Women in IT panel talks potential benefits of taking more proactive, inclusive approaches to fill the ranks of tech teams.
During this week’s Women in IT Summit Series, a panel of experts discussed “Jumping the Big Tech Hurdles,” focusing on challenges companies face that include increasing demand for accessibility, diverse hiring in tech, and cybersecurity.
Nasheen Liu, partner and senior vice president of CIO program strategy with The IT Media Group, moderated the session, which laid out trends and practices that might improve organizations. The panel included Cara Antoine, chapter ambassador for the Dutch Chapter of Women in Tech Netherlands; Kurt John, chief cybersecurity officer for Siemens; Catherine Sherwin, a managing director with AlixPartners; and Justin Arbuckle, global chief technology officer for wealth and personal banking technology at HSBC.
Citing an industry report, Liu offered a projection that 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled around the world. “Needless to say, there is a shortage in cybersecurity skills and technology talent in general.” She asked the panelists how the need to find tech talent might also be an opportunity to increase diversity and inclusivity in the workforce.
John said demand for tech talent could go deeper than that statistic. “That 3.5 million number . . . that was before the pandemic,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that number isn’t even higher.”
The continuing rise in cyber-attacks highlights a need for not only more professionals in cybersecurity but also diverse perspectives on teams, John said, especially as hackers get more imaginative. “In order to match that creativity and persistence, cybersecurity teams need to be very creative themselves,” he said. “It’s been shown that teams that are diverse across the board perform so much better and are more creative.”
Despite inherent needs for talent, hiring in general took a hit during pandemic and Antoine said this also stymied efforts to close the gender gap in cyber job roles. “Prior to the Corona crisis, we were looking at the numbers of about five million women more needing to be in the space of IT, ICT (information and communications technology), and cyber between now and the year 2030,” she said. “What we now see as a result of the Corona crisis is that women have been set back to about the year 1976.”
Another three million women, Antoine said, will be needed in addition to the five million already sought for tech jobs that continue to grow. “The reality is . . . if your business has not gone digital yet, it will,” she said. “Most companies globally are becoming tech-empowered and enabled.” More diverse representation across the company, Antoine said, can lead to more diverse solutions and more reflective of society.
Bringing in more diverse tech professionals to add value to organizations calls for looking at diverse candidate pools, Antoine said. Hiring boards should also be diverse, she said. “It doesn’t do us much good if we have diverse representation in our candidates and then have one pool of hiring managers that all look and feel the same way.”
Arbuckle repeated the familiar notions that “software has eaten the world” and now “every company is a software company” to describe changes catalyzed by technology. He added the need for diversity to be woven into such advances for the benefit of organizations and the populace. “In software, diversity equals quality,” Arbuckle said. “Our ability to produce great products is directly dependent upon our ability to understand the customers that are going to use our products.”
There are no shortcuts or short-term answers to foster lasting diversity in technology, he said. It may require further investment in communities. “We have to be reaching back into schools to ensure that young girls see cybersecurity, software engineering, and STEM as absolutely the kind of career they could thrive in and love to thrive in,” Arbuckle said.
“Diversity is like being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance. But belonging is dancing like nobody’s watching.”
That’s an inspirational phrase about diversity and inclusion and one that Candace Matthews, the chief reputation officer at Amway Corporation, wholeheartedly believes in.
“That’s when people bring out their fullest potential, is when they can truly bring their whole selves to work,” Matthews said during the Orlando Magic’s most recent virtual town hall to help celebrate diversity and embrace its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community.
As she has seen firsthand throughout her career, a workplace where employees accept one another, work cohesively together and are willing to have uncomfortable conversations with one another is far more likely to establish and maintain a strong culture and high morale while growing their business.
Also on Wednesday’s Zoom call, the second of four the Magic are hosting during Black History Month, were AdventHealth Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Jessica Brazier and PepsiCo President of the South Division Derek Lewis, both of whom, like Matthews, made cogent and vital points.
The call was moderated by Magic Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Esu Ma’at, who brought out some interesting and important responses by Wednesday’s guest panelists about how they address social change within their organizations.
Lewis, for instance, uses a benchmarking scorecard, or as he describes it a key checklist, to properly assess where an organization is at when it comes to having a strong, diverse and successful workforce. The acronym is C.A.R.E.S., standing for Commitment, Accountability, Resources, Empowerment and Scorecarding.
“I use that CARES model as a checklist when people ask me all about, hey, is this organization really bought in,” Lewis explained. “I start asked people let’s go through the CARES checklist. That’s the way for me to gauge whether or not people are on track or not on track.”
What all three are enthusiastic about is they are each seeing, not only in their own organizations but in many others locally, nationally and globally, a formidable effort to make substantial changes in the workplace that will open up doors for more people to have greater success and bring people together with common goals in mind.
“I am so optimistic because we are seeing this shift in consciousness that makes the potential for impact so rich,” Brazier said. “We are beginning to see strength in numbers and strength in coming together and there is a richness in having diversity of thought, diversity of industry tackling these really big problems together.”
Ma’at closed this week’s conversation with a persuasive and powerful reference to Harvard University professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s six steps to leading positive change. They, as Ma’at accentuated, are showing up, speaking up, looking up, teaming up, never giving up and lifting others up.
It’s apparent, based on what Matthews, Brazier and Lewis highlighted throughout the call, that more organizations are preaching those things inside their company walls, and it’s making an incredible difference.
The Magic invite all Central Floridians and beyond to Walk With Us as the team celebrates February as Black History Month with a variety of activities, including the virtual town hall series. The discussion on Feb. 17 will focus on the work of the Magic with supplier diversity and the importance of supporting local minority and women owned businesses and workforce development. Featured speakers include Ma’at, Tanisha Gray with the African American Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Lee with Lee Wesley, Tony Jenkins with Florida Blue and Leonard Spencer with The Walt Disney Company.
Other Magic Black History Month celebration activities include Head Coach Steve Clifford’s Social Justice Game Changers honored at each home game throughout February, special in-game features on local Black-owned businesses, an online auction featuring Magic players’ MLK warm up shirts from earlier this season, support of community events including the City of Orlando’s Black History Month Workshop and support of Valencia College’s Black History Month activities.
“The Orlando Magic remains deeply committed to diversity, equality, equity and inclusion,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “To work collectively to promote peaceful and necessary social change. We do that by joining our players, our coaches, our staff, along with our other teams in the NBA in these ongoing efforts.”
Quaker Oats cooked up a new image for an old, offensive brand Tuesday. PepsiCo Inc. the parent company for Quaker Oats, announced it’s rebranding Aunt Jemima, the popular pancake and syrup brand, retiring the racist stereotype used for the product’s image.
PepsiCo will replace Aunt Jemima with the Pearl Milling Company in June — one full year after the company first announced plans to do away with the Aunt Jemima brand.
Aunt Jemima and other food brands, including Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, and Mrs. Butterworth’s, announced redesigns amid protests against systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S. last summer. But calls to remove the Aunt Jemima imagery, and others like it, were made long before companies acquiesced to public pressure last year.
Aunt Jemima has been criticized as an image harkening back to slavery. Old Aunt Jemima originated as a song of field slaves that was later performed at minstrel shows. The original Aunt Jemima character was portrayed by Nancy Green, who was born into slavery. Quaker Oats paid Green to travel and promote Aunt Jemima products in costume.
Both Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s have been criticized for relying on the titles aunt and uncle, which historically were used by people who resisted applying the honorific Mr. or Ms. to a Black person.
The Uncle Ben’s logo was of an elderly Black man, who originally wore a bow tie evocative of a servant. Mars, Incorporated announced in September it would remove the name and logo of Uncle Ben’s and rename the rice brand as Ben’s Original.
Origin of Pearl Milling Company
Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and according to a PepsiCo statement, it created the self-rising pancake mix that became known as Aunt Jemima. Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925.Enlarge this image
Pearl Milling Company maintains the iconic red and yellow colors of the Aunt Jemima brand. The new brand will hit store shelves in June.PepsiCo, Inc.
Pearl Milling Company will maintain the red and yellow packaging found on Aunt Jemima boxes and bottles. PepsiCo says its products will continue to be available under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image until June.
The company said Pearl Milling Company will also announce details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women in the coming weeks. The investment is in addition to PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year commitment to advance and uplift Black businesses and communities, the company said.
The ads got particularly bad scores when it comes to ‘cultural relevance,’ especially from Hispanic audiences, according to a new report from the ANA’s diversity arm
Despite heightened scrutiny on their diversity efforts, brands advertising in the Super Bowl failed to improve on key inclusivity measures, according to a newly released study of the ads.
Forty-five percent of the ads had casts that represented diverse and inclusive audiences, according to the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), which is nearly identical to last year’s score.
And plenty of brands fell short on a measurement AIMM uses to calculate where brands effectively used cultural insights, especially among Hispanic viewers.
The findings, based on 44 of the 58 ads analyzed by AIMM, suggest little progress has been made in the industry’s push to show a broader range of people in ads. Many marketers have set goals around representation in advertising, a movement that gained more attention following the rise in interest in the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd. But these preliminary findings from AIMM suggest many brands have a long way to go in casting and cultural relevance when it comes to the ads they produce for the industry’s biggest night.
The results look at representation beyond race. LGBTQ and people with disabilities were largely absent from the spots, representing just 1% of casting, according to AIMM’s tally. (Toyota featured a Paralympian in its ad. Guaranteed Rate’s spot included a blind man.) Black actors account for the majority of diverse representation in the spots, accounting for 29% of all casting in 2021 Super Bowl ads, AIMM reported. The percentage of the U.S. population who identify as Black/African American is 13.4%, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Hispanics were cast in 12% of roles, according to AIMM’s early findings, but comprise nearly 19% of the U.S. population. And Asian Americans made up 5.5% of all people cast in the commercials, AIMM data show, nearly in line with the 5.9% share of the population, based on Census Bureau data.
Representation tells only part of the story. The Cultural Insights Impact Measure (CIMM) used by AIMM to study the impact and effectiveness of cultural insights in ads found suggest many spots fell short, particularly with diverse audiences.
Only 4% of Super Bowl ads received the highest marks for cultural relevance among the total population, down from 22% in 2020. And 37% of the ads fell in the lowest quartile of cultural relevance in 2021, versus 16% in 2020.
Among Hispanics, 68% of the Super Bowl ads measured by AIMM fell in the lowest quartile of cultural relevance, versus 31% of ads in the 2020 Super Bowl. Black viewers measured 29% of the ads shown during this year’s big game in the lowest quartile of cultural relevance, after finding only 5% of ads in that bottom quartile in 2020.
AIMM did not share which spots were among the 44 that it had reviewed so far. Advertisers including Amazon, DoorDash and Rocket Mortgage had Black actors and actresses in lead roles. And before the Super Bowl, GLAAD highlighted Michelob Ultra, Logitech, M&M’s and ViacomCBS’ promo for Paramount+ for strong representation of the LGBTQ+ community in their spots.
AIMM plans to release its full findings at a conference on Wednesday.
Jessica is Ad Age’s food reporter, working out of the publication’s Chicago bureau. She focuses on the packaged food and restaurant industries. Jessica joined Ad Age after writing about food for the Chicago Tribune’s business section. She began her journalism career at Reuters, where she covered the world’s largest retail chains and consumer products companies.
The rise of diversity and inclusion has been one of the most transformative cultural trends of the last 10 years. Search “diversity and inclusion” on Google, and you’ll get 335 million results — more than “Drake,” “Subway” or “Hulu.” News articles, white papers, internal corporate documents — you could spend decades combing through the literature and still never scratch the surface.
Of all the things I’ve read about D&I, one thing, in particular, stands out. In 2015, global consulting firm McKinsey & Company released a study showing a direct correlation between staff diversity and financial performance. Specifically, companies in the top quarter for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to generate higher returns.
Even if you’re skeptical about the long-term financial benefits of diversity and inclusion, these numbers are hard to ignore. D&I is no longer just a moral or cultural imperative — it’s a business imperative. And organizations that ignore it do so at their own peril.
But even if your company believes in the importance of D&I, turning that belief into tangible, lasting change isn’t always easy, particularly for small businesses like ours. We’re based in Portland, Maine, in one of the least diverse states in the country. There have been times when we posted a job and literally every applicant was white. And while we’ve had a few off-site team members over the years, our business and culture only worked when everyone (or nearly everyone) was in the same space. Or so we thought.MORE FOR YOU8 Ways To Have Better Relationships With Your ClientsWhat The Vaccine Won’t SolveThe 15 Most Profitable Minutes Of The Workday
Then Covid-19 happened. In a matter of days, we had to shift our entire operation to accommodate remote work. That first month was one of the most challenging times our company has endured. But we figured it out. By summer, we were breaking sales records left and right. Despite the new reality, we’ve managed to keep our business and our culture intact.
More than that, our journey has helped bring D&I firmly to the fore. Once we realized that a remote model could work, we were able to cast a wider geographic net for prospective employees and prioritize diversity in a way that wouldn’t have been possible a year ago. The number of applications was so high, we had to hire a full-time recruiter just to sort through them. And we’ve found some incredibly talented people as a result.
Today, our staff is more diverse than ever. We’re also coming off a record sales month. Coincidence? Not if you know the data.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about diversity and inclusion, it’s that unless you have buy-in throughout the organization (and from leadership especially), your blind spots will be exposed.
I’ll give you an example. Last May, when business really started picking up, we realized we needed another professional development manager to help our newly hired salespeople acclimate to their roles. I knew the perfect person for the job: someone who knew our company playbook inside and out. He was also a 20-something male — a demographic that makes up nearly half of our team.
That’s when one of our senior leaders stepped up. “If we’re serious about diversity,” he said, “this role needs to reflect that.” He was absolutely right.
The first person I interviewed was Sarah, a recent hire who all of us agreed would be a great fit for the role. During the interview, I asked her straight up: “Can you handle this job?”
“I think so,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before. But I’m willing to try.”
This wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear. But then I thought about it. Instead of seeing her response for what it was, an honest self-assessment, I was viewing it through a masculine lens. Had I asked a man that same question, there’s a good chance the response would have been a lot different. Studies have shown that men tend to display more confidence and overvalue their perceived experience when applying for jobs. But that doesn’t mean they actually have what it takes.
That’s when it hit me: Embracing D&I isn’t just about checking certain boxes. It’s also about being willing to have your biases exposed, acknowledging them and doing the work necessary to eliminate them.
In the end, we promoted Sarah to fill that role. And it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
What that process has made me realize is that, if you really believe in D&I, pursuing it requires more than just hiring more diverse people. It also requires diversity of thought. And that diversity of thought can only happen when everyone is on the same page — when people feel empowered to identify the hidden biases that all of us have.
Put another way: If you want to embrace D&I, you must also let it embrace you. That’s what we did when we went remote, leveraging our new reality to broaden and diversify the hiring process. Now it’s about giving that diversity space to not only take hold but to grow and evolve and spark the kinds of conversations that can push our D&I efforts forward.
For far too long, small-to-medium-sized companies — those with modest earnings and a limited geographical footprint — have seen D&I as a kind of Platonic ideal: an admirable and worthwhile goal that’s practically difficult to achieve.
No longer. If there’s one silver lining to the Covid-19 crisis, it’s the ways in which remote operations have leveled the playing field for companies like ours. Not just in terms of overhead costs and communications capabilities, but who they hire and how.
D&I is the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. It produces a tangible return on investment. At a time when our culture and politics have never been more divided, it’s a way for companies of all sizes to do the good and necessary work of fostering a more diverse, inclusive and equitable society.
Last summer, during the height of the pandemic lockdown, the 2020 edition of The List—the group of 30-odd marketing, advertising and media leaders, assembled by Ad Age in partnership with Facebook—declared its core mission to confront unconscious bias by working to address the diverse talent crisis in the industry. To accomplish this goal, the List announced the upcoming launch of a pilot mentorship program aimed at the mid-career BIPOC professionals who are most in need of guidance to help them progress to the executive level.
To promote the partnership, The List’s mentorship program and Elevate’s core mission—and amplify the importance of coming up with concrete and actionable solutions to the diversity crisis—Ad Age and Facebook are launching Generation Next, a new event series. This premiere episode will focus on the challenges of creating a truly diverse workforce, one in which diversity is reflected not just within the total workforce but at all levels up to and including the C-suite.
Host Judy Toland, VP and Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing, at Facebook, will be joined by List member Walter Frye, VP of Global Brand Engagement at American Express, for a wide-ranging conversation. Ad Age Studio 30 Editor John Dioso will moderate. RSVP now to tune in.
Walter Frye – Vice President, Global Brand Engagement & Design, American Express
Judy Toland – VP & Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing and Head of Office , Facebook Chicago
John Dioso – Editor, Ad Age Studio 30
About The List
The List is a group of marketing, advertising and entertainment industry leaders, honored by Ad Age, who were brought together in partnership with Facebook. Through research, innovative ideation and collaboration, The List is tackling some of the largest problems facing these industries today.
Ad Age Studio 30 is a custom content studio that specializes in the creation of paid content that resonates with the Ad Age audience. To inquire about Ad Age Studio 30, email James Palma at email@example.com.
TAMPA BAY — For a brief moment Monday morning, Maral Javadifar thought she would avoid the questions.
Sitting down for the first interview session of Super Bowl LV’s virtual opening night, Javadifar, the 30-year-old assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hoped what had publicly defined her career wouldn’t dominate interviews with media members jammed in her Zoom queue.
Instead, the first question set the stage:
Could you talk us through the first couple seasons you and assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust have had together in Tampa? We’ve talked to [Buccaneers] coach Bruce Arians about his commitment to diversity. What does that mean in practice?
“Katie [Sowers] was the first woman to be in the Super Bowl last year,” Javadifar said later with a laugh. “I was excited, I was like, ‘Oh, Katie dealt with that stuff already. We don’t have to.’ But that’s not the case, and that’s OK.”
Always a first, Javadifar and Locust are seconds, following in the footsteps of Sowers as they take their place on the sideline at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night at Super Bowl LV (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS). And for the first time, there will be a female official with Sarah Thomas assigned as the game’s down judge.
But with a championship on the line, Locust and Javadifar aren’t focused on their place in history. They are focused on the job at hand, helping the Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
“M.J. [Maral Javadifar] and I are here to help Tampa Bay win,” Locust said. “It wouldn’t matter if we’re second in or 273rd in. We acknowledge the fact that there hasn’t been many before us, but it’s not anything that we keep in the forefront of what we do on a daily basis.”
Even so, women coaching in consecutive Super Bowls signals that the efforts of the NFL, led by Sam Rapoport, senior director of diversity and inclusion, are working. With just eight total women coaching in the NFL, there’s still a long way to go before women achieve ubiquity in the NFL, but Sunday is an important step.
“It can start Sunday with a Bucs Super Bowl win,” said Jennifer King, 36, newly promoted to assistant running backs coach with the Washington Football team. “That would be a huge milestone.”
The Buccaneers defensive lineman seeks out his assistant defensive line coach because he feels most comfortable with her.
“Although she’s a coach, you still get that nurturing,” he said. “She’s hard-core, but I guess it’s a mother instinct. When you’re wrong or you feel you have a gray area, ‘Let me ask Coach Lo.’ She’s going to shoot it straight, and she’s going to tell you, but it’s going to come differently than if you asked a male coach. You’ve got to know the stuff when you go to ask them.”
Locust, a 56-year-old mother of two, is a retired semi-professional defensive lineman after playing four seasons with the Central Penn Vipers of the Independent Women’s Football League. She began the pivot from insurance to coaching after a career-ending knee injury in 2007.
Rising through the coaching ranks from high school to semi-pro, arena and now professional football, Locust has been praised for coupling her no-nonsense attitude with an ability to teach. The combination has endeared her to scores of male athletes.
“Players are more likely to be vulnerable about what they don’t know and feel like they’re less judged, and I’ve seen that for years and years,” said Sowers, 34, who spent four seasons on the 49ers’ staff as an offensive assistant. “That’s a huge asset for a team when you have a coach where players feel safe, too. Whether it’s something about an injury or something about the playbook that they don’t understand, have someone they feel comfortable coming to and talking about it.”
Every coach takes a different approach to the job, but other female coaches interviewed pointed to a few common traits — such as the players feeling comfortable asking them questions — as reasons why they believe women make successful coaches.
“It’s another voice from another perspective,” King said. “I think that’s what diversity brings you. You get to be diverse in perspective. Everyone comes from somewhere different with different backgrounds and different experiences.”
For Arians, who hired Jen Welter as a preseason intern in 2015 to be the NFL’s first female coach while he was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, that ability to coach comes down to an ability to teach — abilities he doesn’t believe are defined by gender.
“If you can teach, you can coach,” Arians said. “As far as the women, it was time. It was time for that door to be knocked down and allow them because they’ve been putting in time, and they’re very, very qualified. The ones we have are overly qualified.”
Before he met Locust, Nunez-Roches admits he wasn’t sold on having a female coach. He laughs about it now, but at the time, he was skeptical.
“I didn’t even think that she would be so hands-on,” he said. “As far as being in practices and running the drills and pass rushing and run and understanding leverage and things like that, it just opened my eyes.
“Women are allowed to do this game too. I’m not going to lie, at first I was iffy about it. I’ve never had a woman D-line coach or a woman coaching football, period. To have her there and the thing she did and contributed to our D-line, I tip my hat off to her.”
Ron Kerr, who hired Locust as an assistant for the semi-pro Central Penn Piranha in 2013, had a similar experience with his players.
“When I told the guys, they were like, ‘What are you doing? Are you kidding me? We’re going to be the laughing stock. Are you crazy?” Kerr said. “Within a month’s time, they all loved her. I looked like a genius, and I had no idea. I remind those guys every chance I get. ‘Remember, this was a lady that was going to make us a laughing stock. Now who’s laughing?”
As he evaluated her football knowledge, Kerr assigned Locust to work with the tight ends. He figured his most veteran group wouldn’t need as much coaching, but Locust proved she wasn’t afraid to speak up, earning her immediate respect.
“I’ll be honest with you, she didn’t take their s—,” Kerr said. “When they messed up, she would stop practice and dig into their rear end and tell them, ‘Hey, you stepped the wrong way. What are you doing?’ I think we all were just, like, ‘Wow.’
“It doesn’t matter if she has a ponytail or not, she can coach football.”
Locust’s attention to detail also signaled to Joe Headen, who hired her as a volunteer coach at Susquehanna Township High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that she had the ability to go far as a coach, but he never thought it would carry her here.
“That’s Lo’s No. 1 strength,” said Headen, who worked with Locust for nearly a decade. “She’s extremely detailed, and she does a good job of communicating that. But I’d be lying if I sat here and said her detail orientation and everything else was going to lead her to coaching in the Super Bowl, but my goodness. Her prowess has shown that, and now here we are and she’s going to be coaching in the dadgum Super Bowl.”
Javadifar and Locust aren’t the first women to coach in the Super Bowl, but they’re on the forefront of breaking the gender barrier in NFL coaching. Sunday will mark the first time two women have coached in the game.
It’s progress toward the kind of inclusion Rapoport envisioned when she led development of the first Women’s Careers in Football Forum in 2017. On the cusp of hosting its fifth annual event, the initiative has helped place 118 women in NFL and college football jobs.
King, who attended the forum in 2018 before being hired as a Carolina Panthers intern, remembers being pleasantly surprised at the demand to attend when she realized she had to apply for a spot.
“It wasn’t something you could just go to because they didn’t have enough spaces,” King said. “There were more than enough people qualified to be able to go.”
Locust is also a product of the program, one that connects women with NFL general managers, college and NFL head coaches and other executives through panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking events.
“Just putting them in the same room created networks, not only between the women and leadership, but also amongst the women themselves,” Rapoport said. “And what that created was a pipeline to pull from.”
Most years, the small group of female NFL coaches keep the pipeline going by meeting up at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
A year ago, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his wife, Jane, hosted a dinner to get to know all of the women.
“We have a close relationship,” Rapoport said. “And I’m looking forward to bringing more women into that mix and bringing some of the women who I don’t know as well and they don’t know as well even closer to us. It’s really helpful to have that support system.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing their plans this year, the coaches instead rely on group chats to stay in touch and support one another. Locust, King and Sowers keep one going throughout the year.
“It’s great to have someone essentially in your same situation that you can chat with and bounce ideas off of or just see how their organization does things or anything that you have on your mind, you can definitely put it in the group chat if you need to,” King said. “It’s nice to have those people kind of in your same position.”
Clark: Bucs have better roster than Chiefs
Ryan Clark makes the case that top to bottom, the Bucs have a better roster than the Chiefs.
Creating and maintaining those relationships is crucial in the effort to grow women’s involvement in the game.
“The guys sort of have it automatically in the coaching tree — ‘I coached with him at this college. He and I played high school ball together,'” Locust said. “They have that automatic connection — ours has to be built, so it’s been nice to be on the forefront of the building of the framework for the rest of the women coaches that are going to be coming in [after] us.”
If not for the COVID-19 pandemic curbing internships and opportunities, Locust is convinced there would have been even more women on the sidelines during the 2020 season.
Even so, women made massive strides toward achieving the normalized presence they want in the NFL.
For Rapoport, the best example of that came in Week 3 when the Cleveland Browns took on Washington, pitting King against Callie Brownson, the Browns’ chief of staff. Making it even more special, Thomas was an official for that game. It was the first time in NFL history there was a female coach on each sideline and a female official on the crew.
“Even just seeing that, I just got goosebumps,” Rapoport said. “That was a moment that so many of us were watching the screen and saying, ‘This is what we are trying to achieve.’ It’s not the gimmicky first. That’s the reality of ubiquity; it just so happens that there’s females at all of those positions that are traditionally held by men.”
Sowers still remembers her whirlwind Super Bowl opening night a year ago in Miami. Like Javadifar and Locust, her gender dominated the questions. But it’s her answer to one reporter’s query of how it feels to be the first that really sticks with her.
“It’s important to have a first because obviously there always needs to be one to break barriers,” she remembers saying. “What’s more important is that you’re not the last.”
Sowers paused retelling the story.
“Little did I know the very next year there would be two women in coaching positions and Sarah Thomas officiating the Super Bowl,” Sowers said. “That whole idea of growth, it came even faster than I realized. And next year, hopefully we’ll have women on both sides of the Super Bowl teams with coaches and personnel and just women involved everywhere.”
When it came time to pick the best TV shows of 2020 late last year, I and my fellow critics at NPR were all over the map. But there was one we could all agree on: Michaela Coel’s HBO drama I May Destroy You. A masterpiece, it was the only show that landed on everyone’s best-of list.
So it was a surprise to look at the roster of nominees for the Golden Globe awards in television on Wednesday and not see her name or the show listed anywhere.
Coel, a British-born Black woman, created, wrote, directed and starred in this searing series about a novelist who slowly comes to realize that she was drugged and raped during a night out with friends. It was based on a horrible experience from her own life — just the sort of personal and artistic courage that awards shows like the Globes are supposed to reward.
But they didn’t even give her a chance.
Beyond her own achievements, Coel’s work was the best example of how the high-quality TV space saw some much-needed ethnic diversity last year, especially among female performers. Jurnee Smollett, Aunjanue Ellis and Wunmi Mosaku on HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Adjoa Andoh, who played the smart, sharp-tongued Lady Danbury on Netflix’s hit drama, Bridgerton. Emmy winner Zendaya, in the Christmas episode of HBO’s Euphoria. Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm on FX’s miniseries Mrs. America.
None nominated by the Globes.
And there was the work from non-white males. Michael K. Williams on Lovecraft. Colman Domingo on Euphoria. Lamorne Morris on Hulu’s Woke. Sterling K. Brown, who was nominated in two different Emmy categories for two different roles last year, including NBC’s This Is Us. Joshua Caleb Johnson from Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. Nicco Annan as non-binary strip club owner Uncle Clifford on Starz’ P-Valley. Chris Rock as crime boss Loy Cannon and Glynn Turman as his second-in-command on the fourth season of FX’s Fargo.
All high-quality work. All snubbed by the Globes.
In the past, when people of color came up short in high-profile industry nominations and awards — the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag feels like it happened a century ago, doesn’t it? — the argument was that the performances weren’t there. But this year, months after a summer where the public reckoning over civil rights and police brutality got two TV shows canceled — Cops and Live PD — that excuse doesn’t pass muster any longer.
Two TV projects with predominantly Black casts were nominated in this year’s Golden Globes: Lovecraft Country as best drama and Amazon Prime Video’s Small Axe as best limited series. Likewise, Black male actors from those projects, Jonathan Majors from Lovecraft and John Boyega from Small Axe, were nominated, along with Don Cheadle from Showtime’s Black Monday and Ramy Youssef from Hulu’s Ramy. But that still leaves 16 other nomination slots for male performers which all went to white guys.
Not a single Black woman was nominated in the Globes’ 20 nomination slots for female performers. (Anya Taylor-Joy, who is of Argentine descent and self-identifies as Latina, was nominated playing a white character on Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.)
It’s easy to blame the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that chooses Golden Globes nominees and winners. Over the years, they’ve developed a well-deserved reputation for eccentric choices focused on celebrity, Europeans and those who schmooze them. And unlike the Oscars, they also hand out awards in TV, where their taste is even less predictable.
When this many great performances surface by people of color in critically-acclaimed TV projects, there is something seriously wrong when so few non-white people are recognized.
But the Globes made some amazing choices in its film nominations this year. For the first time, three women were nominated for best director, including Regina King. Non-white performers like Viola Davis, Andra Day, Riz Ahmed, Chadwick Boseman, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Daniel Kaluuya all earned well-deserved nods (as did Anya Taylor-Joy, this time, for the film Emma).
So this diversity problem seems uniquely confined to the Globes’ TV side. Last year was undoubtedly a challenge for the TV industry, buffeted by pandemic lockdowns, shifting release schedules, a shortage of new material and more. And as someone who has helped judge honors ranging from the George Foster Peabody Awards to the Critic’s Choice Awards, I know that someone always gets snubbed, sometime.
But I also know, when this many great performances surface by people of color in critically-acclaimed TV projects, there is something seriously wrong when so few non-white people are recognized.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another hashtag — #GlobesTVSoWhite, perhaps? — to push the HFPA to recognize quality work in television no matter who delivers it.
After hundreds of conversations with small groups of sailors across the globe, the Navy released a new plan for diversifying its top ranks, including outreach to Black fraternities and sororities to attract the next generation of officers and pledging greater transparency in promotions.
Some Defense Department-wide changes have already been implemented, such as removing photographs of people from promotion posters displayed on bases and inside the Pentagon.
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who recently became the first Black Defense secretary, has pledged to address diversity and racism issues head-on. In a video he posted days before his confirmation hearing, Austin noted all the times he had been a Black “first” in Army leadership roles.
“It shouldn’t have taken this long for us to get here,” Austin said in a Jan. 12 video. “There should have been someone who preceded me.”
The Navy, as part of its internal review, released findings and recommendations that resulted from the conversations with sailors.
The report found that 62% of the 330,000 service members in the Navy identify as white, and that 77% of officers are white. By comparison, just 18% of service members and 8% of officers are Black.
The review also showed that 6% of service members identified as Asian Americans, who also made up 6% of the officer corps. And 18% of service members and 9% of officers identified their ethnicity as Hispanic.
There are no Black, Hispanic or Asian American admirals or vice admirals, which are the top ranks in the Navy, according to the report.
“We have fallen short in the past by excluding or limiting opportunity for people on the basis of race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender or creed,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. “We stood up Task Force One Navy to identify inequalities across the force regarding race, ethnicity, gender, age and rank. While some of these changes will be put into play soon, other recommendations will take time. But make no mistake – what we are implementing will no doubt make our Navy better.”
Some of the Navy’s recommendations include:
Tap into its own ranks to find sailors who were members of Black fraternities and sororities with STEM connections to begin building a relationship with those groups and send junior officers on temporary duty assignment to historically Black colleges and universities to attract potential future officers.
Make it easier for sailors to challenge a performance evaluation if they feel it is unfair or unjustified.
Revise how it tests for officer aptitude to take account for complete life experiences and de-emphasize scholastic aptitude tests to “seek and support non-traditional service experiences to bring in fresh perspectives, more diverse skill sets and backgrounds into the Navy’s most senior ranks and in its mid-level civilian leaders.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, greets Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley as he arrive at the Pentagon, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ALEX BRANDON AP
Tara Copp is the national military and veterans affairs correspondent for McClatchy. She has reported extensively through the Middle East, Asia and Europe to cover defense policy and its impact on the lives of service members. She was previously the Pentagon bureau chief for Military Times and a senior defense analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She is the author of the award-winning book “The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story.”
Hiring with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) can help create a workforce and world that’s based on fairness and diversity.
Over the past couple of years, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) has been the talk of the town, particularly in the cybersecurity and technology communities. You’ve probably gotten at least one company email about diversity and inclusion, watched a TED talk or attended some type of training or presentation.
Between all the arguing taking place online and between talking heads on TV, the concepts of DEI have been both eye-opening and confusing to many people. Discussing disparities, statistics and next steps have left many people less certain than when they began. And being ignorant to — or overwhelmed by — information can result in the same inaction.
If we can identify and refocus on a few simple blindspots, we can keep moving forward and create a workforce and world that’s based on fairness and welcoming diversity.
1. Implicit Bias in the Hiring Process
When we think of inequality in hiring, we tend to think of some egregious act — like a storefront sign saying, “Not hiring *insert race/gender/religion.” The reality is that these transgressions are far more subtle. When thinking about discrimination on a conscious level, we’re still only painting a partial picture. Whether we’re well-intentioned or not, we may unknowingly hold on to biases that create barriers and roadblocks for others.
Something as simple as posting a job exclusively on LinkedIn, for instance, can unintentionally block well-qualified, diverse candidates. Assuming that LinkedIn is the only viable resource for professional candidates creates a confirmation bias that can significantly diminish your talent pool.
Posting on diversity-centric job boards not only expands your candidate pool, but also sends a message about your company’s culture before a candidate applies. Dyversifi, The Muse, Power to Fly are examples of excellent resources for diversity recruitment and are great ways to promote your company culture. And while implicit bias can extend well-beyond the hiring process, checking these biases at the door can help affect change and prevent future setbacks.
2. The Language in Your Job Descriptions
Inclusivity in the language of a job description is often overlooked — and it’s very important. The way we structure the language in a description can not only limit the applicant pool, but it can fortify bias and further contribute to a non-diverse workplace.
Language can discourage certain candidates from applying, by using loaded or gender-specific words like dominant, leader, competitive, and others. Resources like this free gender decoder for job descriptions can help highlight these word choices and offer more inclusive replacements and recommendations.
Without identifying and understanding these nuances, many hiring managers are unknowingly limiting the type of talent that’ll be interested in applying for their roles.
3. Diversity and Inclusion Is Not Just an HR or PR Problem
There’s a misconception that DEI is only important to human resources or public relations — meaning litigation and public appearance.
To be clear, this is a serious concern as roughly 70,000 workplace discrimination cases are filed per year and an average settlement totals to $40,000 — and we’ve seen countless brands go under due to some public disaster. But the conversation doesn’t stop there.
DEI is necessary across the entire workplace as the world continues to evolve and we become increasingly aware of the very real barriers that exist for so many today. Studies show that diverse environments are not only more innovative and successful, but also increase productivity while reducing attrition. In an industry like cybersecurity where the skills and talent gaps are continuously growing, innovation, productivity and retention are crucial to bridging these gaps.
Morgan Cameron is a recruiter at Huntress and is instrumental in ensuring the company’s core value of diversity plays an integral role in its hiring efforts. Recognizing a lack of diversity in the tech industry, Morgan has spent much of her career advocating for equity and recruitment for under-represented talent.
Morgan has led diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) workshops, conducted implicit bias trainings and developed company policies to promote diversity and equity. She’s also successfully implemented inclusive recruitment strategies and organized ERGs for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC associates. She is a true DEI advocate and firmly believes diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to a company’s success.