Jul 29, 2017

On Wednesday, GoPro was pleased to host Mentorkind’s Breaking Through the Unconscious Bias in Tech! event at its San Mateo, California headquarters. Mentorkind, which partners young professionals with mentor leaders, seeks to bridge career and knowledge gaps of underrepresented minorities and women in the tech industry.

The evening kicked off in the GoPro Experience Room with GoPro’s Senior Director of Software Engineering & DevOps, Cedric Fernandes, who gave an informing presentation on the current state of gender diversity in the tech industry (spoiler: it’s not very gender diverse), how the industry arrived at its current state, and what can be done to address the problem. Fernandes offered some sobering facts in his presentation as well: in Computer & Mathematical Operations and Architecture & Engineering, women make up just 24.7 and 15.1 percent of the industry, respectively. These statistics provided powerful calls to action for both individuals and organizations looking to push the needle in the other direction. The presentation was rounded out by Fernandes discussing GoPro’s efforts to maintain a diverse leadership and workforce leadership through its Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging program.

The event continued with a “Fireside Chat” (GoPro’s nine-TV display does provide quite a bit of heat) featuring Fernandes, Amy Liang (a Software Quality Engineering Manager at GoPro), and Cynthia Owyoung (Founder of Breaking Glass Forums). The panel was moderated by Gabriella Cook, the Founder of St. Gabe, a business strategy and marketing consulting group. The four discussed their own paths in the industry, the unconscious biases that may exist, as well as advice for young professionals looking to break into the industry.

The evening concluded with three 20-minute breakout sessions, where each attendee had the opportunity to meet with three of the 18 mentors present. GoPro was pleased to have 7 of its leaders as mentors at the event— Fernandes, Liang, Mahlet Getachew (Senior Managing Counsel), Bettina Briz (Senior Director, Strategic Partnership), Ingrid Cotoros (Senior Director, Imaging Technology), Suejin Kim (UX/UI Manager), and Nicholas Gilmour (Director, Product Management).

Both attendees and mentors proclaimed the event a success. GoPro’s mentors were particularly impressed with how diverse, inquisitive, and driven the attendees were. There may be a long way to go before the tech industry is truly diverse, but with hungry young professionals like those attending the event, we may be there sooner than we thought