Open Forum: Identifying and Combating Bias and Racism in the Tech Ecosystem

In June 10th,2020 Austin Technology Council held an Open Forum with Lauren Washington, Cofounder of Black Women Talk Tech and Foundr, Phil Walker, Managing Partner

at Career Partners International - Austin, and Preston James, CEO & Cofounder DivInc.


If you were able to join us, thank you for spending your lunch hour with us on this indispensable topic. If not, we understand things come up but we hope to see you at our next Open Forum. Down below you can find the recording of our discussion and hope to see you in next forum.

A very special thank you to our presenters.

In addition, Austin Inno published a review of the event.

You can find that here

Austin Inno Article


For those of you looking for concrete next steps, here are a few. Pick two or three to make progress on in the next 30 days. Remember, CPI- AUSTIN, ATC, BWTT, FOUNDR, & DIVINC are here to support you and connect you to the right resources!


  • Identify how diversity can positively impact your business

  • Develop reward and consequences program for recruiting & HR teams (include 3rd party recruiting firms in these standards)

  • Build a bench of minority executives to recruit for future roles

  • Publish your metrics (we all know we have bad numbers)

  • Meet with Board and Advisory Board members to begin recruiting minority board members

  • Review all compensation packages for inequity

  • If you have invested in a VC or Angel funds meet with partners and board to review their minority investment metrics and request an increase in minority led pitches and investment

  • Build a leadership training initiative that includes promoting minorities and bridging the gap in leadership roles

  • Work with HR to develop training and consequences around bias and microaggressions

  • Develop both paid and unpaid internships for middle school through college students

  • Reach out to local workforce development organizations to help build training programs

  • Create mentors from your companies to reach out to minorities interested in tech

  • Conduct a product review to see if your product excludes minorities in experience and use (think skin sensors that do not see dark pigments in skin tone)

  • Donate your time, your money, and any computers or other tech to organizations that help people in need

ATC will commit to the following items based on the size of our organization. We would be happy to share ideas and give you an update on how we're doing when our CEO, Amber Gunst contacts you to follow up on this conversation. 


  • Identify how diversity can positively impact your business

  • Publish your metrics (we all know we have bad numbers)

  • Meet with Board and Advisory Board members to begin recruiting minority board members

  • Advocate for minority investments and minority-led pitches when speaking with a VC or Angel funder

  • Develop both paid and unpaid internships for middle school through college students

  • Create mentors from your companies to reach out to minorities interested in tech

  • Donate your time, your money, and any computers or other tech to organizations that help people in need


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