102: Let's Rewrite The Dialogue About Women In Tech

I would like to live in a world where the fact that I'm a successful, female, minority member in technology is unremarkable. Rather, I'd like successful ladies in technology to be so common that we converse more about the specifics of our accomplishments and current projects than how we ended up in tech.

The fact is that we're not there yet, and we have a LOT of work to do. I'm a woman of action, so today I'm going to talk about what I'm doing to promote diversity and equality in my company, on my team, and in my community.

My Company

I work for Salesforce, and am proud that my company is committed to Equality for All.
 

Equality for All, which means working together to create a world where everyone has equal rights, equal pay for equal work, equal access to education, and equal opportunities for success.


In our annual equality and diversity report we break down our employee demographics and the change from year to year. My company is taking action too improve these numbers by adopting new inclusive hiring principles, supporting Employee Resource Groups (Ohana Groups), and educating our employees about the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace.

I'm a data nerd, so the numbers in this report excite me! If I were to bucket myself by gender and race, this is what it'd look like.

Hi, I'm Lindsey. I'm an Asian American (23.87%) women (30.92% company | 21.39% technology), individual contributor (no one reports directly to me), in technology sales.

These numbers are representative on my team and in my past industry experience in technology over the better part of the last decade. The good news is that we're making strides in the right direction, and our numbers are improving every year.

My Team

In addition to taking part in our local Ohana groups, I've taken charge of driving awareness on my team by coordinating events, sharing content, and starting conversations. Below are a few ways that I keep our diversity and equality initiatives top of mind.
 

  • In October, I facilitated a guest speaker to promote equality initiates and talk about what it means to be a good ally.
  • I'm working with my team to put on food sharing events in the office to learn more about one another through sharing lunch/recipes.
  • I'm posting to our team forums (chatter) content that features research and drives awareness about diversity topics. One post included a test that measures our emotional intelligence.


My Community

In addition to supporting the Next IT Girl, I volunteer with Dress for Success in Indianapolis. Where I help women who are looking for work get prepared for interviews and working towards improvements in their careers. The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

What was most eye opening in getting to learn more about the economic impacts of helping women advance their careers. We did an exercise to show how much on average it costs to live in Indianapolis, factoring that our fictional woman had an infant and a toddler and was the sole provider for her family. After all the estimates were calculated it was eye opening to see how our young professional mom was over -$2,000 at the end of the month with conservative estimates for food, travel, personal care, etc. We then calculated the assistance she was eligible for and while temporary, she was still a little over $200 in the red each month. That's why programs like Dress for Success are so important to improving outcomes for women struggling to improve their family's economic situations and I'm so excited to be part of it.

Are you working toward lifting others up too?!
What are ways in which you're answering the call to make out work places more inclusive of women and minorities? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. If you're inspired to join me, feel free to reach out and I'm happy to connect with you.

 
 
 

Carrie Birge is a former museum professional turned tech worker who spends her free time exploring the great state of Indiana, volunteering, enjoying the outdoors, and raising two mediocre cats. She is a featured columnist in the #1 ranked fan-run hockey paper in the NHL and an avid karaoke singer. In retrospect, she's probably more of an Amy March than a Jo March. 

Lindsey lives in Indianapolis and works for Salesforce as a Solution Engineer. Which is a fancy way of saying she helps her team by performing consultative technical sales demos. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a Bachelor of Arts in Metal smithing and Jewelry Design, but departed from the arts after discovering her passion for technology and people. In college she found herself working at the IT help desk in which catapulted her career in technology and later in consulting. When she’s not working; she enjoys art museums, cooking, coloring books, podcasts; and riding bikes. You can follow her on Twitter or instagram @linji.