Dublin Panel Series Highlights Diversity as a Workforce Strategy

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Dublin Panel Series Highlights Diversity as a Workforce StrategyFrom left — moderator Andi Andrews and panelists Doug McCollough, Kristine Snow, Kristen Torres-Pierce, Branden Jones and Kim Gayle. Photo courtesy of the City of Dublin.
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The City of Dublin’s Dublin Reality Check series is well underway. The latest event in the series, held at the Exchange at Bridge Park, addressed diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and what companies and employees alike can do to ensure Dublin is a city that everyone feels invited to work in.

In CU’s own experience in talking with Dublin-based technology companies, a major challenge for employers is their ability to attract top talent. The City of Dublin has heard this same feedback and created a major strategy for enhancing its workforce attraction and retention in response. The city does this through its marketing campaign #DublinRealityCheck, which began toward the end of July 2018.

This marketing campaign has strategies such as using geofencing to target ads to men and women in their mid-20s to mid-30s, in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Baltimore, Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C. The city also makes campaign ads and copy available to area companies.

So far the campaign has earned 11 million impressions and 1,400 clicks through to the campaign’s job search page.

In addition to this marketing campaign, the City of Dublin holds a Dublin Reality Check panel series to address some of these challenges.

Its Sept. 18 event in particular addressed diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And while “diversity and inclusion” has become a buzz-phrase in the last few years, the event presented a discussion that was far from the same generic or half-heartedness some may be used to.

With participating partners like Women in Technology International, Columbus Urban League, BLK hack, Syntero counseling partnership and others, a diverse set of voices were in attendance.

Panelists included Kristine Snow, the Women in Technology International Columbus chapter board director; Kristen Torres-Pierce, coordinator, Healthy Bodies and Healthy Futures at Syntero; Braden Jones, founder of BLK hack; Kim Gayle, director of the Columbus Minority Business Center at the Columbus Urban League; and Doug McCollough, chief information officer at the City of Dublin.

The group, moderated by Andi Andrews — director of commercial technologies for innovation lab Fuse, a project by Cardinal Health — had a wide-ranging conversation that included: hiring and promoting minorities, self-doubt among minorities, the decline in women in technology, the gender pay gap and the larger pay gap for black and brown women, mental health, changing company cultures and providing an environment where people with disabilities or other sexual orientations felt supported.

Among the overall takeaways were thoughts on unconscious bias as an automatic human reaction, how employers can get away from sameness, and how using the argument of who will be the right “fit” in a company can only make these matters worse.

There were suggestions on how to eliminate unconscious bias, from McCollough in particular. In his own experience, he has gone so far to not include his address on his resume. He also suggested using alternate spellings or using advanced technology like artificial intelligence to eliminate any implicit bias in the interviewing stage.

“People think that they’re going to get the best value out of people that look like them,” McCollough remarked. This represents an unconscious bias that should be healthily acknowledged and checked.

Though Central Ohio, like many other regions in this country, has a ways to go in order to level the playing field for tech workers of all races, genders, sexual orientations and disabilities, there was hope expressed by panelists and onlookers alike. One woman in attendance asked about sexism and racism in relation to Silicon Valley, where employees have complained about places like Google and others and their lack of ensuring equal pay and treatment for minorities. She asked if Central Ohio would run into the same fate.

“Columbus is a place that fights for its diversity,” said McCollough in response. “We have a community that wants to see everybody do well.”

The final Dublin Reality Check event of 2019 takes place Thursday, Nov. 7, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at The Exchange at Bridge Park, 6520 Riverside Drive. Find more information on the workforce development update and networking event on Eventbrite.

Our technology series is presented by our partners in the City of Dublin.

Dublin is a city of more than 47,000 residents located just northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The City of Dublin Economic Development team has a vision to make Dublin a Midwest IT Magnet through business leadership and sustainable workforce development. This commitment goes beyond short-term skills training to include long-term strategic and cultural support for the entire Dublin business community. Dublin is one of America’s Top 20 Creative Class Cities and is home to more than 20 corporate headquarters, an entrepreneurial center, 3,000+ businesses, world-class events and the urban, walkable Bridge Street District.

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