Last week we hosted our Diversity in Tech event in partnership with Aviva. The event was hosted at Aviva’s groundbreaking Digital Garage in Hoxton Square. With over 120 guests filling the room, Caroline Prendergast, HR Director Digital and Asia at Aviva opened the event with a warm welcome.
Our moderator for the event was our Founder & CEO, Suki Sandhu. Over the years since inception of Audeliss and OUTstanding, Suki has worked with some incredibly successful leaders and we were honoured to have the following experts on our panel of speakers:
- Tom Daniell, Marketing Director at Aviva
- Piers Linney, Entrepreneur and Investor
- Hayley Sudbury, Founder of WerkIn
- Dhiraj Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Shazam
Our panellists first introduced themselves, sharing a bit of information about their own experiences regarding diversity in technology. The event was then very much an interactive setting with guests able to ask questions to the panellists at any point.
There were a few key points from the event which we found insightful and provided food for thought for those that attended.
Unconscious bias – How do we to tackle it?
CEOs and leadership teams need to recognise that biases do exist and should feel comfortable both discussing it and challenging it.
Quotas and metrics
Some businesses still have 100% male representation in certain areas. Without providing that push to create a more equal workforce, how will it ever change?
The role recruiters play
The fact is there are fantastic diverse candidates out there. Recruiters just have to find them. Suki commented, “Our industry is good at lowering the bar. Competitors are telling clients it’s harder to attract and engage diverse candidates but it’s not. They just don’t want to do the work.”
Balancing corporate commitments to diversity with freedom of speech
If organisations can be clear on that when they are recruiting, then they should only be attracting people that stand for those same values. Then freedom of speech should not be an issue because people are all working to the same agenda with the same values in mind.
Influencing the next generation
Quite a clear message that came across was all the panellists’ ambitions to work to influence younger generations. Piers commented, “It’s a 20 year issue. We can’t fix it overnight.”
The importance of role models
The panel all agreed on the importance of role models. Piers feels having role models would definitely help the issue, “When people see people like them doing what they want to do, it lets them believe they too can do it. If young people are not seeing role models that they can aspire to be, they give up.”
Our experts gave their final piece of advice to all of those championing diversity.
“There are a lot of large organisations that are trying to raise profiles of these groups. Listen to them. Give them a budget. Make them visible.” Piers Linney
“We all have to be really conscious of the reality of the role we are in and being conscious about the decisions we are making.” Tom Daniell
“I encourage you all to be brave and try something different.” Hayley Sudbury
“Being a role model is an act of choice.” Dhiraj Mukherjee
Thank you to all those that joined us at this event. We hope you enjoyed it and we look forward to the next one.
We’d also like to thank Aviva, for partnering with us and hosting the event, as well as our panellists for making the event the success that it was. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us all.
We’ve put together a key learning document to summarise this event. If you’d like a copy, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org