Diversity and Inclusion at SXSW 2017

This year’s SXSW conference kicks off this Friday, March 10, with Shireen Mitchell and I talking about diversity! Well, okay, we’re not actually the opening presenters (in fact we’re not on until the afternoon) but still, if you’re there on Friday, you should totally come to our presentation :)

We’re not the only ones talking about diversity. Here’s a list of over 30 diversity-related sessions — please let me know if there are any I missed!

March 10

Baking Inclusivity and Accessibility Into Software (Holly Gibson, Sara Inés Calderón) Creating accessible technology is not expensive, complicated, or by any means impossible — so why not do it? We will demonstrate formulas for baking accessibility into existing technology without much cost, and guide you through building a simple web application with accessible features. 11 am

Funding Our Future: Investing in Diverse Startups (Denmark West, Erik Moore, Valerie Mosley, Ashley Hunter) This panel consists of some of the very few Black investors within the venture capital industry. Hear their views on how to increase the capital needed to support the growth and diversity of startups. Additionally, we will discuss how to engage more diverse chambers of commerce as resources for connecting startup founders with capital. 12:30 pm

The Business Case for LGBT Equality (Karrie League, Franz Paasche, Jim Green) Over the past two years, there have been bills and ballot initiatives proposed and passed that eliminate non-discrimination protections or that explicitly authorize discrimination by individuals, businesses, and state and local agencies. How can the tech industry make a strong business case for equality to defeat these measures? 12:30 pm

Swiping Right on Inclusivity with Tinder & GLAAD (Nick Adams, Sarah Kate Ellis, Sean Rad, Zackary Drucker) In 2016, Tinder worked with GLAAD, the LGBTQ media advocacy organization, to update and improve its gender identity features for the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. Today, Tinder users can break beyond the labels of “man” and “woman” by identifying with any term that best describes their gender identity. We’ll discuss the reaction to Tinder’s update and what this means for the future of trans people and dating. 12:30 pm

Diversity-Friendly Software (Shireen Mitchell, Jon Pincus): It’s time for software to embrace differences (not just tolerate them), and see diversity as a strength. This session discusses current examples, “best practices” that teams can immediately leverage, and emerging ideas from projects that have focused heavily on diversity. We also discuss the challenges and how to overcome them — and chart a path to the future. 3:30 pm

Disrupted: Ending Bro Culture and Bias in Startup-Land: Dan Lyons — tech journalist, former Silicon Valley screenwriter, and author of the New York Times best-seller, “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble” — lays out a vision for how startups can make the world a better place, starting with their own employees. 3:30 pm

Can Affinity Investing Solve the Startup Bias? (Paul Grossinger, Max Thomas, Patience Marime-Ball, Rachael Foo): Increasingly, affinity investors provide investment, networks and business guidance to founders based on a personal affinity (e.g., minority community, alma mater, gender, LGBT, etc.). Given the growing reliance on early stage investors for support from money to mentorship, we’ll look at how affinity investors play an ever larger role in supporting founders who would otherwise be outside the mainstream, including the case for affinity investing and how it provides a successful model for the future of angel investing. 3:30 pm

March 11

5 Wicked Lies Standing Between You and Diverse Teams (Diane Flynn, Sandy Carter): Debunk the lies and build a framework by leveraging men and women- especially empathetic dads of daughters, returning techie moms and more for the best 2.0 workforce, with five truths to help you excel in innovation. 9:30 am

Coding While Black (Janice Bryant Howroyd, John Hope Bryant, Tess Posner, John Wilson) Inspired by a Storify post about TechSquare Labs CodeStart and Techhire initiatives entitled, “A day in the life of a young black male engineering “coding” student”, this sessions explores the intersectionality of learning to code (hack) while simultaneously having to learn to hack life that includes navigating institutional bias on a daily basis. The panelists will discuss their experiences in working with underrepresented youth and how cities, companies and coding bootcamps can effectively serve this demographic. 9:30 am

Inclusion and the Digital Neighborhood (Kathryn Finney, Bret Perkins, Kimberly Bryant): Panelists will discuss how innovation can be paired with inclusion; current efforts to jumpstart the next generation of minority Technologists; and the tools available to help black and brown entrepreneurs succeed. 11am

Inclusive Design in an Exclusive Industry (Liz Jackson, Carrie Hammer, Catherine Kast, Izzy Camilleri): Imagine dressing for an interview or a date, and being limited to the kids or geriatric section? Not cool. People who use wheelchairs, have disabilities or different body types often find themselves with this choice. So, why doesn’t the fashion industry design for the more than 53M American teen and adult consumers that fall into this category? Today, you’ll meet passionate activist designers who are doing just that — creating custom clothing for people of all sizes and body types. 11 am

Arts + Inclusivity: a Hip Hop Story (Isaiah Acosta, Sally Gilotti, Torben Bernhard, Trap House): Hear firsthand from Phoenix rapper Trap House and documentarian Torben Bernhard who, through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals charity, were connected with Isaiah Acosta, 17-year-old aspiring rapper who was born with out a jaw and unable to talk. See how they used music and film to give this teen a voice — a social platform of his own — and how this story contributed to the charity’s goal of raising funds and awareness for children’s hospitals. 11 am

Black Valley: Increasing Tech Internships & Jobs (Jarvis Sam, Paul Hammonds, Cheryl Wade, Terrence Lockett) Black Valley begin when Paul Hammond, Lusenii Kromah and Dakari Franklin were head to Silicon Valley to begin their summer internships at some of the world’s largest technology companies. Now, with a network of more than 540+ interns, they are making their case to companies to create more internships, apprenticeships and jobs for men and women of color. Hear their thesis to make this happen. 11 am

Building Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems (John McElligott, Nicole Jones, Emily Dowdy, Rodney Sampson) Our thesis is that significant investment from large corporations, foundations, local, state and federal government agencies, colleges and universities and private investors in comprehensive inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship and investment initiatives will add over $500 billion in market value to the tech industry and could increase our GDP by up to 1.6%. 12:30 pm

Don’t Dis My Ability: Universal Inclusion (brittany déjean, Josh Gottesman, Israel Matan Koch): Beyond charity or checking a box — engaging people with various abilities does more than enhance your business. Come for a reality check to see people with disabilities as human beings and understand the value they bring to the workplace. 12:30 pm

Breaking the Diversity Code: With the CEO as CDO (Adam Quinton, Shari Slate): How can your company break the diversity code? One clue may be found by considering a revolutionary idea: should your CEO be your Chief Diversity Officer? 3:30 pm

Beyond Brogrammers: Diversity in Tech & VC (Anthony Heckman, Matthew Cooper, David Blumberg, Tanis Jorge): It’s diversity vs. conformity as these panelists discuss what kind of impact straying from the tech stereotype has had on their brands and investments. 3:30 pm

Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Women, Weed & Business (Giadha DeCarcer, Ashley Picillo, Diane Czarkowski, Wanda James): Seemingly overnight, women have risen the ranks and continued to outperform men in this ever changing, tumultuous industry. As cannabis continues to gain legal and social acceptance, it is women who are leading the charge, and paving the way. This session, led by female canna-business owners, will discuss the challenges overcome and the opportunities abound for women who want to be involved in the world of marijuana. 5 pm

March 12

Can She Say That? Women Creating Civility Online (Jane Fleming, Nuala O’Connor, Rebecca Fernandez) While there are many threads we can pull about the role of the internet community in fracturing debate and in reinforcing the most extreme views, this all-star, all-female panel will present the broader question: When private companies become public squares online, how can we build communities that bring out the best in their members? 11 am

Diversity in Tech: Readiness to Recruitment (Julius Pryor III, Kofi Kankam, Maya Beasley): This panel is focused on addressing the readiness and recruitment of early to mid-career people of color in tech for an audience of key stakeholders. Recruiting and student preparatory experts, an academic and diversity consultant, and an industry chief diversity officer will explore and debate challenges which are hampering efforts as well as propose solutions for attendees to implement in their own lives. 12:30 pm

Can Congress Help Tech Diversify? (Belinda Guadarrama, Hakeem Jeffries, Nanette Barragan, Dawn Jones): Many tech companies are working hard to create a more diverse workplace, but can public policy quicken this process? This panel will explore the diversity in tech, diversity in government and the policy implications of each. 12:30 pm

A City’s Pathway to Inclusion (Muriel Bowser) Learn from mayors of large technology hubs on how they are working to forge new paths towards inclusive economies that support thriving tech & innovation ecosystems in a way that creates equitable opportunities for underserved populations. 3:30 pm

Hacking the Script: Disrupt Diversity in Hollywood (Courtney McCarthy, Gina Rodriguez, Jon Spaihts, Wendy Calhoun, Yara Shahidi): Top entertainment actors, producers and influencers will discuss how they have begun to change the discourse, practices and decision making processes from where they sit in the industry. They will share how technology, entertainment and media can start to tell different stories that feature more diverse people as protagonists, to create new on-screen realities. 3:30 pm

A Dream Deferred: Undocumented Millennials (Ainee Athar, Jason Finkelman, Mayte Lara Ibarra, Saba Nafees) In 2012, undocumented immigrants won a major victory with President Obama’s announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Four talented, ambitious, and nationally-recognized undocumented millennials will discuss how they have challenged the public perception of the 12 million undocumented immigrants through the use of innovative advocacy tactics, digital organization, and story sharing. 3:30 pm

Diversity Now: Pushing Boundaries Forward (Caio Baptista Antonio, Jessica Tauane, Maira Liguori, Rafaella Gobara): This panel makes the case for a 360º diversity strategy in the branding from the inside out. We have a great case from Avon that is leading this conversation in Brazil (its biggest market and the world’s deadliest place for LGBT) that is proving to their consumers that a bbcream is not just a beauty product. It’s also a tool to empower minorities. 5 pm

Neurodiversity Secrets for Innovation and Design (Morgan Benton, Nicole Radziwill): Although “universal design” and “inclusive design” approaches seek to create things that are usable by everyone, including the neurodiverse population, they fall short. We examined 60 engineering design approaches, and through the lens of neuroergonomics, we’ve created a canvas that can be used by designers and others to enhance the design process and unlock innovation. 5 pm

Latinos in Tech Solving Wealth Disparity Gaps (Betty Salanic, Ramona Ortega, Sean Salas, Tony Aguilar): The number of Hispanic owned businesses is 4.1 billion as of 2015 and has grown at double the rate of non-Hispanic owned businesses since 2002. How are Latino entrepreneurs using Fintech to build solutions to address real issues facing communities of color, particularly financial wellness, student debt, and access to capital? 5 pm

Asian Americans Break the Silence and Stereotypes (Phil Yu, Christine Minji Chang, Dante Basco, Jenny Yang): Asian American Pacific Islanders (API) have been underrepresented, stereotyped, or whitewashed in mainstream media & left very much invisible. This panel will gather some leading API creatives to discuss the layered issues behind the challenges of being pegged as “unmarketable” by Hollywood & proof of how our stories enrich & entertain a universal audience & impact our world. 5 pm

March 13

#DisruptiveDiplomacy (Arezoo Riahi, Claudia Galvan, Tina Shakour, Lucie Newcomb): TechWomen offers a disruptive approach to diplomacy by offering mentorship to hundreds of women from Kenya, Palestine, and Kazakhstan, and other developing countries, at innovative companies and non-profits based in Silicon Valley. Nearly 1,000 participants from more than 20 countries have been united by their passion for STEM and mission to make an impact on their communities. 9:30 am

Pathway to Increase Diversity in the Outdoors (Alanna Sobel, Jose Gonzalez, Melanie Mendez-Gonzales, Rue Mapp): Diversity and inclusion in the outdoors and heritage sites can foster a new generation of stewards, educate about cultural heritage connections, and combat health disparities like obesity. This panel highlights diversity and inclusion advocates who work to inspire people to connect and reconnect with the outdoors and heritage sites; share their own experiences through digital engagement; and support conservation education. 12:30 pm

Authentic Muslim Voices Tell Their Stories (Camille Alick, Fawzia Mirza, Maryam Keshavarz, Parisa Barani): Current events and how they are presented in the media shape our global perspective. Hear how artists and others from Muslim cultures are finding their voice and making themselves heard. 12:30pm

Stay Hungry: Increasing Diversity with Food & Hip Hop (Candace Queen, Darian Harvin, Elle Simone, Syreeta Gates): While ethnic minority enrollment in culinary schools has increased slowly, black chefs are still not highly represented in high-level positions or in mainstream restaurants. Hip-hop serves as a tool of familiarity when introducing kids, particularly those in inner city neighborhoods to the possibilities of the culinary arts world and food in general. 12:30 pm

The Future of Work: How to Innovate with Inclusion: Pinterest’s head of diversity Candice Morgan will talk about her journey to Silicon Valley and the lessons she’s learned while building a diversity and inclusion program from the ground up. She’ll share insights on recruiting underrepresented talent in a competitive market, creating a sense of belonging on teams and influencing decision-making. 12:30 pm

Disasters in Diversity: Disability in Media (Day Al-Mohamed, Lawrence Carter-Long, Susan Mazrui): Using examples from popular culture and a dash of humor, disability experts at the intersection of technology, film, and media will discuss how to develop authentic disabled characters and stories. 3:30 pm

March 14

(No) All Girls Allowed (Niki Manby, Marianne Wu,Trina Van Pelt): There’s been a shift in the balance of influence in the corporate VC world with the rise of female leadership, where nearly all of the top 50 firms in the nation have women in their senior investment ranks. Hear from some of the top women leaders in corporate venture capital, from GE Ventures, Intel Capital and Citi Ventures, discuss how they are empowering young, ambitious women to advocate for change in the corporate venture capital industry. 11 amHow to Fundraise Without Silicon Valley (Carolyn Rodz, Nicole Sanchez, Earl Robinson, Sarah Koch): How can we level the playing field for women-entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color to fund, grow and scale their thriving businesses? Learn both investor and entrepreneur perspectives on what it takes to build and back inspiring companies and bring the deal process to life for diverse founders. 3:30 pm

March 15

#YoutubeSoBrown: Diversity & Digital Storytelling (Fawzia Mirza, Puja Mohindra, Aymar Jean Christian, Ian Thake): This panel explores how the digital space can foster new & diverse stories, as well as explore the challenges, rewards & responsibilities that come with telling these stories. 11am

Shifting the Diversity Dial in Dance Music (Justin Medcraft, Lanre Bakare, Louisahhh, Rebecca Jolly, Honey Dijon): Diversity and inclusivity in dance music have become buzzwords in recent times, but the overwhelming majority of the world’s highest paid DJs are still white men and many in the scene seem to have forgotten that the culture we cherish and celebrate was created by marginalized groups as a form of self expression, tolerance and acceptance. 2 pm

Music Industry Development and Diverse Communities (Sean McManus): How do we balance championing the artists best positioned to have success in the market, with the full diversity of the region we represent? This can mean supporting minority language communities to find their specific audiences, helping Indigenous artists manage the duality of marketing within their communities and outside of them, and helping diverse communities reach mainstream audiences. 2 pm

Why Tech Must Lead on Diversity and Inclusion Now (Melinda Briana Epler, Wayne Sutton): Now more than ever is the time for the Tech Industry to stand up for inclusion across America. In our session we’ll discuss key findings in working with leading tech companies on diversity and inclusion and share strategies for taking action now. 3:30pm

March 16

How to Monetize Diverse Audiences Online (Kendra Carter, Bobby Sahni, Carl Williams, Matthew Yazge, Rochelle Holguin): Our conversation will look at positive messaging, visual cues, and more to effectively communicate to different multicultural groups. We will discuss how an artist or brand can generate additional revenue streams by providing a responsible and respectful campaign to diverse audiences (Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans, Inter-racial, LGBTQ, etc). 5 pm

March 17

The Future of Inclusivity in Modern Gaming Culture (Anna Prosser Robinson, Dorothy Ferguson, Steven Place, Rodger Saffold) Hear from gaming industry experts as they share strategies for improving mentorship, curbing online harassment, and promoting STEM education. Even if you aren’t in the video game industry, this discussion is important to anybody in the modern workplace. 11 am


Originally published at A Change Is Coming.