Happy #TechTuesday, friends!
We’re well aware of the many strides that the technology industry is taking in order to diversify itself. After many years, companies like Google, Apple, and Yahoo! have finally realized that it’s necessary to adhere to the changing workforce landscape in order for them to be most successful.
I sat down with millennial entrepreneur and talent acquisition strategist Ariel Lopez, who is the founder of 2020Shift, an online education platform designed to get minority college students and recent grads into AdTech. Her motto is turning passion into profit and helping others to do the same.
CC: What are your thoughts on these technology giant joining forces and investing in the professional development and advancement of young women in technology? How do you think other major tech giants can and should follow suit?
AL: The WEST initiative sounds amazing. It’s always great to see initiatives that encourage the professional development of women in technology. I believe other companies are following suit in a similar matter, however it’s important to recognize this is not the only answer to the diversity issue. There are a number of underrepresented groups in the industry (women included) and there are a variety of approaches that can be taken to make things more inclusive.
CC: Congrats on the launch of 2020Shift! What inspired you to create and promote this necessary conversation around diversity? How do you think millennials not just in tech, but across all professionals can really incite change in the work place, without seeming “entitled”, “narcissistic”, or “lazy”?
AL: Honestly after the release of diversity reports from several of the tech giants, I noticed how serious the issue is. Being a “token” in tech I’ve always noticed the disparity but seeing those figures definitely struck me. The birth of 2020 was to find a solution to the diversity problem in a different way. We aim to expose minorities to career paths in AdTech (non stem based) that they aren’t necessarily aware of, connect them to people (that actually look like them) that are working in those fields, and ultimately get them a job doing it. In terms of our beloved “entitled” millennials, my best advice would be to keep it up! Use your passion, creativity, and eagerness to move your way up. Understand that there’s a process and everything takes time- you probably won’t “make it” overnight. Just keep the faith throughout everything and lean into people that have already succeeded at what you set out to do.
CC: Who are some of your role models in the world of technology, digital media and diversity? As a young professional, how has it been for you building relationships with more seasoned professionals? With 2020Shift, how do you hope to inspire your generation to not view one another as competition, but rather as working for the collective?
AL: In terms of role models, I would say Jack Dorsey for tech (I mean what does that man not do), Steve Jobs for just being a genius, Vivek Wadwa for encouraging diversity, as well as Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In influenced a lot of these new initiatives). 2020’s advisory board are also role models for me (Clayton Banks, founder of Silicon Harlem, Danyel Smith, founder of HRDCVR and esteemed journailst- she’s amazing; Paul Mendoza, head of sales at Amobee, and Jessica Santana, founder of Brooklyn On Tech/World Wide Boss). I’ve always valued the purpose of networking so connecting with seasoned professionals hasn’t been difficult for me. With 2020Shift one of our catchphrases is “ending tokenism forever”. We know this is a movement that needs all of us working together collectively to make things more diverse. It’s about empowering this generation to find careers they love and then giving them the resources they need to empower others.
CC: Finally, what are your favorite components of technology? What steps should millennials daily in order to enhance their online reputations and what advice do you have for individuals that may be hesitant to explore the world of technology? ?
AL: My favorite components of technology are anything that makes my life easier (lol.) I’m a big fan of using tech to solve real life problems (think Uber, AirBNB, Seamless) because I get lazy. My favorite app is definitely Twitter, but also adore Pocket, Evernote, Soundcloud to name a few. To anyone that is “hesitant” my advice is to explore! Technology is your friend and will make your life more seamless. To enhance your online reputation, keep your LinkedIn page flawless and regularly review your activity on social media — don’t incriminate yourself!