Cloudability is working with Diversity Tickets in hopes of diversifying the voices that make up the FinOps community. Diversity Tickets helps event organizers offer ticket and travel grants to tech events to provide professional development opportunities for members of underrepresented groups in tech.
Intentional Representation in the Tech Sector
Our aim in offering these scholarships is to diversify conversations, access and experiences related to FinOps and the tech industry. Intentional engagement that seeks to include diverse voices and perspectives within tech is a necessary part of the journey to create inclusive spaces in the industry.
One of the most powerful and comprehensive depictions of the tech industry’s lack of diversity and inclusion is the Kapor Center of Social Impact’s report The Leaky Tech Pipeline. The study offers a critical and holistic summary of the industry’s ecosystem related to underlying causes of racial, gender and socioeconomic disparities. The 26-page report (which I highly recommend reading in full) emphasizes six points of intervention to strengthen workforce diversity and inclusion:
- Increase equity in K-12 education
- Expand computer science education
- Enhance pathways into technology careers
- Implement comprehensive D&I strategies within companies
- Increase the prevalence of diverse computing role models
- Create public-private partnerships to develop the future computing workforce
The framework and recommendations have a footprint in every engagement and relationship I’ve been fortunate to build on behalf of Cloudability. Now that we’re launching our first user conference, I’m thinking about how we can also use this framework (particularly points five and six) to bring greater representation to our conference.
I’ve experienced firsthand what it means to seek representation, and the impact of what it feels like to experience representation. I’ve found pride, recognition and identity in learning about Arlan Hamiton, Founder of Backstage Capital, and her mission. I’ve witnessed the work and impact of Kimberly Bryant, CEO of Black Girls Code. I’ve worked with students from Tristan Walker’s (co-Founder of Code2040 and CEO of Walker & Co) Code2040. I have also been fortunate to observe and learn from Stephen Green, Director of Operations at Pensole Footwear Design Academy, and Founder of PitchBlack, an effort to connect black founders with mainstream entrepreneurial ecosystems all over the country.
Equally, if not more humbling and encouraging have been the moments BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) students and working professionals have identified me as an inspiration for them to commit to showing up in the workforce authentically and advocating for their identity and voice.
One moment in particular comes to mind. In the summer of 2017, I hosted a group of university students. At the end of the visit, a student pulled me aside and said that seeing me as a reflection of himself helped him come to the realization that he, too, could earn a living in tech. His confession remains a driver for me to ensure that I’m visible to the community and others like him that seek representation.
Representation matters, and it must be increased in the tech space. More organizations need to be explicitly engaged in building relationships with BIPOCs, Latinx, LGTBQ, women, people living with disabilities, people of various socioeconomic status and other systemically underrepresented groups.
Our team at Cloudability has a vision for what we feel will ultimately make CloudyCon a success. Diverse representation is critical to our mission to deliver real world stories, expertise, and inspiration for and by FinOps leaders and practitioners within cloud financial management.
I hope you will all join me and Cloudability at CloudyCon in September.
Join us at CloudyCon
We believe that diversity strengthens any group, and this conference will be no exception. Tickets are now available for CloudyCon, but if you (or someone you know) should attend CloudyCon and may belong to an underrepresented group in tech, we would especially love to see you there!