I've been making more of an effort to get out more for these events. After all they are ubiquitous here in the Bay Area, and I'm sure people don't take enough advantage of it. Believe me, you'll miss it when you live somewhere that has them few and far between. Not only is DIVERSITY a hot topic right now in Silicon Valley, but there are some awesome people out there doing awesome things. I love being exposed to it. This panel was more dynamic and offered more inspiration and information than others I have attended. Far too many don't get past the initial hiring for representation discussion, which is extremely frustrating for me. When will people understand that they can recruit until the cows come home and still fail because they don't do enough to create the conditions where diversity thrives?
Note to self for the next time I host a panel: Curate the Q&As. This is not because I want to censor anyone by any means, but there wasn't enough time for other good questions because some audience members decided to take the opportunity to pitch their startups to the VC panelists for interest/funding. Really?! Here are three criteria for great questions:
This year, I got to attend the OCA National Convention's Professional Development Track. The topics covered weren't diversity specific, but they were surely relevant to today's business landscape: Dare to Dream, and the Tech Success Panel. One may wonder what makes a diversity forum necessary if the topics are general. The thing is, there is something special about starting the discussion from a common experience. This sets the tone for a dialogue that usually never sees the light of day in a general audience. There is nothing exclusionary about this. It's about giving voice and inspiration that is usually harder to find in other places, and creating an opportunity to connect and share them. In the same way affinity groups support and strengthen the members within the organization, diversity conferences do the same for the greater community. See below for my live tweets from the sessions.
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