by Jared Karol
In today’s Diversity & Inclusion Spotlight, we hear from Rachel Murray, Co-founder of She Geeks Out, a Boston- and New York City-based company that creates “an inclusive culture committed to upholding diversity, particularly gender diversity.” They provide safe spaces for women in STEAM to connect and learn.
Change Catalyst: Describe the impact you’re having in your role.
Rachel: As a woman in tech for over 15 years, I understand the importance of feeling like a valued member of the team. My desire to help other women feel empowered drove me to co-found She Geeks Out. We’ve been running networking, professional development, and social events in Boston and New York that are specifically designed to create a safe space for women in STEAM. The purpose of these events is to give women space to feel comfortable geeking out about whatever they geek out about.
Change Catalyst: What are you currently working on to improve diversity and inclusion in tech?
Rachel: We’ve recently launched corporate training workshops designed to provide companies with tools to recruit diverse teams and create inclusive cultures. Additionally, we provide them with a direct pipeline of smart, funny, and talented women to potentially hire. These corporate workshops help ensure that companies are going to be there for women and other underrepresented minorities in the tech space and beyond.
Change Catalyst: What motivates you to work towards an inclusive tech ecosystem?
Rachel: We know that there’s a lot of unconscious bias out there, but creating a truly inclusive tech ecosystem requires going beyond just recognizing that it exists; we need to take specific action. Companies must look at how they’re writing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, interviewing, and onboarding new team members — and who they’re promoting and giving raises to and why. We help companies create small but important process changes, which help make new more inclusive habits become the norm. Companies start improving results by just picking one area to focus on, such as writing inclusive job descriptions using a free gender decoder tool to assess their effectiveness.
Change Catalyst: What will be the biggest story around diversity and inclusion in 2017?
Rachel: There’s been plenty of emphasis on recruiting for diversity, but retention has to be the next big focus. It’s great if you’re able to hire a diverse team, but what’s the point if they don’t stay? In order for diversity data numbers to improve, managers — middle managers in particular — must be given the tools to effectively manage their increasingly diverse teams. This change must come from the leadership of the company.
Change Catalyst: What is the best example of leadership in inclusion you’ve seen recently?
Rachel: One leader who is doing this extremely well is Tony Wieczorek, Director of Support at Boston startup Localytics. He cares deeply about his team, how he recruits and onboards staff; and he makes sure everyone is heard. He’s always thinking out of the box — for example, taking Localytics’ unlimited vacation policy and applying it to maternity and paternity leave for his team. When we combine great leadership like Tony’s with tools from She Geeks Out, we start to see a big shift in the way companies create and nurture inclusive environments.
Change Catalyst: Just for fun, what unique or unusual talent or skill do you have?
Rachel: I’m really good at Civilization, a video game that I’ve been playing for 15 years. It’s a meditation and total de-stressor. Also, I’m weirdly very very efficient at most things. I believe in the power of inbox zero!
Learn more about Rachel on LinkedIn.
About Change Catalyst:
Change Catalyst empowers diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation — through education, community engagement and mentorship.
Our Tech Inclusion programs explore and develop innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion.
Our Startup Ecosystem programs help underrepresented entrepreneurs and investors to start, scale and fund worldchanging businesses.
Change Catalyst is a Certified B Corp, winning the “Best for the World” award for community impact in 2014 and “Best in the World” overall in 2015.