Diversity in Tech
By Andrew Harada Rowland
#RealDiversityNumbers is trending this week because the tech community has begun to take greater steps towards diversity in hiring. Google and Intel just announced $150-$300 million diversity campaigns. Reddit implemented diversity screenings and other measures designed to reduce discrimination. Companies have begun to release their demographic figures but progress is still incremental.
Here is how we think about diversity.
It’s part philosophical: Our students are the purpose and motivation behind everything we do. We want to build a company and world where every student has an equal opportunity to become a developer, community manager, product lead, etc., not a world that upholds the historic status quo. It’s also part pragmatic: new research demonstrates that diversity drives innovation and success. Simply put, we need team members with varying socioeconomic backgrounds to build effective solutions for our similarly diverse students and teachers.
I recently had the fortune to participate at the Entrepreneurs United conference where half the innovators in attendance identified as persons of color. I met successful and diverse entrepreneurs working in health, education, and venture capital. At panels and discussions, attendees asked really tough questions: “What is the script or playbook when I’m a black entrepreneur talking to solely white VCs? And who gets to write it? Who gets to access it?”; “How do I be my best self but also play by the rules of those in power?”; “What institutions have systematically held back people of color and how can they change?” I was inspired by these conversations. The progress made to date is just the beginning and I feel a duty to continue the change.
As we build our engineering team, Classkick can do more to ensure we reflect the people we serve. For us, the first step is taking a stand and making it a priority. Classkick seeks to maintain the following diversity by end 2015.
- Engineering staff ≥ 25% female, minority, and LGBT.
- Total staff ≥ 25% former or current high-performing educators teaching in low-income communities.
Currently, the Classkick team is 30% female and 40% great teachers from the communities we aim to serve (50% just counting our Chicago HQ office). We look forward to continuing to build diverse representation into the hiring and culture of our organization.