Throughout this past week I took the opportunity to attend several webinars as a part of the Women Impact Tech Connect virtual conference. For those of you unfamiliar, Women Impact Tech (WIT) is an event series that brings together women engineers with companies that are committed to inclusion and innovation. I really enjoyed hearing the discussions and advice given by female tech leaders on things like applying emotional intelligence to the tech workspace, how tech can be used for good, and the importance of embracing diversity among other topics. Here, I am going to share some of my takeaways.
Even though I’m new to the tech industry and these talks seemed to be targeted towards leaders in tech, so many of these points can be applied to anyone whether you consider yourself a leader or not. Empathic communication, promoting diversity, and standing by your values are important no matter who you are or how much “power” you have in or outside the workplace.
There were several talks on this subject but I attended the one with Christina Tanouye of Facebook, Marla Rabin of Iterable, Karen Casella of Netflix, and Pooja Paliwal of Teladoc Health.
I found my main takeaways from this webinar dealt with communication. It’s important to be mindful of different types of communicators and to maintain an empathic candor. When you don’t know something, view this as an opportunity to learn by asking questions. Not only can you learn something new, you can build trust and confidence in the process. It may seem counterintuitive but asking questions shows your peers that you are okay with being vulnerable which more often than not makes others more comfortable with being vulnerable themselves. In the same line of thought, asking questions when you don’t know something makes people trust you when you do speak confidently about something. On the other side of this coin, when someone else asks a question or otherwise shows vulnerability, it’s important to be open-minded and listen with intention. Through better communication, you can be more innovative with more perspectives and foster a sense of community where everyone feels valued.
The speaker for this event was Carey Jenkins, CEO or Substantial, a Seattle based company that specializes in creating digital products, customer software, games, and IoT innovations.
I was particularly excited for this webinar because creating a positive impact in the tech industry was one of my inspirations for changing careers at all. Technology has so much potential for good or bad and it was inspiring listening to Carey speak about the responsibility everyone has to promote diversity and inclusion.
The intersection of ethics and technology leads to the development of more compelling products and more conscious innovation. Technologies have not just a responsibility, but a mission, to design and build more intentionally with creativity, diversity, and the purpose to foster a more positive world.
When you think about what makes an individual, a product, or a company successful, you must also take into consideration the impact you are making and how you can make it ethical. Notice who is being included in important decisions and constantly promote a safe environment for people of different backgrounds to share ideas. Always consider what message you are sending with your actions.
While I attended many helpful events, I think these two left the most impact on me and I just had to pass it along. Even though I have just begun my career in tech, I can look to proven female tech leaders such as the ones featured at WIT Connect for inspiration and wisdom. Either way, I hope you found this article helpful and that you feel a little better about your own vital role in promoting inclusion and diversity. Are you or do you know a woman in tech that has inspired you? Please comment and share your story!