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Future-Proof Your Career and Environment Through Diversity and Inclusion

Mar 16, 2016, by Elizabeth Boten
Tags: CINO, CINO speaker, Gender Diversity Award

Close your eyes. Envision your future.

Have you created and embraced a work environment that supports career growth, and developed skills that will be valuable now and in the future?

The University of Washington will host the third annual TechConnect Annual Conference this month, designed around the concept of "future-proofing." Internet2's Chief Innovation Officer Florence Hudson will be a featured speaker at the event and plans to tackle some of these topics head on. Her presentation, "Future-Proof Your Career and Environment Through Diversity and Inclusion" will discuss how diversity and inclusion are critical in developing the strongest teams and how success is built on developing a welcoming environment for everyone to thrive and grow in their own way. Hudson will share her personal journey at the event: as an aerospace engineer, a woman in STEM and a leader, to inspire attendees to build their own personal future and a better future for the community at large. Hudson will also detail how to build a more diverse and inclusive environment, and share statistics about the diversity regarding women in S-T-E-M.

And the statistics about diversity in the tech industry are staggering.

  • Women hold only 26% of US technology jobs.
  • Women hold 17.2% of research university presidencies.
  • Only 5% of technology leadership jobs are held by women.

Across the industry there is too little diversity in technology and science. Recently, the NSF has made a new bid to boost diversity, launching a five-year, $75 million initiative aimed at creating a more diverse technical community.

And the topic of diversity and inclusion is very important to the Internet2 community. The Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative (GDI) was launched in 2013. Today, the GDI is a community driven effort to increase diversity in networking and at all stages of professional development. It’s an effort to increase our own community diversity and demonstrate effective approaches that can be adopted more widely. Internet2 recognizes that diversity and inclusion go beyond gender -- but this approach builds on small successes to evolve our community.

Through this collaborative effort, propelled by Internet2 members, there are some exciting endeavors in progress. At the 2015 Technology Exchange, we announced the 2015 Gender Diversity Award recipients, which provide scholarships to women in the field of IT and spotlighted their efforts to use technology to serve the faculty, staff and students of the institution. Community members can now apply for the 2016 Internet2 Gender Diversity Award. The award will be presented at the 2016 Internet2 Global Summit being held in May in Chicago and will cover reasonable travel expenses and conference registration.

While these are small steps to combat the lack of diversity in the technology industry, Hudson takes advantage of opportunities to attend industry events such as TechConnect to interact with community members around the country. She hopes that her visits will encourage community members to make a difference and help to future-proof the industry at large-- for themselves and others to ensure a bright and inclusive future.


Learn more about the TechConnect Annual Conference.

Read additional insight from Hudson on diversity in technology, in one of Science Node's most popular articles of 2015.

Learn about Internet2's Vice President of Community Engagement Ana Hunsinger's personal experience and commitment to the GDI initiative in a recent blog series (Part 1 and Part 2).