The next discussion was focused on how Austin’s top entrepreneurs and tech professionals are driving diversity within their companies. The panel featured Angelica Erazo of Oracle, Janice Omadeke of The Mentor Method, Woan-Yoke Lau of KEY Concierge, David Fossas of WP Engine and was moderated by Virginia Cumberbatch of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT Austin.
Everyone candidly shared how they’re pushing the needle forward to drive tech and diversity to the forefront and the importance of being intentional when doing so. Erazo then emphasized how Oracle is serving the community and helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses.
“At Oracle, we’re providing support at every level. From partnering with local and national organizations to increase STEM outreach to supporting startups through our accelerator program. It’s important to not only take a stance, but move with intention and acknowledge where we’ve come and where we have to go.”
Ada-Renee Johnson and Shelley Clifford Geoffrey of Google led an insightful workshop on the importance of confronting unconscious biases and how they have navigated difficult situations to confront biases as black women in leadership roles at Google.
“No one gives you your voice, you give people your voice. Get comfortable with courageous conversations. Diversity and inclusion is not a destination it’s a journey. Invite others to join you because you can’t do it alone,” said Johnson.
Accelerate Your Promotion Velocity
Tanya Tarr of Advantage Spring spoke about the power of negotiation and shared how to seal the deal with every personality by knowing the best ways to communicate effectively by understanding your personality type. It’s no secret that women face pay inequality challenges and historically have been raised to not negotiate and that’s what she’s on a mission to change.
Promoting the Pipeline: Youth Entrepreneurship
The last panel focused on empowering young people to think differently, especially people of color, about tech, media and being entrepreneurs. The panel featured Laura Donnelly of Latinitas, Carl Settles of E4 Youth, Amber Wakem of Austin Startup Kids Club, Kristen Gossett of Junior Achievement of Central Texas and was moderated by Wendy Howell of Girls in Tech.
“We’re not giving these students a technical manual on how to be an entrepreneur, we’re showing them a style of thinking and presenting a mindset that they can use down the road,” said Gossett.
Thank you to the amazing speakers, partners, and sponsors who created this space to have the necessary and thought-provoking conversations on how we can work together to create a more inclusive ecosystem in Austin.
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