Inclusion in the Tech Industry (LEARN, original)

Dennis Slade Jr.

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Inclusion in the
​Tech Industry

Inclusion in the
Tech Industry


Who Am I?

  • Dennis Slade Jr.
  • 22+ years experience in web & desktop applications, software support, and training
  • 12+ years experience with PHP/MySQL  and similar technologies (sdphp.org)
  • 30+ years providing tech support to Mom

Hi, Mom!

It's a Hot Topic...

Diversity refers to difference. As such, diversity is a property of groups, not individuals. Diversity refers to cultivating talent... An individual cannot be diverse, but groups of individuals (e.g., the scientific research workforce) can possess diversity.

- Kenneth Gibbs, Jr.

What is Diversity?

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is a call to action within the workforce that means actively involving every employee’s ideas, knowledge, perspectives, approaches, and styles to maximize business success.

- Shirley Engelmeier

Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported. It’s about focusing on the needs of every individual and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve his or her full potential. Inclusion should be reflected in an organization’s culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.

- Royal Bank of Canada


Diversity and inclusion work together managers make staff decisions based on fairness.

What is Inclusion?

Why should companies strive

for diversity/inclusion?

Diversity of experiences and viewpoints helps companies better navigate the rough times


More viewpoints leads to more ideas, increasing organizations' creativity and bettering their solutions


Companies without diverse staff often make embarrassing mistakes

What are Stereotypes?

Stereotypes are characteristics ascribed to groups of people involving gender, race, national origin and other factors. These characteristics tend to be oversimplifications of the groups involved, however.

- Nadra Kareem-Nittle

What are Microaggressions?

Microaggressions are intentional or unintentional slights - based on cultural/gender/age stereotypes - that serve to invalidate the group identity of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, or otherwise communicate that they are lesser human beings.

- Derald Wing Sue

The Tech Industry's Inclusion Problem

Male/Female Imbalance (Did you know that the first "computers" were all women?) [*]

Underrepresented ethnicities [*]



The Tech Industry's Inclusion Problem

Male/Female Imbalance (Did you know that the first "computers" were all women?) [*]

Underrepresented ethnicities [*]



Issues in Hiring

Most jobs are found through networking,
not job listings


Most recruiters & HR depts look to the same places. (No imagination, lowest perceived risk/reward ratio)


Looking only for "Culture Fit"


Stereotyping of candidates

Issues in Hiring

Social Media: Some good, mostly bad and ugly


Better to know a company doesn't hire your "type" rather than waste your cycles trying to get hired by them


Wish List: Color-blind hiring (Blendoor)

Issues in Hiring

Are you changing your career path? Did you have a big employment gap due to family illness or raising your child?


Don't Panic.


TELL YOUR STORY. Getting hired is all about effectively telling your story.

Issues in Hiring

Know the differences between:

  • Startups
  • Established private companies
  • Corporate/public companies
  • Nonprofits & educational organizations
  • Government





Issues in Retention

Not being in the "In" Crowd that hangs out after work.


Company culture based on beer & pizza


Management valuing the opinions and promoting only certain types of employees



Diversity at Conferences

Mirrors the issues seen in hiring and retention


You might be the only one of your "type" in the room


The movement to ensure diversity of panelists and speakers

How Can You Help?

If you see non-inclusive actions/practices happening where you work, speak up about it to your manager, human resources,
​or "The Boss"


Actively recruit diverse candidates (from your networks, schools you've attended, conferences) to apply for jobs where you work.

How Can You Help?

Volunteer with programs that promote tech skills/knowledge among girls, women, and underrepresented minority groups


Agree to be a panelist at a conference only if the diversity level of both the panel and conference meet your minimum requirements.

Networking for Introverts

  • Read Susan Cain's book "Quiet" [video]
  • Arrive early to networking events
  • Consider being an organizer
  • Always have your LinkedIn, GitHub, and
    website up-to-date

Networking for Introverts

Create a business card which does some networking for you

Thanks for listening!

Dennis Slade Jr.
• Mail: tennisbear@gmail.com
• LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/dennissladejr
• Twitter: @DennisSladeJr


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