CompTIA’s Advancing Diversity in Technology Leadership Award winner shares her thoughts and discusses the role DEI plays in creating a culture that is inclusive and invested in changing. Implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), initiatives is not a one-time task. It requires consistency, intention and openness. Kris Blackmon is a passionate advocate for DEI. She understands the importance to lift up underrepresented voices and break down systemic discrimination to create a safer environment for diverse talent in the tech industry.
Blackmon was recognized for her advocacy and commitment to DEI in technology, as well as serving as a role-model and having a positive effect on the lives and careerss of others.
Blackmon, chief channel officer at JS Group, is a member of CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council. She recently spoke to CompTIA about her life and the role DEI plays creating a culture that is inclusive and invested into change. Here’s what she had:
Why is Advancing Diversity in Technology important?
“You won’t see as much diversity at tech events as you would in other industries if you look at the attendees. The EEOC reports that almost 70% of tech workers are white and only 20% are women. McKinsey found that the top quartile of companies with gender-diverse executive teams was 15% more likely to achieve above-average profitability than the bottom quartile. This is despite the fact that they are 15% more likely to be profitable than the companies whose executive team was predominantly white and male. Many diverse workers avoid tech because it is not a safe place to work.
“This is a problem that the tech industry will not be able to solve. People gravitate towards people who are like them. It’s natural. If you are a white male who spends time with other white men and does business with them, then the people you meet and recruit into the industry will be more likely to be white men. It is important to be open to other groups. CompTIA and other organizations such as it are essential to tech diversity must be a priority. We can be open to other perspectives, cultures, and people that don’t look or think like us. This opens up the door to innovation, as we have more ideas that can be used by a wider range of customers.
What are the most important trends and challenges in Advancing Diversity in Technology?
“I believe there is another reason to promote diversity beyond it being a good business decision. We, those of us who are born with privilege, have a responsibility for helping others. Our culture is built on social systems that encourage and sustain systemic discrimination against women and people of color, LGBTQIA+ members, single mothers, and many others. It is up to us, those in positions of privilege, to change the system one person at a moment. We can create more opportunities for these communities by mentoring diverse talent and creating a safe space for them to learn technology. Many of these groups lack the financial resources to get the advanced education required for many positions in tech. They may not have been exposed STEM education or they may not have been able to go to college. This is why we, as an industry, need to be intentional about reaching out to and advancing these communities. To achieve diversity goals, we must go the extra mile and put in the extra effort to make tech as inclusive and inclusive as possible.
How can you work with CompTIA in order to address these issues and increase awareness?
“CompTIA is a great community that works to advance diversity and tech talent. It provides a wealth of resources to assist the industry in how to hire, retain, and recruit diverse talent. This gives business owners and hiring managers a clear roadmap. It is amazing to see how this community works with other industry associations, such as Xposure Inclusion and Diversity Council and Alliance of Channel Women. This kind of work requires a village. No one organization can do it all. I am a member of CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council and we have many conversations there, as well. How can we help businesses in the channel with their DEI efforts? How can we help?