[Event Spotlight] Diversity and Tech @ Microsoft Ignite 2019
Published Aug 13 2019 06:00 PM 3,409 Views

Unless you've been living under a rock or completely shut off from social media the last few months, you probably already know that Microsoft Ignite will be happening in just 83 days. That's right - the moment that many of you out there have been counting down till since last year's Microsoft Ignite is almost upon us!  


The Diversity and Tech track that made its grand debut last year is back, and even bigger + better than before! This year, we'll have more than 50 sessions throughout the week that delves deep into the topic of intersectionality, which as the esteemed author and TED Talk speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw mentioned, allows us to "talk about the ways in which some marginalized identities compound when they come together to increase bias or discrimination... it is about understanding that some people have a harder experience because of these intersection marginalized identities". This year, we'll be featuring raw, honest and deeply authentic conversations about the intersections of race, gender, sexual identity and the many defining aspects that make us who we are. We'll share stories about personal challenges and inspiring stories about how real-life IT Pros and developers around the world have overcome obstacles and emerged even stronger on the other side. 


Join us at the Diversity and Tech pre-day, where you'll have the opportunity to connect with hundreds of technologists who are passionate about diversity and inclusion just like you! This interactive full-day session features Ebony Magazine Power List 100 and Obama White House Champion of Change Deena Pierott as she talks about "Gender and Hidden Color Barrier" - how the fight for gender parity intensifies when you add intersectional elments of race, age and privilege to the mix. This session is intended to be deeply personal and will make you uncomfortable, but you will emerge from this session equipped with greater insight, social awareness and the skills needed to be a better advocate for underrepresented minorities in tech.


Microsoft Head of Windows Insider Program Dona Sarkar speaks on the Microsoft Ignite Diversity and Tech track in 2018Microsoft Head of Windows Insider Program Dona Sarkar speaks on the Microsoft Ignite Diversity and Tech track in 2018


The Diversity and Tech pre-day will also feature a neurodiversity panel led by Head of Windows Insider Program and #ChiefNinjaCat Dona Sarkar, who will shed light on celebrating "Neurodiversity as a Superpower", with a panel focused on addressing topics around ADHD, depression, social anxiety, autism, bipolar disorders and other neurodiversities. Come learn why neurodiversity is a gift and how to channel that superpower in ways that can do wonders for your career and life!


Global Happiness Coach and WITH Warrior Kyla Mitsunaga speaking on the TED stageGlobal Happiness Coach and WITH Warrior Kyla Mitsunaga speaking on the TED stage


Following that, we'll have an interactive hands-on workshop with renowned Global Happiness Coach, TED Talk speaker and book author Kyla Mitsunaga as she talks about the concept of WITH vs AT in her session, "The Power of WITH Workshop: 6 Steps to Happiness". Learn how to build an unshakeable foundation of communication WITH yourself and others. The tech industry is a grueling, fast-paced world where many of your coworkers (or perhaps even yourself!) may feel burnt out. Come join this hands-on, experiential learning-based workshop to develop skills that you can use to raise the Happiness Quotient in any room that you walk into!


Wrap up the packed day with a private Diversity and Tech evening reception, where you'll get to meet and mingle with other diversity and inclusion advocates from around the world, get your #DiversitySuperpower caricature done by a Disney artist, discuss crucial topics around race, gender, age diversity, neurodiversity, military veterans, parents in tech, women in tech and more over dinner and drinks!


Seats for the Diversity and Tech pre-day are limited to purchase your Diversity and Tech pre-day pass now by adding it to your Microsoft Ignite registration! 


If that's not enough for you, join us at the plethora of Diversity and Tech sessions throughout the week, including the Empower Lunch sessions featuring guest speakers such as Haben Girma, Harvard Law School's first-ever deafblind graduate and disability rights lawyer and Forbes 30 Under 30 listee. The first 400 attendees to Haben's Diversity and Tech Empower Lunch session on Wednesday 12.15-1.15pm will receive a copy of her new book coming out this fall!


Haben Girma. Source: https://habengirma.com/Haben Girma. Source: https://habengirma.com/


The Diversity and Tech track also features guest speakers including leaders from Nike, and representatives from a host of nonprofits focused on boosting diversity and inclusion in tech!


Hear from our guest speakers from Nike as we take an outside-in approach as we discuss all things diversity and inclusion!Hear from our guest speakers from Nike as we take an outside-in approach as we discuss all things diversity and inclusion!


This year, we've also included topics about military veterans in tech, and are thrilled to have speakers who have served the country courageously on the battlefield share about their transition into tech careers via the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) for military veterans. Learn more about the program and how you can support military veterans discover their second calling in tech!


If you'd like to take a break from being in tech sessions all day, join us at the Diversity and Tech lounge in the Hub, where we'll have fun interactive games focused on building a kinder world and communicating better with others. We won't reveal what those activities are just yet, but there will be PRIZES! We'll leave it at that :)


Hope to see you at Microsoft Ignite 2019 - tickets sell out every year, so don't miss out and be sure to secure yours today! 


If you're planning to attend, tweet us with the following hashtags and let's connect!




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