In today’s Diversity & Inclusion Leader Spotlight, we hear from Cheryl Ingram, PhD, CEO and Founder of Diverse City LLC. Diverse City offers the development and implementation of long term high quality, diversity, inclusion, and equity strategies, policies, and practices. Change Catalyst is honored to feature Cheryl as one of our speakers at the Tech Inclusion Seattle Conference, which takes place June 14–15 at Galvanize Seattle in Pioneer Square.
Change Catalyst: What are you currently working on to improve diversity and inclusion in tech?
Cheryl: I am working on raising funding to create a software platform that will help companies evaluate multiple components of diversity and inclusion.
Change Catalyst: What motivates you to work towards an inclusive tech ecosystem?
Cheryl: For most of my life my identities have been stigmatized. Early on, I began building a lens to observe the manifestation of discrimination in every institution I have been a part of. I’ve seen sexism, racism, sizeism, xenophobia, homophobia, and many other forms of oppression perpetuated in workplaces, educational institutions, correctional facilities, and nonprofit organizations. I’ve seen my family, friends, and strangers continually struggle for their right to exist. I want it to end!
Before I learned more about how to fight institutions of oppression I used to challenge the system ineffectively. I’ve grown really tired of seeing it happen and how it has prevented me and others from living a quality life. I knew in my heart it was time to join the fight for equity. I’m motivated by the fact that change is possible; that people began fighting long before I was born because they felt I deserved an equitable opportunity to live a quality life. I want to work with others to build a system that creates those opportunities so that someday another human being will know that I owned up to my inherited responsibility and motivated them to do the same.
Change Catalyst: What will be the biggest story around diversity and inclusion in 2017?
Cheryl: Women in tech has become more and more of a conversation starter and workshop igniter. I think this is becoming the biggest story in tech. I think the trend is leaning towards the gender wage gap and addressing how the field of technology inequitably pays male-identified people vs. female-identified people. I agree that the rise of women in tech is important; my fear is the untold story that is being created within that story — a story of non-white women and transgender women who are being left out of conversations consciously and unconsciously. I’m concerned about these untold stories because there is so much happening in the world of tech that needs to not just be addressed, but changed. Intersections are relevant and need to be included within the larger stories.