By Guest Contributors Sarah Milstein and Eric Ries, cross-posted from Startup Lessons Learned
It’s well-known—and we ourselves have been publicly frustrated—that white men tend to dominate the speaker rosters for tech and entrepreneurship conferences, not to mention the portfolios of many entrepreneurship programs. Conference hosts, VC’s, and others often attribute this to a “pipeline problem,” the idea that there simply aren’t enough qualified white women or people of color who wanted to or were qualified to participate.
So we were proud earlier this week to announce our program for The Lean Startup Conference, which comprises approximately 40% women and 25% people of color. We still have room to grow, but this is a significant improvement over last year’s conference, which had almost none of either. Our approach was deliberate, and we want to share it with you in the hopes that you can replicate it for other conferences and for processes like hiring where equity is important.