Diversity in the Tech World

Podcast Ep. 141: Diversity in the Tech World with Nicole Scheffler

Diversity in the Tech World
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Episode Description:

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Nicole Scheffler who is an Engineering Leader from VMware. Nicole has some passion projects around the Tech Diva Success collection, including podcasts, books, and courses, all with diversity as their main component.

Tech is a field that is not particularly diverse and that is the reason why in today’s episode, Nicole is sharing the meaning of diversity, inclusion, and equity and what that might look like in the workplace from an organization to an individual level.


Listen on Apple Podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • What do diversity, inclusion, and equity mean?
    • Nicole shares an analogy: Diversity is being invited to the dance, inclusion is being able to dance and being asked to dance when you are there, and equity is the feeling that you belong there
    • Progress happens when everyone has a voice and is being heard
    • Psychological safety and culture building is crucial in an organization
    • Innovation is another pillar for success
  • How are companies handling diversity?
    • Design thinking is a great way of practicing inclusion
    • Most organizations have diversity on their radar, but there is a need to make sure that there are not just “checking the box”
    • Organizations need to do a statistical analysis to determine where diversity is broken
    • Ask questions, if you don’t ask, you won’t know
  • What does sharing perspectives look like?
    • Don’t assume someone’s role
    • Nicole shares some valuable examples
  • What can teams do independently from the organization?
    • Ask yourself if you are judging a woman differently than you do with a man, are you being fair?
    • Good leaders take seriously the job of creating psychologically safe workplaces
  • What can you do to promote diversity and inclusion?
    • Speak up and share resources
    • Evaluate if you have unconscious bias
    • Make sure that your team knows what is available
    • Be an ally and speak up when something is wrong

Mentioned in this Episode:

 
Transcript [This transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar.]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to the Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach, and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:16]
Welcome to this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast. I’m your host, Dan Neumann and excited today to be joined by an outside guest. A lot of times we have AgileThinkers on and today we have a special guest and a special topic. So Nicole Scheffler is joining from VMware. You’re an engineering leader there, and I want to appreciate you for joining the call.

Nicole Scheffler: [00:37]
Yes. Very happy to be here. Always happy to talk about agile, whether it’s the real one, but in this case being more agile and diversity.

Dan Neumann: [00:46]
Very cool. We’ll talk about that. And you also have some, some side projects and passion projects, uh, around the tech diva success collection, uh, podcasts, books, courses, a whole, a whole passion project, um, that I think has a diversity component to it as well, correct?

Nicole Scheffler: [01:04]
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been doing it for about six years. Uh, one of the first women in tech based podcasts, uh, to market with our diva tech talk and then tech Diva’s success, uh, kind of being the little sister of that, uh, launching during the pandemic. So it’s been a lot of fun, like a lot of great, great people that I’ve talked to about.

Dan Neumann: [01:25]
That’s awesome. Yeah. And I love the way talking about topics can get introductions to lots of other people and that’s, that’s how we ended up crossing paths and doing this podcast. So tech notoriously not particularly diverse. Um, so let’s talk about what diversity and inclusion means. What might that look like? And, um, I don’t know. This is audio only, so people probably figured out I’m a white dude, right? So I have I’ve limited license I feel like to explore this topic, but, uh, I’ll beg forgiveness if I step in a mess while we’re doing it.

Nicole Scheffler: [02:00]
Yeah. Absolutely happy to touch on it. I like to use this analogy of diversity is like being invited to the dance, right? Like it’s, it’s a high school dance. Just put yourself there. Diversity is being asked to the dance. You’re asked to the table inclusion is being able to dance and being asked to dance when you’re there. Uh, and I feel like, uh, equity, you know, cause you’ve got, um, belonging for example is a big piece of it. So you can, you can go there, but to really feel like you belong to really feel like you fit, that’s kind of like being celebrated for how you dance. So I kinda like to add that one cause the other analogies kind of out in the world, but um, I love dancing for one. Uh, and I encourage those to feel like they belong to feel like they can dance. However they want to dance. Or as they say dance, like no one’s watching and bringing your best self to work your authentic self.

Dan Neumann: [02:56] I love that. Yeah. I, I mean, there’ve been situations where being in a room, I’m like, huh, not my crowd. Right. It’s just, there’s, there’s something where I’m like, I don’t, yeah, it’s not my thing. And I don’t want to equate the social setting to the work setting because the consequences of being, not my crowd in the social setting can be pretty minor. But when it’s like, no, your pathway to a, uh, a very attractive compensation and a career that has a huge upside to it, the consequences are, are life-changing really when, when diversity inclusion and equity aren’t part of

Nicole Scheffler: [03:41] Yeah, absolutely. And if we need progress, we have to take that tougher route. Right. And it’s like, I like to talk about, if you have four people that have been best friends forever and you get in the car and you’re going to go to lunch, you know, Hey, let’s go up to Buffalo Wild Wings, beat up threes. We’re going to have a great time. And everyone could say, yeah, that’s we love that place. Right. And you know what everyone likes, is it harder to make the decision when you have four coworkers, don’t go out to eat a lot. Maybe some customers you’re in the car and you have to decide where to go. And someone’s like, Ooh, I’m allergic to this. Or I had sushi yesterday, or I don’t want this. It’s a tougher decision because you have to make it for everybody. But it’s a better decision because you’ll know everybody’s happy with where you’re going. And it’s the same thing in tech. Like there’s so many benefits that we need to make progress and it’s not always easy. Um, so being different, challenging the system, thinking from other people’s point of view, it’s never inherent. It’s never easy because it’s more work than, than going with what you know, but that work is how we get progress is when everyone has a voice and we’re being heard. In fact, I published a book in 2020, uh, with Jack Canfield called pillars of success. And in that book, I wanted to dissect the fact that we too often say women in tech are only 25% of the numbers, right? Because on average we see about one fourth of technology, careers, uh, seated with women in tech, even less, when you look at, um, different races within that, right. It gets even more meek. But uh, in that book, I wanted to really lead strong with why, because too often we talk about how there’s only 25% and we don’t talk about, okay, well, why does it matter? Why do we need, why do we even have this podcast today to talk about the issue? It’s because the pure inclusion of more women and all people, right? I mean, this is one of those things that I talk very passionately about women in tech, because that’s my specialty area. But I do believe that you could take, uh, this across many, um, like I said, races as, as gender, but we’re going to stick to women in tech today. And here’s why the first is that it builds culture. There’s three, three main reasons, right? The first being is that it builds culture. When you open your hearts, your minds, your companies, culture, your leadership, your programs to a diverse culture. You’re creating a place where people feel like they belong. The ultimate foundational piece of that is psychological safety. There’s actually a lot of writing on this. I encourage everyone to understand it because just like, if you and I were talking, if I’m more natural, we’ve met before we have. So that’s awesome. Right? And we’re going to be able to open up and talk about these things because we have a safety net that I can come as I am. And you want to hear my message and this is going to go to your, to your people. So the psychological safety and culture building is really important, uh, productivity and ROI, right. It studies show. And that’s what I have in the book, all the data to back it up, right. I felt very much my college student coming back to me as I researched this, but just the boost of productivity. Women have a lot of inherent gifts of talents that keep things going. Um, you know, after culture and culture of doing many things, uh, you know, caring for the children and doing things and all that, I mean, it allows us to be pretty productive. So those are the first two and I’ll just drop my last and favorite. And then see what you think is, is innovation. And this is where I’m so passionate because when we have people that look like our customers that are representing our customers that are representing our people, we are actually able to boost our innovation. And that’s key because that’s how I link it to saving the world. Right? If we have more people together creating these technical solutions that I hope we’re doing to improve the planet, to improve our quality of life, to improve business, but at the pure basis of it being good for the world, then we can actually have more innovation that creates a better world for everybody.

Dan Neumann: [08:08] Yeah. I, I mean, yeah. I, I agree with, with, with all those things and, you know, innovation, if you have a group of homogenous, whatever, and they have very similar backgrounds, similar life experiences, you know, similar geographies, whatever, you’re only going to get so many ideas coming into the pool. Uh, when you get, you know, a diversity of, of, um, demographics, for lack of a better word for it, you know, where people are from ethnicities, genders, et cetera. Um, somebody is like, oh, well, you know, what about this? What about that? And maybe they’ve seen something, you know, world travelers see things different than, than people who stay within the United States or even, um, you know, I grew up mostly in Michigan. There are some people that haven’t been outside of Michigan. It’s a fine state, but there’s other parts of the world too. Like it’s okay to get out and, and you bring those ideas in and help, um, help the organization. So I hope there’s not much pushback you see on the Y do you ever see companies that are like, they just don’t get it, or they don’t really think diversity is important.

Nicole Scheffler: [09:20] Uh, it’s been brought to the attention as of the last, you know, say five, 10 years, it’s been more popular to have the programs to make sure you have diversity and inclusion officers. When I did the studies, it’s almost like what I see when I see engineering impact. Right? Sometimes you can’t quantify it. So like I’m in a sales engineering, leadership role sales, it’s easy. Have you met your quota? How much did you sell? And we always struggle for all the engineering leaders out there because you know, your people have value. And sometimes it’s like the things that you can’t put into a box or a metric. And so that’s what happens with when I looked at the women in tech studies is that sometimes it was like hard to exactly say that the profitability was led because of women. Right? So there was some, uh, areas where it was a little gray where we can’t like directly show that like women equals this, but we can, but it’s just like the actual data of it. But in general, people are picking up on it. And a lot of it is just the, the way that companies are handling everything, not just diversity, but just how do they build products? How do they design, you know, solutions? How do they build apps and making sure that the way they do the design and development and product development is, uh, inclusive of tools, mindset, and structure to cater, to creating those cultures within and simple examples, design thinking, you know, I’ve seen the rise of design thinking and when I run design thinking exercises on my team, everybody’s heard. So there’s, there’s simple, things like that. And then there’s advanced things like AI that could take something like our podcast today and do an analysis and say, okay, Nicole spoke 80% of this podcast, 90%. Right. But in a meeting that could be very telling if AI could break down and say, you know, there was a 50% women in the room, 50% men, and yet 80, 70% of the conversation was male driven. You could take that and say, Hmm, we need to work on that. So that people have equal voice. So there’s all this range of ways in which we can start to see how this is, uh, you know, coming to life in organizations. But I would say for the good, I think most people have it on their radar. Uh, but for the bad, we need to make sure we’re not just checking the box. Like just having an officer in place and just taking a unconscious bias training is not how we’re going to get progress.

Dan Neumann: [12:14] Yeah. You, uh, you touch on the trap that companies fall into. They do the thing. That’s easy to measure whether that’s at the Scrum team, looking at velocity or whether that’s at the senior leadership with a diversity inclusion program, like cool. We have a diverse person in the program and everybody’s been to unconscious bias training check, but what’s happening in the meetings. What’s actually happening. When there’s a social event that’s done. What happens when it’s time to figure out what path we take, what hours we work, dress code. I mean, you name it, like all that stuff that makes somebody either feel welcome or unwelcome, um, is, is pretty challenging. So what are some things you’ve seen be successful? Obviously you can check the box with, uh, uh, director of inclusion and diversity, and we could, uh, do implicit bias training, but what, what are some other strategies so that when somebody walks into a room, they don’t look around and they go, huh? I don’t belong here. Or I don’t feel like I belong here.

Nicole Scheffler: [13:26] Yeah. I’ll start with one of the most important is for organizations to do a statistical analysis of where is it broken. Right too often, they look at percentages. That’s the easy thing to look at. We have this many women on the team. Well, what about how many women are coming into your pipeline? How many, like when you look at a job rack, are you really pushing it to go to where the diverse candidates live? Again, this goes for women and other races, right? So you have to look, you have to look at all of the process and that’s what happens is exactly what you’re saying. Hey, we’ve got this diversity training. Well, that’s not going to create a culture that is felt as diverse. So you have to make it real. And for the tech nerds out there, it’s very similar to getting the cert and knowing the stuff, because there’s ways that you can get certifications and then you get into the role and you just took test king and you just cheated and got the certification.

Dan Neumann: [14:29]
I’ve seen PMPs that couldn’t get out of a box. Right. I’ve seen PMPs that couldn’t manage their way out of a box. For sure. So I apologize. I stepped on you there. So yeah. So, so the whole process, please.

Nicole Scheffler: [14:39]
PMP is a great example, right? Like they, they got away to work around the actual hands-on part and because they needed the PMP and then they get into it and you’re like, clearly you’ve never had milestones and managed a project because you are not able to do this. Right. So that’s, what’s happening is we’re like, oh, do this training. We’re good. No, you have to make sure that it’s felt. And the way that you do that is by starting with a simple analysis of every step of the process, how do we bring people in the company? What is our underlying cultural values? Um, are they something that includes this? Right? I’ll give some other things. But I think if you look statistically at more than just the sheer numbers, you look at how many are coming into a job interview. And then when you’re in the job interview process, are they just being interviewed by all men? So that’s the other thing too. It’s both sides of the interview table. Yes. I think people see that, like we need to have female applicants easy for the brain, but a lot of times we don’t think about the fact that if there’s all males interviewing the female applicant, then the bias will carry on because it’s going to be a man only, and you will have the women’s perspective of all the other candidates as well, that may be able to see something. So it’s looking at both sides of the table. It’s looking at the number of, um, investments that you’re making, perhaps monetarily into leadership and development for the people, because we have to have women at all stages of technology. Uh, and I will debate that much like the Michigan council of women in technology, which a shout out to your Michigan roots is really involved, but it’s just a sample of one women in tech organization that works at all stages. So we have to start younger and start talking to young girls and getting them toys that are not all dolls and Barbies. Although we have plenty of those there in our house. Cause I have two girls, but you know, what Barbie does. She goes and make sure, uh, that the codes clean. She does lots of, uh, intellectual things, you know, Barbies designing, uh, 5g networks. She had a big old party on, uh, so here that’s, the easy part is really look at all of those things, um, and how you’re connected to the community of women in tech. But there’s some easy things that we can all do to help make it real because that’s something that not everyone feels like they can influence. Um, it’s whether you’re a female or not understanding promoting and sharing employee resource organizations, this is easy. Doesn’t does an ERO, which is the acronym right, exists for that at your company. If not, can you make it and as a leader, are you putting that in front of people? Are you understanding if they’re involved? Like I’ve had leaders who were like, I didn’t know you were doing that well, it might be good to know if someone on your team is very involved in, you know, the women pod, right. Because then they can bring things back events and talk about it. Um, even if you’re not a woman in tech, you’re a man. Uh, I would say that you can attend those diversity events. Everything comes. And I interviewed, uh, Janine Ledford who has a great program on these gems. And we talked a lot about perspective, the lens of perspective, and that’s constantly what I go back to, but you can’t understand what women are going through. If you don’t have them talk about what they’re going through. Right. Um, talk about experiences that they’ve had and understand how they think and process things, because then you can actually apply that perspective lens into technology. Like how would that have felt in the meeting if I was a woman, how would that feel? And that’s something that, again, bridges to some of our social justice issues in America as a whole, is this idea of a perspective lens. So that’s really powerful. Um, and so what you want to do, if you’re a male and you’re listening to this and you want to go to a women in tech event, and that feels weird for you, you simply say, can I share that with my network? So the first thing you could do is have things like my podcast, tech diva success, where you share it to other people, you meet a woman on your team, you meet a woman you’re doing business with, and you say, Hey, have you seen this resource? So you can bring them resources that shows that you care. And then if you want to attend events, what I would do and what I do when I’m not native to that culture is ask if it’s appropriate for me to join. So like, if you’re not really sure if you should go to the networking event, reach out to the organizer. Because some things are more, um, awkward right for you to attend. But if you don’t ask, you don’t know because oftentimes they want men in the room to get that perspective lens, but you don’t want to crash a party where you’re the only one and you’re throwing off the game of like something that they’re doing where it’s, um, you know, not native to you. So I would just as simply ask the organizer there, um, and then connecting mentoring and sponsorships with people who have a, like-minded like having this in mind so that if you have like say a woman on your team and you know, another woman, can you get her a mentor who can help empower, um, women that are on your team by giving them resources? Um, and that’s probably the main ones. So is that good? Do you feel like already like knowledgeable and ready to go.

Dan Neumann: [20:05] Dangerously so probably. I want to, so I, my brain sometimes works well with examples. So I wanted to see if maybe you could add an example for one of those things where we’re going through, where you’re saying, um, I think it was about sharing perspective. And, and so, um, let’s say in your, in one of these rooms, in a meeting, what would be an example of something maybe that’s fairly common that, um, I is, is a dude who might, um, not notice that, that, that would be a good example of, Hey, here’s the lens. Here’s how I saw that. As, as Nicole coming from a different place, a different perspective, do have an example that might help crown to that.

Nicole Scheffler: [20:49] Yeah. I mean, there’s a few common ones. Um, oftentimes being a female engineer, people assume that I’m like the sales person coming in, uh, and make assumptions. So don’t assume someone’s role. Uh, oftentimes unassuming, I have a really funny story. It’s so great for here. A little bit women in tech, but I started teaching college very young. Uh, I started teaching college at 25 and when I did, I taught a biometric, uh, or I was actually, it was information warfare and security class. I love security. I do a lot in security space. Right. So I went in the first day of class. Yeah, I was serious. Right. So I went in and I sat in the class like a student and I waited for 15 minutes after the class was supposed to start. And I got up and was like, I’m going to see what’s going on. This is ridiculous. And like walked out of the room, I’ll be right back. Right. I put on a suit coat and walked back in the room and I say, my name’s Nicole, and I’m here to teach your class and their jaws, like, just drop. Like, I wish I could have had like a picture of their faces because they were just like, oh my God. You know? And so I said, the first rule of information warfare is never believe what you see because people will just automatically make assumptions because of what we look like, that’s human nature. Right. And then I proceeded to do introductions for each of them instead of them introducing themselves. Cause it’s awkward college kids. I said, I’ll do introductions of you and found what I found about them on the internet as their introduction. But that was kind of the end part of audit. But that’s one example is like, don’t judge a book by its cover. But in meetings, another thing that will happen is a woman will present an idea and then someone else will come along with the same idea and say, you’re sitting in it. And you hear that. I’ve said something when Nicole said that. And then Bob said that, and everyone’s like, good job, Bob. You can actually say, yeah, a good way to come back with say, Hey, that Bob, that was a great build on Nicole’s idea. I think both of you were saying, blah, blah, blah. Um, as an example, right. Um, or someone being asked to take notes, uh, because you’re a woman is an easy one. Um, or just understanding like the difference of, um, home responsibilities. Women tend to carry a little bit more of that still. Uh, it’s just something that’s, um, where we’re at. I don’t know we’re trying to make progress, but you know, if women have kids, sometimes you have to do extra things and just as well as men have to do those extra things, I think it’s not judging because someone can’t do a happy hour or someone has to go get their kid from school or someone had to go deal with something. I mean, we all have phases of life. I think that’s becoming a little looser, uh, post pandemic, right? Because we’re starting to see that, like you can work anywhere, anytime, any place I’m proud that VMware can provide infrastructure to do that. That’s where I love blending the work and the, and the, um, technology. But those are some examples that that can help I think.

Dan Neumann: [24:07] That’s helpful. Yeah. In boy, VMware can’t figure it out or all screwed. Like, um, so I’m kinda curious, there are things that take big corporate initiatives, a team can’t decide that the organization is going to have a diversity and inclusion officer. They can’t decide to unilaterally put in place an employee resource organization that you are mentioning about. Um, they can, you know, build on some of those things you were saying, Hey, uh, yeah. Hey Bob, that was a nice way to build on Nicole’s idea. I think you’re both saying, making sure that the recognition is given and shared, um, you also mentioned things like happy hour teams could decide that, you know, maybe we should knock off at four instead of five. If somebody on the team has a responsibility at home that would limit those very valuable outside of work hours, networking activities, because those are tremendously valuable. Um, what other types of things come to mind for you that teams can maybe do independent of an enlightened organization and the dollars and, and reputation that come with that?

Nicole Scheffler: [25:11] Well, there’s this really cute cartoon, like short, uh, I think it’s called, it’s not called it’s with like the little ball of yarn. Um, I have to think about it. Yes. I will find the link to this short cartoon where it’s basically a, a ball of yarn, like an animated ball of yarn that goes to like bro incorporated. And you know, it, she turns to the culture to be more accepting, um, moving from trying to look and act like the guys to being her authentic self, her authentic yarn, um, as more yarn comes on. Uh, and that’s very cute and a great way to kind of look at it. But I think everyone owns the psychological safety. That’s why I like psychological safety because it’s kind of like, how are you judging a woman versus a man on your team, right. Are you picking on things that maybe you wouldn’t pick up on guys? Are you being fair? I’m actually in my book and I have it here, so I can kind of reference right. Is that there’s a lot of things that you can ask yourself as a leader. Um, so I’ll pick a few of these just to help, right? And this helps team building as much as it helps diversity, because what happens is when we’re good leaders, when we take responsibility for creating psychological, safe places, it ushers in the, the, the vibe of diversity, but it also builds powerful teams that are more collaborative, productive, happier at work. Uh, ultimately it’s mindset, right? It’s a mindset that everyone has value and that you see all that value. And then maybe that’s a good mantra. Like if you really find yourself, um, struggling, preferring one or the other, just really saying, you know, everyone on this team. And I try to say that out loud on my team calls, right? Everyone on this team has value. I want you all to feel heard if you’re ever not heard in the meeting because we moved too fast or you got cut off, like my door is open for you to just bring those ideas to me any time. Those are some things that I do. Um, you know, design thinking. We mentioned there because it’s about empathy. Uh, for those that have done a lot of design thinking, it starts with being empathetic to the user and then it makes it about the user and less about the personalities in the room. Um, speaking up and sharing resources. So again, I mentioned this earlier, men can offer women resources, opportunities, uh, coming on my podcast would be a great one, right? I highlight women and men, uh, that are, um, they’re using the team to gather ideas, really evaluating yourself. If you have unconscious bias, uh, take the training, uh, do it right. If you don’t want to be the one person on your team that like, doesn’t do the training. Uh, if you’re a leader, understand those resources, pass them down, um, brainstorm like ways that you can own, perhaps having a longstanding cultural change around diversity. Like what can you really do? Like, can you, if you’re a high level leader, can you offer to do the mentoring program for women, right? Because you get a different perspective. I see a lot of strong men leaders. One of my mentors is a male CIO. He’s amazing. And he’s done nothing but champion me. So we don’t have to niche into, uh, different parties. We need to be one party. That’s there to solve problems and create things for everyone else. And also making sure that your team knows what’s available. And that’s one thing, very key. If, if you’re on a team and a peer comes to you and says, gosh, that guy just said, I had a nice butt. And you’re like, that was really inappropriate. You know, whether you’re the peer or the manager or the individual, like where do you go for that? And making sure that companies legit have the right methods in place to handle the open discussion and correction, and course correction of those things that happen, because that’s why we had the me too movement. People didn’t say anything for so long. And then people started saying something and realized, oh my gosh. You know, and that’s why I will skip out. Sometimes once the alcohol is overflowing, uh, because I’m a very open person. And sometimes people just get a little too comfortable. Um, but guys don’t have to think about that. Like, you don’t think like, oh, I need it in happy hour or else, you know, uh, someone might make a poor decision to say or do something that was unwanted. Right. Like I don’t, I don’t see a lot of men. Haven’t heard a lot of stories of a lot of men having to remove themselves from happy hours because of harassment. Right. For example. So hopefully

Dan Neumann: [29:55] As a sample set of one, yeah. That has never crossed my mind. And, and I, uh, I’m dealing with a back injury right now where I would be running more, but there are times when I’m running at night and going, yeah, that like, if I was female, I probably wouldn’t be running here now. And just those, those, those things that I take for granted, I mean like, look, whatever, look at me right now. Nope. Nobody wants this. And it’s, you know, it’s just, it’s, uh, uh, it’s, it’s different and it’s not front of mind. So I think we can agree that nice butt would be an inappropriate comment, uh, regardless of, of, you know, direction, genders, whatever at work. Um, but imagine a, a less obvious scenario where somebody just steps in it, um, saying something, an action, but maybe it wasn’t like an egregious HR actionable thing. Like what, what do you, what do you do with that? Like, yeah. Imagine, imagine I said something offensive. What do we do now? Yeah.

Nicole Scheffler: [31:03]
Well, this is the most important point I’ll say is about allyship. So we have something like a light comment where it’s not really like something you need to take to HR and it’s not going to be the end of the world, but it just made you be like, oh, I don’t, you know, maybe someone just says, okay, yeah, great idea Niceole, like dismisses an idea. Well, here’s what happens as an ally when you’re wearing that lens, when you’re thinking about how would this feel? Um, you can actually step in and say, Hey, John, you know, after the meeting or, you know, you have to find the right appropriate time. You could say, when you said this to Nicole, it probably made her feel uncomfortable. I’m not, I don’t know, but it made me second guess why you dismissed her comments? And maybe next time we can work on being positive. So what happens is it takes the responsibility of equity from the person and puts it into someone who’s liked someone else. So oftentimes allies just as me as a white woman, if I speak up for a black person in my community, it’s it has a different voice. I can carry that to other white people. So as men, you could perhaps have an allyship lens and allyship goes a long way because it takes the burden off the person’s back. Who’s been hurt, but it also allows people to say, Hey, this isn’t just a victim mentality, Nicole crying a river, because you just missed her ideas. It’s really like someone else saying like, this didn’t feel right. And giving them the example of how like maybe they could, of course correct. So I think being an ally and speaking up when you see something that’s wrong is absolutely key. And of course, like the programs that companies are doing unconscious bias, you know, um, empowerment, training, uh, design thinking, you know, things that create that culture, uh, help. And they’re fundamental of it. But I think that allyship is very key because then you see something, you say something right? They’ll phrase, see something, say something. And it goes a long way when it comes from someone who is not on that team per se.

Dan Neumann: [33:22] Perfect. Um, and thank you because I think we started with talking about, Hey, what can companies do? And we worked our way down to what can teams do? And now we’re at like, Hey, what, what can I do, Dan, Dan doesn’t need permission to do what you were just describing. So, uh, that’s, that’s super helpful. Well, thanks for taking time to explore the topic. I want to maybe ask any closing thought to, to kind of wrap this whole diversity inclusion thing together, right?

Nicole Scheffler: [33:49]
Yeah. Just like you said, it starts with companies taking ownership, responsibility, putting the programs in play, understanding the metrics, measuring success. Then it trickles down to the individual. So I’ll leave everybody with this one person. Can’t do everything. You, Dan are not going to solve women in tech crisis. Right. But everyone can do something. One person can not do everything, but everyone can do something. And if we really want to make a change, everyone needs to do something. It’s knowing that you have a job rec on your team and getting it in front of some women on LinkedIn. It’s, you know, it’s giving women the resource to come on the podcast like, Hey, I saw this really great resource for women in tech. I thought you’d be interested or just taking action, doing something. And, uh, that little act of bravery of kindness of inclusivity will make a huge impact. And you never know whose life you can impact. So I hope that was a great way to end it. I just love that quote. I think it’s from a hip hop radio station and Lansing, Michigan, they used to say that at night, 20 years ago, when I would listen to it, but it just stuck with me as such a motivation for everything I’m doing. You know, I’m not going to solve it, but I can do something and I can do everything I can. So thank you for having me on the show to share my mission, to spark success for women in technology, by leading in this space, walking the walk and serving women in technology, through, uh, conversations like this, uh, and the collection, the tech diva success collection. And you can like us on social. That’s something everybody can go do right now. If you want to encourage women in tech is just put in tech success on wherever you live, YouTube, Instagram, whatever it is, a Twitter, and we will be there to serve and give you that information that you can share with others. And of course, one thing that everybody can do that I would be happy to share is download the entire chapter for my pillars of success book that I referenced earlier, you can read those data studies, see the actual statistics, call me on my references. And that’s just a Bitly bit.lytdsfree all one word. And that just stands for tech diva success. So TDS free, you can download the entire chapter, uh, absolutely free as part of my mission to help encourage more diversity. So in addition to tech diva, success.com, you can download that there, or you can also link to it from there. So thanks again for the opportunity.

Dan Neumann: [36:30] Awesome. No, thanks for sharing that, Nicole. One of the things we, we ask folks on the way out is kind of what’s on their continuous learning journey and it strikes me that you probably have something on your continuous learning journey. I’m getting a sense you don’t rest on your laurels here. So what’s, uh, what’s Nicole, uh, exploring these days?

Nicole Scheffler: [36:48] You know, it’s a few different things. I think from the, um, women in tech sense, I think there’s two sides of it, right? Women in technology, I’m constantly learning, growing and figuring out how some core success principles can help women in tech the basics. Right. Um, we talk a lot about networking, for example, easy one, right? So what other things are more value added, things that I can bring to the community. So I’m always looking to do that, to improve the value of the collection, the richness of the collection, and really do believe it all comes down to your mindset, your attitude and your manifestations and things like that. So that’s on one side of the coin. And then on the nerd side of the coin, uh, I would say infrastructure as a service, uh, programmability, the merging of a traditional network infrastructure I’ve spent, you know, about 18 years in the industry, mostly at Cisco and VMware. So I think the nerd side of me is looking at multi-cloud the next, um, overall architecture that we’re seeing serve up and how we can lead with applications. So really looking at, um, things like Tansu and understanding how we use programmability to change, how we’ve managed networks that have traditionally not done test dev prod have not been agile. So we’re just like making changes and doing it the way we’ve always done it. And, um, that’s insanity, right? To not take into effect all of the automations, the programmability and the strengths of agile to come into the networking space. Uh, so I think that, um, looking at multi-cloud journeys and how that’s going to shape up over the next few years is always on my technical learning radar. Just to be a nerd if I wasn’t a certified nerd.

Dan Neumann: [38:33] Yeah. Well, I mean, I don’t how many times I’ve heard at organizations I’m working with? Oh, well, yeah, well, we can’t be agile around that. And a lot of times it’s around networking infrastructure, so super cool. If you can help solve that problem, that’d be awesome. So thank you very much. That’s awesome. Well, thank you again, Nicole, for exploring the diversity and inclusion and sharing where you’re, where you’re learning journeys are right now, appreciate it. Yes.

Nicole Scheffler: [39:03] True pleasure meeting you, Dan, and good luck with the show. I’m going to continue to follow it and learn, learn along and hope. This was helpful and happy to talk to anyone.

Dan Neumann: [39:11]
Absolutely. Thanks again.

Outro: [39:14] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at agilethought.com/podcast.

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