Oakland Digital recently brought together women of color from Bank of the West, Pandora, Google, Twitter, The Northface, and Airbnb. We discussed our various perspectives of working in tech, the importance of discovering your passion, and how the companies we work with are striving to diversify the industry.
As a social entrepreneur, I enthusiastically ride the wave across the finance and tech industries. Constantly soaking in information, looking for holes in the way things currently operate in order to create sustainable solutions. I am glad to be a part of the conversation to shed light on a commonly forgotten concept when discussions take place about creating diversity in tech and business; FINANCIAL LITERACY. It is key.
As companies and communities across the nation work to see more women and people of color succeed in tech and business, it is critical that financial education is simultaneously pushed in the process.
The nations poorest communities are often unable to turn around circumstances because of their lack of knowledge surrounding 1. how to utilize their current resources, 2. how to effectively pass down resources to assist future generations, and 3. what resources are even available. “Addressing wealth inequality and enabling lower-income families of color to build financial security–long a matter of social justice and morality–is now an economic imperative.” (PolicyLink)
There will be more people of color in the finance and tech industries. There will be more women in leadership positions. However, creating that reality will not get easier if we do not stop generational poverty in communities of color.
As change is focused on hiring practices, recruiting from HBCUs, internal mobility, and company culture; I encourage all industries to incorporate financial education for their employees and extend it into their corporate giving and community outreach structures. If you work in tech, you need to understand your finances. If you are in aerospace, you need to understand your finances. If you are a person, living, here, now… you need to understand your finances. We need to stop assuming that everyone knows how to fully utilize a 401k, what alternatives there are to low interest savings accounts, or even how to truly grow and MANAGE their credit; because they don’t.
We are moving in an exciting direction. It is imperative that emphasis is placed on education that will create the equitable foundation we need to increase economic inclusion.
The subject matter runs deep with complex solutions, but collaboration is a critical component. It is inspiring to work with thought leaders across sectors who are trying to create a better tomorrow, TODAY. I look forward to our progress and helping create the solutions that get us to the next level.
“The time is always right to do what is right.” -MLK