Diversity in Tech at Subscribed London: Inclusion Starts with “I”

By Erika Malzberg September 28, 2017

Our Diversity in Tech event has become one of our most meaningful and powerful Subscribed traditions. Hosted by Alvina Antar, today’s Diversity in Tech breakfast featured Gloria Bauerlein, Principal, Index Ventures ; Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture; Toby Burton, CFO, Global Circulation at The Economist; and Terry Tomecek, Director of Corporate Solutions Group, Reed Business Information.

This diverse group of panelists was itself a great show of diversity: Terry runs the Working Mothers’ network as RBI, Toby is the Chair of the board of Trustees of Royal Association of Deaf people, Nick is the executive sponsor of LGBT network Pride at Accenture, and Gloria is the only female partner at Index Ventures.

This illustrious panel focused on how to harness the power of tech to increase diversity at the workplace…diversity in all of its wonderful kinds, shapes, and forms.

The panel opened with a moving video from Accenture on #inclusionstartswithI:

Over the course of the discussion, our thoughtful panelists shared their ideas on topics relevant to all businesses: true diversity, being a role model of diversity, how to be an ally, diversity recruitment, and more.

Here are just a few highlights from an unbelievably moving and inspirational discussion.

“What is diversity, it’s not just checking the box. There are so many types of diversity. If we want a really truly diverse force we have to think about things in a much wider sense.” – Toby Burton, Finance Director, Economist

“Less than 10% of all partner VCs in Europe are women, which is below the corporate background. While everyone is aware of the issue and wants to change, there are underlying biases that we have to deal with in everyday work. It’s difficult to change. But the investment community should reflect the population. It’s really important to have different voices represented.” – Gloria Bauerlein, Partner, Index Ventures

“For a lot of the LGBT community and you might be editing your words the moment you come into the room. Are you going to play the gender pronoun game to avoid disclosing your identity and your personal life. People do that across a variety of communities. But people perform better when they can be themselves. You need trailblazers who show new joiners that there is a path for them regardless of who they are.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“Businesses can be an embassy of safety around diversity and inclusion. Businesses are one of the few places that people can feel safe. So there’s a strong need to create a culture of inclusion in the workplace.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture
“You’ll get a much stronger cultural change for your org, when you’re working together. You don’t have to be gay to be an ally. It’s just about offering support.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“You have to be careful about setting quotas. It’s a false way of approaching it. It shouldn’t be a case of percentages, but rather you hire the best person for the job. You need to drive a cultural change to have real change in the work force.” – Toby Burton, Finance Director, Economist

“It’s the subtle stuff. It’s the small things. You may not be able to make changes immediately, but you can make people aware.” – Gloria Bauerlein, Partner, Index Ventures

“Businesses do need to be a bastion of inclusion. We are pushing governments around the world to be better. No business should act as a bystander.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“56% of women leave tech halfway through their careers. We’re looking at reasons why that’s the case and taking action. For every job advert that we have, we ask our recruitment team (which is mostly male) to write it, but then we have females write a different ad for the same role, and then we do the same thing with millennials. Then we place those 3 ads in different places to try to attract the broadest number of possible candidates.” – Terry Tomecek, Director of Corporate Solutions Group, Reed Business Information

“Tech can help you recruit. But there are barriers that come with that as well. A lot have automated processes When we develop systems we have to give a lot of thought to these systems and how they may be a barrier.” – Toby Burton, Finance Director, Economist

“We need as many channels as possible available so that the right candidates with the right skill sets and the competencies are considered.” – Terry Tomecek, Director of Corporate Solutions Group, Reed Business Information

“Formal targets aren’t great things, but it is a good thing to have ambitions. What are you trying to achieve? The best outcomes come from diversity.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“Diversity and inclusion is becoming a bigger part of the conversation. We used to spend a lot of time talking about our business units, now candidates can find this online. What they’re interested in is learning about culture.” – Terry Tomecek, Director of Corporate Solutions Group, Reed Business Information

“If you don’t provide information about diversity and inclusion, that’s a problem. It’s an expectation” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“You’ve got a retention challenge as well. In the tech sector, there are a lot of fantastic jobs, but how do you protect that talent. That role model figure is crucial.” – Nick Barnett, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture

“As a community, we should encourage more diverse thinking at a very early age.” – Terry Tomecek, Director of Corporate Solutions Group, Reed Business Information

“In terms of our responsibility, we need to be role models to young people and show that diversity isn’t a hindrance but a benefit. It’s a good place to start – it gives children something to aim for.” – Toby Burton, Finance Director, Economist

“There are tickboxes of diversity, particularly in recruitment. But we need to think about every level of our company. We need to ensure that there’s access in all sorts of ways. As the pyramid works it’s way up, you see more similar characters and background. I think you manage your career through making friends. You need to support the people below you and know the people at your level. It’s important That’s how we encourage the glass ceiling to break. Don’t just look at numbers but at the quality of the access.” – Toby Burton, Finance Director, Economist

Thanks to all our panelists for sharing your experiences, your insights, and your wisdom. And thanks to the packed room of people engaging in this important topic that impacts all of us. “Inclusion starts with I” indeed!

Read more about the power and dynamics of diversity from Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo and CIO and Alvina Antar.