Competition Challenges Tech Companies to be Innovative in Diversifying Leadership

Photo of Denise Meridith, CEO & Founder of World's Best Connectors, a virtual community of CEOs.

Denise Meridith is CEO/Founder of the World’s Best Connectors, a virtual community of CEOs.

Diverse managers around a conference table.

The Is Diversity Your Competitive Edge? Competition gives tech companies a chance to highlight their progress in hiring talented diverse leaders.

A copy of the Is Diversity Your Competitive Edge flyer

Both large and small tech companies can compete to showcase their progress in the Is Diversity Your Competitive Edge? competition. Winners will be featured at the Diversifying Tech Leadership Conference Presented by Arizona State University in October 2021.

The World’s Best Connectors is hosting a contest during which tech companies can showcase their efforts to broaden demographics in their companies.

I guarantee attendees will leave inspired, with references, resources, tools and referrals to help them achieve higher productivity and profitability by expanding their talent pools.”

— Denise Meridith

PHOENIX, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES, July 15, 2021 / — People love contests, whether it is winning a lottery or hitting a hole-in-one. In the world of technology, there are contests for best new apps, winningest robot, or even student–created solutions to real-life medical problems. Most of the innovations in technology involve science or engineering. After the post-George Floyd tragedy, as attention was finally being paid to social, economic and justice inequality in America, Denise Meridith, CEO of The World’s Best Connectors LLC (WBC), felt that there were other changes in the technology world, which needed to be identified, recognized and rewarded. So, WBC is running a competition this year entitled “Is Diversity Your Competitive Edge?” in which tech companies, who have created successful, diverse corporate cultures, can compete.

“Years ago,” Meridith said, “Tim Conner expanded on a well-worn belief by saying ‘you get the behavior you reward, not the behavior you want.’ I have often thought one reason for the poor diversity in technology companies, is that all the emphasis is on innovation in design of products and processes, and little recognition is devoted to innovations in recruitment and retention, in people management.”

Despite the 1990s’ hopes that technology would be the great equalizer, personal success based on technical skills, not race or sex, and 20 years of investments in kids’ programs such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), there has been little progress in diversity, especially in the C-Suite and Board rooms. Over 80% of software engineers are white males. In the large technology companies, Blacks often comprise less than 3% of employees. In 2018, only about 20% of technology jobs are held by women, and only 37% of start-up companies have a woman on their boards.

In 2020, many CEOs issued letters and proclamations about their support for Black Lives Matters and other progressive causes. Nobody expects companies to have become 50% female or 12% African-American in the past 18 months. But the goal of the contest is to identify companies who have taken aggressive actions to implement what they said they wanted (i.e., social and economic equity); to identify innovative methods of recruitment, promotion and retention; to recognize how diversity has generated profitability; and to spotlight successful, diverse corporate cultures.

From July 15 to September 10, 2021, both small businesses and corporations are encouraged to nominate their companies and effective methods of diversifying their C-suites and Boards. The broad definition of diversity includes all races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, and physical/mental abilities. Electronic submissions can be submitted to Judges include a variety of national business and academic leaders, such as Jack McCauley (Founder of Oculus and current Innovator in Residence @ Berkeley), Neal Lester (Founding Director of Project Humanities at Arizona State University), Alejandro Juarez Crawford (CEO of RebelBase), Alex Muir (Founder of The Minuet Group), Brad Bonomo (COO of Compliance Testing), and Delmar Johnson (CEO of ExpandHR).

The winners will be featured on October 28 at WBC’s Annual Conference—Diversifying Tech Leadership Conference Presented by Arizona State University—in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference is expected to be attended by up to 100 tech leaders and business owners and C-suite executives.

“Top industry speakers will discuss and answer questions about tech hiring challenges and opportunities,” says Meridith, “I guarantee attendees will leave inspired, with references, resources, tools and referrals to help them achieve higher productivity and profitability by expanding their talent pools.”

Denise P Meridith
World’s Best Connectors LLC
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July 16, 2021, 06:44 GMT

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