Project Include set out in 2016 to change the way the tech industry approaches diversity. Rather than identify underrepresented groups that are often the target of unfair hiring practices or the victims of discrimination on the job, the organization is attempting to teach CEOs and their teams how to foster environments of inclusion.
The 10th Annual Crunchies Award winner of the TechCrunch Include award was started by Erica Joy Baker, bethanye McKinney Blount, Tracy Chou, Laura I. Gómez, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Freada Kapor Klein, Ellen Pao and Susan Wu. Tech, often thought of as the playground of the white, straight, cis male, has been called out in recent years for excluding the talents of underrepresented groups. For Project Include, the idea is to provide guidance in a collaborative fashion in order to educate CEOs so that diversity in tech becomes a given.
Baker, who is an engineer at Slack, and Pao, who is an investment partner at Kapor Capital, joined us in the TechCrunch studio last summer to talk with Megan Rose Dickey about their goals with, one of which is to recognize the importance of intersectionality.
“The thing that we saw happen when we first released was that a lot of companies were coming to us asking about women,” Baker said. “They just completely ignored the fact that there was anything to do with race in project include. It’s important for us to continue to be vocal and intentional about that specific thing that race is a big deal that we need to be focusing on.”
Pao, who is also the former CEO of Reddit, told Dickey that, “It’s not until the CEOs really focus on this issue and prioritize it that you’re going to solve these hard problems and have the hard convos throughout the company that get resolved in the right way.”
During the team’s acceptance speech tonight, Baker had some choice words for Donald Trump and his administration, as well as the CEOs who are working with him.
“It’s hard to be up here accepting an award for work on diversity and inclusion when we have a puppet president being controlled by a white supremacist puppeteer actively working against diversity and inclusion in our country,” Baker began. “For the tech companies, tech employees and VCs working against this administration, I appreciate and am thankful for you and your efforts. We have at least four years of very hard work ahead of us. For those of you working with the administration in the name of having a seat at the table, you’re on the wrong side of history. And whatever you accomplish, this will be your legacy.”
Highlights from the 10th Annual Crunchies Awards