The Extra Effort in Tech Diversity

With Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a backdrop, I’m hoping tech startup ecosystem leaders everywhere took some time to reflect and think about the future. I’m hoping you asked yourself some version of this question,

“Am I genuinely and directly making as much of a positive impact to increase entrepreneurial success for all people regardless of their race, gender, sexual preference or physical disabilities?”

By making positive impact, I mean, do your efforts provide ongoing engagement for incremental opportunities to the broader demographic of people who want better opportunities but may not know how to find those opportunities?

Are you and your team making it part of your business culture to put in the EXTRA effort to broaden the landscape of opportunity for people who don’t look like you?

I’m not talking about the famous “Our doors are open to everyone…” strategy. I’m not talking about hosting a checklist of events with no ongoing engagement. These are indeed good starting points, and we certainly applaud those efforts, but to really drive impact and move the needle there has to be the EXTRA EFFORT.

I know it is really challenging to consistently make that effort to reach beyond your comfort zone, especially when life appears to be going great. I totally understand that, but let’s not use that as the excuse that we tell our families, our kids for why we didn’t do our part!

Make no mistake, I am talking to ALL of my peers across all demographics to step up their game, but let’s be real, I am reaching out to the many white males who deep down want to do better but for a variety of reasons just have not yet made that effort.

So today, I’m reaching out to you, not in desperation, but as an impassioned and genuine colleague, to help you make the extra effort. Here are 4 things you can do today to become a difference maker.

1) Commit yourself and your team to the EXTRA Effort to authentically serve a broader demographic of people than you currently are.

2) Search and find great partner(s), whose mission aligns with yours and whose team you really respect and can enjoy working with.

3) Be intentional in establishing a culture of diversity, which starts with your team. From the talent you recruit, the programs and activities you engage, you need to be thoughtful in your efforts. Don’t know how, reach out beyond your typical network.

4) As leader, you must have unwavering long term commitment. Achieving an authentic culture of diversity is not an overnight project.

There is so much untapped tech entrepreneurship talent out there ready to be unleashed, but many just don’t know what they don’t know. You/your team have a ton to offer, but like them, you don’t know what you don’t know in terms of how to plug in. You need to find a new partner(s) to help you with this extra effort.

Just don’t know where to start, reach out to me, I’ll do my best to steer you in the right direction.

Today, You need to be true to you, to your friends, colleagues and your family. Be part of the MLK Jr Legacy. Be the person and team that empowers all people to thrive and succeed.

I’ll leave you with these words from the great Martin Luther King,

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Let’s stand together and make the EXTRA EFFORT today! Let’s provide access to opportunity to many talented and deserving individuals regardless of their race, gender, sexual preference or physical disablement.

Monica Morales