My transition …. to a second retirement

Retiring will give me even more time to enjoy my love of figure skating.

Next year I turn 70! So I need to start some serious planning on my second transition from working. My first transition was 14 years ago when I retired from full time work at IBM at age 55 and started Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, my diversity and career development consultancy.

Transition From: the first transition will be out of my consulting practice. I now have a fantastic professional who I am preparing to take over my business. Deanna Jones, in addition to training as a consultant is already a most dynamic speaker, especially when she shares her journey of gender transitioning. During this year, she will be assisting me with and attending various trainings I provide, and I hope many of you get a chance to meet her.

Transition To: so when leaving work, that door closes and provides a pathway to open many more doors. Here are a few:

More skating! Do listen to my story of how I started to pursue my dream of becoming a competitive adult figure skater at age 59. Stopping work will provide me the time to enter more figure skating competitions, attend more figure skating camps to build my skills, and more time for lessons.

I would love to travel more! Photos clockwise from top left: Peru, Zanzibar, Finland, Morocco.

More travel! International travel and experiencing the world has always been one of my passions. I have already traveled to more than 65 countries, and there are still several more on my bucket list. I have not yet been to India, South Africa, Argentina, Antarctica … and there are some places in the US I need to go to like Glacier National Park.

Joining corporate boards for pay. With my very broad business experience, I feel I can be a real asset on corporate boards. I have strong strategic and operational experience. I am registered with a leading board placement service, BoardSI, and then even commissioned this excellent executive bio “A trailblazer in diversity management and organizational effectiveness”

More nonprofit board engagement. I am currently on a few boards and committees of nonprofits doing important community work, the LGBT Center of Raleigh, North Carolina Council of Churches and “Gay Sons and Mothers.” I also am the President of Other Sheep, an ecumenical ministry working to help religious leaders in third world countries be more queer inclusive. I need more time to seriously recruit to fill our long time open position of Global Coordinator.

More just hanging out with friends. With not working, I can have the flexibility of taking a 3-hour lunch or a half day long walk with a friend at the spur the moment

And new adventures! What kind of new things may I want to try? I am thinking about trying out for community theater. I have not acted on stage since high school days when I even got one of our high school’s coveted “best acting” awards.

I am excited about transitions ahead!

Diversity and Inclusion in Tech: Strategies for Building Inclusive Workplaces

More women and under-represented minorities are truly needed in the tech sector.

The tech industry, historically lacking diversity and inclusion, now recognizes their value for innovation, productivity, and culture. According to Boston Consulting Group research, diverse management teams boost revenue by 19%. Embracing diversity is a competitive advantage, fostering innovation in tech and aiding career growth. Inclusive workplaces attract talent, encourage varied viewpoints, and develop leaders who prioritize diversity for business success.

The Current State of Diversity in Tech.  Despite progress, the tech industry still grapples with diversity. A 2020 report from the Institute reveals only 28.8% of tech roles are filled by women, a modest increase from previous years. Ethnic diversity also lags, with under-representation of African Americans and Hispanics in major tech firms, far below national employment figures.

Barriers such as unconscious bias and a non-inclusive culture persist, hindering diversity in tech. These challenges go beyond hiring; they touch on retention and career advancement. Companies need to address not just the numbers but also the environment, ensuring it supports and encourages diverse talent to thrive and lead.

Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter.  Diversity and inclusion in tech are not just buzzwords; they are essential drivers of innovation and business success.

>  Enhanced Creativity: Diverse teams in technology lead to enhanced creativity through varied perspectives. McKinsey & Company found that diverse workforces are 33% more likely to outperform peers in profitability.
>  Broader Market Reach: A workforce reflective of a diverse customer base improves market reach and user understanding. It’s no coincidence that businesses with diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets.
>  Improved Decision-Making: Diverse teams make more informed decisions. They are 87% better at decision-making, leading to reduced errors and higher-quality outcomes.
>  Talent Attraction: Embracing diversity attracts top talent. A study revealed that 67% of job seekers consider diversity an essential factor when evaluating job offers.
>  Enhanced Reputation: Companies committed to inclusion enjoy a better reputation. In fact, 78% of consumers prefer to support businesses that prioritize diversity and inclusion

Strategies for Building Inclusive Workplaces

Recruitment and Hiring.  Crafting inclusive job descriptions and using unbiased hiring practices are key for diversity in tech. Gender-neutral postings get 42% more applicants. Inclusive language and structured interviews reduce bias, attracting more talent.

Creating an Inclusive Culture.  Leadership plays a pivotal role in cultivating a culture of diversity, where every voice is valued and heard. Training for awareness and sensitivity is crucial:
>  Interactive workshops on unconscious bias.
>  Regular diversity and inclusion seminars.
>  Sensitivity training tailored to different departments.
>  Inclusive communication techniques.
>  Scenario-based training for conflict resolution.

Providing equitable career growth opportunities for women and under-represented minorities in tech is key.

Career Development and Growth.  Empowering diverse talent through career development is key for inclusive growth. According to Josh Bersin, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
>  Mentorship programs tailored for underrepresented groups.
>  Sponsorship initiatives to support career advancement.
>  Leadership training for diverse employees.
>  Networking events focusing on minority groups.

Assessing and Measuring Inclusion.  Effective tools for evaluating workplace diversity include:
1)  Employee surveys to gauge inclusivity perceptions.
2)  Demographic data analysis for representation metrics.
3)  Feedback tools for continuous employee input.
4)  Inclusion KPIs linked to business outcomes.

Strategies for continuous improvement:
1) Regular review of hiring and promotion data.
2) Updating policies to reflect diversity goals.
3) Training refreshers based on feedback.
4) Celebrating diversity milestones and achievements.

Overcoming Common Challenges.  Unconscious bias and stereotypes are often the silent disruptors in tech workplaces. A study by the IMPACT Group reports that 33% of employees who perceive bias are less likely to feel alienated. To combat this, companies must first acknowledge and then actively work to dismantle these biases through comprehensive training and awareness programs.
1) Clear career paths for all employees.
2) Train leaders to value diverse talents and perspectives.
3) Support groups for diverse employees, build community.
4) Systems for sharing experiences and suggestions.
5) Accommodate diverse personal needs, reduce burnout, boost job satisfaction.

The Final Thoughts.  The journey towards diversity and inclusion is ongoing and requires continuous commitment. It’s a proactive process, demanding consistent effort and adaptation to new challenges and opportunities. By embracing these strategies, tech companies can not only enhance their innovation and productivity but also contribute to a more equitable and dynamic industry. Let’s keep pushing the boundaries to ensure tech is inclusive for everyone.