Unless you've been living under a rock or completely tuned out to the latest news in the media, you know by now that it's 2018, and Diversity and Inclusion is BIG. Experts talk about why it's important, companies race to roll out diversity and inclusion / conscious bias trainings, numerous authors have published books on race/culture/gender identities etc and colleges are partnering with external diversity and inclusion organizations to enable students to set up their own student organizations focused on D&I.
Diversity and Inclusion impacts everyone
Some of you might think, "I'm going to the conference to learn about technology. This kind of D&I stuff is for Human Resources to tackle".
By not acknowledging that we all need to play an active role in ensuring our workplaces and society is welcoming and inclusive of everyone regardless of background - skin color, religious belief, gender identity or accessibility need - you're perpetuating the problem by not plugging in to change negative behaviors. Yes, YOU can be part of the solution and help drive culture change by being a trusted ally, and advocating for others who are being marginalized. If you're in a minority or underrepresented group, this is your opportunity to hear from real-life role models on how you can advocate for yourself, even when sometimes you feel like no one else will.
We think it's time to get ready to be uncomfortable, be truly vulnerable and together let's tackle the tough topics on how to better promote diversity and inclusion in tech.
Diversity and Tech @ Microsoft Ignite
What better place to talk about diversity and inclusion in the tech industry than at Microsoft Ignite, where 25,000 IT Professionals are all gathered in one venue to learn and talk about all things technology, and IT Pro life? Diversity and inclusion is so intricately woven into our social fabric that we can no longer ignore its impact on our work cultures, teams and even personal and professional relationships.
At our Diversity & Tech (D&T) Pre-Day on Sunday, September 23, 2018, we are thrilled to offer two pass options: a Full Day pass, and an Add-On Pass. Which is the right pass for you? Here's a quick drill-down:
The D&T Full Day pass is for those who want to deep-dive into diversity and inclusion topics and really get the most out of their Sunday by dedicating time and energy to learning and networking with other IT Pros passionate about championing diversity and inclusion in tech. You'll get a packed afternoon of D&T sessions including the Empower Lunch by Windows Insider Chief and author/fashion designer Dona Sarkar, career skills/culture discussions by notable Microsoft leaders as well as learn how to tell your unique story about who you are.
The second pass option (aka the Diversity & Tech Pre-Day Add-On pass) is for those who want to have their cake, and eat it too - yes, it's possible! The D&T Add-on pass enables you to attend a technical pre-day of your choice, AND still dig into some of the diversity and inclusion topics. The Add-On pass includes access to the Empower Lunch, the storytelling workshop and our Evening Reception for Diversity and Tech pre-day attendees. Of course, if some sessions conflict, you could also pick and choose whether you'd like to stay for the other D&T sessions or go to your technical pre-day sessions - all the pre-day rooms will be located in close proximity so you can hop between the two tracks if you like.
All Diversity & Tech Pre-Day attendees will get to attend a special invite-only D&T Evening Reception at the Urban Tide restaurant after the Pre-Day sessions wrap up. Come mingle with other IT Pros and find your tribe (or community!) before the main week of Microsoft Ignite sessions begin! We'll thrilled to have the talented female DJ and violinist DJ EmV perform at our reception. No matter who you are or what your background is, we want to ensure that you never feel alone or out of place at Microsoft Ignite - all of us here in the Diversity & Tech Community stand with you.
When the main Microsoft Ignite week officially kicks off, join us at our Diversity & Tech Empower Lunches, including our Monday leadership panel, entitled "Voices from the Top: Leaders Get Real About Building Inclusive Work Cultures". We'll tackle topics not only about women in tech, but also gender identities/LGBTQ, ethnicity and race/culture as well as accessibility and inclusive technology.
Want to get REALLY uncomfortable and have constructive conversations with peers about core inclusion topics like Ethnicity/Culture, Gender Identities, Inclusive Tech and Mental Health? Join us at the Diversity & Tech Lounge in the Immersion Zone, where we'll have Coffee & Culture Connection tables and 1:1 conversation pods where you can get that caffeine fix as you sit down to discuss with a fellow Diversity & Tech community member about these important topics. Need some nudging to break the (awkward) ice? We'll have facilitators on hand to help get the conversation going.
Here's a visual overview of what you can expect:
This year, we are thrilled to partner with two local colleges in the Orlando area - the University of Central Florida and Valencia College, who have nominated their outstanding women in computer science/engineering student leaders who will join us at Microsoft Ignite as Diversity & Tech Student Ambassadors.
Say hello to our newly-minted 2018 D&T Student Ambassadors!
These amazing young women will be onsite to dig into technology, engage with attendees and talk about their experiences in driving diversity and inclusion in STEM at college. Get to know them and be inspired by their tenacity, passion and drive to build inclusive communities in the tech industry.
Join us on a journey of personal growth and social change through Diversity and Tech @ Microsoft Ignite. Register now while seats last, and we'll see you in September! :)
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