Drinks & Discussions with TheBridge & Axios
Exploring inclusivity in tech, tech's impact on how we consume info, what this means for society & more.
On August 1, 2019, TheBridge hosted a “Drinks & Discussion” event focused on inclusivity in tech at WeWork in DC. The program included a fireside chat and discussion with attendees with special guest Jess Szmajda, Chief Technology Officer at Axios, and Allie Brandenburger, co-founder & CEO of TheBridge, followed by drinks and networking. Among the topics discussed were the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, company culture, and tech’s impact on how we consume information.
As Chief Technology Officer at Axios, Jess has led the expansion of the tech team and the company’s growth into paid products. Beyond her technical background, Jess is a positive voice for diversity and inclusion in the industry. Many people give inclusivity plenty of lip service, but few people do their part to reinforce it.
When asked about why diversity and inclusion are so important in tech, Jess said, “Getting more perspectives in the room gives you more creative juice to drink from.” For Jess, the concept of building an inclusive culture is not just the job of Human Resources. It’s incumbent on everyone, especially leaders, in an organization to not just say diversity and inclusion is important to me, but say, it should be to you too. The reality is that many women have to work a lot harder to justify their perspectives. Jess, Allie, and attendees discussed ways in which we all can do our part to make sure diversity and inclusion in tech become the norm. According to Jess, “you have to be intentional about it. At Axios, inclusivity is not a goal, it’s who we are.”
The conversation also included privacy and GDPR, how this will impact legislation in the US, trade policy and its impact on technology. We also covered how tech is impacting the ways, and pace, that people consume information, and the changes media companies are making to provide the content people are demanding. At Axios, this is summed up in their mission “Smart Brevity,” bringing content truly worth your time.
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Photo credit to Mike Lurie
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