Why we hired THIS woman to run engineering

Let’s build and share more boxes to stand on!

Upworthy are masters of the headline, but usually the headline misleads you to content that doesn’t live up to the fodder.

This time though, it was the other way around. The content was much better than the heading.

I should probably share the headline:

Why we hired a woman to run engineering

Diversity, especially within engineering and technology companies, is the talk of the town. Companies share transparancy reports on their progress, and the press reports on the diversity of the executives that speak at conferences.

It’s a big deal for a reason. It hasn’t been fair, and everyone benefits from a diverse work place.

What irked me about the headline though was that it hit my funny bone on how some look to hire based on solely one attribute.

If you tap through to the content you will see that Rachel Fenn was well qualified for the role. She wasn’t hired because she was a woman. She was hired because she was the best candidate for the job. Given where we are, her gender should be a definite pro, but isn’t the only item in question.

Everyone has a huge number of attributes that make them up, both natured and nurtured into the now. At a macro level it is appropriate to see where we are lacking and to setup incentives to counter balance. I think it is fantastic to see special efforts in diversity hiring, investing in training and out reach, and doing all that we can to create change.

I am also aware that, although you don’t want to hire something you think is poor at their job just to meet a requirement, is it true that we will know that we are doing better when you *do* have some of your weaker members of the team who come from different backgrounds. You have white males who are weaker members right now after all!

I heard someone say “I will only hire women from now on”. On the one hand this will work to counter balance their team, and surely they can find great people from half the people out there, but the pool is definitely smaller right now (and everyone is going after it). Focus? fine. Limit? hmm.

Rather than fight over the smaller pool I get most excited about highlighting the great engineers such as Rachel as they act as role models to the entire community. Let’s put a ton of resources into growing amazing engineers from everyone on the globe and get to a point where we don’t need to put lighter fluid on the poor situation, and instead have a sustainable setup.

Until then, there may be some hardship all around. When our kids were bussed around town to integrate schools it meant a lot of time in busses. It was a pain for them and parents. As a society though all boats rose (much more rising to do).

I look forward to more posts highlighting great engineers, why they were hired, and why it is especially great that they bring diversity to the team and community. The Upworthy post does just that and I am happy that they found someone of that quality as their female engineer leader.

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