I was invited to speak at a Diversity in Tech session. Here is the letter they sent me.
Hello Jason, Marilenis, and Frances, I’m excited to welcome you to our Diversity in Tech session on Friday, 5/28 from 11 am – 12:30 pm, pacific time. Here is the Zoom link: https://fhda-edu.zoom.us/j/98722857610 I’m still finalizing the agenda for the day but here are some of the questions I am thinking of having you answer that day in our panel discussion.
- (10 min) Welcome and introductions
- (10 min) Introducing the topic of Tech for Social Good – I’m thinking of playing a short video clip or showing a few “known” examples in the news of how tech has been used for social good as a lead-in to the panel.
- (45 min) Panel discussion
- How did you get into tech and computer science? What was your education path to getting there?
- Please share what identities have mattered the most to you as you pursue a career in tech? How have those identities affected your path?
- On topic of tech for social good
What do YOU do to integrate tech and social good? How did you get involved with your work? What have you learned through this work? Did you experience any big challenges or mistakes? And how did you overcome them if you did?
- (15 min) Breakouts – I’m still working this out but I’m thinking we’ll have students choose whom they want to be in a breakout group with (among the 3 of you) and then I’ll have some guiding prompts but it can also be a little bit of a free-range discussion
- (10 min) Debrief and wrap up
Hope that all makes sense! Please let me know if you have any questions, feedback, or comments!
In 2017, when I first joined Techqueria, I was not the only Latinx person in the workplace. And that felt like such a blessing. I didn’t really see people like me thriving in tech or entering the field for my entire life until I joined Techqueria. Loneliness breeds isolation, and isolation breeds insecurity. It’s a feeling too many of us can relate to within the tech industry. I found people willing to elevate each other within this fantastic community without expecting anything in return.
More importantly, we need to change the social values of young Latinos so they can see themselves not just as consumers but as creators. Looking at the numbers, we clearly understand why it is essential to engage and align on this precisely. Let’s table social values for a second and just look at the numbers. By 2060, Latinos will reach 1/3 of the U.S. population. We are already the largest minority group and the largest non-white voting group. Studies show Latinos are some of the fastest adopters of new technologies. We over-index on the use of smartphones and social media, and we are more likely to own the latest smartphone or tech gadget, compared to our peers.
Now, if we look at the tech industry, the United States is the largest tech market in the world, representing 33% of the total, or approximately $1.6 trillion for 2021. In the U.S. and many other countries, the tech sector accounts for a significant portion of economic activity. If you can enter tech, you can quickly generate a lot of wealth faster than in other industries like medicine or law. However, when you look at the intersection of Latinos in tech, we are represented in single digits in leadership and even at the individual contributor level.
Often more than not, the only time Latinos are in double digits at tech companies is when you are looking at the blue-collar service workers. They help maintain the offices and face uncertainty because of the new way we work now. Right now, young Latinos don’t see themselves represented as creators but are consuming a lot of content fueled by these tech companies. So given this increasing interest in tech but our lagging numbers in the tech workforce, I think it would help a lot to have the media work to represent Latinos in more of these roles. Doing so would change social values to motivate more young Latinos to pursue careers in tech.
The link of the session is here.
The YouTube video is here.
After the session, I received this letter.
Thank you Letter
Dear Jason, Marilenis, and Frances, Thank you all so much for joining us today for our Diversity in Tech series. Your words and experiences were so helpful to me as I work with students, and I do believe they all walked away with nuggets of wisdom. I’ll be processing the video and will post to our webpage and I will send you that link after that’s ready. I look to stay in touch with you all, and appreciate your accepting my first reach out in LinkedIn! Have a wonderful long weekend, and I appreciate your support, Sophia.