Tech Inclusion Seattle: Conference, Career Fair & Startup Showcase

Event Reflections

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Thank you, Women Who Code for choosing me to receive a free ticket to attend the Tech Inclusion Seattle: Conference, Career Fair & Startup Showcase! I always wanted to go. I am a non-traditional student. I am a mother and a student. Now I am a grad!

tech inclusion logo

Thank you Melinda Epler and Wayne Sutton from Change Catalyst for the warm welcome address.

Conference & Startup Showcase

photo of a slide about women in the workplace

One of the enlightening talks I heard was about the pipeline from  Saara Romu, Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, Bill & Melinda  Gates Foundation. We often read in the news that companies say they have a pipeline problem  but when you look at the data women are near 50% at entry-level roles  and greater than 50% are qualified for the jobs but that number goes down because  men are promoted 30% more than women and so women stay in the same roles  for more than 5 years. Of course, you are not going to see women in higher roles if we do not get the chance to get promoted to those leadership opportunities.


Scott Hanselman talked about diversity versus inclusion. "Diversity  Is Being Invited to the Party; Inclusion Is Being Asked to Dance." Scott has podcasts. I enjoyed "Hanselminutes" and "Get on the Coding Train with Processing  and Daniel Shiffman." I appreciate the links from the show. I surely could have used The Coding Train's "GitHub Issues" when I was first learning how to use  GitHub!

Leslie Miley, president of Venture for America, talked about "few  people speak truth to power." It was eye opening from my place of privilege to hear him speak about racism and corporate culture from the inside. When we go along with racism we are complicit too.

photo of memebers on a panel

"The Role Of Policy and Government in Tech Inclusion" must have sounded boring to many but it was the most energetic! It featured David  Molina, Sophia Lee, William Tamayo, David Harris, and Elisa Young. We were given a copy of "IXL  Learning Sued by EEOC for Retaliation Employee Fired for Posting About  Discrimination on, Federal Agency Charges." Bill Tamayo, District Director,  U.S. EEOC has worked tirelessly for those discriminated against in the workplace. Elisa Young talked about Policy 188 and that in the state of  Washington technology must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. David Harris talked about the City of Seattle's Tech Hire  Initiative which was part of President Obama's White House National Jobs  Initiative. Last year they trained over 350 people and hope to place 2000 people in tech jobs by 2020. Sophia  Lee talked about Washington won't discriminate (No on  I-1552). This initiative concerns gender segregated facilities. Washington has great protections for the transgender community. David Molina, Founder and Executive Director, Operation Code talked about the  "VET-TEC Act" and getting funding for veterans to get coding skills.

Negotiation Skills for Women and Minorities: Getting Paid What You're  Worth" with Stephanie Peirolo and Jessica Eggert. It is true that women do not like to apply for a job unless they are 100% qualified while men apply for jobs they are only 60% qualified for. If your starting salary determines how much you will make over your lifetime it is really important to start out strong!


Career Fair


photo of poster with companies names on it The career fair was attended by 15 outstanding companies. It was great to get to know them and learn more about what roles they are hiring for now and in the near future. Thank you so much for the headshots from MK Studio|Kevin Inthatpandith. They look great and your photographers made all of us feel special! photo of Debra Ward

For me, the Tech Inclusion event was a great way to learn about inclusion and leave with takeaways that I could use. After listening to others I feel like I realized just a little what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes.  Some of my teachers were pretty strict on using alt text and now I can see the reasoning behind it. Everyone should be able to utilize the internet and not wonder what is on the page. Our unconscious bias is always there but we can change. People just want to be treated fairly. Go out there and make a difference!

Written by Debra Ward. Original post published here.

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