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CEO Update | Equality in our Tech Community

on June 15, 2020 / by Joe Russo ,


Read Time 3 Minutes

We must do better.

It is the responsibility of our generation to assure a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to live a prosperous and fulfilling life. We must do our part to end injustice in this country once and for all.

Over the past five years, I have worked meticulously to build a tech community we could all be proud of. In 2018, we adopted a Community Creed that in part states”Palm Beach Tech is wholeheartedly committed to building a welcoming, collaborative, and inclusive community for all.”

We could have done more. We can do more.

In retrospect, I could have done to make our organization more inclusive and I take ownership of that. In my June 2nd email entitled ‘Equality in our South Florida Tech Community’, I promised to “elevate the conversation for equality in our community.”

After consulting with friends and colleagues on how to move forward, it is clear we must listen. And I ask everyone to listen carefully to the words of BlackTech Week & Code Fever Co-Founder Felecia Hatcher: ‘Tech community must do more than tweet support. It needs to invest.’

 

We will invest, and we will be a leader not through our words, but through actions. We will start reframing our leadership from the top down:

  • Board Diversity | We’ve added Diversity Data to our website, and we will be recruiting a more ethnically and gender diverse Board from throughout South Florida to be installed by August.
  • Diversity Policy | Starting from today, it will be the policy of this organization to strive for at least one-third of those recruited for all speaking opportunities, programs, or events to be someone who identifies as an ethnic or sexual minority.
  • Diversity Counsel | I’m asking our Board of Directors to appoint a Diversity Counsel to assure we undertake every possible means to promote inclusivity throughout our organization.  This person would be accountable not to me, but our Board’s Executive Committee.
  • Diversity + Inclusion in Tech Summit | I’ll be attending and the North Carolina Tech Association’s virtual program on June 23rd & 24th to listen, and invite our community to join by using code TECNA100.

 

Looking Forward

My promise to our community is that we will aim to set the standard of diversity and inclusion for our tech community. I’ll do my part wherever possible to demand equality – I won’t be silent.

If you have any ideas of what more we can do, share them with me personally to joe@palmbeachtech.org. But more importantly, do your part to listen and act in your community.

In Service,


Joseph R. Russo
President & CEO, Palm Beach Tech

 


Here are our highlights of what we’ve been up to over the past two weeks. We have an amazing team that’s been working passionately through these last few months to bring more resources online for our community.

 

$3,000 WGU Scholarship | Click Here to Apply

We’re proud to partner with our member Western Governors University in offering several $3,000 virtual Florida IT scholarships to our South Florida Tech Community! Eligible applicants must be current residents of Florida entering any of WGU’s IT programs.

 

Community Leaders Program | Click Here to View

We’re proud to support and connect dozens of meetup groups and community leaders throughout South Florida. Through our Community Leaders Program, we’ll provide resources to launch or build any community effort.

 

South Florida Tech Shirt | Click Here to View

We’re going retro! Our friends Cyan Shores screen printing took a 5-year-old Palm Beach Tech logo concept and made it into this awesome shirt! #SouthFloridaTech

 

CEO Update | Equality in our Tech Community