Diversity Makes Us Stronger

Relationships are the true currency—as Melody Biringer, founder of WiT Regatta, says. 175 speakers, 100 volunteers, 46 supporting organizations and more than 1,000 people not only witnessed this firsthand last week at the annual WiT Regatta in Seattle but experienced it as well. Women, and male allies, united last week to learn, grow, network and build relationships—and it was a truly powerful week of connection and conversation. Last year, the WiT Regatta was a one-day event and it has grown to a full five days in Vancouver, BC, Seattle and Amsterdam. Each day was packed with two-hour sessions, one hour of discussion and one hour of breakouts among attendees, throughout the day.

“My goal for you this week is to leave with at least one friend that you can build a true relationship with,” said Biringer to #SEAWIT18 attendees.

…all industries need to support women and diversity in tech

This week was powerful and unique because it wasn’t your ordinary conference. Attendees weren’t learning about best practices in the tech industry or the upcoming trends in technology. The conversations and sessions were vulnerable, daring and uncomfortable in the best way. They were the conversations we shove under the rug to avoid confrontation. They were the conversations that need to happen—because in order to create REAL change, these topics and issues can no longer be shoved under the rug. From sessions like “What Would Chad Do?” to “When Women Turn on Each Other,” speakers not only shared advice and insight, but they told their stories—the real, raw and gut-churning stories that left you angry, sad, excited and sometimes in downright awe.

One major takeaway, of many, from WiT Regatta was the realization that all industries need to support women and diversity in tech. Why? Because let’s be real—technology is a major player in our day-to-day, and soon (some may even say now) our world won’t go round without it. With the lack of diversity in tech, it’s actually harming the development of technology and our future. Diversity brings unique perspectives, new ways of thinking and makes an idea, or product, stronger because of that. And all industries should care, and support, because this reaches all of us (and before objecting, think about that smartphone, app or computer you use daily).

So, how can we all contribute?

Show up.  Attend events like WiT Regatta.

Listen.  Hear what these women, and male allies, in tech have to say and learn how you can help make a difference. If that doesn’t do it or you need more, ask! Make an effort to reach out and connect with a leader in the industry that’s willing to sit down and go deeper into these issues with you.

Act.  Once you’ve shown up, listened and learned, take actionable steps in making a difference or fueling more diversity in tech and leadership. If you’re not in a position to take the actionable steps needed, then encourage and support. Mentor someone in tech, or interested in tech, encourage a friend to take the opportunity in tech they may be hesitant about.

Regardless of the industry or position you’re in, you can make a difference in supporting women and diversity in tech. We all can.

Kendall Davies
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