Increasing diversity in your company is not an abstract idea, but it can be hard to know where to start or what actions to take that will yield results. Here is an inside look at how Techtown pledge company Metal Toad is Approaching Diversity.
Governor Kate Brown recently joined other community members for Metal Toad’s Mentorship Saturdays, a weekly meetup for coders, hobbyists, and people curious about technology. Of all the thoughts she shared that day, the one that stands out the most was her enthusiasm about the number of women in attendance. This made us smile.
Mentorship Saturdays welcome people of all skill levels to come together to share their web and mobile projects, expertise, and career advice. Seasoned industry professionals mingle with beginners over coffee and bagels. It’s a time to learn, to question, to explore, and share the love of all things techie. If the attendance at Mentorship Saturdays is any indication, people of all ages, careers, and skill levels have an insatiable curiosity about technology.
Yet, a significant gender and ethnicity gap still exists in the Portland tech industry. The businesses who have signed the Portland Tech Diversity Pledge recognize the need to take action to increase diversity. According to President and Founder Joaquin Lippincott, Metal Toad is “committing real time, money, and resources to both looking at the challenge of increasing diversity at our company and working with folks both internally and externally to improve the situation.”
Sponsoring programs like Mentorship Saturdays is just one of the ways Metal Toad is committed to bridging the gap that exists between traditional education and the ever-changing needs of the tech industry in Portland. Metal Toad continues to work with organizations like ChickTech Portland and Women Who Hack and hosts the Diversity Think Tank meetups. By providing support, education, and encouragement, we can increase the diversity of those who seek careers in technology.
Yet it is not enough to identify the issues. We must commit to taking action. Randi King, Metal Toad’s Director of People, discusses Metal Toad’s ongoing commitment to creating and implementing strategies to increase diversity at all levels within the organization in Toadcast 033. Metal Toad has recently doubled the number of women, but as King says, it’s “not a check box. It’s a commitment to bringing in people from different backgrounds who can create the ongoing value of what we do at Metal Toad.”
To do that, Metal Toad creates goals and roadmaps. Being representative of the Portland community takes metered action and patience and it amplifies the importance of each and every hire. It means hiring somebody who is not only a great technical fit, but matches previously determined diversity aims as well. Currently, Metal Toad is on pace to meet or exceed all inclusion goals.