Laura Weidman Powers is the CEO of Code2040, “a nonprofit focused on increasing diversity in technology.”  A few months ago, Powers accepted a 6 month stint as a “policy advisor in the White House Office Of Science and Technology.”  As part of her responsibilities, Powers, along with Megan Smith, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, put together the most comprehensive review of diversity and inclusion initiatives since 2011 under the Obama administration.

The report, titled Raising the Floor: Sharing What Works in Workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was developed through interviews, research, and data collection in an effort to create a “detailed list of recommendations that touch on every aspect of talent development from hiring to leadership training, mentorship, accountability measures, feedback and beyond.”  The report, Powers and Smith hope, will help corporations who are committed to diversity, but struggling to find their foot hold.

While a new Trump administration stays silent on its commitment to diversity, Powers thinks corporations will continue their efforts.  “The rise of hate speech, yes, it’s scary and threatening.” The pushback is real. But people don’t do – or abandon – diversity work because the government tells them to. “You do it because it’s the right and profitable thing to do for your workforce, company and customers.”


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