#MovetheDial is an organization that seeks to increase the participation and leadership of women in tech. On November 7, they launched a Global Summit in Toronto bringing together more than 1,000 leaders, women in tech and youth. Their goal was to inspire and empower a new generation mindful about fostering an inclusive technology ecosystem in the world.
Earlier this month we sat down with two TELUS Digital employees who had the opportunity to attend the summit. We were curious to see if the summit had any impact on them.
What were your feelings going into the event?
Jessie: Many of the conferences that I had previously attended were often focused on product strategy, innovation in technology or personalization for customers. While all of these things are important, I had little exposure to speakers who discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I was excited at the prospect of listening to and having conversations with companies that had been successful in implementing initiatives in this space.
Veronica: I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to a conference focused on advancing women in technology or one focused on diversity and inclusion. I was excited to hear from experts in the field and hoped to take away learnings or tools I could use in my day to day work.
What are key takeaways you would want to share your when you’re back at the office?
Jessie: My first takeaway was that to #MoveTheDial, we need to we need to engage the entire workforce. Allies are incredibly important to the movement.
ASK others about their experiences, LISTEN with empathy, SHOW UP by being present and engaged with the conversation and SPEAK UP as an advocate.
My second takeaway came from Bo Young Lee (Chief Diversity Officer at UBER). Her talk started off with a somewhat controversial statement: “Assume you are racists, sexist, ageist, etc”. She believed that when we assume we are vulnerable to bias, we will consciously find ways to overcome it.
My third takeaway came from Sabrina Geremia (Head of Canadian Operations at Google). As companies continue to grow, the need for tech roles increase. Traditional jobs are being evolved into ones that require a higher degree of technical knowledge. Companies need to view jobs as changing and skills as migrating. Businesses should start implementing more strategic learning using training platforms to re-skill and upskill their current workforce.
The importance of intersectionality cannot be overlooked. Everyone is different and everyone has different needs. We need to be allies to each other.
A constant theme throughout the day was about going out of your way. Going out of your way to do what’s right - speak up and show up. Going out of your way also means to create connections or advance another person. For example, Salesforce talked about how to be an ally. There are many different ways you can become an ally, whether that’s as an ally to women, the LGBTQ+ community or ethnic minorities. It’s important to show support in different ways for different people as no two groups are alike. Some of the ways that you can be an ally are by asking about other people’s experiences, seeking to understand their perspective and stretching our ability to be empathetic, physically showing up and showing our support for each other and calling other people in so they can also understand
What does #MovetheDial mean to you?
Jessie: #MovetheDial has become an amazing avenue to engage with those who are doing incredible work in increasing the diversity in the tech industry. We can encourage our leaders in our own companies to start investing more heavily into upskilling, mentorship and reviewing hiring processes. I look forward to bringing back these learnings from the summit and implementing them at TELUS Digital.
Veronica: #MovetheDial is a lot bigger than an organization. It’s a call to action in our day-to-day lives. What can you do to move the dial for someone in your network? Identify what can you personally do to make a difference for someone else and do it. As Damiem Campbell (Chief Diversity Officer at eBay) put it, are we contention keepers or convention breakers?
Chantelle Sukhu is the Editor of the TELUS Digital blog. She uses her content toolkit to help her colleagues communicate their passions, and drive meaningful conversations. When she’s not editing, you can catch her blogging about mental health or stirring up a good cocktail. Twitter @chantellesukhu