Advancing Women In Technology Organizations


For any company whose industry is undergoing a massive transformation, it’s vital to create a business and cultural climate that is open to widespread change, innovation and inclusion.

There is no shortage of discussions taking place in the media about trying to increase the number of women and people of color in the tech industry. It’s both a moral and a strategic business imperative.

For Turner, we know our success depends on developing a workforce that reflects our fans. Diversity must fuel our content, innovation and vision in order to meet our consumers’ rapidly changing expectations and new audiences. It’s also just the right thing to do.

Diversity alone won’t get us there. We also need inclusion. Think of it this way: Diversity is a reality, while inclusion is a behavior.

I believe there are three key steps we must take to improve diversity and inclusion in our industry.

First and foremost, leaders like myself need to do more and lead by example. We must be better sponsors, allies and mentors to women, especially women of color. As leaders, we have capital and power to advance equality and be stronger advocates.

Whether it be through internships, mentoring or providing other opportunities for learning, the goal should be to develop programs that have a true impact on employees and throughout the broader community.

For example, at Turner, we have affinity groups and training programs to address workplace bias to foster an environment where everyone feels respected and supported. We also work closely with partners such as, Black Girls Code and many other organizations to inform our practices.

Later this year, Turner and will launch a mentoring initiative between Turner leaders and students from historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. The goal of this effort is to find solutions and the best practices to support and retain new talent while also cultivating our next generation of leaders.

Other large companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have also been working hard to deepen relationships with organizations to support people of color and women.

Second, women in technology need more funding and resources devoted to their projects. Last year, according to data company PitchBook (via Fortune), only 2% of all tech venture capital went to women founders. In other words, 98% of funding went to men. That’s simply not sustainable. It is time for large companies to put their money where their mouths are and support women-led startups. It isn’t about a handout; it’s about a fair shot.

And third, and perhaps most important, be inclusive and give women in technology an opportunity to have a seat at the table when key projects and initiatives are being developed. According to a recent study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, women in corporate leadership tend to help businesses’ performances and profit. But this isn’t possible unless leaders make the intentional effort to empower women to lead from the beginning of their careers and throughout. This simple but powerful act will continue to have a material impact on all businesses.

The trend lines tell us so.

Research indicates there is a correlation between the degree of diversity and inclusion in an organization and its market share, employee engagement, turnover rate, innovation acumen and consumer satisfaction.

We need to be prepared to serve the changing demographics of the world while being respected as leaders in this regard both inside and outside our company. For our industry and so many others, it will be a competitive differentiator.


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