Re: Encouraging diversity through the SIGs


Sarah Allen
 

I applaud the definition of diversity as more than gender.... though we should be a bit careful about using the term "diversity of thought" (since that has emerged as a code word used by some who aren't genuinely addressing diversity and inclusion). 

Through my work volunteering at Bridge Foundry, as well as recruiting diverse teams in industry and for the US government, I have a bit of experience in this area and could generate some practical tips for co-chairs and tech leads.  From my perspective, there are a lot of incredibly obvious things that aren't being done.  Here are some quick thoughts, starting with what seems easy and ought to be accessible to current and new SIG co-chairs and tech leads:

Time Zone bias 
Like many of you, I'm guilty of time zone bias -- we need to get a bit more creative to come up with some patterns that allow for participation in every timezone.  A relatively straightforward part of that is to ensure that our governance processes makes is clear how to participate and take a leadership role outside of meetings.  For example, in the past few months, in formalizing SIG-Security, I've put some effort into documenting roles and communications processes that explain how decision making happens and how people can participate asynchronously, based on 2018 work by Rachel Myers and Jeyappragash JJ on the initial SAFE WG governance with its proposal process.

Native English-speaker bias 
One of the SIG members recently asked me, when facilitating meetings, to request that people turn on their video when speaking.  At first I thought this was just a preference, and I said that some people may not be comfortable being recorded on camera and I didn't feel like I could insist upon that.  With a thoughtful suggestion, my false assumption was corrected: I could simply suggest that people consider turning on their video to make it easier for non-native English speakers to follow conversation.  I tried this in the last meeting and all the speakers shared their video when speaking, and I hope that made it easier for our global SIG members.  I've also requested that the CNCF fund transcripts of the presentations that have been given at SIG meetings, and we could consider translating as well, where we have SIG members who can proof-read, as I plan to do with the English transcripts.

Increasing representation across gender, race, etc.
Addressing bias takes effort, but it's actually quite simple -- don't just invite who you know, don't just recruit in the usual places, make your material accessible to everyone, actively find the incredibly awesome and talented people who you are excluding. Be intentional with your communications.  Every time you tell someone who you already know some CNCF news, think about how you might spend the same amount of time telling someone you don't know.  It's inconvenient; it takes effort; but it isn't actually that hard.

It would be helpful to brainstorm with someone who is interested in this and feels like they don't know what to do.  I have many ideas and suggestions, it's hard to know what to write down. For starters, this blog post that I wrote long ago may be helpful: https://www.ultrasaurus.com/2014/07/recruit-diverse-team/

Sarah



On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM Liz Rice <liz@...> wrote:
Might I suggest that along with the requirements we include specific examples for the SIG leads for how they might go about increasing the diversity within their SIG? SIG leads might be supportive but not actually know how to go about it.

Very good point! Suggestions on this (or pointers to existing examples) would be welcome and super-helpful

 

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 4:53 PM Jaice Singer DuMars via Lists.Cncf.Io <jaice=google.com@...> wrote:
Let's do the best we can, knowing it will be flawed, and get better over time.

On Thu, May 30, 2019, 8:47 AM Roger Klorese <roger.klorese@...> wrote:

Thanks. As a Jewish (and raised before we were as widely viewed as “white”) white-skinned not entirely cis queer person, I wonder whether we need to compete for the allotted seats at the table, but also focus on more seats. 


I am specifically concerned on a recent workplace issue that focused on someone’s behavior but refused to engage with it through the window of the person’s neuroatypicality and make accommodations that could have prevented or mitigated the situation. This is not rare in the industry and community, and labeling people as “assholes” is not really an appropriate response. This is not specifically a representation issue, but it is a serious blind spit in communities. (And that sentence itself is probably problematic...)


Roger B.A. Klorese
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On May 30, 2019, at 8:26 AM, Jaice Singer DuMars <jaice@...> wrote:

As a Jewish, white-skinned, gender non-conforming individual, I understand. I would give up my place at the table, however, for a person of color or other under-represented person. Yes, there's a spectrum, but reduction in this specific case is a reasonable compromise.

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 8:18 AM Roger Klorese <roger.klorese@...> wrote:
(Though I would say that stating the issue solely as “white” and “men” is reductive in the gender issue, ignores the heteronormativity, and ignores physical, developmental, and other disability.)

Roger B.A. Klorese
Senior Product Manager
SUSE
705 5th Ave SSuite 1000
Seattle WA 98104

(P)+1 206.217.7432
(M)+1 425.444.5493
roger.klorese@...
Schedule a meeting: https://doodle.com/RogerKlorese
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On May 30, 2019, at 8:14 AM, Roger Klorese <roger.klorese@...> wrote:

+1 for this +1. 

Roger B.A. Klorese
Senior Product Manager
SUSE
705 5th Ave SSuite 1000
Seattle WA 98104

(P)+1 206.217.7432
(M)+1 425.444.5493
roger.klorese@...
Schedule a meeting: https://doodle.com/RogerKlorese
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On May 30, 2019, at 8:04 AM, Jaice Singer DuMars via Lists.Cncf.Io <jaice=google.com@...> wrote:

+1 as well, and glad to see this conversation moving forward.

One point I want to make absolutely clear is that diversity does not mean "corporate diversity" or "diversity of thought" or any other form of diversity that means the room is all white men and still considered "diverse". 

Also, huge +1 to expanding recruiting efforts to under-represented people. We should be bringing in new contributors to SIGs, and using these as great opportunities for people to learn about problem domains without the triggering aspects of first-time technical contributions. 

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 7:12 AM Roger Klorese <roger.klorese@...> wrote:
+1 and a comment:

It has seemed to me so far that the term “diversity” at CNCF is widely assumed to mean “more, and more equitable representation of, women.” I attended a diversity session at Seattle, for instance, and while it was not described with any qualifiers, it was almost exclusively about making the workplace and work policies more amenable to women with children, and the panel was all white and Asian women. 

There are many other aspects - non-white/Asian people, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities - whose lack of centering affect both our workplaces and our work in significant and destructive ways. While the situation of women is hugely important in the industry and the community, it is not the only aspect of diversity to be concerned about. 

Roger B.A. Klorese
Senior Product Manager
SUSE
705 5th Ave SSuite 1000
Seattle WA 98104

(P)+1 206.217.7432
(M)+1 425.444.5493
roger.klorese@...
Schedule a meeting: https://doodle.com/RogerKlorese
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On May 30, 2019, at 4:31 AM, Stephen Augustus <Stephen@...> wrote:

Huge +1!!

On Thu, May 30, 2019, 07:29 Liz Rice <liz@...> wrote:
Alexis just shared an idea with me that I think is so great that I wanted to act immediately! This comes out of discussions with several folks at KubeCon and elsewhere about how we can improve diversity at all levels of the community.

Now that we’ve formalised the existence of CNCF SIGs, they’re a great place to scale out the diversity effort. Let's add to the CNCF SIG requirements that they need to have initiatives in place to actively encourage diversity (of all sorts) within their activities.

The goal should be nurturing a more diverse range of people into positions like SIG Tech Leads and Chairs, and other SIG-specific roles (e.g. taking part in security assessments in SIG security). The SIG Chairs would need to assume the responsibility to make sure this is happening. 

Thoughts & ideas? 

Liz



--

Jaice Singer DuMars

Cloud Native Strategy

+1 (206) 371-2293

601 N. 34th St., Seattle WA 98103



--

Jaice Singer DuMars

Cloud Native Strategy

+1 (206) 371-2293

601 N. 34th St., Seattle WA 98103

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