Last week I attended Diversitech312, a speed mentoring and networking event for women and underrepresented minorities. The evening was presented by Mobile Makers Academy, Dev Bootcamp, Ms. Tech and Girl Develop It. I learned about DiversiTech312 while visiting the world’s town square, Twitter. Diversitech’s Eventbrite page said that the evening was especially geared towards, “women, people of color, members of the LGBT community and those with disabilities who are interested in a career in the tech sector.” The aforementioned are groups of people we tend to think of when we think about “diversity” and “inclusion.” However, this one statement led me to think about what the word “diversity” means.
As a black woman I am certainly an underrepresented minority in the tech sector (and, just about every other sector, but I digress). But, when attending tech events it is not just my gender and ethnicity that makes me an underrepresented minority at these functions, it is also my profession.
I feel more underrepresented at tech events as a PR practitioner than as a black woman. This is not to say that the tech sector is so diverse that it has completely wiped its “boys club” persona away. It’s still making baby steps and DiversiTech312 was a welcome step in the right direction. Nothing beats that awkward lull in the conversation that starts right after I mention that I am not a programmer, developer or the owner of a promising tech start-up. I am just a person with a keen interest in technology. Technology is the wave of the future and there are only two things you can do when you see a wave coming towards you – ride it or drown in it. Action or inaction, the choice is yours.
Everyone should attend technology events because technology affects us all. I shouldn’t feel out of place at tech events because I am not actively trying to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel. Diversity in technology is more than just diversity of gender or ethnicity, it is also about diversity in background. I encourage anyone reading this to ride the wave by attending a local technology event. It’s a great a way to meet new people and learn new things. Even if you have no interest in learning how to code, or you’re still trying to figure out how hashtags work, your presence and perspective are sorely needed because the apps, software, start-ups and initiatives created by the people who typically attend technology events were created for you, the consumer.
Below is look at what went down at DiversiTech312. Hope to see you at the next tech event!