Final Tech Inclusion Conference Scholarship Winners

One of our goals is to make the Tech Inclusion Conference available and inclusive to everyone, and with that being said we’re providing scholarship opportunities. To date, we have received over 100+ scholarship applications to attend. Today we’re kicking off our weekly scholarship winners for the conference. Each submission was asked to answer the question “What solutions would you like to see for diversity and inclusion in tech.”.

This week winners are the following.
Bryan Twarek
Jordan Brown
Sarah Foregger
zahra kanji
Teni Ayo-Ariyo
Lori Shepherd
Lydia Montagnese
Kimberly Ellis
Zeeshan Khan


Some of their solutions for diversity and inclusion in tech are below:

1. Visible leaders of all backgrounds on stage at events and in board rooms at every organization
2. Board rooms where age, race, gender and orientation diversity are recognized as assets and honored by listening with respect as we all choose to engage
3. Someone in the room who notices the flow between all people and speaks to hidden biases, offering an opportunity to address invisible barriers and risks from a lack of divergent thinking
4. Equal pay for equal work across all backgrounds and demographics
5. Creation of new positions where soft skills and alternative community outreach are valued as much as financial/commercial results (grassroots organizers, boundary spanners, chef/community care specialists, elders in service)
6. Upfront and honest conversations about inclusion in honest, upfront places like restrooms, conference registration lines and on social media for those who cannot get to the room due to barriers to entry
7. Willingness to take more risks in hiring for leadership/management positions where

In media production there are times when there is only one woman in the room, the “diversity” hire. I’ve been there. Less than 15% of TV shows and 2% of films are directed by women. Women producers, writers and comedians face similar odds.

While tech companies and STEM fields have worked to help women rise and create, women leading media productions has declined since the 90s with less women given the greenlight and a pay gap that’s far worse than other vocations. I’ve watched so many of the most talented women media makers struggle hard to get DIY cred only to never be honored, recognized or even paid for their work.

More ways to help women who are in tech companies feel at home before they leave the field. I myself faced 3 harassing situations at 3 different places of work and felt so discouraged and alone and finally felt I did not belong in the field.

I would like to see more tech based minority owned businesses. Companies that are have the potential to change the world and give a genuine perspective of underrepresented communities. I would also like to see more major companies with minorities in the C-Suit. I think companies have the ability to grow and expand with better and diversity and inclusion is the key. I want to be a contributor in my generation by lifting as I climb in my continued pursuit of self betterment.

While bootstrapping my own startup, I’ve realized that I would like to be taken more seriously by the men in the field. I’ve had terrible experiences, being ignored or talked over by men when I am trying to get my idea out, and then seeing them take other men more seriously when approached with an idea.

I suppose the only solution to this problem is having a place where women entrepreneurs can teach each other how to be more confident when approaching people about their startup idea. Because of all of the negative experiences I’ve had, I’ve kept to myself in building the product when I want to be able to talk to potential investors. I’d love to be part of a group where I can find a female mentor to guide me through these business steps and show me the best way to be confident when presenting my goals to others.

Congrats Eva and Travis, we’re looking forward to meeting you at the Tech Inclusion Conference. We’re still accepting Tech Inclusion Conference scholoarship submissions here:

TECH INCLUSION Conference, September 11-12th
Exploring innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion

Conference Organizers: Melinda Epler and Wayne Sutton

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After much consideration, we have chosen to discontinue Tech Inclusion events. Empovia (formerly Change Catalyst) is now focusing exclusively on learning and development solutions that drive inclusive and sustainable change.

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