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Diversity in the startup industry is a widely discussed topic lately, and rightfully so. At CES 2016, we dove deep into the topic and discussed the tough questions. Is it more than a pipeline issue? Who should be leading the conversation? What’s the end goal? We talked with leaders from Pandora, Instacart, Jopwell, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) about the current landscape and solutions for companies and individuals alike to spark change.

Takeaways from this conversation revealed it’s more than what’s lying at the surface. When you think about diversity and creating a more dynamic company, you consider the basics like recruiting diverse candidates, offering company trainings around diversity, and gathering data.

But then there are the things that can truly help drive change: sharing that data, considering diverse candidates when making referrals, tying diversity goals to bonuses, improving retention and advancement, creating a culture beyond ping-pong tables, and thinking about diversity for what it really is – it’s not just gender — it’s ethnicity, it’s age, it’s background.

The easiest way to start? Talk about it. Have the conversation.

“It’s not a women’s issue, it’s not a diversity issue – it’s an everybody issue. We have to own it. The places we work & live are what we make them.”
– Brad McLain, National Center for Women & Information Technology

Listen to the full session below.

Moderator: Nicole Glaros – Chief Product Officer, Techstars
Panelists: Brad McLain – Research Scientist, National Center for Women in Information Technology
Porter Brasswell – CEO, Jopwell
Anita Stokes – Senior Manager, University Recruiting, Pandora
Matthew Caldwell – VP of People, Instacart
Jenny Fielding – Managing Director, Techstars

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Are you seeking to make an impact in diversity in tech entrepreneurship? Grant applications for the Techstars Foundation are now open. Non-profit and for profit organizations worldwide, seeking to make a scalable impact on diversity, are eligible to apply. Learn more and apply.


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Kacey Wherley
(@kaceyraewherley) is Marketing Manager at Techstars, located in Seattle. Before joining the Techstars team, Kacey was part of the UP Global team and previously with a cyber security startup in Pittsburgh. She enjoys all things social media and connecting with the community online.