By Natalie Yee
A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is integral to both the work we do with clients and our company culture. Over the past month, The Nerdery has had the opportunity to connect with the Chicago tech community on both aspects of our commitment.
During April’s Nerd Interface, I gave a presentation titled “Designing with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Mind.” The talk focused on the relationship between DEI and design, and I shared examples of products that had DEI in mind and those that did not. We finished with a workshop focused on a methodology designers can employ to ensure their work is inclusive for all type of people and situations. The goal of the event was to encourage designers — and others who are involved in creating products — to consider DEI throughout their process.
The second DEI-focused event was Nerd Therapy in May. I was joined by three DEI leaders from the Chicago area for an open conversation about DEI efforts in the workplace. Our panelists, with their varying roles, backgrounds and experiences, showcased the fact that there is no specific role or person who can lead DEI efforts. Our conversation covered several different topics including advice to those new to leading DEI, recruitment and tips for challenging conversations.
Michelle Y. Bess — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead, Sprout Social
Katherine Kim — Senior Copywriter, Walker Sands Communications
Tom Alexander — Consultant, Former COO of 1871
Natalie Yee — Senior Experience Designer, The Nerdery
The panelists shared several resources and tips with the attendees and we’d like to share some of those with you.
- Tom recommends using the phrase, “I think that might be misinterpreted. Can you clarify what you meant?” during challenging conversation, as well as ChiBuys @1871, a purchasing power program supporting women and minority entrepreneurs.
- Katherine recommends the book Crucial Conversations and Chicago consulting agency Justice Informed who can help workplace DEI groups make progress.
- Michelle noted her blog post, Why Your Diversity Efforts Should Make Employees Uncomfortable and the DEI Professionals Meet-Up she runs in Chicago (I also highly recommend this meetup group!).
- I recommend the book So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Project Include, an extensive set of resources to help get DEI initiatives off the ground.
We are excited about the community we're building through these two events and plan to continue the discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion both here on the blog and through more events. Stay tuned!
Published on 05.24.18