In the technical space, things are constantly changing, ideas are turning into reality and our way of solving solutions are continuously adapting with the times. With that being said, there is a lot of room for improvement as we fight for the inclusion of misrepresented groups within the professional space.
As a young African-American woman with a darker skin complexion, I was taught at a young age that I had to maneuver through life more than my fellow classmates and colleagues. Something as simple as the way I would talk, deciding what to wear in public or how I decide to wear my hair has always been key elements that would determine my self-worth once I leave the comforts of my home. I would no longer be seen as me, but only a statistic. Don’t get me wrong, we have made great progress over the years, but we are far away from finishing the war.
Ever since I was young, I was always surrounded by diversity, but as I have gotten older, I would constantly find myself being the only Brown individual in the tech space, which can be isolating. Luckily, I have been blessed to be surrounded by individuals who accept all of me, but some people aren’t as lucky.
DE&I should not be limited to the workplace.
I love the purpose behind the DE&I push in all professional settings, but our workplace shouldn’t be the only environment where we should be inclusive to others. Real growth & progress starts with our personal habits and I employ others to immerse themselves in a diverse community in their personal lives. Hate & discrimination isn’t always taught by words to the younger actions, but by watching their parents walk through life a certain way.
When I started my career as a recruiter, the main elements a client would ask would be to find a candidate to fit the culture. (Read: someone like everyone else here.) What if, instead of hiring someone for cultural fit, the company can grow if we added an individual who would bring more to the table?
The term “culture fit” doesn’t align with our mission for inclusion.
Think of a blank canvas. If you continue to add the same paint color to the canvas it is simple and it has no dimension or vibrancy to it.
It’s only when you start to add different colors and shapes, that simple painting turns into a masterpiece.
As recruiters, we are the gatekeepers in shaping the working class in the future. I don’t know about you, but I would rather live a colorful life than live a plain world where things are stagnant and never evolving.
It’s funny to think about it now because when I was younger, I would refer to myself as a unicorn. I was always the only black girl in the room which made me feel unwanted, and now recruiters and hiring managers are looking for purple squirrels and unicorns who look just like the young me. But, don’t just hire people of color to only have them be “tokens” within your employee stats.
Recruiters, be the reason why they were given the chance to be great. Those little victories may seem small to others, but opportunities like that have allowed many individuals who look or feel like me to have a chance in a world where we aren’t seen as a token term or a popular trend.