie. 3) Understand & educate about privilege & implicit bias. 4) Connect people with role models. 5) Grow more role models. Encourage them to be visible. 6) “Someone like me can be successful here?” 7) Tell people you believe in that they can. 8) Tell people you believe in that they are there because of their skills. (no one likes being a diversity stat) 9) Find ways for ALL to be true to self AND successful. 10) Look at whether your processes/systems discriminate. Fix.
  • 49. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Craft Inclusive Environments 1. Am I EXPECTED here? 2. Am I RESPECTED here? 3. Can I BE MYSELF and BE SUCCESSFUL here?
  • 50. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager GO! SHAPE/MAKE SPACE BE AWESOME BE INCLUSIVE And thank you for participating  Need help? meri@chromerose.co.uk
  • 51. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  • 52. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager

Editor's Notes

  1. Rachel in Friends