The #TechDiversity Awards and Gala dinner was such a success, and my heart is still singing with joy.
We created the #TechDiversity Awards program to inspire tech-based organisations to implement diversity initiatives based on the examples set by others. The awards process lets us raise the profile of those who are building inclusion: to share their stories of courage and commitment, and to amplify their achievements. We want today’s #TechDiversity leaders to inspire and educate those of tomorrow – and the more this happens the more momentum we will build.
By this measure, our 2017 #TechDiversity Awards program has been a resounding success. A total of 400 guests at the dinner heard about the impact small groups can have on a wider community – that’s almost 100 more guests than last year and 150 more than the inaugural dinner in 2015. Our guests tweeted about the great initiatives contained within the nominations. And they spoke to me afterwards about how inspired they were to do more in their organisations and win an award next year.
This is exactly the outcome we wanted to generate. Our social media reach was so wide that we had people tweeting: “What are these #TechDiversity Awards and how do we get involved next year?”
Whether people get involved because they are genuinely inspired, or whether it’s for an award, the important fact is that these organisations will now be implementing diversity initiatives. This is certainly a huge win!
Encapsulating this idea, our keynote speaker, Solange Cunin, founder of Cuberider and an inspiring individual in her own right, began with a quote she by which she has long been guided:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Along with our guests, the #TechDiversity Foundation committee is also inspired by the impressive achievements of our nominees and winners – inspired to make sure their messages are heard more loudly and more widely. A personal challenge for me is to achieve wider recognition in media and advertising channels. Advertising can be so powerful in driving messages on diversity.
I would also love to see more diversity in our nominations. We can’t and shouldn’t take our eye off gender equality, but we can do more in supporting indigenous Australians, people with disabilities and multi-culturalism – as a start.
Finally, I want to share some of the quotes from the evening that have my heart singing still:
“Bias is something people learn, not what they are born with.” – The Hon Philip Dalidakis, MP
“TechDiversity is all about celebrating courage, initiative, leadership and commitment.” – Soozey Johnstone, Founding Director, Method9
“Love, compassion and creativity sets us apart from machines… Let’s unlock everyone’s voice.” – Tania de Jong, AM
“Tell great stories that encourage others to see the possibility in themselves.” – Fabian Dattner, founder Dattner Grant, 2017 #TechDiversity Champion
Bring on #TechDiversity 2018!