Lindsey Siegel: Reimagining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Tech

21 minute read

Transcript

Anjana: [00:03:47] OK, well, to get started, Lindsey, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? We know you graduated from Chico in 2013 and have since held various different roles at different companies. What has your career been like so far? [00:04:02][14.3]

Lindsey: [00:04:04] My career, what does it look like so far? It’s been exhilarating. It’s been exhausting but fruitful. And I think the reason why that has been the case is, I’ve had many roles in talent management and I’ve been fortunate enough to get different experiences in that spectrum of talent management. So I’ve been in the recruiting space, I’ve been in executive leadership development, and now I’m really in fostering internal talent. At the underbelly of all of those things, diversity, equity, inclusion, really play a role. But I feel quite fortunate to be in the tech space, fortunate to work on interesting problems and to get paid a luxurious salary to do it. And so, it’s been fun. [00:04:56][51.9]

Epsa: [00:04:59] That’s awesome, could you, since you have been in the tech space and you’ve definitely dipped your toes in different areas of talent internally, do you mind sharing like a little story or experience maybe at Chico or post-Chico and one of your first jobs that really made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in creating a more diverse space in tech? And then could you touch on what you love most about your role today? [00:05:23][24.1]

Lindsey: [00:05:25] So I never thought I’d be in tech at all. At Chico, I was there for five years and I studied lots of things. I worked full time and I was also in a bunch of clubs. But my senior year I was really adamant on continuing on in the social justice space, social welfare, continuing on in activism work. And my plan was to move to Southeast Asia, specifically Burma, to work with refugees. But student loans are real. And my family also convinced me and said, Lindsay, yes, you’re learning about this, but A: you don’t know the culture, B: You don’t know the language. And while it’s great to have this view into life, it doesn’t always work out this way. Essentially, you can’t go save people. You aren’t a savior. That’s a very Western mindset to have. So I had student loans and I walked into a recruiting agency. Meanwhile, I’m interviewing with the ACLU, Vice News was very cool to me, and I remember interviewing and they said in that interview, We’d like to hire you. And I saw the offer, and I was like, huh? That is more money than I thought that I would retire with. The first role was like, OK, I just I have a job, I have health care, I’ll have money, maybe I can do this for a little bit. I was also in a long term relationship and that individual wanted to go to law school. So for me, it was like maybe I can start saving money to help them. Like, I’ll just try this out, see how it goes. But shortly after I it clicked for me and I realized that technology goes beyond social media like Facebook. It goes beyond us turning on Netflix like technology permeates our existence or at least my existence, I should say. And that’s when I was like, wow, I think I should have a space in this game. And when we first met, goodness, years ago, I had the opportunity to essentially own the inclusion workshop at Salesforce. And it was a four hour workshop designed for leaders to go through to learn about what it means to be an inclusive leader. I then had the opportunity to work with my my peers and really ensure that diversity and inclusion were built into all programs at the executive level, so it was amazing. It was amazing, but then I left and I went to Pivotal, which was acquired by VMware, but I owned the leadership development function there. And for me, it was like I owned leadership programs, but I baked in diversity. Like I was like, let’s ensure that there are 50 percent women and people of color in these trainings, but that there are folks globally represented in these trainings. And now that I’m back at Salesforce, I’m kind of bringing together that old world that I used to do with recruiting, mixed with the world of leadership development, mixed with the intentional diversity equity inclusion lens. So I feel like I’m in a role that blends everything I’ve done in the past. And yeah, the most interesting thing I’d say, though, is I’ve never actually been in a titled or function that is called DEI. I’ve never been in the Office of Equality. I’ve never done that. I exist in the world of human resources or people. [00:09:15][229.3]

Anjana: [00:09:16] So it’s really about the mindset, not the role title. And it’s like we just need more people, like, you know, that to go look in different places and to bring in different perspectives in just like any role, whether it’s recruitment or marketing. [00:09:30][14.0]

Lindsey: [00:09:31] Yes, that is the key. So many people are like I want to do this type of work and I’m like, you don’t have to be at all with a title around this. Actually we need you in the business. We need you bringing this lens to how we build products, into how we interact with customers, into how we sell the customers. Like we need this lens throughout the business and everywhere, everywhere. [00:09:58][27.0]

Anjana: [00:10:00] We need to take the bias out of hiring algorithms, when you’re using software that helps you recruit. You need that mindset in every role in tech, [00:10:08][8.9]

Epsa: [00:10:10] All the intersections. [00:10:10][0.1]

Anjana: [00:10:13] And you’re working on a project right now that bridges Black, Latinx and Indigenous U.S. -based talent to internal career opportunities, resources, programs and executive sponsors. What can you tell us about this project that you’re working on? [00:10:27][13.9]

Lindsey: [00:10:28] Yeah. Oh, so this this project holds near and dear to my heart. And really, it comes from this place first and foremost of questioning who we’re designing for, who are we centering programs around. And I think historically in organizations, we see programs that are centered around folks who’ve been deemed ‘high potentials.’ Right. And ironically, so often when we look at the landscape of who’s defined as ‘high potential’, ironically, sometimes people look the same. Programs are also created for managers, right, but we know when we look at managers oftentimes who’s getting promoted to be a manager and who’s not getting promoted to be manager, who’s deemed qualified or capable. So the intention behind this program design was to center it around folks who identify as Black, Latinx or Indigenous with the sole intention that we are providing access along the talent management spectrum. So I’ll give some examples. One is we know this community in this population, we’re already less likely to be in technology. Right, but we’re less likely to have access to certain things like resources, programs, tools. So the real goal here is to provide this community with those goals, with with lessons on how to play this game. [00:11:57][89.7]

Anjana: [00:11:58] What what do you mean by that? [00:12:00][1.9]

Lindsey: [00:12:01] The game… I use the word so often. [00:12:06][4.8]

Anjana: [00:12:06] Corporate America. [00:12:06][0.2]

Lindsey: [00:12:07] Corporate America,. [00:12:08][0.4]

Epsa: [00:12:09] It’s gamified. [00:12:09][0.0]

Lindsey: [00:12:10] It’s gamified, right. I like to think all institutions — in all cultures really — that there are rules. And the people define the rules. And this may be because I studied sociology, so this is really where the language is coming from. But Tech was created with certain rules. And we have to think about who historically was in the room and who is now in the room. Some of those rules need to be rewritten. So what I mean by this game is some existing rules are still in place that don’t really benefit everyone. And when I’m saying everyone, sometimes they don’t benefit Black, LatinX, Indigenous and other people of color. They’re really there to uphold white men in spaces. [00:12:56][45.5]

Epsa: [00:12:57] Could you describe those rules, but in different segments of milestones. Because I feel like pursuing a role at a company like this, it doesn’t just start from college, it’s almost before. So could you kind of describe those rules in like high school and then college and then postgrad and how you would describe that, if that makes sense? [00:13:16][19.3]

Epsa: [00:13:16] It does make sense. So we’ll start at the macro level. The [inaudible] center out of Oakland. I would encourage everyone to check out. They’ve been doing the work and I’ll define the work later on, but they’ve been doing the work, and it’s a community of folks who care about creating a more just, a more diverse, and more inclusive tech ecosystem. And a few years ago, they did a study and it’s called the Leaky Pipeline, and they have a framework. And it’s the idea that if we examine pre K through 12 higher education, tech workforce and entrepreneurship and venture capital, we’ll find that there’s all these leaky, leaky pipelines essentially happening right. For folks who don’t necessarily go to a higher added institution for whatever reason, I don’t think we have to double click into that today of the issues and problems with college and who has access and who doesn’t. [00:14:19][62.2]

Epsa: [00:14:19] We could unpack that for days. [00:14:20][1.3]

Lindsey: [00:14:22] For days, that’s right. But an example of a leaky pipeline would be we have folks who go the nontraditional route and go to boot camps. And these folks come out of these boot camps, knowing how to speak the languages that build these technologies. However, for some organizations and for some people, there’s still a stigma of going that route versus the higher ed traditional college route. And so the rules, the rewriting the rules would be like, hey, no, someone is fully deemed capable and qualified who goes to a boot camp. And I would even imagine and reimagine if we push that further, someone who doesn’t go to a boot camp, someone who doesn’t go to a higher institution, is deemed qualified, capable and has just as much potential as someone who goes to a boot camp or university. So, all of it, in my mind, will be flipped, it has to be flipped, and that’s what I’m so passionate about reimagining. [00:15:26][64.0]

Anjana: [00:15:28] That’s awesome. Do you consider then, like I know, a couple of months ago, Google announced that they were offering three, I don’t know, three or six month courses on Coursera for like project management, UX research. And they said that recruiters at Google would now consider that at the same level as a four year bachelor’s degree. So is that what you mean by, like, rewriting the rules? [00:15:48][20.5]

Lindsey: [00:15:50] Yes! And that that’s the kind of stuff where. I mean, it’s imperative that we go that route, if we don’t, we’re just going to create a more unequal world and we’re going to have issues that impact the world at a much greater scale when it comes to inequality. So I’m like, yes, Google. And we’re also seeing some organizations saying, like let’s do away with four year degrees. Let’s really not focus on IQ or intelligence, more emotional intelligence, so. Right. That’s the direction. [00:16:28][37.5]

Epsa: [00:16:30] Absolutely. That was some research that we were finding out about. I was talking to Anjana about how it is so beneficial and useful that there are other paths. But kind of what you mentioned, like people that go the nontraditional route with boot camps, when they enter the workforce, they still aren’t valued. So with this shift, with these certificates, how can workforces now with positions like yours really ensure the people that have certificates are being seen in the same way as those who went with a four year degree? [00:17:01][31.5]

Lindsey: [00:17:03] Yeah, that’s where, that’s the mindset shift that needs to happen at the top. So I think while I sit in a pool of optimism like, yes, technology, it will change. It has to change. Right. I mean, there’s still the other side of me that’s like — the number has not changed. There are still only, like on average, two point five percent of black folks in tech. And I’m staring at myself being like, OK, I’m one of those people. But this number has been a constant for years and as much money as all of these organizations have put behind all of these efforts, we haven’t seen a change, so something’s not working. [00:17:42][38.4]

Anjana: [00:17:43] Right, right. And we’ll touch on that later, and that’s so important. When we talked, Lindsey, you mentioned something you yourself are working on is answering this question of who are we designing tech for? And with the emergence of human centered design thinking, I don’t know if emergence is the right word, but with human centered design thinking, how do we start creating spaces for marginalized groups into the design process? [00:18:06][23.1]

Lindsey: [00:18:10] I think so often in the conversation of activism and allyship. The conversation has been around like there are people who’ve been doing the work — go to them to find the answers, and I think that same idea applies to tech. There are people who haven’t necessarily held diversity, equity, inclusion roles, but they’ve been fighting for this work. They’ve been doing the work. They’ve been going from organization to organization. And in my head, like, I have so many friends and mentors and advisors of my own that are popping up who who’ve been fighting in this space for so long. However, it’s it’s interesting now because you have all these folks who are, you know, really early on in their journey, wanting to get into this work, and they’re not looking to those who’ve been doing the work for a long time. Right. And that’s going to not create change. That’s just going to set us back more. And that’s, in my mind, just performative allyship, like take a backseat, let those who have been doing the work, really design the work. So that’s one component. The second component would be just as you mentioned, it’s really around centering who we’re designing for. That means redefining who’s capable, who’s qualified, what potential means. And then thirdly, I would I mean, I would really say that specifically for a Black, LatinX and Indigenous or wherever the hotspot is in your organization, like just really understanding that we’re human, too. And I know that’s a whole other ally and path. Like what? We’re human, too? But I think a lot of these issues are rooted in white supremacy. They’re rooted in how the United States was formed. And so often we don’t want to have the conversation that connects technology to capitalism, to globalization and oppression. And they’re all interconnected. Right. [00:20:25][135.4]

Epsa: [00:20:28] So we’ve been talking a lot about just tech and how it’s so integral to our everyday lives and we want to make it more inclusive for all. So despite this giant push throughout this year, continual push, social media pushes for large DE&I initiatives at really large tech companies, the stats are still lacking or they’re changing, but ever so slightly, like the percent of Black hires overall rose only by 0.7% at Google in 2018, 0.1% at Microsoft in 2018 and 0.3% at Facebook in 2019. So from doing all these initiatives, implementing bias trainings, in your opinion, why aren’t these initiatives working and what really has to change from the higher up? [00:21:12][44.3]

Lindsey: [00:21:12] Yeah, you know, I think these aren’t working because, you know, so often there isn’t a integrated approach. And what I mean by that is I think what I’ve seen throughout The Valley is typically it’s OK, this is a recruiting problem. Recruiters go out and hire folks. Right. And so all the attention gets focused on recruiting. Maybe budget goes in that direction and then the numbers not hit. And it’s like ah recruiting! Right. Meanwhile, there’s not a lot of focus on those who are actually already in the organization who possibly aren’t getting attention when it comes to their career development. They’re not getting equal access. At some organizations, they’re not getting equal pay. And so those folks then leave and some folks in the community leave tech for good, because let’s be honest, it is exhausting on a day to day basis. So I think the issue is there isn’t one integrated strategy happening at a lot of organizations. I think there’s been a mass surge of head of DIY. And that’s a whole other topic. I think it’s amazing. And I have so many amazing friends who are in these positions. However, so often they are spending so much time just trying to influence their peers on the value that DEI brings to the workplace. So they’re not only having to create initiatives, they’re having to convince people. And so often, if something doesn’t go right or the impact isn’t seen in quantitative numbers, they’re then blamed. So what needs to happen in my mind is if you’re in the C suite and you’re not doing anything about it, then that’s a problem. If you are a level three, like three removed away from a CEO, aren’t do anything about it, then that’s a problem. If you are a people manager and you’re not doing anything about it, that’s a problem. So you have all these people who are in positions of hiring and firing. And if they’re not doing anything about it, then, yeah. [00:23:39][146.6]

Epsa: [00:23:40] You’re so right. I feel like people truly just view it as a recruiting pipeline that they just blame it on the recruiters. And I feel like that’s what those people you said in the C suite, three levels above or below, they just view, oh, let’s just look, our recruiting problem, like I’m focused on bettering the company, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They have that. And then what you are saying with people that are really influencing and trying to drive this change, I with like at the workplace and within schools, I feel like the students and peers that I see take on this change are students of color that are balancing a workload and then try and drive this, just like it’s so much to advocate for yourself while trying to survive. I can’t imagine. [00:24:24][44.0]

Lindsey: [00:24:25] Yeah, exhausting. I mean, it’s already enough going into a work environment where you don’t see yourself represented like you may be the only on your team, then comes what’s going on in society and having that then comes having to educate possibly your manager, your team on what’s going on because performoative allyship. ‘I really want to learn! So get emotionally exhausted and educate me.’ So, yeah, it’s exhausting to be a person of color for me specifically to be Black in tech. It’s fun. I’d say it’s fun. And I know I started the conversation out like that, but I am in tech for one purpose, like really a big social purpose. And that is it’s imperative that tech shifts, shifts the direction that they’re on for the sake of humanity. [00:25:22][57.5]

Lindsey: [00:25:24] So absolutely. And I feel like it has to start with tech so other organizations, schools can follow the lead because tech really, it drives change positive or negative, and that needs to happen. Otherwise, people are just going to be like, let’s play the blame game and find someone else to do the work. [00:25:42][17.9]

Anjana: [00:25:46] You kind of mentioned this already, but I do want to touch a little deeper on the pipeline problem, quote unquote, pipeline problem, and companies really love to say that they really want to hire more minorities. There just aren’t enough of them that meet the qualifications. So what are your thoughts on that whole thing and how can we fix it? And what are the real underlying problems? [00:26:09][23.4]

Lindsey: [00:26:10] Yeah. Can touch them on also like target schools and that topic if that integrates into it as well? [00:26:14][4.5]

Lindsey: [00:26:16] Target schools, where are these people? They don’t exist. They’re unicorns. [00:26:20][4.6]

Anjana: [00:26:22] Yeah, and what do you mean we can find more people of color at Yale? [00:26:26][3.7]

Lindsey: [00:26:29] You know when I hear that, my brain is so boggled. But then I I’m really rooted and I have to really remind myself that OK, Lindsay. I mean, not not because you are Black, but you just happen to know other people who aren’t like you. I think it’s unfortunate for those who are not connected to communities outside of those that they see in the mirror. It’s mind boggling, actually, and it’s fascinating when you have conversations with people who are like, I actually my entire network is of white folks and they don’t go beyond that network, because it gets me thinking, wow, what a life to live. I mean, I guess you could call it nice and I guess you could call it comfort, but then it’s also like, wow, have you ever had that type of food, like outside of a four star resort out of that country that you visited to? Like it’s it boggles my brain. And so when I hear those things like where are these people? I’m like, wow, you really have no idea how to look. And how have you come this far up and this far in your life without having to look. Right across the street. So a big thing here is just being able to connect with people who are different, and I think that’s what’s missing. The second abstraction would be not only being able to connect with people, but being able to honestly just have a conversation as human to human. And the third abstraction would be like human, we’re talking to each other like I see massive potential in you. Right. Yeah, and how that’s connected to Target schools, I think, you know, every I don’t want to say every organization, but a lot of organizations have their their list of we’re going to go to these five schools. That’s where we’re going to invest and that’s who we’re going to recruit from. And often times that list is representative of whoever’s leading the organization. Right. There’s some type of influence there. It’s what’s this legacy? Who’s this club? What’s this network and it’s fascinating that we don’t think like hm, maybe someone that we don’t have here would be best at the table. [00:28:55][146.3]

Epsa: [00:28:57] Everything you’re saying is so interconnected, like with the whole people not having anyone outside their network, not looking across the street, that’s like not looking across a different school, a different organization, and then wow. Yeah, it’s all. And then people from like what you said earlier, people in those VP positions, they make those decisions, and I’m sure those are the ones that are picking the schools. [00:29:21][23.6]

Lindsey: [00:29:22] Yeah. I mean, we’ve seen so many schools over the past few years really invest in HBCUs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities to find Black talent, which is great. It needs to happen. However, like we are, I’m here in Oakland and a lot of these companies are here in the Valley. However, these organizations aren’t connected to like Black Student Union at Stanford or Berkeley, right? I’m like there are people at these schools who exist too, but the idea of like, oh, there’s that type of person at Berkeley or Cal and CS majors? Like that, you know, there’s the organization I met you both through like. That’s talent, that’s women, like powerful, however, a lot of organizations just don’t think. [00:30:15][53.0]

Anjana: [00:30:19] It is really not just on those recruiters to go out of their way to find those organizations at these schools, but on each of us, even when we enter the workforce, as we go through our careers, to really step out of our comfort zone and try to find a bigger network of people that are different. And like you said, like you have potential and finding a way to empower those people. So so important because it really is on all of us. So thank you for mentioning that. [00:30:47][28.0]

Epsa: [00:30:48] It is. Oh, yeah, I was just going to say a comment, what you said about like saying ‘I see potential in you’ — words like that literally could if someone told me, that that pushes me and motivates me for like a year, it really does. I really if words of affirmation is my love language like stuff like that, when it is when people don’t hear that and they just feel discouraged. But if people like you or people lend that helping hand and say that like that works wonders and it means a lot. That’s also something small that people could start doing at any capacity. [00:31:23][34.9]

Anjana: [00:31:25] Epsa that totally reminded me. I read somewhere imposter syndrome — that’s really only felt by people who don’t feel like they have a space in wherever they’re working or anything along those lines. And it’s like all you really need is someone who’s higher up or someone with you. Like take the time to say, no, you are doing a great job because like a lot of people who don’t feel like they have space in these tech companies, if they just get that reassurance, that’s already such a huge, powerful move. [00:31:53][28.7]

Epsa: [00:31:56] Words are powerful. [00:31:56][0.3]

Anjana: [00:31:56] Words are powerful. Yeah. So what I wanted to touch on this, like a recent event that I saw pop up on my LinkedIn feed. I don’t know if you saw this Lindsey, so I think it was a week or two ago a Netflix employee who had only two years of engineering experience as opposed to supposedly there’s a standard of five years to be in engineering at Netflix or something. And yeah, there was someone posted on some thread that Netflix was lowering its standards by hiring this Black woman who’s only had two years of engineering at Wal-Mart. I think that really touches on this like broader question, like let’s say I’m someone in the majority, read: white men, and I’m like, no, privilege doesn’t exist. I worked really hard to get to where I am today. Why should someone who is less qualified take my position? How how do you I assume you get a lot of questions like this? I mean, I’m just making an assumption, but I feel that I have conversations like that all the time. How do you handle a question like that? [00:33:07][70.2]

Lindsey: [00:33:09] Yes, so when it comes to this story, it is a story that is, what is that line, of tale as old as time, right? This person isn’t qualified because of this specific reason and in this circumstance it comes down to years, right? Because we quantify learning in years. If you’ve done a year this when you’re at this level, which is insane, it’s actually insane in my mind. And when I read about those who in this circumstance that you painted, which I’ve seen so many times, I think it’s important to look at distance traveled. And what I mean by that is, based on like how you come out of the womb and how you are born and the life that you live, learnings will come from that. So if you are a Black woman by the age of two or three, you know, you are a Black girl. If you grow up in a certain place where you’ve grown up, basically you learn the boundaries, you learn what society has deemed that you’re capable of what you can do, how long we’ll be on the planet, the likelihood of what will happen to you in childbirth, like we all have seen these insane stats that are [inaudible]. So when someone is like, oh, this person only has two years of that experience, it’s like, they have a lifetime of resiliency. They have a lifetime of learnings from being oppressed, that no amount of coding, no amount of engineering, can teach someone. And at the end of the day like this really comes down to like human skills versus technical skills. There’s this person by the name of Kent Beck who wrote the Agile Manifesto years ago, which really shifted technology from Waterfall to Agile. When I was at Pivotal, I was like my eyes flew open because I was finally reading things on lean and Agile. And there was this quote Kent Bec said, who I believe now maybe at Gusto so hey Kent if you’re listening, he basically said something along the lines of every problem is a people problem. It’s not a technology problem. Right. So in this case humans go through things and people learn from that, and it boggles my brain, when someone says this person doesn’t have six more months or a year’s worth of engineering experience when they have a lifetime of experience of dealing with bullshit. [00:36:05][176.6]

Anjana: [00:36:07] So true. And a week later, I think one of another employee at Netflix, he was a great ally and made a LinkedIn post. He was saying, like, it’s interesting that when this person wrote that post, he assumed instead, like instead of assuming, wow, like two years, only two years of experience, she must be excellent. She must be so great at what she’s doing that they hired someone with only two years of experience. Like instead of thinking that he automatically thought a Black engineer, like, you know, I can’t believe they lowered their standards to hire this Black engineer. And I thought that was a really great post to make in support of this woman and really change that mindset. Yeah, that’s you’re so right, people of color and especially Black people, Indigenous, LatinX have years and years of resiliency putting up with bullshit. And that’s more than two years of coding. [00:37:08][61.0]

Epsa: [00:37:10] More than any schooling. That’s stuff you can’t teach you learn through life. So people need to realize that. Yeah. [00:37:17][6.6]

Lindsey: [00:37:19] And I should call it that while it was a Netflix thing, this happens at all companies. Like years ago, Google and the Google manifesto that dropped, these things pop up and sometimes there are artifacts that are created, sometimes it’s just rumblings behind closed doors. But it’s definitely an obstacle and it’s real and that permeates throughout the culture. [00:37:45][26.0]

Anjana: [00:37:47] And if you don’t see it in a manifesto, people are definitely thinking it [00:37:50][2.9]

Lindsey: [00:37:51] Spot on, spot on. It shows up in who’s getting hired and who’s not. And it shows up why we still have terrible statistics [00:37:59][7.4]

Epsa: [00:38:01] History just repeating itself. Every two years something pops up and it’s like, didn’t we just experience that? How have we not learned, grown? It’s the cycle. [00:38:09][8.1]

Anjana: [00:38:09] Didn’t we just go over this, like a year ago? Why are we still talking about it? [00:38:10][0.3]

Epsa: [00:38:14] Didn’t this just pop up? [00:38:16][1.1]

Lindsey: [00:38:19] Hasn’t this been happening since this country was formed? [00:38:20][1.6]

Epsa: [00:38:21] Since the dawn of time actually. [00:38:22][1.1]

Lindsey: [00:38:28] The same themes that we saw years ago are prevalent today. [00:38:32][4.5]

Epsa: [00:38:33] And that’s where it gets exhausting because it’s like, oh, my God, didn’t you just learn this? Hasn’t this seeped into your head? Yeah, well, to shift gears just a little bit from talking about that story, and Anjana I really liked you sharing that additional perspective from someone else, I think it’s really nice to look at it from that way. But, Lindsey, do you with your years of experience in your field, do you have like a specific success story about an individual that you helped at work or someone from an underrepresented background that you got them into tech or you kind of just made them feel valued from one of your programs? [00:39:12][38.7]

Anjana: [00:39:13] Other than us, of course. [00:39:13][0.3]

Epsa: [00:39:13] Other than us right now, but someone from the programs you’ve built that you’ve just been able to help them find their potential. [00:39:21][7.5]

Lindsey: [00:39:23] Yes. And the way I’ll answer this question is it’s from a unique lens. And the lens is from the community is small, like the community of Black, Latinx, Indigenous folks. It’s small and a lot of us, we are interconnected. And so I guess when it comes to a success story for an individual, I’ll take it and deconstruct it from a community perspective. And what I what I’d say and I’ve had sponsors, I’ve had advocates, I’ve had allies, I’ve had mentors, people in the community who’ve amplified me. And I think we just keep that going. I’m like, I give and then I get and then I get. Then I give. And all tides need, like everyone in this boat, we need to rise together in order for there to be success. Yes, I could say yes, I’ve helped people get jobs. Yes, I, I mentor. Yes, sponsor. Yes, I do those things. But I recognize that if it wasn’t for the folks who are on a daily basis doing that for me, I wouldn’t have the voice, I wouldn’t have the seat at the table. I wouldn’t I wouldn’t have it. So it’s a it’s a gnarly feedback loop of community. And I think that that that love that we have for each other, that’s what needs to be scaled, not just in tech, but like that’s the formula like that. That’s what community is. That’s what, that’s what a family does for each other. And so I’m so appreciative of those in the community who do it for me. [00:41:05][102.1]

Epsa: [00:41:06] I love that. I think that holds deep because like, whenever there’s someone in my own community who, like, gets this new job or gets this new success, I almost feel like I’m so proud of them and I’m feeding off their energy just because I know how hard it is. And then that just kind of motivates me and inspires me to it’s kind of like this one quote that you are the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with. So within that community, having that love and manifesting that, I think that that speaks volumes. And I’m sure you’ve had so many people do that for you and and you just feel this urge to do it for others as well. It’s beautiful. [00:41:40][33.6]

Lindsey: [00:41:42] Thank you. Thank you. [00:41:44][1.4]

Epsa: [00:41:45] So to sum it all up, in your own words, what what do you believe needs to radically change in the way tech leadership approaches DEI in order for us to actually progress as a society and see tangible change? I know we’ve touched on it briefly, but how would you sum it up? [00:42:06][20.7]

Lindsey: [00:42:12] I’d say, if you are a people leader or an executive leader now and you aren’t doing the work to understand what’s going on in the world. You are not only doing yourself a disservice, but you’re doing your organization, you’re doing a disservice to a lot of people. But I think this next generation who, even those who are just entering the workforce, like even the both of you, you have different expectations of what it means to be a leader. And at this point, especially as we you know, as we reimagine what it looks like after Covid, after the election, I pray and I’m hopeful that the world looks different. But organizations will need to think, you know, we’ll make sure that we’re going in that direction, too, in order to survive. So what I ask from leaders is get a coach, get a therapist and have tough conversations. But you do the work that’s necessary for human advancement. [00:43:29][77.5]

Lindsey: [00:43:32] Absolutely, and I think our generation will definitely play a role. I’m sure Anjana that we’ve talked about this. I think a lot of us really are just focusing on elevating the people around us. And it’s less like for me, it’s like less of how can I be the best and more of how can we be the best. And I think that’s the mindset shift that’s happening recently. And I’m again, I know change takes a while, but I think with GenZ and with younger millennials and people with this mindset, I think obviously a positive, optimistic mindset. But I really think that’s the direction we’re going and hopefully good will come out of it. [00:44:07][34.7]

Lindsey: [00:44:08] It’s happening. Hopefully, hopefully. [00:44:10][1.9]

Epsa: [00:44:10] Let’s manifest. [00:44:10][0.0]

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