5 Things that happened in February in TechTown

This monthly report highlights the latest updates in TechTown news and our progress in our top areas of focus: Recruitment, Retention and Measurement.

1. The Authentic Work of Building Community: New Relic hosted a Future Talk event on February 10th featuring TechTown Steering Committee member, Morgan Armstrong, as a moderator of the panel discussion around how tech companies are taking the first steps in building robust relationships with local nonprofits. During the event, New Relic premiered TechTown’s Building an Industry for Everyone video which tells five different stories of our progress in engaging with nonprofit organizations to improve diversity, increase inclusion, and promote equity.

New Relic’s next Future Talk event, titled ‘Bias-Aware Leadership: Tips for Managing (+ Even Befriending) Unconscious Bias‘, will be held on March 9th and will feature speaker Lily Zheng, a diversity, equity & inclusion consultant.

2. Partnership Events: On February 22, TechTown co-hosted their first event with Intel. TechTown partnered with Network of Intel African Ancestry Oregon for the first BlackTechExcellence Community Event which was centered around Decoding Tech and highlighed how tech is for everyone. Thanks to Pledge company, Simple, for hosting the event and 100+ people who were in attendance on a Saturday afternoon. Building off of the success of this initial partnership event, TechTown and Intel are planning to make BlackTechExcellence an annual event and are already in the early planning phases for enhancements in 2021.

On March 26, TechTown is hosting it’s second Happy Hey in Tech event, in collaboration with Partners in Diversity, at 52 Limited. The event is a follow up to our first Happy Hey in Tech event last October. The event will bring together BIPOC tech professional for networking and inspiration.

3. New Pledge Company, New Pledge Feature: In late January, Extensis became the latest company to join the TechTown pledge. Toby Martin, CEO, provided some insights on their motivation to join and their goals for their involvement. Please take a moment to welcome Extensis and read a short, yet insightful interview with Toby: One CEO’s commitment to diversity in the tech industry

4. Trainings: On February 14th, we held our first AllyShift training of 2020. The training was co-facilitated by Elizabeth Akretch, Learning Partner at Vacasa, and Steering Committee Member, Naps D’Apice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager at Simple. Thanks to Vacasa for hosting this AllyShift workshop. This training session pushed our total number of AllyShift attendees to over 400! But we need your help to grow this number. Make sure to check TechTown Portland Slack channel to register for the April and May training sessions and encourage your coworkers to attend.

On February 19, Zapproved hosted the first session in our new 4-part Inclusive Manager Training series, facilitated by Future Work Design. This initial session explored the difference between managing and leading, bias in management and professional development planning. Earlier this year, more than 70 qualified candidates applied for the 20 available openings for this new training opportunity, verifying the need and demand for this type of managerial programming. Based on the demand, success of the first session, the voiced need around additional inclusivity training, and the important role managers play in employee retention, TechTown is looking into offering similar training in the future. If you are interested in learning more, please email us at hello@techtownpdx.com.

5. Recognition with Prosper Portland: During the February Board Meeting, Prosper Portland shared the TechTown program as part of the Cluster Strategies the agency is looking for ways to support equitable equitable growth within Portland’s economy. This item was presented as an information initiative during the meeting and was positively encouraged by the commissioners. Special thanks to our Steering Committee Member, Marcus Carter, for attending and sharing his perspective on TechTown, its impact and potential.


About TechTown Portland

A movement. A commitment. A community.

TechTownPDX is a collection of Portland tech companies who have come together to commit to a Diversity Pledge – a shared commitment and action plan to collectively advance workplace diversity and inclusion in order to grow the industry while broadening prosperity.

Our mission is to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion within pledge companies. We do this by taking collective action with the local tech companies who have taken our Diversity & Inclusion Pledge that is focused around Partnerships, Hiring Strategies, Career Development, Training & Education and Measuring Progress.

About Prosper Portland

TechTown is powered by Prosper Portland. Prosper Portland creates economic growth and opportunity for Portland. Prosper Portland’s vision is to make Portland one of the most globally competitive, healthy, and equitable cities in the world by investing in job creation, encouraging broad economic prosperity, and fostering great places throughout the city. We aspire to be a workplace of choice with passionate staff excelling in an open and empowering environment and sharing a commitment to our collective success.

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Portland tech companies have joined the Diversity & Inclusion Pledge since its initial launch in 2015.

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