7 TED Talks to help IT leaders address DEI challenges

Top business leaders share the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Check out their inspiring TED Talks
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The benefits of diversity in the workplace are well known—diverse teams grow higher profits and improve innovation, for example—yet change in the tech industry has been slow. Today, women comprise just a quarter of technology workers, with even fewer Black (9%) and Latinx (7%) workers holding tech jobs, according to Pew Research.

To highlight the value and importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we’ve gathered 7 TED talks from business leaders across the globe who discuss the importance of DEI in the workplace and offer advice for how today’s leaders can create change, inspire others, and address some of the workplace’s most pressing challenges.

1. The why and how of diversity in tech

Speaker: Nashlie Sephus

Equitable opportunity is a necessary building block for a thriving economy, says artificial intelligence researcher and software developer Nashlie Sephus. In this talk, she discusses the importance of equity in science and technology, why there is a lack of diversity in technology today, and what can be done about it.

2. How to get serious about diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Speaker: Janet Stovall

Workplaces should be where people of all colors and races can climb every rung of the corporate ladder and where the lessons people learn about diversity at work actually transform what people do, think, and say outside of the office. In this talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall shares a three-part action plan for creating environments where people feel safe and expected to be their unassimilated, authentic selves.

3. How AI can help shatter barriers to equality

Speaker: Jamila Gordon

Australian tech leader Jamila Gordon believes in the power of human connection—and AI—to help people who might otherwise be left behind. She shares her story of refugee to global tech executive and how AI is helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds find jobs and develop the skills they need to work effectively and safely.

4. How to foster true diversity and inclusion at work (and in your community)

Speaker: Rosalind G. Brewer

Too often, companies focus on meeting metrics rather than building relationships with people of diverse backgrounds, says healthcare CEO and former Starbucks COO Rosalind G. Brewer. She invites leaders to rethink what it takes to create a truly inclusive workplace and discusses how to bring real change to boardrooms and communities alike.

5. How do we bridge the “anxiety gap” at work?

Speaker: Erica Joy Baker

Imagine feeling like an outsider every time you set foot at work. This is how many women and people of color feel, particularly in the tech industry, says Erica Joy Baker, CTO for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In this talk, Baker discusses her first-hand experience overcoming the “anxiety gap” and shares advice on how to close it.

6. The problem with “trickle-down techonomics”

Speaker: Jon Gosier

Software developer, investor, and philanthropist Jon Gosier questions the “blind championing of technology”—or what he dubs “trickle-down techonomics.” He shares powerful examples of how new technologies can make things worse if they’re not equally distributed. The real innovation, he says, is finding ways to include everyone.

7. How great leaders innovate responsibly

Speaker: Ken Chenault

When times are uncertain, great leaders must inspire hope. Business leader Ken Chenault discusses how to inspire positive, enduring change and why it’s more important now than ever before to invest in responsible innovation that uplifts people and centers around equality and fairness.

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Kristin Burnham is a reporter and editor covering IT leadership, business technology, and online privacy and security.