Leanne Pittsford, founder of Lesbians Who Tech, a global community of over 40,000 LGBTQ women in technology and their allies, publicly released her TEDx Talk titled «How Lesbians Are Solving Tech’s Diversity Problem». This release coincides with a national movement for a more diverse workforce in the tech sector and across all industries.
Over the last five years, the tech industry has spent more than a billion dollars trying to increase diversity, without much progress. In those same five years, Leanne Pittsford has built the largest and most diverse tech-focused LGBTQ+ professional organisation in the world, reporting 50% people of colour and 10% trans and gender-nonconforming speakers at popular annual summits.
Leanne shares how her organisation’s initial failings at diversity taught her to look at approaching the problem differently, saying “even though we’re an organisation with a mission of promoting diversity in tech and creating visibility for queer women, we quickly found ourselves with a disproportionately white membership and predominantly white speakers at our first summit. My good intentions were simply not good enough. So we took a simple step and implemented quotas.”
Leanne’s TEDx Talk explores the steps she took to make her community into the diverse one it is today, emphasising the importance of approaching the problem 10% differently and using quotas to create urgency and measurable metrics, saying “I do not believe we can solve this problem fast enough or at all without implementing quotas, because what gets measured is more likely to get done. Period.”
Leanne Pittsford is an entrepreneur who is changing the face of technology by increasing economic opportunity for all Americans. Leanne is the CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech, the largest LGBTQ community of technologists in the world. Now over 40,000 queer women and allies strong, Lesbians Who Tech is increasing visibility and improving representation among women and gender non conforming individuals in the tech sector on a global scale. She recently launched the Tech Jobs Tour, a U.S nationwide workforce development tour connecting diverse and non-traditional technical talent to companies who need their skills the most.
Photo by TEDx Talk