QueerTech event aims to make tech a welcoming career space for everyone

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queertec2SLGBTQI+ A Nonprofit Advocacy Group Aiming to Create Inclusive Spaces for Professionals in the Tech Sector Holds Its First Hybrid queertech conference Last week, hosted at the new Microsoft Canada headquarters in Toronto. It was aimed at convening queer leaders in tech, empowering queer people to choose the IT (Information Technology) industry as a career option, promoting DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) in the workplace and empowering queer people Had to provide the right support and network. to thrive.

AJ Fernandez Rivera

AJ Fernandez Rivera, Managing Director Accenture, opened up about her struggles, from stepping into a predominantly male and cisgender-dominated industry to her status as a trans leader today. For him, the biggest issue is the lack of role models for queer people in the tech industry.

“This is an institutional change. And making sure that when queer people like us get into this career, they are successful, because I would be happy to look at this industry one day and say, ‘I’m not the lone wolf’. I’m the only transgender woman managing director in such a big company, right? This is the future. And we’ve started it, there’s still a lot of work to do,” Rivera said.

DEI isn’t a checkbox exercise or a fad, the event’s expert panelists acknowledged. “It’s not the fact that you’re going to check a box, you have to create something that’s applicable to everyone, if you want to do that. I’m out there, so I’m doing this because I really want to diversify.” And I believe in inclusion, and it comes from the heart,” said Jason Bate, executive director of strategic engagement and innovation at the Government of Canada.

According to panelists at the QueerTech event, concrete actions such as reviewing workplace and human resources policies are important. The panelists said that whether it is instituting small changes like announcing pronouns, or including more queer people at the executive, decision-making table, or implementing counseling programs for queer people, support has to be passive. need to be active instead.

According to the panellists, much more needs to be done to fight racial and gender discrimination and raise awareness through inclusive work policies. Counseling programs should also be tailored to the different types of support each gay person may need, while onboarding processes should inform staff about available resources.

Rivera claimed Accenture’s unconscious bias training was designed to expose people to their underlying attitudes and opinions they may have towards others, often based on race and gender.

When queer people are supported, they can be “louder and louder” and be their authentic selves, which enables them to do well at work, participate in discussions, and build and enhance the general productivity and efficiency of the workplace. and allows you to contribute. The country’s economic strength, Bett said.

Plus, employees who can go to work on their own are likely to have better mental health and be more productive. This means better retention for employers, especially at a time when finding and retaining the right digital talent is critical, Rivera said. From a business competitiveness perspective, you also want to be known as the company that has taken concrete steps to strengthen DEI, not as a laggard, she said.

Encouraging more people to join the industry, Rivera said, and getting the right qualifications are key to making tech a representative and inclusive career space. She added that ultimately, “quality work is genderless and that is what you are known for”, and recommended that queer people constantly update to have the right credentials, certifications and skills.

“The journey is going to be treacherous. It’s going to be long, it’s going to be challenging. Just keep going, keep going, you know it’s the right thing to do. But find a way that everyone will follow you. Then it becomes a supported initiative, not just an initiative,” Rivera said.

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