Porter Novelli

sxsw 2016Facebook’s Diversity in Tech session led by Maxine Williams – their Global Director of Diversity – was particularly insightful. As an organization whose goal is to literally bring the world together, Facebook prides itself on finding talent that mirrors the world around us.

So many minorities and disadvantaged groups don’t have a seat at the table (in tech and otherwise)—this is due to a lack of opportunity not a lack of ability or interest. Key takeaway: invest in diverse talent earlier.

SAYING WE “DON’T SEE DIFFERENCES”, DOESN’T HELP, IT HURTS

  • Don’t use “-blind” as a suffix. When we say we’re “color-blind,” for example, we diminish the richness and value that encompasses that identity.

INVEST IN TALENT EARLIER

  • Underrepresented groups often experience key learnings and opportunities later than their majority counterparts. The most successful talent is given the opportunity to succeed (or fail) earlier
  • Facebook’s TechPrep – a resource for underrepresented groups and their parents is at the forefront of reaching minority tech talent earlier
  • Facebook University continues the relationship with these underrepresented groups and guides them into the tech space, offering an environment in which these individuals can learn about technology in a space specifically created with them in mind, not as an afterthought

Over all, this was a particularly insightful look into diversity and the strides we still need to make. Maxine was truly passionate about the discussion and industry-defining changes regarding diversity in tech. including Facebook’s public roll out of a Managing Bias training course, piloting of the company’s “diverse slate approach” (akin to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule), and the launch of TechPrep, a resource hub for Blacks, Latinos and their parents and guardians.