2013 NCWIT Summit – Orientation

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LUCY SANDERS: Good afternoon everybody and welcome. I’m Lucy Sanders I’m the CEO of the Nation Center for Women and Information Technology, or NCWIT. I’m very happy to be providing this brief orientation for you about NCWIT. I think we have about 200 people RSPVP for this. We also have an audience at home. Thanks to Turner Broadcasting, we’re live streaming this orientation session. So please, text, tweet, tell your friends to tune in. We’re really trying hard to build our remote audience for this. This orientation is gonna go by really fast. We only have 30 minutes. So, I’m gonna try to do about 20 minutes of information at warp speed. And those of you who know me know that that’s really fast. So, we’re gonna try to leave some time for questions at the end, and hopefully we’ll get to some. And then if you have any other questions, please do catch me at a break or some other time and we’ll go through them. So, I wanna thank you all for coming and caring about girls and women in computing it’s a very, very important topic. I know it matter to all of you, or you woudn’t be here. I know it matters to all the people at home or they woudn’t be listening to this. Women really do matter to computing and the stakes right now really could not be higher. We know, for example, that women make large percentage of purchase decisions. That’s not any different for technology products and services. And so it really only make sense that women should help design and create those technology products and services. We also know that there are a large number of unfilled jobs in computing and IT, and women should fill those jobs. There are high-paying fast-growing jobs and they should fill those jobs. Further, we know from research that women add to the collective intelligence of any group that they are part of. And so this is no different than any technical design groups. Women should be part, they should be at the table, they should be designing the technology product and services upon which our world depends. And finally, when women participate in the technology workforce, their businesses thrive and grow. We face a challenge though, and I know you all know this. It’s a full pipeline challenge in this country concerning girls and women and computing. It’s starts in high school where girls make up about 19% of all the Computer Science AP test takers. It extends into the post-secondary space where women get about 18% of all computing and information, sciences, systems, four-year degrees, and into the technology work force where technical women leave their private sector tech jobs at a rate of 56% by mid career, and that is twice the quit rate of men. So, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Well, why is this? “What is going on here that could cause this kind of “not just a lack of participation, “but declining participation?” So women’s participation in computing was at an all-time high in the late ’80s and has been declining ever since. At the time the technology boomed, women started to leave. So this is something that is sometimes baffling to us. And I would say this, and here are the main reasons that you can think about. We don’t have time to go through them all, but you’ll be hearing about pieces of this issue wander around the summit and go to the different sessions first of all, we face a policy problem in our country. Computer science is not taught in middle school or high school, and where it is taught, it’s not taught very well. So we have a lot of policy work to do. We have a lot of public education work to do. Also young people, both men and women, are not exposed to computing as a discipline as a young person. And so they often enter college not even knowing what the discipline is. And finally, we have a lot of stereotypes about who does computing, who does tech. And we all have them. Men and women both have these unattended biases, and they really work to impede women’s progress as they are educated and moved into the workforce. NCWIT was started in 2004 by the National Science Foundation. Our charter is to significantly increase girls and women’s participation in computing. And these words are very important. We will use, you will find as you walk around the summit, we use information technology and computing interchangeably, and we do that purposefully. So the engineers, you may want to, exact definition of what you mean by information tech. But we are purposefully vague, because it’s such a wide discipline, but we mean all things computing. We also care about women’s meaningful participation in computing. We care what they do. We want them inventing the technology for the future. And right now we know that by and large they are not. So, a little bit about our approach to this as NCWIT. We’re a little different than a lot of organizations. NCWIT brings together all organizations across the full pipeline, K-12 through career, that care about girls and women participation in computing. So these could be K-12 nonprofits. They could be post-secondary institutions, they could be community colleges, they could be corporations, they could be startup companies, everybody who cares. Before NCWIT was started, we didn’t have a community like we have now with NCWIT. We are all working isolation. Often times we would reinvent the wheel or we would not really know the latest research and evidence. And so we needed to combine our strengths into what we now call an NCWIT Change Leader Network. So, we’re not a women’s network. We’re change leader network. We’re men and women together, representing our organizations, working all year long to increase girls and women’s participation in computing. Does that make sense? So, we’re not a coalition. We’re not logos on a page. We’re change leaders in action all the time, working within our organizations and together to increase participation. So that’s that first little orange bubble there is our community. I’ll say more about that in a moment. The next bubble you see, the blue bubble. We believe that change leaders need to be equipped with the best possible research, data, resources, toolkits, et cetera. You all have day jobs, right? Everybody have a day job in here? Yeah. Okay, you have night jobs, true? Alright, some of you are students. Heck, that’s both. And, you know, you don’t need to be digging up the latest research and stats and tools and everything else. We need to create those for you. So that when you step out as change leaders, you do so on the best possible footing that we know. It’s your toolkit. The third thing that we know is that when we combine all our strength as organizations, we can create national action platforms like this. Think about it. We are 450 organization strong. Isn’t that amazing? We were 350 organization strong this time last year. Considerable strength in our numbers and in our power that when we combine and work as change leaders, we can make a real difference. So, community, research, resources, and action platforms that combine our strength. So that not only are we acting in our own organizations, but we’re acting together across the country. You will find, as you wonder around the summit, that NCWIT members belong to one of several alliances. And many of you are going to an alliance meeting I take. Some of you, yes. So, K-12 Alliance is for usually large national not for profits in the K-12 space who have a focus on girls in computing. Girls Scout, Girls Inc, 4H, Teach for American, et cetera. Together, they combine their distribution strength to run national outreach efforts. They reach over half the girls in the United States today. So when they decide to do something, they can get the word out very, very broadly. The Academic Alliance, universities, post-secondary institutions, about 270. They’re working to recruit from different diverse talent pools into their degree programs. They’re also working on curriculum, more rigorous, relevant, inclusive curriculum, and also working on retention in their degree programs. The workforce alliance is working on recruiting women into the technology workforce represented by their companies and also retaining them of course, but making sure that they advance into positions of leadership. The Entrepreneurial Alliance is doing the same thing, but for startup companies. So that when startup companies form, they’re recruiting technical women into those companies right from the very start. The Affinity Group Alliance convenes women’s technology affinity networks, and they share best practices about what does it mean to be a DC women in tech, or the coolest women we know. That’s the one from Colorado. Coolest women we know. Or what’s it mean to be Microsoft Women’s Network, and how do we share best practices and content and so forth. And then Social Science Advisory Board, a group of very distinguished social science researchers who specialize int he gender and technology area, who advise us on our resources and our actions and who meet here at the summit to talk about big picture topics in the area of gender and technology. So that’s our community, forming alliances. The second part of our three-pronged approach, resources and research. Our resources are growing in number, about 130 I believe now, and they’re all available on our website. And we have done this in a set of series of resources professionally designed. But also, even though they’re beautiful too look at and hold and read, they’re also based on solid research, solid evidence. So that you know when you use them, not only are you proud to share them, but they’re very factual in nature. So we first started on reports, data sheets, et cetera, so that you all would get the facts and know the facts. We vet the data, make sure we get the best possible data. That was the first thing our members asked us for, back in 2004. Then they said, “This is great. “Give us some practices. “What should we do?” So, we invented, I think it’s on the far, your left, practice sheets, where on the front of the practice sheet is a case study of somebody who has work in a particular practice. And on the back of the practice sheet is relevant research, social science research that backs that practice up. So then our members said… In case you’re getting the point here, we listen to our members really really carefully. Said, “Wow, we just need programs. “We need add water programs. “Just give us things we can download “and have a faculty mentoring program, “or give us something to download “and have an outreach roadshow to local high schools, “or give us something that we can download “so that we can use it with our technical supervisors “and really train them around diversity and inclusion. So we invented in-a-box programs, and you can download those and use parts of it. You can adapt them. But the only thing you can’t do is resell them. But you can use them in anyway you want. So then our member said, “Well, we really need talking points. “We need to know if I’ve got one person for just a minute, “what do I say to a young person “about a career in information technology and computing. “Give me top 10 things that research would show “that I need to say.” Then we moved on and we did top 10 cards, like the top 10 ways you can recruit young women into your classrooms, or the top 10 things you can do as a supervisor to promote mid career visibility for technical women. So, those are our resources, and we really wanna hear from you, what don’t we have, what do you need, where are the gaps. And we’re gonna continue to ask you this because this is a major part of what we do as well. We think change needs to be fueled by evidence. So, that’s a very important part of our mission. I don’t have time to go through all these now. I wanna make sure I leave you time for questions, but this is some of the research that we’re doing now. We do conduct our own primary research at NCWIT and we also conduct it with other distinguished researches from across the country, and we look for gaps to fill. One of the latest gaps we started looking at was research around the men who support technical women and why they do it. Because we studied women, why they leave, why they stay, what they think. But we wanna know. We have so many great male change leaders, why are they such great change leaders? What do they do and how they do it? And so, we did a new research report and there is a breakout on that tomorrow, and you can start to hear some of the reasons why men will advocate on behalf of technical women. Lastly, we have this notion of action platform. So just to back up and then refresh your memory again, we have community alliances, we have research and resources, and now I’m talking about that part of our approach where we combine all of our strength into national action platforms where we can make a huge difference together. So I’m gonna talk about two of them in particular in more detail, Aspirations in Computing and Sit With Me, because you’re gonna be seeing more of these at the summit. But I also wanna mention a couple others. If you start in the K-12 level, we have a campaign called Counselors for Computing. That’s founded by the Merck Foundation. And this is a set of resources and also workshops where we talk to professional school counselors about careers in computing, and give them the facts about jobs and educational degrees and so forth. We also had two, in the academic space, two seed funds that the Academic Alliance manages. One is sponsored Microsoft Research and it funds outreach and practice, implementation within the academic alliance. And the other one is sponsored by Symantec, and it funds student chapters on campus so that they can do their outreach efforts. I think we have at least one seed fund winner over here. So, yes, check. So, these are the kinds of things we can do together. I wanna say between the two seed funds, the academic alliance has administered over $400,000 of funding back to its membership. It’s a proposal-based process, and it’s peer reviewed as well. So, not insignificant funds. So let’s go through a few of these in a little more detail, and then I’ll turn it over to you for some questions. Aspirations in Computing. How many of you have heard of Aspirations in Computing? We have some of them lovely Aspirations right over here. So, Aspirations in Computing starts with an award component in high school. And it recognizes high school women contributions to computing and their technical… What am I gonna say? Technical achievement so far. So, young women come to our portal, they apply online. They have four independent judgings, and we use the technology rubric that’s fairly significant, and then we design who wins the award. We have a national award and we also have regional awards. So this started with just the national award. And three years ago, I believe we had three regional awards. And guess how many we had this year. 54 regional awards. This year we’re on track to acknowledge 1,000 young women across the United States for their Aspirations in Computing. And it’s our members, it’s you that makes it move. I’ll have more to say about that in a moment. So of course we have acknowledgement, well done, kind of a pat on the back, but then we also have a publicity component because we require that people issue press releases. We get the word out about the importance of women’s contribution to computing, and then more and more young women apply for the award. But it doesn’t end there. Because once we know these women, we enter them into our Facebook online community. They talk to each other, they peer network. We offer them opportunities in universities and internships and jobs in your corporations. They have contest sometimes. We might have like a mobile app development contest or so forth. And so, it really becomes this longitudinal encouragement, pipeline development program that stays with the Aspirations community through college. And on their own, on their own efforts, this wonderful community of young women is starting to do outreach camps in the middle school. They are the ones who suggested that they partner with the university and offer middle school students an opportunity to learn about computer science. So it’s a wonderful community. And when we expand it to its fullest reach, it’ll go from middle school through college. We want you, there they are. Aren’t they lovely? [laughs] They have face-to-face meetups. We have about, how many, 20 here at the summit? 20? Raise your hand over here. They’d love to talk to you. [applauding] And you can see that one young woman is especially excited about her Surface. [chuckles] It’s a great photo. Okay. So how do you plug into this? Well, NCWIT… I wanna go through this in a little more detail because this is typically the way, typical the way we work. NCWIT provides the infrastructure. We provide the technology. We provide the call for the award. We provide the judging. We provide the ongoing community for the young women. And then we ask all of you as members to help us run a local affiliate or to judge or something else. Our members fuel aspirations and really help it grow and scale quite quickly, because like a franchise model, right? We sort of produce the toolkits and everything else, and then our members take it out locally. And locally it all adds up into quite a huge dramatic impact at a national level. So, more about Aspirations. There’s a workshop tomorrow, and we have Aspirations participants wandering around the summit, talking to you. Great stats. I wish we had more time to brag about these. Again, thanks to all the members in here we have participated so far. How man have participated in aspiration so far out here? Good, well, thank you. It’s making a really, really big difference. Look at the persistence rate into college. Over 80% persist in college in male-dominant STEM professions, and about 63% persist in, 64% persist in computing. And great diversity numbers as well, and it’s all over the United States right now. The other thing I wanna touch briefly on, Sit With Me. This is a totally different kind of action platform that NCWIT has created. Our pacesetter organization told us that they needed a way to start conversations about the importance of women’s contribution to technology In a way that both men and women could participate, in a way that was not confrontational, in a way that was fun. And so we hired a company from Brooklyn, BBMG, and they came up with a concept of Sit With me. You’ll see the chair. See the chairs? Okay, iconic red chairs. They’re made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles, in case you were worried about sustainability. And each one is hand made, it’s a piece of art. And we chose the chair because of Rosa Parks’ simple action of sitting to take a stand. And then you can start to riff on this notion. We sit for a place at the technical design table. We won’t stand for anything less. We sit for innovation. So we created a toolkit. There’s a microsite, there’s swag, there’s pins, there’s all kinds of press things that you can do. And we’ve had such a tremendous response to this. Again, grassroots kind of organic response. Some other things, Microsoft used Sit With Me to roll out an International Women’s Day event across the world. Facebook invited employees down to have their pictures made in front of a graffiti wall and make their statements about the importance of women and technology. And of course, guess what they did with them. Uploaded them to their Facebook page. [chuckles] We’ve had some companies use them as awards. We just had an event at Oregon state where they brought in the basketball team. So, I don’t wanna tell you more because we have some really cool examples, and there will be a flash talk on Sit With Me tomorrow. All this is on the website. You probably knew that. We’re very proud of our new website. We just cut it over last June based on a content management systems, and now hopefully you’ll be able to find things a little bit easier on our site. And here we are, 450 organization strong at our summit. And I really hope that you really get to take in all the diverse content that’s here. There’s a lot here from all different areas of what we do, from research, to strategy, to celebrations, to partnering, to planning out for the next year. It’s all here at the summit. And the summit is our annual community meeting. So it’s not like an open conference. It is a community meeting where we’re really working hard to think through how to be better change leaders on the next year. So with that, I guess I have 10 minutes of questions. So yey, who wants to ask a question? Wow, I really stupefied you with my clarity, huh. Any questions? Oh yay, a brave person to start.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How can I find out? You said 50 states are represented in the Aspirations for Computing thing. How can find out if there’s anything kind of in my local area happening, and how can I get plugged into that?

LUCY SANDERS: So, we have on our site… I wanna say something about the aspiration site in a moment. But on the existing site, there is a way to find out where all the local affiliates are. But the way the affiliates form is really, really interesting. So maybe I’ll spend a minute on that. It’s not like we have these rigid regions, right? Every year the regions kind of re-up. They say, “Oh, we wanna form a cluster “and we wanna have “a regional affiliate event in our cluster.” It just so happens that a lot of them re-up all the time, but it’s not like we have chapters or regions or anything like that. There is information up on our current website. And if you can’t find it, just write, and we’ll tell you where it is, because we are in the process of re-implementing the Aspirations website. It was great when we are smaller, and now we really need to put some significant technology investment into making it easier to use, find. Yes, right here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What can you say about middle school?

LUCY SANDERS: Middle school? [speaking off microphone]

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Can you say something about Aspiration women who got the award where it start in the middle school out reach program? And how can we, the universities, help them?

LUCY SANDERS: Let me say a word about that, and then I’m gonna somebody from Aspirations to fill in. So this is in pilot more for us right now. We got some funding from I think, Intel Foundation and Northrop Grumman and Google to roll this out. Young women apply with an Academic Alliance member. So stay tuned for bigger roll out of the program. We’re just now kind of getting to this in pilot mode. In terms of the experience of it all, maybe, Ruth, did you wanna say something?

RUTHE FARMER: Hi, so we are piloting this new middle school concept right now and we receive some pilot funding to get it off the ground. And the basic concept is that we match the energy of these young women with your infrastructure. So, they design the program, they teach the program, you handle all of the physical and financial and all that kind of stuff. They’re in kind of a unique position to recruit middle school girls that you kind of aren’t in, and that’s the beauty of it, and they’re your instant workforce. So we are piloting this. We have 24 sites, and we’re building a toolkit to use. It’s not that important. It’s important but we don’t have to be rigid about exactly what we’re teaching them at this stage. It’s more important that they’re getting exited about technology and they’re being invited. Because by the time they get to high school, the technology will probably be pretty different anyway. So, we’ve given them lots of different technology tools to choose from, but we also want them to be able to leverage whatever resources. If you happen to have a lab that does a particular technology, use that, great. We’re not really rigid about the curriculum. It’s more about the invitation from a near peer. And we had our first round of grants. We’re gonna have another round of grants in a few months when we get through this pilot, and we have some other exciting things that are gonna be happening with this program coming up soon, we hope, but it has a lot of potential to go very big. With just this pilot, we have 24 sites that will serve 800 middle school girls in the next year. 25,000 hours of computing outreach. And some of those girls, raise your hands if you’re doing Aspire IT, higher. Okay, so some of them are here if you wanna chat with them about what they’re doing. [applauding]

LUCY SANDERS: I do wanna say, too, that the whole Aspirations program again, just to kind of, because I want all of you to really kind of understand what we do. We create the toolkits and the franchise model and members just snap them up, and go out, and do things with them. And I think it’s such an important infrastructure. And I can’t say again how much we appreciate everything that members do, because we can create all the toolkits we want. But if the members don’t take them out there and be in action with them and really use them, we’re not going to turn the corner on this as a country. So, this combined strength we have is like awesome. Any other questions? Yes, right here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What kind of API do you have with the actual companies? the companies are the ones that have only 18% of women. So, what are you doing to bridge that gap between you guys and the actual hiring process itself?

LUCY SANDERS: Yeah. That’s a really tough question. Did you all hear it? So what are we doing to bridge the gap between the hiring process? In other words, how are we working with corporations, is that right? Okay, so, this is a tough question. It’s hard to also work with the universities in this space, too. NCWIT is a capacity-building organization. So what that means in the non-profit world is that we’re working to build the capacity of the existing organizations. So we would have to work in the ame we work with universities. We work with corporations on best practices and cultural things, supervision for example, because we know from research that when people leave their jobs, they’re most likely leaving a poor relationship with their direct supervisor. So we also know about technology supervisors that they often aren’t well-versed in inclusion and diversity dynamics that could be happening on their team. And so, really they just need a little awareness and they just need the tips of running teams that where there are underrepresented groups. So we work with them on things like that. Corporate space is hard because every corporation is different, the leadership is different. People transition out of jobs very quickly. But we’re working in the space, research, resource, practices, encouragement. I also think as corporations plug into the Aspirations and Computing Talent Development Program, they’re gonna have a very receptive talent pool. I think they need to work on both fronts. They need to say, “I Need to recruit more. “Got it.” And when they get here, we need to have a really great place for them to thrive. And so it’s really kind of a two-prong story there for corporations. I think we have time for one more, if there is one more.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Obviously, I’m here because I’m looking to recruit women in computer science. So do you all have a site where you could post positions for trying to hire women in IT? Because it’s really hard.

LUCY SANDERS: Yes, it is hard.


LUCY SANDERS: Yes, there is a two-part answer to that question. We don’t have job boards. We’re not really in the sourcing business for talent. But again, I think that as part of the NCWIT community, and as we all working on Aspirations in Computing and together building a national talent pipeline, there will be more and more young women in college and graduating from college that will look upon your company favorably because you were participating and working as part of an environment. We also do stream jobs of all of our members, not just corporations, to our site through Indeed.com. So, we do stream jobs, but we’re not gonna post them. I think you could appreciate the horrendous nature of doing something like that. And there are plenty of people who do post jobs. Alright, well, I guess we’re here at quarter till. Please come back at three, is when we open the summit. And catch me at break or any other time. I’m happy to answer any questions that you have now or any time. Thank you. [applauding]

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