Connecting the Dots x Girls Who Code Partner to Discuss Diversity in Tech in the AI Workforce

Left to right: the BSA Foundation’s Vice President & General Manager Gideon Lett, Girls Who Code’s Taylor Serafin, Girls Who Code’s College and Careers Community Manager Izzy Hasaballa, Salesforce’s Senior Director of Strategic Relations Nancy DeVore; IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Leader Americas Michelle D. Gilliard, PhD, Microsoft’s Senior Program Manager of UN & International Organizations Megan O’Neill, and SAP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Supriya Jha. the BSA Foundation has teamed up with Girls Who Code (GWC) and leading technology firms like IBM, Microsoft, and SAP for a critical roundtable discussion, “Building a Diverse Workforce for an AI Future.” This event, hosted in New York City, brought together 25 alumni from the GWC Alumni Advisory Council, aged 18–25, from across the United States, emphasizing the vital role of diversity in shaping the future of technology, especially in the era of AI.

The session began with uplifting remarks from the BSA Foundation’s Vice President & General Manager Gideon Lett. The panel was expertly moderated by SAP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Supriya Jha, featuring influential voices like such as Salesforce’s Senior Director of Strategic Relations Nancy DeVore; IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Leader Americas Michelle D. Gilliard, PhD; and Microsoft’s Senior Program Manager of UN & International Organizations Megan O’Neill. These leaders shared their vast experiences and insights, focusing on actionable strategies to incorporate more women, nonbinary, and minorities into the tech landscape.

Addressing the Gap in Tech Workforce Diversity

The panelists discussed the current state of diversity in technology, highlighting startling statistics: less than 23 percent of the tech workforce comprises women, and the figures dwindle further at senior levels. The panel discussed not only the barriers that perpetuate these numbers but also the concrete steps necessary to build a more inclusive tech environment. As Gilliard highlighted, “technical skills are crucial, but so are the so-called ‘soft skills’ like communication. It’s essential to keep connected, tap back into your network, and embrace opportunities to give back.” They emphasized the importance of mentorship programs, internships, and active engagement in technological innovations as pivotal strategies to initiate change.

The Critical Role of Mentorship and Community

The discussions emphasized the transformative power of mentorship and community support in fostering an inclusive tech environment. As DeVore stated, “mentors and role models share ideas and provide a community for giving back. It’s about not just advancing your own career but also reaching back and bringing your sisters along.” This underscored the importance of networks like Girls Who Code, which not only teach technical skills but also foster durable skills necessary for long-term success in tech.

The panelists highlighted how creating supportive ecosystems and providing ample opportunities for growth and learning are crucial steps toward diversifying the tech workforce and ensuring that all voices are not only heard but are instrumental in decision-making processes.

A Call to Action

The roundtable “Building a Diverse Workforce for an AI Future” was a poignant reminder of the ongoing efforts needed to enhance diversity in tech. The event was a call to action for all stakeholders in the technology ecosystem to engage more deeply with initiatives like those offered by and Girls Who Code. As the leaders articulated, now is the time to act to ensure technology development is inclusive and representative of all society. “Let’s ensure no one is left behind,” they urged, inspiring a commitment to drive the change necessary for a diverse and equitable tech future.

Learn more about how to get involved with by reaching out to Gideon Lett.

About the Hosts the BSA Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its mission extends to fostering technological innovations that enhance the quality of life and promoting educational and workforce development initiatives.

Girls Who Code is a renowned non-profit organization aimed at closing the gender gap in technology and changing the image of what a programmer looks like and does. They provide valuable training and pathways for young women to enter and succeed in the tech industry.

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Lilia StoneLilia Stone
Manager, Strategic Initiatives

Lilia Stone is the Manager of Strategic Initiatives of the BSA Foundation, where she supports the Foundation’s programs, operations, and outreach. Read more >>


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