If you want a more diverse workforce, stop talking about it and actually do something to get there.
That’s what DreamIt Ventures managing director William Crowder said at a panel on increasing workplace diversity during the sold out Philadelphia’s 8th annual Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference (ETE).
For example, if you want more engineers of color, you have to change your recruiting tactics: reach out to different schools or cities, he said, and “meet [these groups] where they are.”
“It’s surprising how many companies are unwilling to even take this simple step,” said Crowder in a follow-up email to Technically Philly. Crowder runs the minority entrepreneurship DreamIt Access program.
Organized by Fort Washington-based mobile development consulting firm Chariot Solutions, the conference is traditionally heavy on the technical with talks like “Scala’s Slick: A Library For Functional Database Access” and “BackboneJS and The Holy Grail: Client and Server” that attract its developer crowd from throughout the East Coast and beyond.
The very act of having a diversity panel at an enterprise technology conference shows the evolution of inclusivity in technology — and the fingerprints of ETE lead organizer Tracey Welson-Rossman, who is well-known in local tech circlces for her work on women in tech efforts.
During the panel, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems also pointed out that there’s more to workplace diversity than diversity for diversity’s sake.
From a business standpoint, you could be missing out on major markets, she said. If your company lacks diversity, it might make you miss out on certain demographics. Take for example, black Americans, whose buying power was nearly $1 trillion in 2011, Daniel said, referring to a Huffington Post article.
Here are three other conversations at ETE that caught our attention:
- “Hack culture like it’s software,” said author Dan Mezick. Read software engineer Jon Moore‘s notes on his talk “Culture Hacking: How to Make Work Productive and Fun.” Hacking culture means “get people to tell new stories,” Moore noted.
- Creating web apps for iPad with Chris Converse. Find his notes here.
- Four ways to measure your agility, according to software developer Ken Schaber, as noted by developer Joe Leo.
Corinne Warnshuis contributed to this article.