Tech Diversity: Bridging Culture & Innovation

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DDN wrapped up 2015 with an evening of cocktails, conversation and networking hosted by XO Group, the premier consumer Internet and media company whose brands include The Knot, The Nest and The Bump. Approximately 100 professionals from the tech, advertising, media, consumer products, financial services, academic and non-profit sectors were in attendance.

With a view of the Manhattan Bridge in the background at XO’s fashionable downtown offices, the stage was perfectly set for the theme of the panel discussion, Tech Diversity: Bridging Culture & Innovation. Singleton Beato, EVP, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and Talent Development, American Association of Advertising Agencies, led the conversation which was focused on the pillars of: The Organization; Talent & Workforce Programs; Community & Culture; Interna//External Community Engagement; and the VC World & Entrepreneurship.

Speakers included: Donna Bourke, Senior Sales Executive, Pandora; Charles Duncan, Director of Technology, Wieden + Kennedy; 
Anthony Frasier, Founder, The Phat Startup;
Sanjay Macwan, SVP & Chief Technology Officer; NBCUniversal Media Labs; 
Karen Pattani-Hason, Director, Agency Partnerships, Urban Airship; and Jorge Torres, Venture Partner, Silas Capital.

They provided insights as to how their organizations are sourcing innovation; embracing diverse perspectives; engaging with internal or external diverse groups; defining and implementing diversity initiatives; making hiring decisions; and considering strategic/outside partners and clients.

While it goes without saying that there is much work left to be done to diversify the tech industry the audience was urged to keep pushing forward; to expand their personal and professional networks; and to learn “how the game is played” in both the corporate and VC worlds. While the task may, at times, seem daunting, Anthony Frazier shared some sage advice he once received, “There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just put rims on it!”