ACT-W: Achieving Equity

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy

Throughout our years of bringing career-advancing workshops and engaging talks to technical women and allies at our ACT-W Conferences across the country, we’ve continuously heard stories of barriers that continue to block their success. We also hear from company executives that achieving measurable Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) results can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

By far, one of the most common pain points we hear is that companies and individuals want to do the right thing, but they feel stuck.

That’s why we created ACT-W: Achieving Equity. From June 26-27, 2019, we’re bringing together the brightest thinkers–and most importantly–the greatest doers in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to help you make change happen.

ACT-W: Achieving Equity is a boutique event that provides action-oriented training and deep discussions to level up diversity initiatives and better enact real, measurable change. Achieving Equity is built for DEI professionals, managers, recruiters, community leaders, and allies–all people actively working to create change in their company or community–and takes an actionable approach to DEI.


The Achieving Equity Experience

What to Expect

You’ll leave equipped with strategies you can implement right away as well as invaluable tools and best practices proven to make change happen in both large and small organizations. You’ll connect with like-minded industry professionals with a passion for creating thriving, equity-based workplaces.

Most importantly, you’ll feel inspired and re-invigorated to continue creating cultures that embraces inclusivity and diversity at all levels.

Event Offerings

  • Deep discussions on topics such as “Best Practices to Create Intersectional Women ERGs,” and “Is It Getting Better? A View Into the State of University STEM Departments”
  • Specialized workshops that take your knowledge deeper
  • Built-in opportunities to grow your network of supportive and committed professionals
  • Practical actions and strategies to create short and long term culture change
  • Optional DEI Certificate of Completion (1-day, limited space workshop)


Achieving Equity Speakers

Chirona R Risom

Chirona R Risom

Inclusion Program Manager at Intel
Sue Harnett

Sue Harnett

Co-Founder, President + Board Chair at Rewriting the Code
Katie Augsburger

Katie Augsburger

Employee Experience Strategist/Founding Partner at Future Work Design
Janice Levenhagen

Janice Levenhagen

Founder & CEO of ChickTech
Gowri Selka

Gowri Selka

President, Volantsys Analytics Inc

Roshni Pattath

Roshni Pattath

Senior Quality Engineer at Red Hat
Lillian A. Tsai

Lillian A. Tsai

President & Founder - TsaiComms LLC
Aparna Rae

Aparna Rae

Co-Founder of Future for Us
Jane Ni

Jane Ni

Co-Founder of Stempathy
Susanne Tedrick

Susanne Tedrick

Client Technical Specialist - IBM

Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno

Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno

Co-Founder of Future for Us
Jen O'Ryan, PhD

Jen O’Ryan, PhD

Founder & Principal Consultant - Double Tall Consulting
Armida Mendez Russell

Armida Mendez Russell

Senior Consultant at the National Diversity Council
Amy Occhialino

Amy Occhialino

Open Source Software Engineering Director at Intel

Shikha Ghosh Gottfried

Shikha Ghosh Gottfried

Programmer/Analyst - 509J School District
Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

Founder & CEO of The Superwoman Project
Nicki Washington

Nicki Washington

Associate Professor of Computer Science Winthrop University and Author
Cara Snow

Cara Snow

Chief Community Engagement Officer at Technology Association of Oregon

Sessions & Workshops

  • Day 1: June 26, 2019


  • Day 2: June 27, 2019


  • Join all Achieving Equity participants for a welcome and introduction to the event, led by ChickTech Founder & CEO, Janice Levenhagen.
    Where
    Vanport

  • Every day we choose to include people, ideas, stories. We also exclude others, sometimes knowingly and at times unknowingly. Why does ‘inclusion’ matter? When companies talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, they are expecting a slew of stats and solutions that can be implemented overnight to turn any organization into a place where diverse individuals thrive. Future for Us believes that inclusion is a daily habit and choice. This talk will use a combination of data deep dives, storytelling and solutions to help you see the power of inclusion, cultivate a purposeful community around you and build skills to advance at work.
    Where
    Vanport

  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) certificate awarded by the National Diversity Council is specifically focused on women in the technology industry. It is designed to provide those that support and empower women, such as C-SUITE, diversity officers and practitioners, consultants, human resource personnel, and individuals at all levels of their career with the precise mix of knowledge and skills to successfully impact the workplace. Learn more & register!
    Where
    SMSU 329

  • Gender inclusiveness in software companies is receiving a lot of attention these days, but it overlooks a potentially critical factor: software itself. Research shows that different people often work differently with software, and that some of these differences statistically cluster by gender. In this talk, we'll begin by presenting a method we call GenderMag, which can be used to find and fix “inclusivity bugs” -- gender biases in software that support people of one gender less well than people of another gender. As we’ll explain, at the core of the method are 5 facets of cognitive style differences that are also statistically gender differences, drawn from a large body of foundational work from computer science, psychology, education, communications, and women's studies. We then present some results of using GenderMag on real products, and some emerging practices for taking the method into real world usage. GenderMag is freely available at http://gendermag.org
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • This workshop focuses on creating a corporate culture where allyship is not only celebrated, encouraged, and nurtured, but also expected. Most tech employees fall into two categories: those wanting to be better allies (but may not know how) and those with no desire to be. While many workshops focus on better equipping current employees as allies, this workshop also includes how organizations can change the greater computing+tech culture through established relationships with colleges and universities. Creating successful computing+tech allies must begin before graduates enter the workforce. This requires placing DEI expectations on not only current students (prospective employees and interns), but also institutions and departments. Given the affiliate relationships with many universities, there is an opportunity to create better corporate cultures before prospective employees enter the workforce (e.g. affiliates/sponsorship, job fairs, info sessions/workshops, and internships). Leveraging her experiences as an African-American female computer science Ph.D. in both industry and higher education, Dr. Nicki Washington discusses how DEI professionals and managers can not only create and maintain a culture of allyship throughout their organizations, but also leverage their influence to better prepare students and faculty for DEI as an expectation instead of an option.
    Where
    Vanport

  • Our understanding of gender is changing, in business and the world. Airlines are preparing to offer alternatives, other than “female / male”, for non-binary passengers. Multiple states now allow gender neutral indicators on driver’s licenses. Personal pronouns, gender neutral honorifics, and non-binary designations on documents are increasingly more common. Inclusion is a soft skill – it’s a differentiator – it’s a necessary component for innovation. It’s also the right thing to do. Many companies are still coming up to speed on what this all means. Meanwhile, the ‘outest’ generation of employees and consumers are entering the marketplace. And everyone’s looking at organizations to do better. This session covers pitfalls and best practices when designing gender equity and inclusion programs for gender variant employees, candidates, or consumers. We’ll talk about the power of language and disrupting old habits. You’ll leave with actionable steps and a new perspective.
    Where
    Vanport

  • The bottom line is that communicating effectively during a presentation, a pitch, a meeting -- or even a 1:1 with a client or a boss -- isn’t rocket science. But it does take practice and adherence to some fundamentals. Over the years we’ve identified trends that tend to inhibit speakers: too many slides, too much jargon, and a lack of out-loud practice. During this fast-paced session, we’ll break down the elements in presenting, highlight common challenges (nerves, unconscious body language, etc.) and discuss how to overcome them. Attendees will work on finding their key messages, participate in exercises designed to eliminate non-words, learn how to efficiently prepare, and get hands-on practice.
    Where
    Breakout - SMSU 333

  • Looking for better results and engagement from your wellness initiatives? Smart companies realize they need to factor diversity and inclusion with their offerings. Learn how to engage your team to participate in the decision-making process, watch out for one-size-fits-all options to avoid, and ultimately create a culture of wellness that allows each team member to thrive in.
    Where
    Vanport

  • Triggers (or "hot buttons") are caused by what we see, hear or smell. Often, they are words, actions and behaviors that cause a physical and/or emotional reaction or response in any given moment. It sends our hearts racing, gets us ruminating about what's going on, we might feel frustrated, fearful, anxious, shameful or panic. Often, we get triggered by things like comments about our race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, age, or ability and many other things outside of our control. When we get triggered or our buttons are pushed, it could also be a result of differences in values, or the result of a negative experience. In the workplace, typical behaviors might include: when someone interrupts another while they're speaking; someone who's chronically late and keeps you waiting; corrects us in front of our colleagues, etc. These behaviors also show up as micro-aggressions or micro-inequities. What we do not often realize is that hot buttons or triggers say more about us than the other person. Therefore, understanding what triggers us is just as important as understanding how we also trigger others. In either case, the result could be a misunderstanding which may spiral downwards into workplace conflict. In this interactive discussion and exercise-filled workshop, you will get a chance to explore what your triggers are, how your body responds physically, emotionally, and biologically, and how to interrupt them to create more inclusion on your team and in your workplace culture. Learning Objectives:
    1. An increased understanding and awareness of what triggers us and what we do that triggers others.
    2. An understanding that our triggers and hot buttons are often influenced by our cultural values.
    3. Take away concrete steps for unpacking and disrupting our triggers in the workplace to create more inclusion.
    Where
    Vanport

  • Creating a workplace that is inclusive is hard if your people don't feel safe. In this interactive and engaging workshop, learn why psychological safety is foundational to inclusion and equity. You'll learn: -The neuroscience behind psychological safety and why it matters to your company's bottom-line. -A simple way to know if your people feel safe. -What you can do to help the people in your organization feel more safe.
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • Reports on the state of women in tech often point out that a key barrier to retaining women is the inflexibility of traditional work schedules. Shikha’s story of her quest to balance career and motherhood by working part time will highlight the challenges she has faced, both past and present. She will offer ideas for corporate policy changes to attract and retain creative, talented and motivated women.
    Where
    Vanport

  • I was known as a cry-baby as a young child and learned to hide my tears as a teenager. In 2015, the passing of my middle-aged father and my discovery of mindfulness opened me up to the concept of being curious about my tears. I began a journey to understand both internal and external judgement around crying. When is it accepted? When is it not? Why do people in work settings have such different responses to crying than other strong expressions of emotion like shouting? Through sharing my vulnerable experiences of crying at work and managing people's responses as well as biological and psychological research around crying, I will equip you with data and tips on how to be curious about emotions and have productive conversations when you experience others not creating a psychologically safe space for that curiosity.
    Where
    Vanport

  • Recent studies show that retention in the tech industry is as big of a problem as recruitment; nearly half of the women who enter the tech workforce end up leaving, and employees are twice as likely to leave a tech job because of organizational culture than because they were recruited away. In this panel, you will hear from individuals who have made a personal commitment to making their company’s work culture more inclusive, and learn actionable steps you can take to ensure the people you have so carefully recruited see a future for themselves at your company.
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • Professional mentoring programs, when created with mentees’ interests at the touchstone, can help them can gain valuable insights into potential careers, as well as a deep sense of professional growth, belonging and confidence. This session will provide guidance on how program creators/administrators can design meaningful, transformational experiences for mentor and mentee alike. The session will include discussion on designing a mentoring program and determining the program’s objectives, finding the ideal mentors to participate, practices of effective mentors, and developing an effective mentee/mentor matching process to ensure successful mentee outcomes. Learning Objectives:
    1. Understanding the impact mentoring programs can have in professional development
    2. Developing deep empathy for mentee
    3. Energize attendees to seek formal/informal mentoring opportunities, regardless of career stage
    Where
    Vanport

  • Membership organizations around the country are addressing equity, diversity and inclusion through a series of initiatives. Collectively, these associations interact with tens of thousands of companies globally, providing unique opportunities for large-scale, systemic change. Learn how technology associations across North America are changing the narrative around inclusion through innovative programs.
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • In the military, people identify you by your patches. A person can make a judgement based on your patches before they have ever spoken to you. We often do the same thing in our day to day life. We display patches that we want people to see, and hide or cover those that we don't. We also apply patches to others based on bias. Patricia King is a veteran and was America's first openly transgender infantry soldier. she has spoken in the Pentagon and in congress about the value of authenticity and breaking down bias. This session will look at how we each choose to wear or hide our patches and the value of authenticity in the workplace.
    Where
    Vanport

  • This will be an interactive session which will give a chance for the participants to self-reflect on their listening skills and would help them to be more self aware - an important aspect to emotional intelligence and our ability to be inclusive. The attendees will be divided into groups of 4. I will be explaining about Internal listening, external listening and global listening. Each group should have 1 speaker, 1 internal listener, 1 external listener and 1 global listener. The speaker in the group is asked to tell their own story of privilege or marginalization with respect to the them Diversity and Inclusion. They are expected to talk for 5 minutes and do not have to worry if the story stops making sense or veers of in an unexpected direction. During the talk each of the listener will focus on their level of listening and will make notes. After the 5 minute mark the groups will talk about their experiences.

    The following questions will be covered during reflection:

    1. How many internal listeners thought about things that were completely of topic from what the speaker was saying? What kinds of things were they?
    2. If you were an external listener, what did you feel about the things the speaker was saying? Did you catch yourself listening at level one?
    3. What kinds of things did the global listeners notice?
    4. How often did you switch back and forth between levels at the beginning of the exercise? What about at the end?
    5. What surprised you about this exercise?
    6. Why do you think this exercise might be interesting if we talk about inclusivity?
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • This presentation by CEO and Co-Founder of hire[div]ersity, Nina Baliga, educates technology professionals about mental health concerns among individuals who work in the technology industry. Nina will educate the audience on mental health and neurodiversity, and provide recommendations for companies to follow. Recommendations are intended to make the work environment a more diverse, inclusive place.
    Where
    Vanport

  • According to the World Economic Forum’s assessment report of the artificial intelligence workforce in the 2018, only 22% of Artificial Intelligence professionals globally are female. As AI seeks to serve the world’s population by transforming human lives fundamentally, we need to ensure that those developing the technology reflect a balanced population. To achieve that goal, we each have to take the initiative to encourage more female participation in the field of artificial intelligence and we are #BetterforBalance. Join us to learn more about the AI technology and how it is applied in the business world. We will discuss how you and your organization can begin reskilling efforts to adopt AI technology effectively and prepare for future roles in the symbiotic world of humans and machines.
    Where
    SMSU 333

  • Data collected from the Rewriting the Code fellows and members have already led to insights from this significant population of college women in tech. The women have shared first-hand experiences from many campuses, insights into their recruiting experience with a variety of companies, facts and impressions from their internships, and ultimately, we’ve learned a great deal about what goes into their selection of an internship of full-time position. The 2019 College Women in Tech Data Initiative has been designed to analyze and interpret data to create key corporate learnings that will benefit companies looking to hire women for technology roles. For example: What aspects of an internship best predict whether an individual will return for a full- time position? What recruiting initiatives are most effective at increasing the number of female hires? What initiatives are best at increasing brand awareness among college women? How does a company’s recruiting process impact a candidate’s perception of the company and final decision to accept the offer? How does the window of time provided to the candidate impact their decision to accept an offer? Companies and recruiters often find it difficult to answer these questions with enough data to provide meaningful insight to their recruiting and retention programs - this session will provide the often excluded student perspective on how to hire and retain diverse, new talent.
    Where
    Vanport

  • With so many talented candidates from marginalized communities, why do we keep hearing that companies cannot find "diverse talent". Recruiters look for better websites to post their jobs, marketers add more POC to their websites, all in an effort to attract "diverse hires." This approach implies that the problem is that black and brown candidates don't know how to find open roles. Let's unpack this myth and start discussing the real reasons companies cannot find diverse talent.

    Participants will leave understanding:

    1. How dominate culture behaviors might be creating unseen barriers to diverse candidates interest in your organization
    2. In what ways organizations can assess who they designed their employment practices to serve and how to redesign
    3. Start to create a workplace community that supports, grows, excites and attracts those at the margins.
    Where
    Vanport

DEI Certificate

We’re excited to offer an optional, one-day Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Certificate of Completion at ACT-W: Achieving Equity. This certificate provides a focused experience for individuals with a passion for creating better environments for women in technology.

The DEI Certificate of Completion Workshop takes place from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 26th, 2019. Tickets are priced at $1,200 and include access to both days of ACT-W: Achieving Equity. Learn more.


Who Should Attend

Thank you for joining us in beautiful Portland, Oregon for ACT-W: Achieving Equity!

Portland State University
Smith Memorial Student Union
1825 SW Broadway St.
Portland, Oregon 97201-3256