Diversity & Inclusion

This diversity survey could help transform Philly’s tech community

Stemming from Philly Startup Leaders' controversial Diversity Dinner last year, a collective of local stakeholders is looking to collect data on inclusivity.

The survey was one of the action items from last year's Diversity Dinner. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The August 2018 topic is Technologists of Color. These stories highlight the contributions of technologists and entrepreneurs of color across Technical.ly’s five markets.

Before a problem can be fixed, it must first be diagnosed.

When it comes to grappling with racial and gender diversity in the tech industry, the roadmap to getting Philadelphia’s startups looking more like the city they’re in starts by knowing where the community stands. Without an abundance of precise stats to measure how big the gap is, no solution can be truly effective.

In a bid to help orient diversity, equity and inclusion discussions in the city, and stemming from a frustration-driven discussion at last year’s Diversity Dinner and the events leading up to it, a coalition of stakeholders just launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benchmark Survey, which seeks to gather data and help inform the path to bridging inequities in Philly’s expanding tech economy.

The collective behind the five-minute survey is led by diversity-focused nonprofit Open Access Philly, with participation from Philly Startup Leaders, tech startup Guru, Mogulette and Media Bureau, Inc.

Stimulus founder Tiffanie Stanard, who is also co-organizer and head of marketing at Open Access Philly, said the group gathered input from thought leaders while putting together the survey, which gathers anonymous information on tech companies’ diversity and inclusion initiatives, board composition and other inclusion-geared data points.

“This will help us understand where we are,” Stanard said. “Our hope is that this will let the Philly startup community take action on diversity and inclusion.”

Take the survey

In an age where data is currency, Stanard said there are no plans to sell the data gathered. Companies with 60 percent or higher participation rate will get access to detailed data and comparisons.

Representatives from organizations that fill out the survey will have the option to participate in diversity workshops to address specific areas for improvement.

The survey is open to all tech industry employees, founders, investors and executives. Stanard said they expect to receive around 1,000 responses.

But if the local data community has taught us anything, it’s that data is meaningless without proper analysis and framing. Thus, the true impact of the survey will not be measured on how many data points it gathers about Philly tech companies but the action it inspires. We’ll be watching.

Companies: Philly Startup Leaders

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