Diversity in companies

I have said time and time again when I see a company pitch me that already has 5 white men in it without any diversity I close the door.  The chances of that company going on to be a place where women want to work (or minorities) is slim to none.  The tenure and culture of that company has been already been set.

If your company is diverse it can be more diverse over time.  The companies that I see that start out with an equal balance of men, women and minorities tend to grow with a myriad of faces.  That diversity brings a group of minds together that have come from many different places and that is not only good for culture it is fantastic for the company.  Everyone comes together with different solutions, different insight and different experiences.

There needs to be more data around this.  We have seen data around women-led companies that do better than their male counterparts.  Companies are really working hard these days to think about diversity and gender balance but the reality is if you don’t think about that from the day you start the business you are behind the curve.  More and more people particularly Generation Z will not want to go work for companies that are only run by white men.  That will bleed into more outrage as events that only have white men on the stage will get less attendance and a lot of backlash in the social media sphere.  We are seeing it happen now but eventually there will be an onslaught.

Enough already with having to even have these conversations.  Think diverse, think gender balance, think smart.

Comments (Archived):

  1. JLM

    .Diversity for the sake of diversity is a social objective — perfectly legitimate; but, diversity for the sake of tapping into a broader and deeper pool of talent is a good business practice and an indicator of a bit of business wisdom.I used to hire the top woman finance grad of the Univ of Texas every year. The top men went to Wall Street but the women did not have that opportunity. I trained them as financial analysts or property managers or leasing agents — all performed at the top of their segment of the business. Nobody had to even whisper the notion to me because the results spoke for themselves.When I had a lot of apartments, I used to direct the woman head of the division (one of the best hires I ever made in my entire business career) to hire divorced single moms to run them. These women, because of their life experience and the reality of being responsible for a child all by themselves, were the best property managers ever. I would give them the largest unit in the complex — free of charge — as an inducement to live on the property, which is always a difficult thing to get someone to do (live above the store sort of).JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Twain Twain

      In the era of AI, diversity matters even more because the AI is currently badly biased in its design and this is why we haven’t been able to get the machines to really understand us and our values.The ROI results of women do speak for themselves.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Let’s imagine how much smarter systems will be and how much better AI will serve us when female X code is combined with Y code.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  2. awaldstein

    our companies should look like the markets we sell to.that is smart and respectful and actionable.

    1. Gotham Gal


      1. Twain Twain

        The bias is so systemic, academic institutions like Harvard and Stanford aren’t even aware they’re perpetuating biases with their Implicit Assumptions tests and how those binary inputs then feed into AI classifiers like Google’s Word2Vec and Stanford’s GloVe for Natural Language AI (please see my comments to JLM).When I was a banker (I was promoted into CEO-Chairman’s Office of UBS investment bank in my mid-20s), organisations like Astia and Where Women Want to Work invited me to speak about being a woman in banking and in tech. I did tech strategic investments for the bank.Since then, I’ve been published by Women2.0 (syndicated on Forbes) and on Startup Grind advocating for more women in tech:* https://www.startupgrind.co…That’s years of standing up and “leaning in”.But here was my experience yesterday at AWS’s all-day AI workshop in SF: 280+ people and about 5 were female engineers, including me.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…I was the only woman to ask the speakers any questions — mainly highlighting that the vector space methods widely used in AI (including Amazon’s stack) may be good for image recognition and measuring facial similarities as they demoed.BUT those same vector space frameworks perpetuate sexist, racist bias when applied in Natural Language Processing and even MIT Technology Review has now written about this:* https://www.technologyrevie…* https://www.inverse.com/art…What was the Amazon solution architect’s answer? “Yes, those vector space methods have been with us for a long time, so we just use them. They do have problems.”Hmmnn … well … guys have had 60+ years in AI’s echo chambers to fix those problems and they haven’t been able to.They clearly need the different problem-solving know-how of more diverse designers and engineers.

  3. Guest

    What is so bad about white men?

    1. Gotham Gal

      nothing if they are surrounded with females and minorities.

      1. Guest

        What’s so bad about white men who are not surrounded by females and minorities? Are females and minorities bad people if they’re not surrounded by white men? Why are white men inferior to those who are not white men?

        1. Gotham Gal

          They are not inferior. What I said is that companies should be diverse from the start. The majority of companies start with a team of white men and the next thing they know it is a team of fifteen. That is not the best foot forward

  4. Emily Steed


  5. pointsnfigures

    Agree there needs to be more data. I think one of the hard things is diversity of the way people look at things. Diversity of experience, ideas-which is a lot more than physical attributes. Two people with the exact same physical attributes might look at things totally differently. I think Kahneman and Tversky were like that and came up with a lot of the initial theories in behavioral economics.