Michelle: Good morning, Allie 

[00:00:03] Allie: and morning, Michelle, how are you doing? 

Michelle: I’m good. How are you? Not too bad, not too bad. One of my favorite parts of Thursday, I know one of my favorite parts is that it’s like, Oh, it’s Thursday morning. I get to talk to Allie.

[00:00:22] Allie: Yeah. Yeah, it’s always, and it’s always an excuse for me to get up a little earlier. Cause we usually have our calls a little early, so I have no excuse to sleep in, which is good.

[00:00:44] Michelle: It’s a more productive day. So I was thinking, this is our fourth vlog already. Like we’re really doing this it’s I know. I love the momentum. Of course. I love talking over all the issues and things with you as we always do. And last week we got into some fun stuff. Uh, I actually tweeted out from our account, the eggplant emoji. Hmm, that was kind of fun. So if you’re listening today, if you’re watching this and you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, go back and listen to it. Learn how not to be cringey in DMs, please, please.

[00:01:05] Yes. Yes. But today we want to talk about something different and I texted you last night and said, let’s talk about how people can support underrepresented folks in the tech industry and in our field, especially, and I know I get this question, I know you get this question a lot as well. How can I support you?

[00:01:23] Or how can I support others to make sure that you know, that we’re being diverse and that we are embracing diversity and not tokenizing and those kinds of things. So, so yeah, let’s talk about that today. What are some of your thoughts? 

[00:01:38] Allie: I actually wrote a blog post about this very topic a few years ago.

[00:01:42] And I think a lot of the things that I wrote about in that post really hold true. When I think about this, like listening, like sometimes just shutting up and listening, like not injecting yourself in the conversation, but giving somebody else the space and the time and the focus, um, to share whatever it is that they need to share.

[00:02:02] So a good example of that is the HeroPress blog, um, run by Topher and Kate DeRosia like. There that, that whole site, that whole brand, that whole blog is not about them. It’s about other people. Like you would go to that blog to read it and maybe not even know who ran it, um, because they’ve just decided to put other people on this platform and not make it about themselves.

[00:02:27] So I think that’s a huge thing, right. Is taking a step back. Um, and then sometimes it’s speaking up for other people. So, you know, if you see someone saying or doing something that is being or cruel or bullying or racist or sexist, or any of those things, you have so much power as a non represented person to say, that’s messed up. That’s wrong. One person that I know who does this really well is John Locke. Who’s somebody that I know through Twitter, um, WordPress business owner, numerous times he’s showed up in a thread of mine and just absolutely schooled somebody on why they were wrong. And I always really appreciate that because a lot of times it’s like, well, this is a, a black person problem that a black person is complaining about what their black person perspective is.

[00:03:22] And I, as a white person, you cannot understand blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And which is just simply not true. Like other people speaking up about things that maybe don’t directly have to do with them is just another way of showing empathy and showing that I can acknowledge that something might be wrong or I can acknowledge it.

[00:03:41] Something might be unfair without it being wrong or unfair to me. Like without it directly affecting me personally. And I think that’s incredibly valuable. So my two main things are shutting up and speaking up and it’s, it can be difficult to know the difference sometimes that’s totally fair.

[00:04:01] Um, but I think that comes with practice with sometimes making mistakes and realizing I should’ve spoken up in that instance, or I should have not spoken up in that instance. And when you do make those mistakes, The way that you can still support that person is apologizing,

[00:04:20] right? Yeah. I’m sorry. I thought it was helping and I wasn’t, and now I know better, you know, admitting that mistake because trying in and of itself, isn’t the virtue, right? It’s the learning. Um, my third favorite way of supporting underrepresented people is financially. Hire them. Donate to their projects, sponsor things that they’re doing.

[00:04:48] Pay them what they’re worth, which secret tip the same as everybody else. Wow. As it turns out has been my response recently, like I’ve been getting a lot of the, about, like from people asking, how can I support you? How can I help? A lot of times it’s, I’m working on launching something or I’m working on a project or I’m looking for work.

[00:05:14] Hire me for that, help me with that. Um, because that’s what I need right now, but that’s not always the case. It’s not always about just throwing money at the problem. Right. Um, sometimes it’s about all of these other things and it can be difficult to know the difference, but I think reaching out and asking, how can I support you and accepting that answer at face value for what it is.

[00:05:42] Incredibly valuable. I want to hear your thoughts just I’ve talked a lot. Well, I should mention really quick. Look what I have.

[00:05:53] Michelle: That’s awesome mine’s at home. Um, I might’ve been sipping bourbon out of it last night. Anyway. Um, so this last year has, you know, I want to talk specifically about minority groups as opposed to, you know, minority, ethnic, ethnic minority groups, racial minority groups, um, as opposed to women or neurodivergent and some of those, because this last year in America, specifically, we have seen some real divisions.

[00:06:22] Um, you know, and the black lives matter movement gaining a lot of ground, but also, you know, I’ve said this for years, the bigger, the more good you do in the world and the more good you try to do in the world, the bigger the target on your back. Right? So the more ground that black lives matter makes the more it’s going to also be attacked by the people who don’t agree, um, which is just bizarre to me.

[00:06:46] But, um, so this last year has really. Made a lot of, uh, non-minority people like myself, right? Take a look, stand back and try to figure out how can we support and help without overstepping, right. And without saying the wrong things and, you know, and my daughter is a black woman. And so I have had lots of conversations with her and the one, there’s a couple of things that I think as, um, as a non- I mean, I’ll just say as a white woman, right. That I had to learn so that I am not trying to do for people as opposed to do with people, if that makes sense. So, you know, like one thing is not to try to run past my daughter, everything that I want to post to make sure that it has the right tone. It’s not her job to help me say the right thing.

[00:07:44] And, but then also understanding things like, what does it mean to amplify somebody’s voice as opposed to speak for them. Right. And so how to do those kinds of things. So, and I, the first time I heard like, well, you should amplify the black voices as opposed to speak for black voices and black people. And it’s like, what does that even mean?

[00:08:03] So when, when somebody, like, if somebody was to amplify your voice, what does that mean to you? 

[00:08:08] Allie: Um, that means to me sharing essentially at the root of it, right? Like sharing the things that I say, sharing the things that I post, sharing my project, sharing my work. Um, Recommending me. If somebody is like, Hey, I’m looking for a such and such a person.

[00:08:27] And that, that falls into what I do recommending me. Right. Like pushing me forward and giving me that little bit of extra help. Um, because then you’re kind of putting your stamp of approval on that person. Right. We live in a very clique-ish industry where it is all about who you know, And how you feel about each other and stuff like that.

[00:08:51] Um, people take that very much to heart where it’s like, Oh, I’m much more likely to hire this person because my friend has recommended them rather than because their credentials are XYZ, blah, blah, blah. And so to me, people amplify what I’m saying by letting me say it and then pushing it out into the world, pushing it out into their audiences, having me on their podcasts.

[00:09:16] Having me write posts, like all of that sort of stuff, where like, again, to circle back to the hero quest blog, right? Like that is a great example of amplifying underrepresented voices by just letting them do, letting them speak for themselves, but using the resources that you have to. Make sure that that voice reaches further than it would have on its own.

[00:09:42] Michelle: One of the things I think that our project underrepresentedintech.com does well is makes available people who want to be heard. Right. So, um, You can go to our database. You can just go right to underrepresentedintech.com and search the database and find people who are underrepresented, who want to be on podcasts, who want to write blog posts who want to be hired.

[00:10:05] And that is absolutely a good way that you can start. If you, if you are listening to this and you have no idea how to start, that’s a good place to start, you know, like reach out to somebody and be like, Hey, I have a podcast. I want you on it. You know, would you be interested in talking about X, Y, Z? Um, I have this paid job and I was hoping, maybe I could hire you to write or whatever it is. So that’s, that’s one of the ways that we are trying to at least help those people, for sure. Yeah. Anybody in the underrepresented arena as it is. 

[00:10:35] Allie: Yeah, for sure. For sure. One of the things. 

[00:10:39] Michelle: Go ahead. Nope. 

[00:10:40] Allie: Well, I was going to kind of riff off of something you said about your daughter as far as like it not being her job to teach you what to do. Um, and that is something that I’ve gotten a lot where someone would reach out to me and ask to have a conversation with me. And over time, it’s sort of like, okay, I’m starting to feel like this is not my job of having to teach people things, which there was a time where I was a little bit more open to doing that.

[00:11:05] And I don’t really feel like doing that so much anymore, or if I’m doing it, I’d rather do it in a situation like this on my time, on my terms and so on. And so I think it’s really important to understand that difference, understand that you can ask questions, but it’s, especially, we’re saying in the past year, it’s exhausting to think about all of this stuff all of the time. And it’s important to acknowledge that you can ask a question, but it’s, it’s a good idea to leave that room right, to start with. Somebody recently reached out to me. I’m not gonna name names because it was a private conversation, but what I really appreciated was the very first message message I got from this person was hi, do you have the mental slash emotional bandwidth available for me to, uh, ask you some questions about things you’ve been experiencing in the community? And I really appreciated that because honestly, I didn’t, I was having a really bad day and I was like, I can probably listen, but I can’t promise you that I’m going to have the bandwidth to respond.

[00:12:07] I’ll respond eventually, but probably not today. And we ended up having a really great conversation over a period of a few days when I could handle it. And so if you are listening to this and you find yourself in a position where you want to reach out to somebody to have this kind of conversation, it’s very, very much worthwhile to start that with I’d really like to support you. Do you have the time, the energy, the mental and emotional bandwidth to talk to me about that right now? Or do you have a resource that you can send me to? Because a lot of times people have already said how they want to be supported, right. They’ve already posted about it.

[00:12:48] They’ve already blogged about it. It’s already out there and it’s kind of annoying for you to send them a DM, asking them something they’ve already answered. So sometimes it’s a good idea to check first with things they’ve already said. If you can’t find that information, then reach out to them. No, that’s, uh, that’s really good advice because it’s better to build on the conversation than start at square one.

[00:13:11] Yeah. So if you read that thing and you have questions, it’s really great to say like, Hey, I saw this thread, you posted a lot of it really made sense to me, but this part I don’t really understand. Can you maybe explain to me a little bit more so that I can understand that I can support you better? Right?

[00:13:25] Like you want to come to the conversation, having already done a little bit of research. 

[00:13:31] Michelle: Yeah. At least looking at the cliff notes version. Right. My life should come with a too long didn’t read or don’t read like tag at the top of everything I say. But, um, but yeah, there’s, that’s absolutely good advice because. Those those DMS are great. It’s I mean, it’s encouraging that people want to learn and want to do better, but they have to start by learning and doing better before they actually would get to the point of asking you to do it all for them.

[00:14:00] Allie: Right. And there’s some great books out there. There’s some good, good places to start educating yourself, you know, so absolutely. For sure. One of my favorites is called, um, is it that the exact words? Yeah, it’s called. So you want to talk about race? It’s available on Amazon. Um, it’s a really fantastic book written by a black woman.

[00:14:23] Um, and it’s a super honest look at how to approach these kinds of conversations. Um, so if you were looking for a place to start, yeah, I recommend grabbing that book. It was recommended to me by HeroPress creator Topher DeRosia, it was a really good recommendation. 

[00:14:40] Michelle: We should tweet that out today to that book.

[00:14:42] So people are interested. Um, the other thing I wanted to talk about too is, is our project and how people can support it. And. You know, we, we had a surprise donation yesterday come in just to support our work, which was super awesome. And I always appreciate that. And we don’t publicly talk about who supports us because that’s their business.

[00:15:02] If they want to tweet about it, they’re welcome to do that. Um, but that’s not anything we expect. We don’t expect to be financially compensated for the work we’re doing. And when somebody does want to appreciate us that way, it’s, it’s always welcome. Of course it is, but we don’t solicit for that. There are, there are so many ways people can support our project and primarily that’s my number one, if you want to be in the database and you are underrepresented in technology, join our database. It’s a hundred percent free. We would love to have you in it. But the other is not only searching our database and supporting the people within it, but spread the word about us.

[00:15:36] If you like our vlog, share our vlog. If you like our tweets, share our tweets. If you hire somebody or work with somebody that you’ve met through our database, tell us about it. Tweet about it, talk about it because, you know, we don’t want to be a hidden gem. We want to be, you know, the diamond that’s standing out and, you know, kind of just amplifying the voices and the work and just the amazing people that have joined our data base so far.

[00:16:04] Absolutely. Yeah. So we always appreciate that kind of support. Any support is good. There is. Appreciate it for sure. Absolutely. Anything else you want to add today? 

[00:16:14] Allie: Well, we do have, I have one other way that you can support us. We want to mention this again, this is not something that we are soliciting, but it’s something that people have reached out to us for people have requested from us that we have heard a need for an, a request for.

[00:16:33] And so we decided to offer services, right services from Michelle and myself. Uh, so if you go to our website, underrepresentedintech.com/services. It’s also in the menu at the top of the page. Um, we’re offering a couple of services. Um, the base of that is a pick our brains session. So if you want to have a conversation with me or Michelle or me, I was gonna say, I was trying to say me or myself. And then I said, me or Michelle, me, or Michelle, or both of us, depending on our availability, um, we’ll have a conversation with you about whatever it is that you might be struggling with. Um, this is a no judgment zone. This is a ask those uncomfortable questions. 

[00:17:18] Michelle: Um, you know, it’s confidential. We’re not going to be like, we’re not going to be telling everybody that you had questions and you met with us, 

[00:17:25] Allie: not at all, super private, very targeted toward your needs. Are there, those are like individual needs or for your business or for your project, whatever that might be. Um, and then we have some larger things.

[00:17:35] So our recruiting audit, uh, where we look at your recruiting page, whether that’s for job opportunities that you have, or maybe you’re looking for podcast guests or whatever that might be looking at that material that you have out there and giving some help to improve it. And that comes with an audit that you can actually have and look at and refer back to as you implement those improvements We have a marketing strategy package, um, where we review your social media marketing.

[00:18:03] For that, for those opportunities and provide some helpful, um, insight as well as writing some social media content for you. And then we have a combination of those last two things. So a recruiting combo that has the audit and the marketing strategy packaged inside. So all of that is on our website and you can read about it and get in touch with us.

[00:18:24] Um, and yeah, these are, these are things that we have been asked about and asked to do. And while we love helping other people, our time is also very valuable and the skills that we have are very valuable. And so I think as women and as a person of color, I think sometimes there’s like guilt put onto us too.

[00:18:50] You don’t have that, like “F you pay me” kind of mentality, which is not what we’re trying to do, but we’re trying to value what we have to offer. Right. And so I might be overexplaining this a little bit, and that’s, that’s the internalized, like imposter syndrome coming out. Um, but yeah, this is, this is, this has really not a whole lot to do with the actual database itself, right.

[00:19:13] This is me and Michelle offering services to people who might need them. 

[00:19:18] Michelle: Right. The database – to be in the database and search the database – is free. It will always be free. We have committed that to each other and to the whole community. We will never charge anybody to be in the database or to search the database because even charging to search the database taxes underrepresented people, because not everybody is going to pay to search it.

[00:19:35] So we want that always to be free. But if people do want to pick our brains and have us work, do some work with them or for them, we actually do need to charge for that just because our time is valuable, as you said, so. So those are absolutely separate things, but they are all under the same umbrella of increasing, um, the diversity in our community by helping those underrepresented people be represented.

[00:19:58] Allie: Perfect. Exactly. Cool. Awesome. Yeah. So that, yeah, that is another way that you can support us if you were looking to. Absolutely. That’s awesome. 

[00:20:07] Michelle: Well, this is as always, this is great. Looking forward to getting this published today and sharing this one with the world. And if you all have questions, if there’s topics you think that, uh, we should cover, we’re always open to that.

[00:20:21] And there’s, I mean, I think there’s always going to be topics that can come up, but some weeks we’re like, What are we going to talk about this week? And some of those things that you have that you want us to talk about, you know, DM us on Twitter or through Slack or email us or whatever. I think people pretty much know how to get in touch with us.

[00:20:39] You can always, and if you’re watching this on our website, just fill out the contact form on our website and send us any information. I don’t, I don’t know, we haven’t talked about this, but I’m not opposed to having guests on occasionally too. If people want to come and join us, if they have a burning question or an area of expertise.

[00:20:55] So let us know that too, if you’re, if you’re interested in contributing to the conversation that way. 

[00:20:59] Allie: Absolutely. Awesome.

[00:21:01]Michelle:  Awesome to talk to you as usual as always love it. And we’ll see everybody next week on our vlog.