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Jennifer Rutherford

Let’s encourage improvement!


Do you tire of having to explain to colleagues, yet again, the benefits of diversity? Sometimes, it seems that our mission to celebrate and promote diversity in the tech sector falls on deaf ears. Let’s be honest, diversity and inclusion is a particularly sensitive issue and it is not well understood.

I have found there is still tension between the forward thinkers and the naysayers. Those who understand Diversity 101, know we can’t continue propagating outdated norms. They understand their biases and help adjust the course to be inclusive of culture, gender, ethnicity and more. Meanwhile, the skeptics continue to operate as they always have, promoting a culture that excludes others and rewards based on outdated values. Their bias means power is kept in the hands of a few.

My fear is that if the issue becomes too fraught with conflict, there is a risk that those who could make a big impact will turn their backs, bury their heads in the sand or just give up. For those, maintaining the status quo, or doing nothing, may seem like the less risky option. However, over time, organisations that continue in their old ways will find customers and partners stepping aside. They might not ever fully understand their outdated ways and their failure to adapt, caused their downfall. We need to accelerate change and show the real benefits of diversity in business and beyond. Let’s reward and celebrate diversity.

Everyone can be supported towards diversity and inclusion. Personally, I approach the issue with encouragement. I always try to help people understand other views and acknowledge their own biases.

As the new Chair of the Hi-Tech Trust, I am privileged to be in a position to provide leadership on our diversity journey. This year, we are shining the spotlight on diversity in the tech sector. We recognise strength within companies comes from different abilities, experience, knowledge and perspectives. We know that even if you are on board with diversity it can be a challenge to get started and know how to integrate diversity. Here’s a practical guide to making your workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Hi-Tech Awards and nominations close 19 February. We know that one of the elements of diversity for awards, is that not everyone wants to enter themselves. For some people, entering feels like bragging and they are too humble. Being nominated by peers however is quite an honour and there’s plenty of reasons to enter.  Please consider nominating someone now and help us find the best finalists for 2018.

In other news, check out the new branding and website for Tech Women. Please join Tech Women on LinkedIn.

Jennifer Rutherford

Jennifer Rutherford I have been involved in the IT industry spanning 20+ years working with clients ranging from consumer through small and medium business to corporate and government. I enjoy technology's ability to change the way a business operates and delivers value to its customers or its own teams and processes.