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Welcome to The Rabbit Hole, the definitive developers podcast. If you are a software developer or technology leader looking to stay on top of the latest news in the software development world, or just want to learn actionable tactics to improve your day-to-day job performance, this podcast is for you.

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62. Diversity and Inclusion with Derek Parham

On today’s episode we are talking about the important topic of diversity and inclusion and to help us with our discussion we are pleased to host Derek Parham, CTO of JOOR. As much as is said on this issue, for some it still may seem challenging and so we are here to try and clear up some of the troublesome areas. Derek helps us identify and approach the different parts of the idea and we get to some real actionable steps to implement in any workplace to make it a more diverse and inclusive space. In our conversation, we cover Derek’s background, we define and differentiate diversity and inclusion, combatting a lack of these in the workplace and how to implement them in the hiring process.

A key takeaway from the discussion is the value of the combination of the two elements to create the appropriate culture within a company.  Derek also stresses the need for this philosophy and practice to extend to off sight activities and the language used around publicity and communication. On reflection, these ideas of diversity and inclusiveness are vital to business, both in staying abreast with strong, diverse ideas and also remaining ethical and non-exclusive. All this makes this episode an essential listen for almost anyone! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • A little background to Derek’s work and his experience with diversity and inclusion.
  • The difference between diversity and inclusiveness and the importance of the combination.
  • The benefits of a company that embraces this set of principles.
  • Creating a culture from the top down that leads this charge.
  • How to approach and combat issues of non-diversity and non-inclusivity.
  • Using these concepts in the hiring process.
  • Altering the way people interact in the workplace to a more inclusive manner.
  • Some of JOOR’s interviewing strategies that deal with these concepts.
  • Explicitly communicating the ideas of diversity and inclusion to prospect employees.
  • Breaking out the confines of your immediate network to increase diversity.
  • Language and wording of job postings and the potential within this.
  • The importance of off sight activities and extending diversity and inclusion to these.
  • And much more!

Transcript for Episode 62. Diversity and Inclusion with Derek Parham

[0:00:01.9] MN: Hello and welcome to The Rabbit Hole, the definitive developer’s podcast in fantabulous Chelsey Manhattan. I’m your host, Michael Nunez. Our co-host today.

[0:00:09.8] DA: Dave Anderson.

[0:00:10.8] MN: Our producer.

[0:00:12.0] WJ: William Jeffries.

[0:00:13.6] MN: Today, we’ll be talking about diversity and inclusiveness.

[0:00:16.5] DA: Yeah, it’s not just important for your daily breakfast intake and something that’s important in the workplace as well.

[0:00:23.1] WJ: They’re not the same thing, contrary to popular belief.

[0:00:25.2] MN: Awesome. Before we continue, we have a gust here with us today, Derek Parham. Derek is the CTO of JOOR, how’s it going Derek?

[0:00:33.7] DP: Good, thank you for having me on the show, every excited to talk about this topic.

[0:00:37.5] MN: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how this is a special topic for you to discuss?

[0:00:42.2] DP: Yeah, I’m the CTO at JOOR right now but before this, I was the deputy CTO on the Hilary campaign where I actually learned a lot about diversity inclusiveness both how they are similar, how they are different, one only works with the other and they said how to do, build a tech team that incorporates both of these things in together.

[0:01:02.1] DA: that’s awesome. What is the difference between diversity inclusion, should we start with just one diversity or inclusiveness?

[0:01:10.8] DP: I recommend actually saying them together. It should always really be diversity and inclusiveness. To me, diversity is really the concepts that people are – have different ideas in the room and then inclusiveness is the ability for those ideas to flourish.

[0:01:24.9] DA: Cool, it’s peanut butter and jelly, you don’t want it apart.

[0:01:30.1] DP: You do not want one without the other because even if you had a large diversity of ideas, unless people listen to them and sort of let them be heard then you don’t get any of the benefits of the diversity of the ideas.

[0:01:42.8] WJ: Yeah, you had a metaphor that I really liked which was that diversity is inviting people to the ball and inclusiveness is asking them to dance.

[0:01:52.3] DA: Okay.

[0:01:53.1] MN: Yeah, I like that metaphor a lot, that really makes it pretty clear for me. Question, have you seen one without the other at the workplace and what are some common signs of that?

[0:02:03.9] DP: Sure, a lot of people will sort of hear diversity and inclusiveness and think that just simply means hire more women in your tech team or hire minorities, diversity actually includes a lot of different things in there to diversity of age groups where people have different job experiences. It’s diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds so people might have different real life experiences.

You can actually have a group of people which are all males but still have a diverse workplace that’s going on. Gender diversity is a very important thing because both men and women have different points of view but it doesn’t only mean one aspect of diversity. There’s a lot of different things.

When you look at it, you really want to look for people that both have a different look, physically and with different backgrounds. That’s how you get your different ideas.

[0:02:54.5] DA: Yeah, again, that kind of feeds into the thing that you’re working on together and makes it a stronger more cohesive whole like as a benefit.

[0:03:03.0] DP: Right? If you give me an idea and we don’t have an inclusive environment, you came up with a new idea because you have a new way of making a pizza or something like that, I should be willing to listen to how you make this new pizza invention.

[0:03:20.1] DA: Maybe a sushi pizza?

[0:03:21.3] DP: Maybe a sushi pizza. Let’s talk about sushi pizza, this could be a wonderful new invention. But if I’m dismissive of this new idea, “Oh man. Sushi pizza, William would you enjoy that?”

[0:03:33.2] WJ: Absolutely not.

[0:03:34.7] DA: No guys, this hurts.

[0:03:36.5] DP: Then this might never come to fruition, never get to experience the sushi pizza.

[0:03:41.7] DA: Yeah, the world would be worse for it, I think.

[0:03:44.2] DP: That’s the big difference between diversity and inclusiveness. Diversity is really, you came up with this fantastic idea of sushi pizza and inclusiveness is that William was willing to try it.

[0:03:54.7] WJ: I’m actually 100% down for this, guys.

[0:03:57.6] MN: Sushi pizza, startup after this, let’s go.

[0:04:00.2] DA: I’m getting pretty hungry.

[0:04:02.6] WJ: Yeah, diverse teams build better products, I guess diverse and inclusive teams build better products, I should say.

[0:04:08.8] DP: Yeah, inclusiveness, there’s a lot of different ways that you can sort of make that happen and look for that. One interesting metric is, look at how many of your ideas are coming from your junior developers.

Do you only have senior developers giving ideas into your project or do developers say their ideas? If they don’t’ actually say their ideas, then they might not have an inclusive environment to work in. That’s why they’re just not speaking up.

There are some interesting metrics you can look at, diversity, you can look at gender, breakdown numbers and stuff like that but in terms of inclusiveness, you want to look at how willing people are to speak up in your environment.

[0:04:47.3] DA: It sounds like an inclusive environment also has a degree of kind of bottom up organization where it’s not just like coming from the top or like obviously you’re going to have less diversity and less people at that level but you know, also from people who are like experiencing the day to day thing. Operations on the ground.

[0:05:05.0] DP: Yeah, I think inclusive environments and diversity have to be priorities at the top and people have to be talking about it, they have to say this is important and why it’s important. But it’s the day to day that makes that happen, it’s somebody not being dismissive during a brainstorming session or a designer view. It’s someone trying to really get a new idea out of somebody that might be like looking to say something but isn’t really comfortable yet.

It really just takes like eight hours a day worth of work to create this environment. It’s a full time job for everybody on the team. It’s not a one leader type of thing, this is really a tech team culture.

[0:05:44.7] DA: Yeah. That’s an interesting point. I feel like – I really like that idea about like you know, junior developer, all something to contribute because like, things change so quickly in the tech scene. Someone who has been around for a long time and has experience and like, kind of general things and you know, overall domain expertise may not be completely aware of all the new ideas that are coming to light.

It's really totally possible for a junior developer to be like an expert in like one particular thing or have like one particular blog post that they saw that really may change the perspective of the whole team.

[0:06:20.1] DP: Yeah, exactly. Without an inclusive environment, people aren’t listening to it, a really big thing you want to prevent with tech teams is group think, where you’re only building one thing at one time. The really funny part is, senior developers almost always tend towards that to start with, they were if you only hire people that did one thing, one way, only hired people from formal CS educations or only hire people from Google or Facebook or Twitter, they will only solve things in those sort of big ways.

Sometimes you need people in there that haven’t seen that and haven’t done it before just to create those different discussions.

[0:06:55.2] DA: Yeah, there’s something I really like about the New York tech scene in particular that there is kind of a diversity of background in the people who are getting into the field. Maybe more so than the West Coast. I’ve not worked out there myself but I have friends who I have spent years out there and it seems like there’s a lot of people who are like very strong in tech and very tech minded but like maybe are all coming from a similar background.

[0:07:20.1] DP: Yup or especially when you’re forming a team, only wanting to form a team with a certain set of people. So only people that were in the top 1% of their schools or only have certain experience in this certain one technology, that isn’t actually how you build diversity.

You want to be bringing in people that are coming in with all ranges of experiences.

[0:07:40.8] DA: Yeah, I like that point too about like a different background technology, because like, I think we’ve talked about this before on the podcast but like, if you’re only working on python and you’ve worked in Python for years and this is the way that people do things in Python and you don’t even want to give another language at the time of day.

Then you might not benefit from the exposure of ideas like something like working the functional language like Closure or Elixir might kind of benefit you, like knowing about like asynchronous programming and how you might apply that might not be even a thing because like, that’s a very new that python could even do asynchronous programming.

[0:08:18.6] DP: Questionable on how well it does it.

[0:08:21.6] DA: Different podcast.

[0:08:24.9] MN: I have a question, suppose there is a manager who is currently listening and seen the developers not being inclusive or not allowing any inclusivity to – is that even a word? Yeah, it is now. The inclusivity of a junior developer’s idea.

Is that something that the manager would then step in and have a one on one with the senior about how that person should be exposed to more of their ideas? How does that conversation go?

[0:08:55.0] DP: That’s a great question. I mean, there’s sort of two tactics or I’ll say, three tactics. One is first, you want the top of leadership to be saying, what diversity inclusiveness is and this is important to us, it’s important to me personally. You lay the groundwork.

Secondly is, when you discuss inclusiveness, you actually want to make it visible in terms of highlighting when someone was not particularly inclusive. Now, you don’t want to do it in a negative way unless that is warranted. But for instance, in that manner, let’s say the senior engineer was dismissive or not listening to a junior engineer’s idea, during that meeting, you can say, “Actually, I want to hear from insert junior developer’s name, please speak up.”

That shows from the top how important that is and then on the one on one like you mentioned, you create the feedback loop, you say “Hey, I’m pretty sure you did not mean to do this,” this almost touches on the topic of unconscious bias or unconscious actions where people will just do things by habit.

You assume that the person didn’t do it on purpose and you get them to realize, hey, this probably made this person feel dismissed as you get them to realize what that action was. The next time they will actually be the one looking for it, you actually task them no, now I want you to watch when other people do that.

[0:10:16.3] MN: By leading by example, by showing the people around you to include your junior developers when an idea has been given, allows other senior developers or people who may not be inclusive to other individuals to be on the lookout for that particular opportunity.

Knowing that diversity and inclusiveness is important to the company, then, whether they’re not a particularly – whether they don’t’ find that important is probably a question for them as to whether they want to continue in the workplace that, or in that particular company or not?

[0:10:53.9] DP: Yeah, definitely, that goes into the concept of you know, hiring for inclusiveness, making sure people that get through your hiring funnel sort of follows some of these values. One thing I would call out though is dismissiveness doesn’t always come from a senior developer to a junior.

It’s actually sometimes get spaced on gender where men are dismissive of women, they will talk over them, take their ideas or explain their own ideas to them.

One exercise I like to do with groups when I do talks on this topic is actually, ask everyone to raise their hands. When was the last time you felt dismissed in a meeting and did not speak up for yourself? And then you start going backwards from 30 days, seven days, three days, one day.

Really quickly, the men have their hands raised and then it goes down and then almost always, most of the women will have their hands raised when did it happen today.

[0:11:42.8] MN: Wow.

[0:11:44.3] DA: That’s a pretty powerful exercise right there.

[0:11:46.3] DP: Everyone, go ask your female coworkers, I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you.

Not in an accusatory way, this is just hey, New Yorkers, we’re also disruptive and interrupt each other. This is the way we are.

[0:11:57.0] MN: Yeah.

[0:11:57.8] DP: This is the way we are.

[0:11:59.3] WJ: I remember I was on a project and there was a developer there who I was concerned was not being included and I started counting the number of times that people looked at her in meetings and it was almost none.

It was like she was literally invisible. No wonder she wasn’t contributing to the conversation it was because nobody ever passed her the attention.

You know when you’re in a conversation and you can kind of tell who is supposed to speak next because people are passing the attention, they’re sort of looking at the person, I had even gotten in the habit of not looking at her.

I just started calling on her in meetings and say “Hey, what do you think?” I found that really changed my perspective and I think it started a change in the group.

[0:12:43.8] DP: You bring up a fantastic topic if I threw a term on that, I would call it ‘sponsorship’, right? There’s a difference between people’s talk about sponsorship and mentorship. Mentorship is like sitting down and teaching a person and helping them out.

Sponsorship, Laura Hogan who has done a lot of interesting topics on this, I learned this stuff from her and she really talks about how sponsorship is picking a person and helping support them but not necessarily making it obvious.

You know, you can pick a person silently and just say, I’m going to highlight them, I’m going to ask for them their opinions in meetings or maybe on Slack when there’s a conversation.

Who is best to work on this project, be like, hey, this person knows how to tackle that. Again, this is independent of gender, this is just somebody you want to level up where they might not do it on their own and the group subconsciously might not be picking them up.

[0:13:31.9] WJ: Good to have a label for these things.

[0:13:33.3] DA: Yeah, no, I can google it, I want to learn more about it.

[0:13:36.4] MN: You said Laura Hogan?

[0:13:37.9] DP: Yeah, Laura Hogan, she’s great. Hi Laura, if you’re listening.

[0:13:43.2] DA: We’ll try to google some good links and put them in there, in the shownotes.

[0:13:48.2] MN: When diversity and inclusiveness is important to the company, there may be some rough times that you may have to fire an individual. What are some of the – has that ever been a case for you where you had to speak somewhat, where you had to speak to someone about their life of inclusivity or their mindset where they weren’t being – weren’t able to let other people share their thoughts?

Have you ever been in that situation before?

[0:14:15.4] DP: We’ve tried our best to hire for this beforehand before having to terminate someone for that, typically, if you're terminating for lack of inclusiveness then there’s other sort of bad smells going for it. But in terms of making sure you’re hiring people that focus on inclusivity, there’s a number of tactics that we’ve actually focused on.

We found actually by adding diversity your interview panel, you can see and get interesting red flags from candidates that are coming through.

I don’t know if William or Dave, you’ve noticed at JOOR, whenever we have interviews, we always make sure there is at least two women on our interview docket. And we also make sure there’s always one woman in a one on one and there’s always a two on one with the candidates and what we’ve actually found is that different personality profiles that might not be inclusive will react differently to the one on one versus the two on one.

So you can notice if someone is dismissive of women if during the two on one, the woman asks a question and then the candidate answers the male. Wait, I know if you are doing an interview today. I don’t know if you notice that of our candidates.

[0:15:26.5] WJ: Yeah, well so actually the candidate was fine, but I have to do this in the interview process in the past. I think it’s really smart. Stride doesn’t actually do any two people interviews but it’s a thing that I plan to suggest.

[0:15:38.7] DP: And the one on one’s really help highlight also if the person is able to engage with the person on the other side of the table. So we’ve had some candidates that react well when one gender is in the room but as soon as you remove that gender, those candidates don’t react the same and that’s like some aspects of inclusiveness that you catch early on is, does someone act differently based on whom they are talking to?

[0:16:01.6] DA: Interesting, I guess also like part of the diversity in the interview process also is like talking to people who are technical, talking to people who are non-technical. People are coming from different perspectives and mindsets.

[0:16:13.6] DP: Exactly and you also get this benefit while you are building the team of when you show you have your team is diverse then diverse candidates want to join you more often. So a lot of tech folks as they are building their team are like, “How do I go build diversity, I just don’t get the candidates at the top of the funnel and people don’t join when I make them offers?” What you need to do is actually show them diversity of your team.

So if you have all males on your team, well try and find some designers or products managers or customer service folks or whomever, advisors. Whoever is in your circle that can come sort of provide diversity, a diverse opinion on that candidate and show that candidate you care about it but if you are a woman candidate and you meet five very nice smart males, you won’t necessarily think of that company as the peak of diversity inclusiveness in terms of a culture just on the surface of it. It might be but you still need to show that.

[0:17:06.3] MN: Right.

[0:17:07.1] DA: Yeah, I like that idea of like using the interview process as a way to show case what you care about as a company even if it is not outright said like, “Hey today we’re going to showcase to, sure,” or whatever.

[0:17:23.2] DP: Actually, I think people should talk about it.

[0:17:25.6] DA: You think so? Okay, interesting.

[0:17:26.3] DP: I am happy to talk about it here. I’m happy to talk about it wherever. I’ll tell candidates this is exactly what we do because part of this is diversity and inclusiveness is an important thing to us and we are trying some tactics.

So like, “I am happy to show you our team and you can ask them about these topics.” but it is the fact that we’re taking these efforts I think is the most important part because we’re also going to be making lots of mistakes here and there.

But as long as you are talking about it and say that is an important thing to you then that allows people to see that and then have a dialogue about it. That’s where I really think that the tech industry needs to get going is we don’t necessarily have all the answers here but we should have at least have a vocab and we should be at least discussing the topics.

[0:18:08.7] DA: So I guess we talked a lot about how the interview process happens in a day of, are there any techniques that you found work really well for brewing the top of the funnel, just getting more people into the office to actually interview, more quality people?

[0:18:26.3] DP: Yeah, top of the funnel is one of the most important things because a lot of people know and I’ll just repeat it here that you shouldn’t lower your hiring bar to get diversity in. That doesn’t help anybody out.

So really, you want to increase the top of the funnel. So the first thing is actually the key is getting outside your network. So your network almost always looks like you or came from the same school as you or has the same interest as you.

What you need to do is find ways to get outside your network. One tactic that folks and tech teams can do is actually look at your customers. So take your customer database. So for instance on the Hilary campaign, we actually looked at our donors and we said, “Hey are there any donors here that are software engineers?” because these are some of the people that are A, outside our network but secondly also care about our product. In this case, a political campaign.

Luckily when you donate to a political campaign, you put down your occupation. So it’s really simple but I can go Ping them. But any B2B or B2C could do the same thing. Go find your customers, people who care about your product and go see if you can link and connect with them, see if they have a brother in law or sister in law or anyone who is a CS major or has gone to a bootcamp and see if they’d be interested to working there.

So there’s tactics of how do you get outside your network. I think that is the most important thing to increase the top of the funnel.

[0:19:43.7] DA: So it is leveraging like LinkedIn second and third connection kind of things?

[0:19:49.8] DP: You got it or leveraging favors if you are working with your clients and being like, “I’ll build you this feature if you introduce me to this candidate over here, that would be great”.

[0:19:58.3] DA: Oh man, hopefully not too much. No more features.

[0:20:04.6] DP: Another interesting thing is to actually update your job postings. Fun fact that men will apply to jobs that they only meet 25% of the requirements of and women typically, it’s 80%. So simply by having your job sort of description say I require six years of experience versus three, women will sort of filter themselves out.

[0:20:23.9] DA: Yeah.

[0:20:24.8] DP: So you won’t get them just applying to your job. It’s super simple. You just simply go in, look at your job descriptions, remove gender specific language like referring to users as in with the male pronoun and then once you lower the job requirements in terms of ages and experience, you can always filter people out later on through the process but you are going to get more candidates in the top of funnel to go see them.

[0:20:48.2] WJ: So then what do you use in deciding which requirements to put in your job description? I mean so certainly we can lower it right? But then do we care what stack the person has experience with? Do we care whether or not they have a CS degree? What would you want to put in the job description?

[0:21:07.0] DP: That’s a good question. At JOOR we actually keep it pretty lose. We tell candidates what our stack is and we look at anyone who applies. Generally we have our standards of you should be in the job industry for a few years but we don’t necessarily require you come in with experience with our stack because we’ll assume that you are a smart person that can learn. This gets into a tough one but generally, it’s sort of a filtering process.

Where you are willing to sort of filter more people after they apply based on qualifications versus having people filter themselves out before they even apply. I’d rather do the first than the second.

[0:21:42.8] MN: Right because then the hiring manager or the hiring group in your company can make that decision as to whether they want to continue moving forward rather than the individual themselves opting out of hiring into the company like it’s better for the company to make the decision as to whether they want to continue moving forward with the particular candidate rather than the person themselves opting out of the opportunity of working at this place.

[0:22:08.7] DP: You got it. Yeah, you want people to come in and join in the party and have a slice of pizza. You don’t want them to stop at the door because it looks like a place they wouldn’t want to be at.

[0:22:19.2] DA: Are they kind of non-functional parts of the job description important to you. I know some companies have more flavor text about the company or like some fun language or is it mainly like the material like requirements that are more important?

[0:22:36.2] DP: I don’t know. I think there’s been some good studies on job descriptions which we could definitely look at but thus far the only stuff I have studied around diversity inclusiveness goes towards years of experience versus some of the other things but it would be cool to go tie in machine learning and see who applies to a job based on the different wording of the job description. Who knows if there is something correlated there.

[0:22:58.6] DA: Yeah, I think William did this awesome job description for some position where it involved cake.

[0:23:04.9] WJ: Oh yeah.

[0:23:06.3] DA: That was a great one.

[0:23:08.1] WJ: It was really interesting, the CTO there had a habit of buying cake for the team whenever there was anything to celebrate, which was funny because she’s actually gluten free, so she never got to eat any of it.

[0:23:19.4] MN: Oh no.

[0:23:20.5] DA: Well she buys everyone cake.

[0:23:22.4] WJ: Yeah, well if I was the one picking up the cake I would get a single slice of something gluten free for her but it ended up becoming a part of the culture and so when we were writing up the job description, we wanted to highlight something that made us seem different and we ended up choosing cake.

So that was a requirement in the job description is you have to like cake because we had a lot of it. It’s like we ended up actually getting a lot of comments and a lot of additional applications.

We AB tested it and that did much better than all the other applications there or all the other job postings as we put out.

[0:23:55.8] DP: Are we going to get into the discussion of what warrants the cake like a sandwich.

[0:24:01.3] WJ: Oh that’s a controversial topic.

[0:24:03.3] MN: Can you lay a candle on without it falling inward or I don’t know, I am not sure. I have to see a diagram of what is the cake.

[0:24:10.8] WJ: Is a pizza a cake?

[0:24:14.3] DP: You can stick a candle on a pizza.

[0:24:16.1] WJ: This is deep dish, Chicago style.

[0:24:19.4] DP: You slice it with a knife.

[0:24:20.5] WJ: I think it’s a cake.

[0:24:22.7] MN: Uh-oh, you have to be diverse to all cakes, whether it’s a pizza or a ho-ho.

[0:24:29.8] DP: Right and can you put pineapple on it is the other question that’s topping we’ve discussed.

[0:24:35.5] WJ: Although maybe we are not being inclusive enough for people who don’t like cake. Maybe we need to AB test it, a pizza job description.

[0:24:43.6] DP: Right and I think you bring up an excellent example of the main thing is just get people thinking about it. How does this make other people feel? If someone read this and they didn’t like cake, how does that make them feel?

Maybe they can’t have cake for any number of reasons and they’d feel bad about themselves, that sucks.

[0:25:00.8] DA: Yeah I do like that idea of the importance of empathy in the workplace and in general, this is all for engineering. You have to work with a lot of people in order to get the job done so you need to have empathy in your day to day. But then also in the process in hiring and job description, it is good to keep that in mind.

[0:25:21.3] DP: Yeah and how do you sort of build that into your day to day into the team as well where you start thinking about digging into what people are thinking. So like another tactic that we use for inclusiveness is always try and phrase things as questions instead of statements.

So if you had given, if you’ve state some sort of technical solution to a problem and I immediately respond with, “That’s not a good idea. That won’t scale,” let’s say I have some worries about it. “That stinks, you’re dismissed.” You are not listening, this is not an inclusive environment.

But if instead I respond with, “How will this scale in this particular circumstance or situation?” Then you respond back with, “Oh I thought of that already. It’s due to this and we can include this library. I’ve suddenly learned a new thing. So this is how we build better products,” ask questions.

[0:26:08.7] DA: Nice, yeah that’s like a ‘yes and’ approach to design and discussion where you never tried to shoot down the previous idea because it shuts down the conversation and puts you on offensive.

[0:26:23.1] MN: So Derek, do you have one more idea or piece of knowledge you can share with us about having more diversity inclusiveness in the organization?

[0:26:33.3] DP: Yeah, I mean one actually really funny thing that a lot of people don’t realize is a big deal but sometimes is, is off sight activities. For a lot of startups, they start small and people just happen to go out to the bar or only do one thing or maybe play sports and suddenly as you grow and you have a more diverse team, not everyone wants to do those activities. So coming up with a diversity of off sight activities maybe it’s some things that are with drinking.

Some things that are not, some things that are board games, sitting around and some are not. Some that are physical activity, some that are not. But I mean obviously, I would hope that everyone would be able to circle up around a giant pizza and be able to join in that activity or if there’s cake, maybe it’s pizza or cake but as long as you are considering what people want to be doing then that is all that really matters on this one and discussing it. Asking people what do you want to do that creates the best inclusive environment.

[0:27:29.2] WJ: What are some activities that you do at JOOR?

[0:27:31.9] DP: We do a game night so you can do some board games. We go do a dodge ball, dodge ball is super fun, rock climbing which you all help organized which was a lot of fun.

[0:27:42.9] DA: Yeah, we did pool, that was a good time.

[0:27:45.3] WJ: Yeah that’s right, there was pool.

[0:27:46.3] DA: Karaoke.

[0:27:48.0] WJ: Lots of karaoke.

[0:27:48.6] MN: Karaoke is always good.

[0:27:49.8] WJ: Trivia night as well.

[0:27:51.3] DA: Trivia - oh wow, just pretty much five nights a week.

[0:27:55.2] DP: You can fill it up, yeah and just make sure everyone is invited. Make sure everyone feels like they can go join in. You don’t want to have cliques in the company. That one is really rough.

[0:28:06.0] WJ: And is JOOR hiring?

[0:28:08.2] DP: JOOR is hiring. We are hiring both junior and senior developers. Our stack is Django with React and Graph QL in the middle. Come on down, we’d love to hear from you and chat with you.

[0:28:18.5] DA: Nice.

[0:28:19.9] MN: Derek how can people get in touch with you?

[0:28:22.5] DP: Feel free to reach out, I am derek@jooraccess.com and JOOR is spelled J-O-O-R. So derek@jooraccess.com, love to hear from you and especially if you have some thoughts or lessons learned on diversity and inclusiveness. We’re trying to create this conversation and it needs to keep going. So any lessons learned that people have that they want to share or things that they have seen particularly work well or not work well, I would love to hear about that to incorporate it into the conversations that I am having with folks.

[0:28:53.9] DA: Very cool.

[0:28:54.6] MN: Yeah and we can also keep the conversation going via email. If you would like to reach out to Derek or hit us up at twitter.com/radiofreerabbit. We’d like to hear all sorts of different ways that people can increase diversity and inclusiveness and how it’s done in other organizations. So that we can also introduce those particular ideas to Stride. Let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter. Follow us now @radiofreerabbit.

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Links and Resources:

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Derek Parham on Linkedin

Dererk Parham Email

JOOR

Hilary Rodham Clinton

Stride

Python

Elixir

Slack

Django

React

Graph QL

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