Join Diversity and Tech at Microsoft Ignite 2019
If you are headed to Microsoft Ignite this year, you’ll want to be a part of Diversity and Tech! Diversity and Tech at Microsoft Ignite seeks to empower people of all racial and cultural backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities to accelerate their technology careers and advocate for themselves at work.
If you happen to be around the Sunday before Microsoft Ignite, you can take advantage of the Diversity and Tech Pre-Day. The Pre-Day is an all-day excursion into how we can support and promote greater inclusion in our industry and gets us ready for the main conference!
Can’t make the Pre-Day but going to Microsoft Ignite? Throughout the conference the Diversity and Tech track will over more than 50 sessions around the theme of intersectionality. It’ll expand beyond the focus of gender, race, and accessibility to also include mental health and wellness, supporting military veterans and youth entrepreneurship. No matter what walk of life you come from, you’ll gain valuable understanding and knowledge you can use to better yourself, your career, and your community. You’ll even make some new friends on the way!
Why Does This Matter?
Let me give you three immediate reasons.
First, our industry is working every day at solving increasingly complex problems and with that, requires an ability to go beyond what we understand. This is where diversity and inclusion come into play. When an organization lacks diversity it can develop a limited perspective that harms the companies ability to adapt, compete, and profit. That means your staff are all likely to think the same, and succumb to groupthink versus independent evaluation. However, research shows that when companies are not only diverse, but also include those diverse voices in their work, they make better decisions up to 87% of the time. Diverse organizations are up to 35% more likely to have returns above the industry norm and a 15% increase in employee satisfaction. It’s not only good for business, it also makes economic and social sense.
Second, we’re in desperate need of more skilled technologists as unfilled jobs continue to increase. In cybersecurity alone, some estimates place unfilled jobs at 2 million globally by the end of this year. While we’re making efforts to recruit and get more interested, we’re losing talented women and minorities because of what they experience on the job from coworkers and bosses. The outward culture and marketing of many businesses make potential candidates feel uncomfortable and unqualified. Fixing this requires awareness into the biases, messages, and systems we have in place that could be affecting prospective and current employees.
Third, our identity is a major part of who we are both personally and professionally. When being ourselves becomes a threat to our career, our potential is reduced. When we do not feel we belong, we end up contributing less. When we assimilate into a culture merely to survive, we lose what made us the reason we were hired.
Now more than ever, our industry is in need of leaders and advocates who can see that the future is diverse and can help their companies and colleagues navigate toward a more inclusive future that brings our communities up and is empowered by the sea of voices and ideas that surround it. That’s where you come in. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive or an entry-level professional. We all have ways to contribute toward making our industry more diverse and inclusive. The future of our industry depends on it.
If you want to be part of that solution, then attending the Diversity and Tech is a great place for you.
My Thoughts From Attending Last Year
Need a testimonial? Last year when I attended, I saw an array of people from all over the world interacting and talking about ways they are working to make a difference in their organizations and in their communities. Through their actions they are making the future brighter for kids, teens, and adults and helping lift those up forgotten or never given a chance. Hearing their stories, their struggles, their achievements, gave me a better understanding in how they felt and how I might be able to help others in similar situations. It gave me ideas and tools on being a better advocate in my community and in my own career.
Most important… These people didn’t take who I was, where I came from, who I love, how I learned, or what I did into account in befriending me. They wanted to encourage and see everyone achieve their potential. We all wanted to learn from each other. It made a tribe of sorts that we all could keep coming back to throughout Microsoft Ignite and know when we felt we didn’t belong, it reminded us that we did.
Believe me when I say that such an energy and feeling matters more than you can imagine.
We all have something to contribute to the cause, so come join us and find your diversity superpower. If you can join us for the pre-day, be sure to register quick before the remaining tickets sell out. If you are attending Microsoft Ignite but can’t do the pre-day, you can still take part in over 50 various sessions planned through the Diversity and Tech track.
Look forward to meeting you there!
To learn more about the Diversity and Tech Pre-Day at Microsoft Ignite, visit:
Read some of the blogs from Shona Chee, the founder of the #DiversityandTech track and to see what else is on the horizon:
Even if you can’t attend Microsoft Ignite 2019, if this is still something that matters to you, be part of the conversation in the Diversity and Tech Community online!