- Takiya Anthony-Price - Community Manager at Alley
- Rebecca Miller-Webster - Founder of Write/Speak/Code, an engineering manager, software engineer, and educator
- Angelic Williams - Programming Board Member at StartOut, a nonprofit accelerator that supports LTBTQ+ entrepreneurs as well as the Founder and CEO of MyUmbrella
- Viet Vu - An Economist at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship
- Zoe Gagnon- An engineering practitioner, leader, and organizer
For the past few months one thing that has held us together is community. Alley’s HQ is based in NYC where one of the largest pride parades is celebrated and was inaugurated. It is hard to imagine a year ago was Stonewall's 50th anniversary. Although we cannot be together for pride this year we decided to celebrate virtually. Listen in to this panel as we discuss how we can create more visibility in tech and entrepreneurship for the LGBTQ+ community, how to empower great LGBTQ leaders, businesses, and entrepreneurs, what you can do to seek out businesses that support equality and how to make your support visible as an ally.
Takiya Anthony-Price 0:00
— our panel discussion, on LGBTQ and representation in tech. I am Takiya Anthony-Price, Alley's Cambridge Community Manager and moderator for today's event. For those joining us for the first time, welcome. And for those who are very familiar with us, or not, and you're still trying to figure out "What is Alley?" We're a community of entrepreneurs and corporate partners leveraging innovation to create positive change. Alley offers two key products: labs and accelerators. Labs run independently or with a corporate partner, and we have vibrant workspaces populated by diverse and impact-driven entrepreneurs. First on the agenda though, we want to thank our sponsors: 5G, as you can see in the background. 5G Labs works with startups, academia, and enterprise teams to build a 5G-powered world. We work on 5g trials, hackathons, industry partnerships, prototyping challenges, and more. As a reminder, you can always check out our upcoming events on our website. Feel free to tune in tomorrow at 2 pm if you're interested to hear more about 5G Labs, but today, let's give a warm welcome to our panelists. We have Rebecca Miller-Webster, founder of Write/Speak/Code, also Head of Engineering at Equilibria. Angelic Williams— she is the Programming Board Member of StartOut. Viet Vu— Economist of Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. And lastly, Zoe Gagnon— practitioner, leader, mentor, and engineer. Please welcome our panelists. Of course, they give a little. you know, a little taste synopsis of what everyone does, but we can start with Viet because you're the first person to my gallery. You want to tell us a little bit more about yourself, I'd really appreciate it. We would all appreciate it.
Viet Vu 2:09
I was not prepared for that, but I guess I'll go.
Takiya Anthony-Price 2:13
Viet Vu 2:15
Yeah, no worries. As Takiya already introduced, I'm currently an economist at the Brookfield Institute, and that's in Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. And so it might be a little bit further north than most of you are actually. It's not cold right now. It's actually boiling hot outside if anyone's wondering. But a lot of my research focuses on understanding the intersection of work and then how technology might be interacting with it. So that could be going from how you go on to finding tech skills, the tech workers, and on the side, I also do quite a number of GST, that's gender and sexual diverse group, activism in contributing to one of the world's largest sort of legal database when it comes to queer issues (inaudible). And so a lot of my research interests actually intersect in that sense of actually understanding sort of the labor experiences, sometimes of queer people, but others as well.
Takiya Anthony-Price 3:12
Thank you Viet, welcome. Next in my gallery is Zoe, would you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Zoe Gagnon 3:19
Yeah, sure. So I'm a software engineering, software engineering background, I've spent quite a lot of time focusing on unlocking the potential of groups of people. I find that this is actually the most difficult thing in tech at all, and is usually the thing that holds us back rather than technical problem-solving. And so, this has intersected with my own identity to create a focus on creating both inclusive workspaces and helping people from marginalized backgrounds level up and unlock more of their potential to go out in the world and succeed.
Takiya Anthony-Price 4:00
Thank you Zoe, and welcome. Rebecca. You're next to my gallery
Rebecca Miller-Webster 4:06
Okay, hi, I'm Rebecca Miller-Webster. I am a software engineer as well. I'm been a software engineer for about 15 plus years. I also founded Write/Speak/Code, which is focused on increasing the visibility and leadership of technologists of marginalized genders. And the background of me starting that was I was about 10 years into my career, I basically only ever worked with cis white men, and there were a lot of conversations about not having enough women, specifically women in a very binary sense, unfortunately, in speaking at Tech conferences, contributing to open source, being a part of the community. And so I had an idea to have a conference and just be in a really safe, inclusive, space and try to actually accomplish those things, not just talk about it, but give a talk, contribute to open source. So that's what we've been doing for the last seven years. And it's been really interesting to try to build a safe and inclusive space for people to sort of take risks and stretch beyond what they've sort of been taught to believe is possible for them.
Takiya Anthony-Price 5:20
Thank you again, welcome. And last but not least, Angelica, want to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Angelic Williams 5:27
Yes. So, thank you for that. So I'm on the programming board for the San Francisco chapter of StartOut. StartOut is a national nonprofit organization with 17,000 members worldwide. StartOut is a 10-year-old organization whose mission has been to increase the number of diversity impact for LGBT entrepreneurs through economic empowerment. So they provide three different levels of support; so community— community support through events, used to be online and offline, now it's all online. Founder resources with expert hours, as well as a growth lab, which is a startup accelerator that happens twice a year. Aside from that, I'm also the founder of MyUmbrella, which is an online platform, which is a creative outlet for the LGBT community who are writers.
Takiya Anthony-Price 6:15
Okay, well, fun Angelic. And let's get started. So we have such a diverse group of panelists, and I would be curious to know, what are some of the biggest challenges that the LGBTQ community faces in the tech and startup space? Who'd like to get started? Should I pick someone? Yeah, okay. Zoe, you are unmuted so I'll go for you first.
Zoe Gagnon 6:48
Okay, secretly, I was muted. I just have a second mute. That'll teach me.
Takiya Anthony-Price 6:56
In that case—
Zoe Gagnon 6:57
Yeah. So for LGBTQ people in tech, I think some of the biggest challenges are access. And once you're in, a lot of it is around having the ability to like, be part of the community. And these are, I think, very tied together things. Because particularly, in startup spaces we're looking at a lot of the method by which startups grow is networking. And so founders will network through people who look like them to pull in more people, who will then pull in more people that look like them as well. And this definitely is the same across all of the underrepresented intersections in tech, and for LGBTQ people. It's definitely a case of very much interesting and more visibly non-cis-heteronormative you are, the more difficult that access actually becomes. So people who are comfortably cis passing or hetero passing, tend to have a stronger access into those startup spaces particularly. And if you happen to get in, which is, you know, a lot of people do, obviously. But when you're in those companies being able to represent yourself, to be able to feel comfortable in living your own experience, and publicly displaying who you are, becomes a big challenge as well. And often, somewhat conservative viewpoints might not necessarily bar people explicitly, but there is a disincentive for authenticity. And so that does hold back— I feel like those are two of the biggest challenges that we see for LGBTQ people in tech spaces: getting in, and once you're in there, having the ability to authentically live as yourself and portray yourself.
Takiya Anthony-Price 9:14
Does anyone else have anything else to add to that?
Viet Vu 9:16
Yeah, I actually want to build off that last thing Zoe said. And I wanted to not speak until someone who actually works in tech had actually spoken about the experiences, but it's that living authentically bit I think I resonate greatly with because I think this fact may surprise a lot of people, but certainly, in Canada, I'm fairly sure that's the same in the States as well, we simply do not know how many queer and trans people actually work in tech. In the sense that you have, you know, company level service that might maybe reporting at the company and company basis, but there's no sort of national statistical agency collection effort that actually tell you how many queer people, to begin with actually work in tech. And that's a really, really unfortunate thing, right? Because on one hand, you actually have technologies that are being made for queer people, and yet you don't necessarily know that the faces or even the mindset of the people who are making it who sometimes are probably queer. And you can't necessarily even diagnose the issue to the full extent, not saying that we can't rely on lift experiences and diagnosing those issues, because we absolutely can. But there is that aspect of actually knowing how, let's say logic community is, the fact that you might not actually be by yourself within the company that prevents you perhaps from living authentically, even within that company. So I very much resonate with what Zoe said last.
Takiya Anthony-Price 10:41
Yeah, I definitely understand that living your authentic self. There's a saying that I try to go by: "Come as you are, and they'll adjust." And I do understand in certain, you know, more conservative environments, more corporate environments, you're not able to do that, to some degree. As a black identifying lesbian, I can't necessarily always be my authentic self, because my authentic self can sometimes be, you know, perceived as something that might not be positive. So, to some degree, I can definitely understand some of the concerns. What are some of the ways that we can combat that? What solutions do you think corporations and companies and startups can do to, you know, make sure that they're not creating a space that is not as welcoming to the LGBTQ spectrum community? Rebecca, you have thoughts about that?
Rebecca Miller-Webster 11:42
I sure. do.
Takiya Anthony-Price 11:44
Rebecca Miller-Webster 11:45
Yeah. I mean, I think Zoe sort of outlined two pieces, which is like the pipeline, which can be all the way back to like who is even being exposed to technology, and the idea that they're capable of producing it. We know that queer youth like are disproportionately end up kind of homeless or, you know, trans folks struggle economically as well as obviously, like are killed and things like that, right? So there's like a whole struggle of even like believing that this is a possible path for you, into like actually getting the skills and then getting the job. And so if we look at that first piece, and we think about hiring, I think there's a number of things that companies can do and where a lot of companies fail. Zoe mentioned people tend to hire out of their network, which gives you a really limited perspective. There are more and more organizations not just Write/Speak/Code that are focused on various marginalization in tech and putting in the effort outreach to get your job as out there, I think is super important and in particular, to focus on groups of marginalized people to make sure that they're seeing that job post, also to make sure that job posts in general, there's been some things written about this, isn't portraying a culture or dissuading people— like talking about rock stars, or we know that cisgender hetero white men tend to apply to jobs if they have like four out of 10 qualifications and everybody else has like gotta have at least 10. So thinking about all of those things in the hiring process, and also the interview process, and then when it comes to like actual retention being there, do you talk about pronouns? Are pronouns a part of your email signatures? Are they a part of like. your Slack names? So that it's like, very normalized that this is something that we have to consider and the way that we talk about people. Do you have ERG groups (employee resource groups) because coming from my experience with Write/Speak/Code, I think it's really important. The results of marginalization is to basically feel like you're not alone. And that it's— that you are alone, and it's you, and you're the problem, and being around other people makes you realize that this is like part of a pattern and also gives you some solidarity and potentially power with the organization. And then also looking at how you promote and who goes into leadership, like when you look at performance reviews, marginalized people tend to take on more of the administrative work. They're doing work to lift people up. They might be running apprentice programs. Are they getting penalized on their performance reviews for that work that is essential for the team and the company to move forward? Also, in performance reviews, we know that various groups get feedback on their personalities, more than the actual work that they do. Cisgender hetero men, it's okay for them to be like, angry, but it's not okay for anybody else, and like, how do we talk about that?
Takiya Anthony-Price 15:03
We're calling them out.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 15:07
So I think there's like this big cycle that happens. And it is something that needs to be thoughtful and it needs to really come from leadership. And that could be your own manager creating an umbrella. But I think for companies to be really successful, leaders have to be invested and willing to commit and willing to like, learn themselves, especially if they don't belong to a marginalized group, or even if they do, like, not all marginalization works the same way. Even among LGBTQ, right? If you are trans, if you're non-binary, if you're lesbian or gay, if you're intersex, all these things affect your experience in the world.
Takiya Anthony-Price 15:51
Okay, so managers definitely have to be thinking objectively and outside of their comfort zone, especially if they don't identify as a marginalized group. Angelic— for tech startups or smaller businesses, what can you promote in your hiring policies to increase diversity and inclusivity in the workplace? Do you think workshops help? Do you think, you know, they are a detriment? What are your thoughts?
Angelic Williams 16:17
I think it's a Catch-22. I think that workshops are—have value to some degree because you don't know what you don't know. Sometimes there is just this blissful ignorance. Which, you know, I've experienced that in my own workplace, as well. But I think that beyond a workshop, it's like, you have to take it to your every day and like, have that accountability from the managers from, you know— you have to create an environment where it's safe to, you know, "call out" is kind of an aggressive term, but that's what I'm going to say. You have to create a space where it's safe to call out like "hey, like, my supervisor's supervisor, like you did this, and this made me feel uncomfortable" or "this you know, caused this group of people to feel unwelcome" or, "Hey, we're claiming to be an all-inclusive brand, this language is exclusive by nature." I think small things like what Rebecca said about the pronouns. I mean, personally, I remember when that really started to take shape in email signatures. And the first time I saw it, it was from two people that I was working with that were trans. So I was like, "Oh, okay" and like that was just like, in my head of like, I could see why that's important. And then I saw other people who I knew were cis-gendered like, "wait, why is this happening?" And that speaks to this belief that everyone inside of the LGBT community understands everything and is open to everything because that's not true. And so it took me a minute to sit back and be like, right, it's not about me. It's about normalizing this practice, so that people ask, "what are your pronouns?" Because for me, you know, being a black, queer, 105-pound woman, I really don't have that much like privilege in the world, but being cisgendered is. And so it's my place to say "these are my pronouns and if you're wondering why, like, you know, this, like, educate yourself on why you should do this." But I think, you know, having codes of conduct, holding people accountable, and you know, from the beginning really looking at "am I scouring all the network?" I mean, maybe 10 years ago, it was maybe harder, but now there's so many groups where— you know, there's Include.io, there's, you know, even on VC firms, they have job boards for their portfolio companies because they tend to invest in underrepresented people. And so to make it easier, it's like, "Hey, we're about diversity inclusion, here's a job board so you can find your place." But I think really looking at— like taking stock of who's on my team and how can I expand? And you know, one thing at StartOut— you know, it's relatively diverse, we can improve. But, you know, one of the primary benchmarks is you know, this is— you know, the black population in the U.S. is about 13%. And our membership is at 8%. Okay, so let's at least like, get to the baseline then figure out how we can go for it. And it's complicated when you start to put quotas on things, but I think you have to start somewhere and create the baseline of you know, "do we have diversity of thought, of people, of skill set on our team?"
Takiya Anthony-Price 18:36
Viet Vu 19:21
If I may add to that as well, because I really like what you said, Angelic, is— I do think that one of the worst places an organization or company could be is a place where they lull themselves into thinking that this stuff doesn't happen here. Which is the case often when it's a company or an organization that has these sort of trainings, that perhaps include the diversity statement in the job posting, which empirically has been shown to increase applications from those groups that's enumerated, right? And the unfortunate thing is that can place it into this false sense of security, this misguided belief that because we're doing X, Y and Zed, we don't have racism, homophobia, and sexism in our organization. And that's, I think, the worst thing because that means that when actual incidences occur, those voices might actually be discounted, or those incidents might be dismissed because that's not our culture, that's not our company. And so I do think it's very much in confronting the fact, for example, I have probably— not probably definitely has engaged in racist acts, said transphobic stuff in the past. That's an unfortunate reality. And I probably will perpetuate those acts against people despite the best of my intentions. I will still cause the damages. And so that's really I think the key in that reflexivity is to acknowledge the fact that you know, you are racist, you are transphobic, you are sexist, you not necessarily any of you specifically here, but it really starts with that step. I think.
Angelic Williams 21:00
Can I just—?
Takiya Anthony-Price 21:02
No. no jump in, jump in. Rebecca, You were about to say something? Or Zoe? Well, Angelic— whoever wants to talk.
Angelic Williams 21:09
I was just— really quickly, I was gonna say, I guess, a point is that I think that's something that you know, beyond tech, but tech specifically because I think there's the belief that you are above the fray, but in wider society, that if you say something racist or sexist, like, you can make a sexist comment, and still be a good person. Like, just because you have this bias doesn't make you a bad person. I think that when— that's what people hear of like, "Hey, like, this comment was kind of prejudiced" "No, I'm super open-minded." No, I was— like, I don't know a person in my circle and other circles, somewhere between 1980 and 2010 that did not say "that's so gay" when referring to something. I don't know someone that didn't do that. Was that right to do? No. Did we do it? Yes. Are we bad people? No. Do we grow from it? Yes. Like, I think there's that— this like this or that, that's not really true. You know, you're not racist, like, inherently you're not, you're not a bad person. You don't, you know, want to cause harm on people, but we are imperfect. And it's just having that like, ability to say like, I'm not a perfect person, I have more to learn. I know I have more to learn. But I think that's a systemic problem that I think only gets fixed with like inward thinking and also people in your network checking you. Because if your friends aren't checking you, nothing's gonna happen. Like if you're not gonna listen to the people that are marginalized, your friends need to call you out.
Takiya Anthony-Price 22:29
Well, to that degree Angelica, I'm curious, what are you guys' thoughts on canceled culture in general. To your point where it's like, you know, someone did something, you know, innocently, ignorantly, and then automatically we get hyper-vigilant and just completely don't deal with them. We fire them, you know, we ridicule them, we exile them from the community. I'd be curious to get some thoughts about how one would manage maybe a homophobic comment at work. What would you ideally like to see happen to the aggressor?
Viet Vu 23:11
If I may first?
Takiya Anthony-Price 23:12
Yeah, of course.
Viet Vu 23:13
Unless if someone else wants to add. Alright, I do think that most of the time, the figures and the individuals that tend to be canceled, quote-unquote, that incident is not an isolated incident for them, there's usually a pattern of behavior that has been established that has led to this point. And I'm not saying that there aren't necessarily cases where mistakes are made when it is true that it might have been an actual isolated incident. But the vast majority of the case, there's a pattern of documented behavior that has led to that outcome. But I do think that one of the things that makes it really, really difficult for people to, let's say admit their own racism or homophobia, for example, is the idea that they really see this sort of dichotomous outcome. They either have to hide this fact, or they're going to lose everything that they have. When oftentimes, even the victims of those microaggressions, those violence, depending on which discipline you're in, doesn't necessarily want that acid justice, or payback for calling that out, right? Oftentimes, a lot of us certainly want probably some form of restorative justice. It's a way so that make sure that oh, you don't say this again. Or maybe you don't make people like me feel like this again. That's much more likely. And companies really need to actually talk to the people who are talking about these issues within their company to actually then figure out that it doesn't have to be, "oh, this person perpetuated the stet, we need to fire them, distancing from our company." Versus, "Hey, maybe there's another way in us admitting to the fact that we're imperfect, that we did not live to our ideal, but we are actually trying our best to move forward." So—
Takiya Anthony-Price 25:09
Yeah. Rebecca, you look like you wanted to say something.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 25:11
Yeah, I have a couple of things to say. I think the question around cancel culture is interesting. I think there's cases where I don't necessarily agree with it, or in cases where maybe I do. But a couple things I want to point out: one, the cases of people being publicly shamed and fired are so tiny in comparison to the people who, like someone finds their Twitter account and finds out that they're LGBTQ and then they get fired. Or if you know anything about, say, Zoe Quinn or Adrian Richards, people who have called someone out in tech for their behavior and then have literally had their lives threatened. And you know, like, police were involved, all of that sort of stuff. So I think that like, it's one of those things where I think sometimes we focus on the wrong thing because the reality is that that percentage is so small compared to the harm that happens on the other side for marginalized people. And I do agree that like, the— I think it is super important to talk about being called out, how to respond to being called out, and what it means to rectify that, right? Because this is something we learned early on at Write/Speak/Code when we started in 2014 or so talking about pronouns and I had to learn more about that at the time. But we just started saying, "this is what's happening. We're putting it on our badge, let's practice using singular "they" in a sentence because many of us aren't used to it, and here's what it looks like to call someone out." We gave people literally like scripts, Zoe knows because she's been there. We give them scripts for responding, we talked about not necessarily being like, "but let's talk about it, I don't understand" in that moment, how to follow up, the kind of trust that following up engenders you as a way to have that larger conversation, educating yourself. Because the reality is that A) microaggressions happen. We internalize oppression because we live in the world and we live in a society that's racist, and homophobic, and transphobic. And we don't escape that like that. Like, those are the messages that we've all grown up with, that we live with. And so, part of a lot of this is also us internalizing our own experience and the oppression against that, as well as oppression towards other people. So we are going to make mistakes and we have to acknowledge that and build a culture where that kind of discussion is okay and maybe not just okay, but it's encouraged. And that also goes to diverse teams, while more effective in terms of the research, also have more conflict. We're very like— even though we're a very aggressive culture, at least in the United States, we are also very against conflict. Like we see it always as a bad thing. But conflict is an opportunity for people to, you know, learn from each other and also question what we're doing moving forward so that we like, make better decisions. That's actually how better decisions get made. And so I think there's this larger, cultural conversation of like, it's okay for people to disagree. It's okay for people to be offended by something that someone else said and that is a learning opportunity. It's not an opportunity for us to like, fight, or criticize. And one of the phrases we use at Write/Speak/Code is "impact before intention." We have to acknowledge that our words, our actions had a negative impact on someone and take responsibility for that, and restore that before we can talk about what we intended in that moment.
Takiya Anthony-Price 28:53
Angelic Williams 28:56
Can I have one last thing on that?
Takiya Anthony-Price 28:57
Oh, of course.
Angelic Williams 29:00
I think, you know, I agree with Rebecca, I am about 50/50 on cancel culture, and there are just farther instances of people being outed than anything else. But I think, for me, when it comes to cancel culture or things analogous to that, it really depends on— like, to me, it's like a case-by-case basis. Because to Viet's point, typically there is a pattern, but also there could be one offense that's like, we cannot allow this to happen, like, this is too far past the line, I cannot, we can't do this. And to give you an example of that, there's another LGBT group that I'm a part of, and one of the other board members— there's Slacks for all the different groups, and so one of the other board members who's very vocal, always been very vocal, mostly helpful, after the email went out about you know, this organization's stand on the Black Lives Matter movement and all those things, like thousands of other companies have done in this past month. This particular member went onto the Slack channel and said, "Oh my gosh, this group is a hate group, is a terrorist group now because they support BLM, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they promote hate speech and this divisive thing." And so this comes up at about 10 am. By noon, the EDA stepped in and, you know, addressed him on Slack and said, "We appreciate all the contributions and all your donations in the past, but you are now resigned, like, you will no longer have access to anything. Like, it's done." And it's in those moments where it's like when something is that visceral, like, you have to like, take very swift action. Like, we don't have time for a powwow, or like some like sensitivity training. It's like, this isn't okay because clearly like this thought is so pervasive in your mind that you felt the need to go onto a public Slack channel and say this and make everyone else feel unsafe, that we have to now remove you. And you know, I think in those instances, swift action is better than anything else, and then you can go back and say, Okay, how do we deal with this internally? But sometimes when you have that toxic pin, you just gotta nip it in the bud right away.
Takiya Anthony-Price 31:00
Yeah, I definitely hear you on that. To flip the conversation while—
Viet Vu 31:05
Sorry, I think Zoey wanted to say something.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 31:10
Zoe's been trying to talk.
Zoe Gagnon 31:11
I can totally— I'll drag on this whole question. Right. I think that I would like to add that there's really some nuance to the cancel culture sort of idea. That is I think important not to gloss over because we see two different phenomena, which really do get kind of lumped together. One of them is this case of people being fired, or people being removed from organizations. And that's, again, that's usually based off of patterns. I mean, if you have someone going into a public space, and espousing or acting on these, you know, biased beliefs, that's indicating a problem that's already pretty severe. But there's a whole other side to what we see and think about it as cancel culture. And this is marginalized communities, communities that are marginalized from systemic power, which don't have very many methods to defend themselves. Cats— this is the worst time. And so you can see on Twitter people being canceled is often people who are inside of communities having toxic behavior, but those communities are not Twitter themselves, right? This is where you can look at queer communities. You can look at communities of color, you can look at the punk community in DC, all of these have had cancel culture issues. And it's because these communities don't have those levers of power. And when you see those things happening, I think it's really important to actually like stop and listen rather than have a kind of knee-jerk cancel culture response to it. Because it's really indicating that there are, you know. unaddressed issues that those systems— the people in those systems can do, right? So if you're in a company, if you're in an org and you see cancel culture happening, you might want to actually dig into it and ask what is actually going on here, right? Why is this happening? Why do people feel like social ostracism is their only solution left? So that's— like that's a different direction on the cancel culture question, but I think it's important to have that nuanced view of it as well.
Viet Vu 33:40
Everything you said I completely agree with. I just wanted to also state for the record that inclusion of cats in webinars is at most welcome from my side.
Zoe Gagnon 33:52
Just the tail
Takiya Anthony-Price 33:55
So, to dig a little bit deeper, what do you do when you've been stonewalled in trying to improve your workplace? So you're are ingrained in perhaps a toxic culture, if not a toxic culture, but a place that you want to be even more authentic than you already are. When you've been stonewalled by HR or shut down, like what's your next step? Like what do you do? Angelic?
Angelic Williams 34:24
For me, my step— or my greatest resources have always been like my network, like I'll reach out to other people like" Hey, like, what can I do in this moment to find those resources?" And see you know, what have other people done because I'm not the only one that's gone through this type situation before. I think when it comes to HR like, it's hard because I know we've talked about this, like HR typically is not on your side. Like their job is to protect the best interest of the company. So when you're being like stonewalled there, I mean, if you really want to change the culture and actively try and change it, find those other people in the org that feel the same way. But most importantly, find someone of power like a manager or somebody because you have to have that internal champion. Because if you're not— if you're a junior developer, you're— you know, you're not going to have too much say. But if you're, you know, the senior product manager, or the VP of engineering, whatever, that person is gonna go and say something so that if you can't get in the room, you need to find somebody else. And it may take time and it's a lot of like, digging, and investigative work of like, you know, probing questions like "how do they feel about this" okay? And like, over time, like you develop that sense of trust, and then say, "Hey, this is what's going on, like, I need your help, but I can't really do this." But it takes time, it takes trust, but yeah, I don't believe that any— maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe that any company is 100% toxic. Like there's at least one or two people in there that like see it and are pissed off by it and feel helpless because they know they're in the minority. So it's like you have to find those people. That's my general tactic.
Viet Vu 36:15
I would certainly treat it— I think an example that many GSD— again: gender and sexually diverse people experience is their parents perhaps not accepting them when they initially come out. My parents certainly didn't. And then I do think that those kinds of feelings might be the same, right? In the sense that you have sort of a family of your chosen family outside of your sort of blood relation that actually support you through those difficult times. And sometimes, and this is a very unfair thing that no one should have to do, you might also just have to disengage. You need to take care of yourself at some point you might be tired, you might be angry and that's not necessarily an environment that you can do your best work in, or be your best self and no one would blame you. And it's an unfair thing to ask anybody to give up on what's most likely a job that they care about. Because if it's not a job that they care about, they wouldn't have already spent so much effort in trying to change it. But to not shame people for giving up on and letting it go as well.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 37:30
I think I just want a second that like when people come to me and they talk about toxic work environments, my first piece of advice is to leave. The reality is that we are incredibly privileged to work in tech. And there generally are a good amount of jobs even in an economic downturn, and if you are able to start looking, there's nothing wrong with that, because I do think the impact emotionally and mentally of being in a toxic work environment is far greater than you ever realize when you are in it. And I also think that this is a moment for any like leaders, startup founders, executives. What I want to hear is like when these people leave, they leave because they feel like they tried and it didn't work. And so— and they're not going to tell you that at the end because like they've already done it. And so I think it's important for companies to look at, you know, people who leave and the retention and what the demographics are of those people. I also agree with Angelic though that finding people who are— whether they're allies or whether you— you're people of color, you're all LGBTQ, etc, is just an effective method of maintaining sanity in the world, right? And it's super important when you start a new job to seek out those people, whatever that looks like, and to find it in your current job, and also like collective action, as we're seeing in the world today, like, makes the difference. So I do think that you can be an insurgent in a company, but like you need to get other people on board, whether that's even like your teammates, maybe you all just like change your Slack name or chat name to include pronouns, right? Like you can start modeling behavior if it's not like so toxic, that it's really hurting you, you can start talking to your manager about like performance reviews bias and things like that. So I do think there are ways in smaller circles that you can push through various things and have conversations and be willing to do that but you do need other people to back you up. If you can find a like, cisgender hetero white man or someone else with power, whether that's formal power of like they're in leadership or just power by the nature of their privilege, that can also be really helpful as like a protection mechanism. But if it is like affecting you, if you're coming home feeling depressed, if like you're just sort of devastated by it, then the answer is to leave. Because you're worth more than that.
Zoe Gagnon 40:37
I wanted to highlight— there is there is one more tactic that you can do if you're in a situation which is not overly bad for you, right? And so I definitely want to echo like, everybody else has said it already, but there's a great phrase Martin Fowler's said a long time ago, and he was talking about consulting, but it works for this too. It's "change your company, or change your company" right? If you can't make the change here, then just go somewhere else. Because, you know, particularly for technologists, but anybody in technical— like in the tech industry, even if you're looking at some of the less technical jobs, you still have a specialized skill set that can transfer very easily. We are very fortunate about that. But if it's a place that you can tolerate getting that structural power can be done by finding allies. It can be done by growing a movement, it can also be done actually by getting promoted. And so if you want to be a person who makes a difference, right? Make it your job to make that difference. And when I'm a line engineer, my job is producing software that delights my users. When I'm an engin— and when I'm a manager of engineers, my job is creating a team that allows all of the people on it to thrive, right? And so in this case, you know, promotion, getting yourself promoted is valid diversity work. And it's something that you can absolutely do. Knowing that it'll give you more leverage to create the kind of culture that you want to be in.
Takiya Anthony-Price 42:18
I love that, Zoe. I love that.
Viet Vu 42:19
And make sure you get paid for it as well. I think that a lot of times people do this work for free, basically, because that's not recognized as a formal job, make sure you get paid for it.
Takiya Anthony-Price 42:29
So I have like a two-part question based off of what was just said. So you know, before we get to the burnout, you walk through the door for your initial interview, as someone who identifies as queer or trans or lesbian, bisexual, whatever, what is the importance of making your company's benefits more inclusive? What steps can companies take to help? And Viet I think this ties into the question about data. Like, is this a way to capture data for LGBTQ communities, like you know, dependent on what their needs are for benefits? You know, if somebody is seeking out— you know, they mentioned they have a partner and they're seeking out in vitro perhaps that's the time that they can collect that data or know that how many people are walking through their doors interviewing actually identify as LGBTQ. So, Zoe, I would be curious to know your thoughts on how someone would make a company more— make their company's benefits more inclusive. And then Viet we can jump into the data of it. The downside. Oh, you're on mute, Zoe.
Zoe Gagnon 43:43
Oh right, literally. I have the secret button. Yeah, it's actually— this is a really good question. Coming at this from a trans perspective, at least, the only benefit or perk a company offers that I care about is health care, right? Because it so eclipses, absolutely everything else on the plate, if I can't get the health care I need, I can't be the authentic person that I am, Right. And particularly, this kind of healthcare is generally outside of the reach, right? It's not the case where I can go down to Walmart and get the generic prescription for four bucks a month and I'm done. right? It's really an involved kind of thing where I need to have, at least in some parts of my life, some pretty intense support that I can't really pay for. And so given that, one of the very first things that companies can do when negotiating their benefits package with their insurance provider is just go through and make sure that there aren't any line items on excluding these sorts of services. There's a lot of insurance that just by default says, transition care isn't covered, right? IVF isn't covered. It's still very common— for instance gamete storage, right? And this is freezing genetic material for use later, right? Is— that's largely still excluded from most insurance company's like, policies. And so the marginal cost to most companies for actually including this stuff is really very small, right? If a trans person needs to access— maybe the surgery is $80,000, it's much too much for them as an individual, but if they need to access it once in their life, then you look the insurance policy for a company and that amortizes down to like $1 a month across the entire employee base. And so it's not really any kind of cost to include these things, besides just saying that you actually want to include them because they're not the default. And so for a company, that's the very first thing that you can do for looking at, like benefits that you know, like would help LGBT people is to make sure that your insurance covers— right, make sure that you're insurance covers domestic partners, actually. Because like, for instance, I just started a new job, and my partner and I sat down and we looked at both of our insurances and said, which one of these is actually the one that gives us the right benefits, right? And that's always a concern. But then beyond that, making sure that people have— not just that it's there, but also that it's accessible, that it's afforded. People know that this happens. There's a lot of cases where during an interview process, companies will say the job description's like oh, yeah, we'll give you insurance. And then I'm like, great, is it insurance, or is it actual health care. right? Am I going to be able to get what I want, or is it just like if I get hit by a car, they'll sew my legs back on? And so making sure that people know both outside of your company and inside of your company, that the benefits that you're offering are there is a very vital step both for providing those benefits to people and as well to help use the benefits to drive diversification of your workforce. So I can talk about this more, but I'm sure other people have thoughts.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 47:42
Can I just jump in really quick, Zoe? Sorry, Viet. I just want to like highlight and like put a point on one: healthcare, especially in the United States because we have our healthcare system. is incredibly important. And I think a lot of startup founders, you know, just come from a place of privilege A) and also are young so they tend to have less experience with health insurance in general. And I think that it is critical for startups and companies in general, but startups in particular because they're cash-constrained to like understand the importance of benefits in terms of attracting people. And that it's actually really easy, but you have to ask, do they have— do they cover transgender care? Do they cover transition? Do they cover IVF which matters for lesbian and gay couples, right? It also matters for a variety of other couples. Do you have a paternal leave policy? Does it include adoption? Do you have adoption benefits? Adoption benefits tend to come later in my experience, but these questions that you can ask. And also, this is such a huge opportunity for people inside q company to be allies, or coming from a place of privilege. If you ask about this, if your benefits are about to roll over, go to HR and say, do you have this? Can we do this? Can we add this? Because it is really difficult to ask about benefits and healthcare in particular A) because people don't know much about it. And usually, the hiring managers don't, and because you have to out yourself, in a way, right? And so in terms of safety, and in terms of what that means for hiring a diverse staff, just having those benefits, being open about them, and then other people being allies. Like I just think there's such a huge opportunity there for allyship to ask and push your companies to do this, which fiscally isn't particularly dramatic for them.
Viet Vu 49:58
I'm glad you went first, Rebecca. I guess the— and I'll sort of explain why a little bit later, I do want to touch on a little thing, obviously being in Canada, the healthcare system here's a little bit different. That's not to say that there are sort of imperfections within the healthcare system. Certainly, issues have been raised on accessibility of trans care. Because one big thing that isn't covered by the public sort of health system here is prescription drugs, for example, you do still have to pay out of pocket or have your company or organization's sort of extended health plan is what we normally call it here, cover it. And so there's still issues. but it's certainly interesting to hear, because, weirdly enough, it's— you know, thinking and reading through my insurance policy and making sure that the partner that is covered in my insurance is also same-sex is not something I've ever even consciously considered, in actually taking a job here. And then to hear that that's something that you'll have to consider down in the U..S is a really, really unfortunate and sad thing and it's certainly one of the privileges that I have. But the reason why I was so glad, Rebecca, that you went first is you're absolutely right in addressing Takia's question that is literally probably the worst place where companies can be collecting these kinds of data. Because of the fact that there are— certainly in the States, in Canada the sorts of documents of this medical discrimination against queer and trans employees. And there's no guarantee, we— again, with the best of intention that that data collected, is not sort of used to weaponized against them, either now or later down the line. And so that is sort of certainly an interesting discussion point where there are places where the company perhaps shouldn't actually be collecting data about the diversity of your company. So imagine if you're working, let's say, in a tech company with 20 people, maybe one or two is queer, because you know, like 3% to 5% of the population belonging to any GSD community. That's a rough estimate. Even if you run an anonymized survey, just because you just have one to two queer employees by themselves identifying themselves as such, they have de-anonymized them. And for intents purposes, when you don't necessarily know that the— what the company might end up doing with the data, because they will always have that survey line of what the employees think, especially for modernized employees. They might not be truthful, because guess what if they are sort of willing to be truthful, you don't need an anonymous survey to get their opinion, because they've probably already told you not just once, but a dozen of time by that point, already. And so there's sort of places where even with this dearth of data, that it might not actually be the appropriate place for the company to be collecting the data. And so the question is, okay, who can be doing that work? And that's sort of a learning that in Canada, we have a community that sort of very historically marginalized, that it's often considered to be the group of people have committed National Crime against indigenous peoples in Canada. The term you might be more familiar in the States is the Native American tribal nations. And the idea is that that same distrust exists between the indigenous nations and the federal government in terms of data collection. And the way that they have really solved that A) because they do need data to empower the community is for the community themselves to actually come up with the data use principle. It's got OCA, which stands for Ownership Control Access in possession that governs the fact that data about indigenous people will always be collected by indigenous people and used for the benefit of indigenous peoples. What does that mean for queer communities? There are many, many trusted organizations that are local in nature. In Vancouver, which is where my home is, there's Qmunity. In Toronto where I live now, there's StartOut. In the states, certainly StartOut that Angelic works on. There are those kinds of trust organizations that these companies can actually support, that can actually provide your queer employees a space in which that whenever they're speaking about these issues, they're not talking as individuals, right? They're actually talking as a collective voice. And so that idea of data is a really finicky thing. Because you— it does matter who's collecting the data, because, depending on who, it might not actually matter what the initial purpose of the collection was, it might still be misused.
Takiya Anthony-Price 54:44
Rebecca Miller-Webster 54:45
I just want to say one thing. In the United States, it is illegal under HIPAA for insurance companies and medical information to be given to your company. And I mostly want to say that because I want to make sure that both leadership but also employees know that. Because I think there are times where people accidentally or unintentionally try to gather medical information or end up with it. And that technically is illegal. And I do think it's a space where companies need to be careful and employees need to be vigilant that that isn't something that your company needs. Which— and the question of data and how many queer people work in tech as yet brought up, in the beginning, is like a complicated question because people don't trust answering those surveys. And I have worked at startups that are very small and depending on the culture of people, it's super— like you get outed— like we have to understand that like serving people when it's a small number and it becomes very clear who is who like isn't actually anonymous.
Takiya Anthony-Price 55:53
So, to that point, you know, you— there might be trepidation for some people. Working for larger companies— and from the panelists that we have on right now, you guys have touched some portion of nonprofit work and social good. So, you know, I want to jump into when people think about technology, people usually think about big tech like the Googles and the Apples, or the Facebook's of the world. However many of us— or many of you guys today work for or support nonprofit organizations. Do you think it's important for us to have a better awareness of various ways one can work and advance in the technology industry through the ways of nonprofit work? Angelic, I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts on it.
Angelic Williams 56:47
Yeah, I was just collecting my thoughts on your question. I think definitely for sure. I think that there's you know, I've been born and raised in terms of school— like I grew up with Silicon Valley. So I think there's a very specific way that people that are exposed to tech are taught to think about tech. You know I constantly say, like, you know, I always try not to be to have too big of a head and say "Oh, I discovered this company. I've never heard of it." That doesn't mean anything. Like there's plenty of companies I've never heard of, like, there's literally thousands, and thousands, and thousands of companies that are doing things. But I think that you know, there are, you know, companies that are tech-adjacent, or nonprofits that support the tech community, that a lot of people just aren't aware of, and want to be in these spaces, but don't necessarily want to work for the Ubers, or, you know, Airbnb, even though they're a great employer. They don't want to work for them, or the Yelps of the world, that's just not what they want. They want a smaller team, but they still want to be part of the community. And the kicker of all this is that you know, You can do the same job in a tech company that you could do at a nonprofit and vice versa. Like, just because you go and do something nonprofit or in a support system or a social impact company doesn't preclude you from going to Uber later. You can go back and forth. And I think that there's a lot of resources available that a lot of people don't know of because specifically for you know, startups and founders, especially when they look at resources, they look at accelerators, they look at— they look at, you know, sometimes grants, mostly fundraising. But there's a lot of other support that is available to companies to employees that are not widely publicized. You know, not everything comes out of like Y Combinator or TechStars. There's so many other resources. And to that point, also there, I do want to highlight another nonprofit that is a nonprofit for tech companies that are specific on social good. It's called Fast Forward. I think they have eight people in their cohort and they get $25,000 and people— employees from Google and, you know, all types of large companies donate their time as engineers to help them move it forward. So I think there's a lot of resources that people can use to help move their careers forward. Outside of the big tech.
Viet Vu 59:19
I do want to add something on to what Angelic said, I'm sorry for getting your name wrong. I was just— the background is Takiya actually asked me this question yesterday when we were going over some of the sessions and then I've had an evening to think about it. But there is sort of an unfair situation here, in that there are a lot of government support when it comes to tech companies, and specifically, tech companies that have potential to grow really, really quickly. And it's work that my co-author Steven Denny over at University of Toronto and I are doing, but a lot of these do focus on this idea of supporting companies that can grow really, really quickly, and then scale up. So high-growth firms, they're called. And as a result, as far from a government support perspective, there is a much smaller set of resources that exists that like nonprofits or companies, perhaps is that isn't meant to grow, because of whatever reason, it's not really a desire for their founder to grow. And so there are sort of challenges in sort of upping the company, at least from a government support perspective. With that said, I echo that idea that you can transition between such as social good to nonprofit work and for-profit, even in some cases, and in my case in policy research as well. Oftentimes policy about tech needs tech people to actually be intimately and directly engaged in doing that work will— I've actually seen one of my colleagues who was a researcher at, you know, my Institute who is actually now a data scientist, a senior data scientist at Facebook, even the bigger tech companies as well that can actually make such a condition possible. And so it is true.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:01:12
I want to distinguish between social impact and social good for-profit organizations and nonprofit organizations. As a software engineer, I think there's more fragmentation than people realize in terms of specialties, especially as you move up in your career, like, if you are someone who works primarily on big data, like, you need to be at a place that has data. And so I don't know that I would say necessarily, yes, your skills are transferable and there's ways that— and there are companies that are mission-driven and social good if that's what you're looking for, that you can find. And I think it's always good to do more research than the standard things when you're looking for jobs. And also what I've seen in terms of nonprofits and tech is that they're primarily volunteer-driven. And it's a classic example on a lot of levels of marginalized people doing the work, and then not necessarily getting paid or the benefits of it. And there's, I will say, honestly, within Write/Speak/Code that causes a lot of like burnout and stress for a lot of people, and it's a really tough place to be in. And I see that with my fellow nonprofits, and I also struggle because I think we talk about in tech, but like, what exactly does that mean? Because as a technologist, and a software engineer, maybe more specifically, I feel like my experience is different than a designer or a product person or a marketing person in a tech startup. And that doesn't mean that their experience isn't problematic. And there are things to work on. But there's also explicit things about being in a field that like has certain stereotypes and assumptions around it. As all of those really do. And I think a lot of times because the pay is lower, because— or because it's volunteer-driven. There are a lot of these nonprofits around tech and A) what does that mean? But if you are trying to serve technologists, like, are the people involved people who have experienced that and like, had that lived experience? And in my experience, that isn't true. And that's one of the reasons I founded Write/Speak/Code. But I also think it's a problematic space. And I think that we primarily get funding from tech companies and that ebbs and flows with their own recruitment. And also like, you have to pitch that in a certain way. And it's really all about them hiring and diversity and what is the outcome that they're looking for. So I think that it's a very complicated space. And I'm not sure that it's— I mean, it's not a great system, like, we need a better one to like, allow people to lift themselves up and lift their communities up without like stressing them out and burning them out.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:04:27
I just want to say, I'm aware that we're a few minutes over, but if you have to go, definitely do so. The recap will be available on our website at Alley.com tomorrow, and for those who can stay on a few minutes more, you're more than welcome to do so, Okay? You know, to come to a close before we go into some of the questions that were sent in from attendee is, you know, all-encompassing, if somebody just didn't know what to do, how to be an ally, what recommendations would you give someone who just is like confused, like, what can I do at my company to support you in your hardships, and also in your wins? Like what can I do to just you know, make sure that you feel like this is a safe and secure place for you to you know, call home, your workforce, your workplace? Zoe, would you have some thoughts?
Zoe Gagnon 1:05:22
Yeah. This is like a— I mean, it's sort of like, basic allyship almost is the first and I think most important steps there, which is, you know, like, have an awareness of the issues that could affect people and be willing to speak out on their behalf, right? That's the basic thing is speak out for people, right? It extends, of course, to any instance of marginalization in your workplace. But coming from another person who is not in that group to say, "Hey, that's not cool", right? Or to say "we support" is much more— can be much more impactful overall. You know if we have a case of inadvertent transphobia, which is just like, trust me, that's very, very common from everybody, including trans people. But just to say, like, you did this thing, and it's not cool. And I know you probably didn't mean it, but I just want to like— watch out for it next time, right? Just something even that gentle, can be an act that a cis person can do that will really elevate the culture around them. And I think that's really like the simplest and most powerful part of it and the more people who do that, the more these problems will stop being there.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:07:06
Angelic, were you— you unmuted yourself, so I wasn't sure if you're gonna say something.
Angelic Williams 1:07:10
Yeah, I was just— mine was just, you know, educate yourself, listen, be accountable, like check yourself, check your friends.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:07:20
Angelic Williams 1:07:21
And, you know specifically if you're going to come with a question, ask me a specific question. So for example, with all the protests and the George Floyd thing and your question's like, "what's your experience as a black person?" That's too broad of a question, I don't have time to actually go into this. Like, what is a specific like— like, I need to know that you have actually tried to educate yourself and now you have a question, like a very specific question that like, you are now wondering. You know, like, is there you know, discrimination between like black women and black men in the workplace and vice versa? That's a very specific question, and now I can answer for you. Because, you know, as the person in the minority, like, it's not solely on my shoulders to educate you, like— I don't like, you know, obviously I have work to do on myself but like, I am not going to be— like, I didn't cause the problem, so I cannot be the only like, vessel for the solution, you have to start and do the work. I'm here to support you and hope that you will support me, but I am not your personal Wikipedia and like oracle to get through this. So—
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:08:35
Yeah, I just— I want to jump on that because we have this beautiful thing called the Internet and so like, you can find out stuff. And I do want to reinforce that like, it isn't a marginalized person's job to educate you. I love the example Angelic of like a very specific question. I'll give an example of— I have an Indian friend who I follow on Facebook, and there was like this rant about how to say two different words that are like, Hindi words. And I, like, couldn't grasp the difference it had to do with like, Ds and syllables. And I asked another friend, and I was like, "Look, it's not your job to educate me, but this is what was said and I'm like, trying to figure out how to say it correctly. And I can't do it." And so we had like, a really lovely conversation about that. And she gave me a YouTube video and I like, tried to practice it. So that was like, I felt like a good example, Angelic, I think of your specific question. But the other thing in terms of listening is like, in order not to put that burden on the marginalized people that you know, like, expand your Twitter followers, like who you're following on Twitter, on Instagram. Like Google "Twitter, LGBTQ tech", and like, you'll come up with a bunch of people and then like, follow some of the people that they follow, like, people talk about that. It's a really easy way to just start to see some of the things that people are bringing up. And that can be really powerful to build your own awareness. And then the other thing that I— well, two other things is like— maybe three— I think language is important and making sure that you educate yourself on like appropriate language, thinking about pronouns, understand those sorts of things and try to catch yourself like it's gonna be a— you have consciousness, you do it, you're like, "Oh, crap", and then you like, again, try to fix it. We talked about being an ally around benefits and cultural things like as a person of privilege. You have a real opportunity to advocate for those things without, you know, some of the negative consequences that other people have. And the last thing is that you can like make intentional efforts to include people, to welcome them to, you know— you know that you're new, like, grab a virtual coffee. I know it,'s tricky in quarantine, but also just like trying to bring people in the fold and have a connection with them, because that's how you're really going to start to like, understand and know what their issues are, what their struggles are, it also builds trust, which could get to a point where they could be more open with you and call you out. And that's how you grow and learn.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:11:27
That's great. That's really great. Viet, you have something else to add?
Viet Vu 1:11:33
No, and sort of coming back to that thread of that fatigue that you have as a person with that experience explaining, let's say, a lot of these stuff to others. I do think that it comes from really two sources, and I'm going to address one of them. So the two sources I think, is the first is you kind of have to say the same thing over and over again to a lot of different people. But a second source is that sometimes the people you explaining this to gets quite defensive about what is being told. And, that's one thing that you can do is when talking about these things, that sort of structural inequities, don't be defensive in responding to these sort of moments of conversations, don't be like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. You know, my intention was great, but I got your pronouns wrong." Because oftentimes, it's not necessarily the point of the conversation. It's— we're not necessarily attacking you when explaining these things, or calling you out for these behaviors. In fact, I welcome others to call me out because that's an opportunity for me to actually recognize that behavior, acknowledge the kind of harm that I've caused, and actually figure out how I can do better. And so actually not be defensive in those conversations and actually listen, I think can be a really, really good step.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:13:05
That's amazing. Can I—
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:13:06
Just one follow up really quick?
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:13:08
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:13:09
We do this at Write/Speak/Code and I think it's helpful. If someone calls you out or they're having these conversations, all you have to say is "thank you. Can I follow up with you later?" That's it. It's like a simple thing. Just be like, "thanks for letting me know"
Viet Vu 1:13:23
And actually follow up with them later.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:13:23
Yes. And then actually do it. And that's like building that cycle of trust. But I think sometimes people need just like, what are the words I should say? Those are the words you should say. And then think about it, process it, follow up with it. Do some Googling, follow up with it.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:13:43
Thank you. Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you, Viet. Thank you, Zoe. Thank you, Angelic. We'd also like to give a big thank you to our sponsors, 5G Lab. This conversation has been recorded and will be available tomorrow if anyone would like to share this content with their communities, which I hope you do. For more information, please visit us at our website at Alley.com. Until next time, I hope you guys have a wonderful rest of your day.
Viet Vu 1:14:10
And a huge thank you to Takiya and Melissa and others who have actually put this together as well.
Rebecca Miller-Webster 1:14:15
Thank you so much.
Takiya Anthony-Price 1:14:16
Of course. Have a great day guys. Bye.