LUNCH & LEARN WITH JONATHAN HOLIFIELD

 

"U.S. competitiveness [is] the ability of firms in the U.S. to succeed in the global marketplace while raising the living standards of the average American.“
Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin;  U.S. Competitiveness Project; Harvard Business School

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Jonathan came to Portland and was the keynote speaker for the Urban League of Portland’s premiere annual event. Jonathan’s message is inclusion in our innovation economy is not a nice-to-have but an economic necessity. He believes in a holistic approach that includes policies, strategies, practices and metrics to create a system of inclusion.  
Based on this and our prior interaction with him, we put together a lunch and learn with those that signed on to the Tech Diversity Pledge as well as influencers in our startup community. The event was split between hearing Jonathan’s expert perspective and associated question and answer dialogue with the audience. The rest of the time was spent in small groups thinking through how we can move forward implementation efforts to make Portland more inclusive. Special thanks to those that participated in this event. 
The small groups produced some interesting results worth sharing. We read through the comments and grouped them into 8 broad categories. Some thoughts fit into more than one; the tally is to the right. 

You can see the thoughts in detail by following this link to a Google Doc. Some of the most interesting results were those characterized as “Start Simple” and “Hiring Actions”. Here’s a few that the small groups came up with in those areas:

  • Blind resumes/code tests
  • Go to underrepresented community meetups & raise awareness of your company 
  • Create internship for HS/college students
  • Support tech education (via code schools) and create entry level/junior level technical position

"Build One Community" was the most common focus area. The comments in this category focus on engagement and going to the communities to do it at the individual-level, with community groups, at high schools and universities. There are plenty of opportunities to do this today and if you want to move your efforts forward let us know and we’ll help you do so.