Demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion continues to be top of mind for many business leaders. And this includes various levels of diversity including racial, gender, class, and even geographic diversity that add value to companies’ economic, social, and environmental bottom lines.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

Talent and Innovation are Everywhere: Many people think narrowly about who and where the best talent is – hindering DEI efforts. Yet, without looking outside of the “typical” tech hotspots, companies miss a wider, more diverse pool of talented individuals. The reality is that talented people exist outside of the traditional corridors, and they have constructive insights to offer based on their unique experiences.

Middle America Needs Access: DEI efforts can also benefit from expanded access. A lot of intelligent, skilled people did not make the move to a coastal city to pursue a career. Maybe they didn’t have the opportunity because they had to work, obtained an affordable education at state school, or any number of factors that put them on a different path and didn’t lead them to the typical ways people get to Silicon Valley or Wall Street. It is important to acknowledge this reality and be thoughtful in creating new opportunities and access points.

Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Pay mind to representation at your company at every level from entry-level staff to C-Suite leadership, and make efforts to tackle imbalances. Additionally, inclusivity means that all employees are empowered, given opportunities to grow, and are included in decisions that impact the business. To achieve the best possible outcomes, ensure that all voices are heard and demonstrate respect for different traditions and backgrounds.

Learn more about what inclusion looks like to different cities and companies in this edition of The Mid-Point.

Inside this issue

  • COVID-19 Scatters Tech Hubs For Young Talent
  • OnRamp: Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland Virtual Series
  • Salesforce Expects New Working Options to Help Improve Diversity
  • One Silicon Valley Company Addressed Its Diversity Problem—And Got Results
  • Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Across the Country
Young engineers and recent college graduates see Miami, Houston and Philadelphia — not San Francisco, New York or Seattle — as the hot new places to jumpstart a technology or creative economy career. Pandemic moves are redistributing coveted tech workers more evenly across the country after being so heavily concentrated in just a handful of cities for years. Nearly half of tech workers moved during the pandemic, according to an April survey released Friday by non-profit One America Works. Among those who lived in major city centers before 2020, one in five expect to live in a smaller city after the pandemic. Read more

Building a successful company is so much more than finding a product-market fit. It is equally about culture: How you behave, communicate, create accountability, celebrate wins and learn from failures. With a deliberate culture strategy, founders can make the best hires and drive outsized results. Join The People Collective as they explain the core cultural competencies and how to shape your culture from Day One. Tune in on May 18th at 1:30 EST to hear Tesla and Instacart alums explain how founders at early-stage companies can build a strong team culture, and how investors can help them. Then watch 5 up-and-coming Southeast Michigan startups pitch coastal VC in a fast-paced mashup of SharkTank and Hollywood Squares. Register Here

The new guidelines, which Salesforce is calling “Work From Anywhere,” offer employees three options for how they’ll work going forward: flex, fully remote, and office-based. Salesforce expects the new options to help improve equality and diversity at the company — since workers won’t be required to report to an office in places like San Francisco and New York, Salesforce can broaden recruiting to new areas. “An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks,” Brent Hyder, the president and chief people office of Salesforce, wrote in a blog post announcing the change. Read More

Last year, Derek Andersen, the CEO and cofounder of Bevy, a technology company that helps some of the largest corporations in the world build global communities through virtual and in-person events, realized his company could do better when it comes to both the diversity of its new hires and its investors.

“If you lack diversity across all facets in your company, it’s the same as if there was something fundamentally broken in your underlying code base. People are doing a really good job if they see something broken on their website or their overall architecture. They prioritize fixing that immediately because it could result in a broken user experience,” Fuller says“That’s how I feel about this issue of diversity and lack of representation from certain groups, and Derek approached this at that level of seriousness.” Read more

Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Across the Country

New Venture Fund Focusing on Diversity

An Indianapolis-based seed-stage venture capital firm has closed on a $20 million fund. Sixty8 Capital says the fund will support Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and women-led startups, particularly in the Midwest.

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Kanarys Boosts Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Platform Following $3M Seed

Diversity, equity and inclusion are top of mind for employers. Dallas-based Kanarys gathers data and provides specific and actionable insights to help diagnose, prioritize and optimize DEI efforts in the workplace.

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How Nashville Can Become Tech’s Diversity and Inclusion Hub

With more companies moving their headquarters to Nashville, the city can become a hub for producing diverse talent in the tech industry. Pivot, a Black-owned bootcamp, is teaching high-demand skills like web development, data science, cybersecurity, and digital marketing.

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New Effort Bets on Pittsburgh as a Hub for Black Venture Capital

Kelauni Jasmyn is aiming to create a “digital Wakanda” for Black tech entrepreneurs — far from Silicon Valley. BTN Ventures’ goal is not only to find and fund emerging Black tech talent, but also to recruit and develop other Black professionals into the VC funder space

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