Diversity of ‘races, religions, backgrounds and genders’ essential to warfighting in the information age, 3-star says

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ARLINGTON, Va. ― The challenges of the future operating environment are happening now for the intelligence community, the Marine Corps’ top general for information says. And diversity in thinking and in the ranks is essential to meeting the challenge.

Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds, deputy commandant of information, shared that observation and other insights to more than 300 intelligence Marines at the 9th Annual Marine Corps Association and Foundation Intelligence Awards Dinner Thursday.

“I believe that diversity of thought will matter in the future fight,” Reynolds said.

Diverse force, especially in intelligence, she said, is not about quotas but about, “how we think about the tools we put in a toolbox or use keys on a keyboard.”

“And I believe a dramatic mix of talent, of all races, religions, backgrounds and genders will be the difference in the future,” she said.

The three-star noted how a variety of perspectives, languages and cultures all feed the intelligence understanding of adversaries and of the information environment, an aspect that near-peer competitors such as China and Russia do not hold.

“We must talk about diversity as a warfighting necessity and tonight I’m declaring it essential to the information environment,” Reynolds said. (read more)

Exclusive: Serena Williams-backed online academy raises $3M to teach tech jobseekers how to sell

Serena

Coding boot camps are nothing new. People looking to get into the tech industry sign up by the throngs, but Shaan Hathiramani noticed a giant chasm in another area that’s vital to that world: tech sales.

He also noted that sales isn’t something taught in college and that the people who did pursue careers in what Old Media might call “peddling” tended to be male and white.

Hathiramani decided to turn that upside down when he founded Flockjay, and it looks like a lot of people agree with him. Today, the online sales academy—which trains people from nontraditional backgrounds for jobs in tech—announced $2.98 million in new funding from a diverse set of backers who are 50% women and 50% people of color.

The funding round included superstar backers like Serena Williams and Will Smith, in addition to a host of big-name investors: Microsoft chairman John Thompson; Airtable head of sales Liat Bycel; Gmail inventor Paul Buchheit; and former Netflix CPO Tom Willerer, among others. Lightspeed, Coatue, Y Combinator, F7, SV Angel, and Index Ventures also participated in the round. (read more)

British Black History: Sheffield exhibition celebrates diversity

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A fire service hopes the next generation of firefighters will be inspired by its photography exhibition for Black History Month.

The exhibition features portrait photographs of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue staff with African and Caribbean heritage.

They were shot by Orestes Rix, a member of the finance team who specialises in photography outside his day job.

The exhibition will tour Sheffield this month.

Delroy Galloway helped organise the exhibition, called Family, as well as being photographed.

He said: “People with African and Caribbean backgrounds are currently underrepresented within the fire service nationally.

“We aim to change that through projects such as this one, as well as shine a light on some very deserving colleagues.” (read more)

Five Years of Tech Diversity Reports—and Little Progress

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In 2014, when Silicon Valley companies began disclosing the demographics of their workforces, advocates hoped for change. It hasn’t worked out that way.

It’s been five years since Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft first released diversity reports, revealing the companies’ workforces were overwhelmingly white or Asian men. Five years since Facebook first acknowledged it had “more work to do—a lot more,” and CEO Tim Cook wrote Apple employees a letter promising the company would be “as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing products.”

Since then, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn and expanded in the cloud, Facebook gained roughly 1 billion monthly active users, Google achieved quantum supremacy, and Apple released the Apple Watch, Airpods, and iPhones 6s through 11. Despite their business successes, though, none of these big tech companies has made much progress in diversifying their workforces.

The numbers are particularly stark among technical workers—the coders, engineers, and data scientists who make these companies hum. At Google and Microsoft, the share of US technical employees who are black or Latinx rose by less than a percentage point since 2014. The share of black technical workers at Apple is unchanged at 6 percent, less than half blacks’ 13 percent share of the US population.

The companies report more progress for women. At Facebook, the technical workforce is 23 percent female, up from 15 percent in 2014; Google reports similar gains. But no company is close to parity, despite having repeatedly pledged millions to address the problem.

Amazon does not report demographics for its tech workforce, making it impossible to gauge the retail giant’s progress on diversity against other big tech companies. Amazon says almost 42 percent of its workers were women, and almost 42 percent of its US workers black or Latinx, at the end of last year. But those numbers include the vast majority of Amazon’s 647,000 employees who work in its distribution centers.

Freada Kapor Klein, a founding partner at venture capital firm Kapor Capital and a longtime advocate for diversity in tech, is baffled by how differently tech companies treat their diversity investments from other business initiatives. “If you wasted a billion dollars and nowhere near met your target, you wouldn’t get your bonus, you wouldn’t have a job. And yet there seem to be no consequences,” she says. “Despite all the words, despite all the money, despite all the platitudes and initiatives, it’s hard to say that the companies are really taking it seriously.” (read more)

Hedge funds’ progress toward employee diversity improving

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The hedge fund industry remains a bastion of white males, but for reasons that may have more to do with investment performance and business survival than conscience, many firms are aggressively seeking to hire, retain and promote more women and people with diverse backgrounds, including military veterans.

The problem is that there is a dearth of candidates with desired diversity characteristics who want to work for a hedge fund, sources said.

“All hedge funds would agree that the talent pool is very limited. There aren’t enough diverse candidates, be that women, ethnic minorities, different educational backgrounds, etc.,” said Sara Rejal, global head of liquid diversifying strategies at Willis Towers Watson PLC, London, in an email.

“Most hedge funds would argue they have good cognitive diversity (and) some will also point to the number of languages spoken within their teams. They will, however, largely admit that when it comes to gender diversity at the senior level in particular, they are lacking,” Ms. Rejal said.

Industrywide statistics about the level of diversity and inclusivity within hedge funds are scarce, particularly metrics about race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, sources said, noting that the most commonly used workforce measurement is the number of non-caucasian males employed.

Researcher Preqin Ltd., London, noted a slight increase in the number of women employed worldwide hedge funds in all roles to 19.3% in 2019 from 18.6% in 2017 within its data base of money management professionals.

“The hedge fund industry has made material progress across job functions, but it’s no secret that white males still dominate the space,” said James J. Gnall, vice president, alternatives and advisory, Wilshire Associates Inc., Santa Monica, Calif. “The investment side of the business still is the arena of white males, but it’s definitely getting better.”

Preqin’s analysis supported Mr. Gnall’s observation: In 2019, 23% of hedge fund investment team employees worldwide were female compared to 6% two years earlier.

Despite efforts to recruit more people of color, hedge fund managers may find institutional investors unwilling to invest in a fund led by a black portfolio manager or team leader.

Recent research from Stanford University and Illumen Capital Management LLC, a venture capital and private equity manager based in Oakland, Calif., found “systemic racial disparities in how (institutional) investors evaluate funds and allocate money,” according to the paper “Race influences professional investors’ financial judgments.” (Pensions & Investments, Aug. 19)

“Well-intentioned investors often leave money on the table in the investment process. Our research found that investors tend to devalue firms with black ownership and leadership even for high-performing funds, said Norris A. “Daryn” Dodson IV, Illumen Capital’s managing partner and a co-author of the paper.

Mr. Dodson declined to provide Illumen’s assets under management. (read more)

WarnerMedia Diversity and Inclusion Interim Report Reveals Workforce Close To Gender Parity, Representation For People Of Color In Film & TV Needs Improvement

 

warner media

EXCLUSIVE: WarnerMedia released their first diversity and inclusion (D&I) interim report which covered the year of 2018 when it came to D&I in its corporate operations as well as the films, television series and digital content created by its various properties. The findings were quite surprising and sets a baseline for how to move forward when it comes to representation.

WarnerMedia

This report comes a year after WarnerMedia made a commitment to release a report which was part of the industry’s inaugural Production Diversity Policy which pledged to use their best efforts to ensure that diverse cast and crew be considered at the start of all new television, film and other projects. The report covers breaks down diversity and inclusion in three specific areas at the company: workforce, which includes workforce composition and employee resource groups; content in the realm of scripted TV, films, news as well as animation; and community which includes industry and local outreach partnerships and programs. This is the first studio to release such a report. (read more)

IGT receives industry award for its commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion

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International Game Technology (IGT) announced last week that it has won a Pride of Gaming award in recognition of its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. IGT accepted the award from event organizer and industry publication CasinoBeats during a ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The company was selected as a winner by the CasinoBeats editorial team.

“When one of world’s largest gaming companies makes a commitment to improving diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, it sends a strong message to the industry and the wider marketplace about the central importance of this objective,” said Stewart Darkin, Managing Director of CasinoBeats.”We congratulate IGT on its leadership in developing a welcoming environment where all employees are valued, and where the workforce more closely resembles all the people and communities it serves around the world.”

“IGT recognizes that it is necessary to have a multicultural workforce to operate effectively in the global marketplace,” said Kim Barker Lee, IGT Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).”We’re honored to be recognized for our work building a connected community of employees who are empowered to contribute their diverse talents in ways that deliver the optimal player experience for our customers though all our products and solutions.”

The inaugural Pride of Gaming event was created by CasinoBeats to recognize gaming industry professionals and groups whose work benefits society and improves their communities.

John Rogers: Industry has ‘gone backwards’ on diversity and inclusion

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John W. Rogers Jr., chairman of Ariel Investments and a pioneer of diversity and inclusion in the financial services profession, issued a reality check for industry participants Tuesday, saying the industry has backtracked rather than improved when it comes to diversity.

“I think we’ve actually gone backwards over the 36 years I’ve been at Ariel,” said Mr. Rogers, who founded his firm — the first African American-owned mutual fund company and now the largest such asset management firm, with $13 billion in assets — at age 24.

Some of the major growth parts of the U.S. economy, such as venture capital, private equity and hedge funds, have “a real dearth of African American, Latino and women leaders in the field,” Mr. Rogers said at InvestmentNews‘ Diversity & Inclusion Summit in New York.

“I think it’s a much, much tougher environment today than I would have expected 36 years ago,” he added.

[Recommended video: John Rogers strengthened diversity and inclusion efforts well beyond asset management]

Mr. Rogers, who was honored at the event with a Lifetime Achievement award, partly attributes the diminishment of diversity and inclusion to the amount of time that’s passed since the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

“It was so visceral. You could see the lynchings, what was happening in Selma and other communities. And leaders like Dr. King who were really exposing that,” Mr. Rogers said.

“The next generation of [leaders] in their 40s and 50s who didn’t experience it, I don’t think they feel the need to challenge reality,” he added. “I think they assume things are better.”

Only 23% of holders of the certified financial planner designation were women in 2018. The number of African American and Latino CFPs was only about 3.5%, much lower than those groups’ 30% share of the overall U.S. population.

Mr. Rogers described an “unconscious and implicit bias” in American society as a continuing challenge when it comes to race. (read more)

Tech’s diversity push – is it making a difference for interns?

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Any one of us could probably recall a depressing “women in tech” headline. Wise (Women in Science and Engineering) says that 23% of the people working in Stem roles in the UK are female, while PwC states that just 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. In a sample of 1,000 US consumers by LivePerson, a US software company, only 8.3% could name a famous woman in tech; that fell to just 4% when LivePerson discounted any responses naming Siri or Alexa.

However things are changing for women in tech, says Anna Brailsford, CEO at Code First: Girls, which works with companies and women to increase the numbers of women in tech. “Many established companies have made bold commitments to hiring a more balanced workforce,” she says. “Some have gone as far as committing to a 50:50 split.”

Yet even at internship stage, there are raised flags about gender discrimination.

“Internships at popular technology companies are hyper-competitive and frequently awarded to those who have completed two years at university,” says Brailsford. “Currently, there is a disproportionate focus on computer science degrees, mainly because it is one of the few degree disciplines that will actually teach students how to code in some capacity. When we ask women what is inhibiting them from applying for an internship, they will often say entry requirements.”

According to recruitment organisation Stem Women, the percentage of women graduating in computer science in 2016-17 was just 15%.

Rituja Rao was a journalism student who wanted to get some work experience before venturing into a career in tech. “I was sending out 50 applications a week, tweeting and emailing people for a weeklong shadowing or internship experience, but I found nothing,” she says, “I just wanted to get an insight before committing to a Stem degree, but I got turned down for any beginner opportunities.”

Eventually she was hired by London-based tech consultant Sparta Global, who took her on despite her non-technical background. “Diversity and inclusion are beyond what meets the eye,” says Rao. “As a young girl, I just didn’t think of Stem as a career, and I carried that with me into my adult life, because I felt that I didn’t have what it needs.” (read more)

Essence’ journalist opens up about taking RuPaul to task for lack of diversity backstage at Emmy Awards

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RuPaul was floating on cloud nine as he celebrated his fourth Emmy Award win — for outstanding host for a reality or competition program — backstage during Sunday night’s ceremony at the Microsoft Theater.

That was until he was asked about the lack of diversity representing his show while yukking it up with journalists in the press room.

The gender-bending music and television star, who has been a champion of LGBTQ imagery in the mainstream media since first hitting the top of the Billboard charts in 1993, appeared on stage flanked by the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” production and writing crew — which is made up of mostly white men.

The lack of diversity didn’t go unnoticed by one member of the press corps. (read more)

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