Can technology, including AI/machine learning, help address workforce diversity issues? Companies like SheWorks!, tEQuitable, Atipica, Textio and Pluto are just some of the startups trying to do this, but they have deliberately made this part of their mission. There are also companies like LinkedIn which announced this week it is using AI to recruit more diverse candidates. However, when leveraging technology, some companies may not realize that they may face bias issues they had not predicted, as we saw this week with Amazon. The recruitment engine the company used showed bias against women. More than 50% of HR managers in the U.S. said “artificial intelligence, or AI, would be a regular part of their work within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder,” so this is something to continue to monitor. Ultimately I think what this also shows is that you need diversity on the management and development side to create viable solutions.
Google and Facebook announced that they are funding a machine learning course in Africa. This is just one example of how companies are trying to address these challenges but there is a lot of work to be done as diversity in tech continues to be a significant issue.
It was great to see that CES listened to the concerns last year on the lack of diversity as Lisa Su, chief executive of AMD and Ginni Rometti, IBM’s CEO, were named as keynote speakers. Also, read this from Black Enterprise titled “Black and Brown Tech Innovators and Enthusiasts Gather for Bigger, Better Techconnext conference.”
In other news, CNBC wrote about how Latino owned small businesses are “turbocharging growth,” I love this from the New York Times done to celebrate the International Day of the Girl and called #ThisIs18 and the Google Doodle honors Roberto Clemente
Finally, ICYMI here is one of my favorite ads this year, from JetBlue, celebrating Puerto Rico.
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Feels like a great morning when you wake up to a Google Doodle honoring Dr. Virginia Apgar for her contributions to neonatology and to read that Heineken USA named Maggie Timoney as its CEO – which as AdAge mentions, shatters the industry’s glass ceiling. This follows the announcement earlier this week that Mellody Hobson, which as Black Enterprise points out, “is one of the most respected and knowledgeable black business leaders” will become vice chair at Starbucks when Howard Schultz steps down at the end of the month. This is all welcomed news because there is so much work to be done.
As you may have read, Google employees spoke up about their concerns regarding diversity. Here is this from CNN: “Google employee confronts execs over diversity: Many of us feel ‘unsafe.” This is an important story to follow, not only about Google but about the tech industry in general. Oh and Google voted the proposal down. Read Fortune’s CEO Daily for more on this. Here is a great read on what needs to happen to drive change, as this LA Times story says, as “diversity fatigue has set in.” There are a number of programs and initiatives trying to address this issue. Thank you Silvina Moschini for sharing this titled “How this coding bootcamp is helping women land tech jobs at Reddit, Facebook and Amazon.”
On the entertainment side, you may have read that Variety’s “A Night in the Writer’s Room” event because of its lack of representation of women. Read more on his this unfolded on Twitter. You also may have read about The MACRO Episodic Lab Powered by The Black List.
One of my favorite Twitter accounts to follow is @writersofcolor – where opportunities and diverse talent connect because as the twitter bio says “we don’t want to hear *I can’t find any* ever again, okay?”
ICYMI “12 Quotes To Motivate CMOs To Make Diversity A Priority.”
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I’ve had the honor of working with many Hispanic-focused organizations throughout my career and have been following the turmoil at two of these leading Hispanic-serving organizations closely. USHCC CEO stepped down following claims of “sexual and financial improprieties” and Fernand Fernandez has been named interim CEO as the organization conducts a search. The League of United Latin American Citizens faced its own turmoil. The embattled, elected president of the organization decided not to resign following controversy resulting from a letter he sent to President Trump which led to the CEO, who has been at the helm of the organization for 30 years, to resign. Here is a good piece from Suzanne Gamboa on how things transpired. LULAC was one of the first clients I worked with at Fleishman-Hillard as they were holding the conference in Dallas, Texas in the 1990s. We will have to wait and see what happens but it has been very moving to see the many comments on social media about the important impact Brent Wilkes had during his tenure at the organization. LULAC and USHCC have done great work for our community and it is disappointing to see this turn of events.
The current turmoil at these two organizations is concerning to say the least as the community faces so many challenges. Raul Reyes has this great piece in The Hill touching on this. Having said that, there is great work being done by these and other Hispanic-serving organizations including NALEO, UnidosUS (formerly called NCLR), MALDEF, Latino Donor Collaborative and professional groups including Prospanica (formerly called NSHMBA), HNBA, SHPE, and ALPFA to name a few. It is unfortunate that the issues facing two groups are taking away from the important work being done.
This story from PBS stating that cities are “pitching their diversity in order to lure businesses” caught my attention. It’ll be interesting if diversity plays a key role in Amazon’s decision for its second headquarters.
Other headlines this week include NLRB siding with Google and this from NBC regarding NASCAR’s two milestones this week as “Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. and tire changer Brehanna Daniels will make history during the Daytona 500 race weekend.”
Did you think I would ignore the premiere weekend of Black Panther? Of course not! This headline from the New York Times says it all : ‘Black Panther’ Smashes Box Office Records and Hollywood Myths. This from Peter Rubin is an important point and here is this from CNN. Here is also this Letitia Wright profile in Vanity Fair. One of my favorites moments was this one, when Serena Williams surprised Black Girls Code students.
This week don’t miss Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro as it celebrates its 30th anniversary. Read more here.
Finally, ICYMI, here is this great Makers interview of Yai Vargas from Latinistas.
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Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day, a day which has become a national day of service. I was in New York and all the volunteer projects available at New York Cares were taken, which speaks to how for many this is not a day off. Here is some history on how in 1994 Representatives John Lewis and Harris Wofford made this a “day of action, not apathy.”
This week Black Enterprise released its 2018 50 best companies for diversity. Here’s the list. In addition, here is some very interesting data from a recent BlackEnterprise.com study conducted by XpertHR of human resource professionals:
- Approximately 25% of respondents said they were “very or extremely challenged by developing a culture of inclusion;”
- 29% said they had similar difficulties in “recruiting a more diverse workforce” and
- 33% cited challenges in “increasing minorities in leadership roles.”
Keeping with the workforce diversity theme, Matthew Glotzbach, CEO of Quizlet, published this piece outlining the four ways his team is increasing workforce diversity. This is very focused on recruitment, which is key, but it’s also important to remember that inclusion is critical for retention. Last year The Kapor Center for Social Impact released a report which found that “women, blacks and Latinos are far more likely to quit jobs in tech than white or Asian men.” Read more here. Talking about diversity in tech, here is this from the San Francisco Chronicle titled “Rwanda is pushing gender diversity in tech. Should Silicon Valley take notes?”
Today the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released its 2017 National Directory of Latino Elected Officials. NALEO found that 6,600 Latinos are serving in elected office, up from 6,011 in 2013, an increase of nearly 10 percent. Here is the release announcing the findings.
These past few months I’ve been impressed with how Google has celebrated the contributions of diverse individuals. This morning was no exception as a number of posts on Twitter alerted me to today’s Google Doodle commemorating Katy Jurado who, as Time Magazine states, was “a groundbreaking Mexican actress who built a Hollywood career without sacrificing her identity” on the day that would have been her 94th birthday. She once said, “”I didn’t take all the films that were offered — just those with dignity.” Here is this interview of her talking about working with Grace Kelly. One more Google story, according to Remezcla “Google Just Launched One of the Largest Digital Collections of Latino Art & History.” Read more here.
Talking about representation, here is this piece in the New York Times titled “Guess Who’s Coming to ‘Peanuts.” I see this as a great example of the importance of representation and it shows how to do things in a way that drives engagement without alienating other audiences.
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