Presentation: Lending Privilege



10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week:



Key Takeaways

  • Assess how a grass root approach can be used for increasing diversity and inclusion
  • Learn practical tips for increasing inclusion in software development organizations
  • Understand how you can make a difference, for instance by being intentional and lending privilege


Diversity and inclusion have become hot topics in technology, but you may not know how you can make a difference. This talk will help you understand that, no matter your background, you have privilege and can lend it to marginalized groups in tech.


What’s your view on the way that companies can increase diversity and inclusion?

In the past years large companies started publishing diversity numbers. We saw that our industry doesn’t have a representation that reflects general population; also over the years we haven’t seen a large change in those numbers.

It would be more useful to have a grass root movement for increasing diversity and inclusion. Why don’t we empower individuals to understand why this is something that they should take time to do and help them understand how to do it

My talk starts with one of the first books on open source, the cathedral and the bazar, which shows how individuals were empowered and given tools to create an operating system almost from nothing. One of the lessons from this book is that given enough people, any problem can be solved. There’s a history of grass root movements in open source, so let’s harness that movement for positive change. In my talk I will show how I applied this open source spirit to inclusion

Which tips do you have for increasing inclusion?

A first tip is to be aware, and understand that there is a gap. Another tip is to be open to help underrepresented groups by lending privilege, for instance by bringing people along in a meeting and giving them credit publicly for what they have done. There will be more tips and practical suggestions in my talk.

What will be the actionable that people will walk away from your talk with?

There’s a difference between diversity and inclusion, after my talk people will have a better understanding how they differ but also how diversity and inclusion are related and need to support each other.

They will also see how they can make a difference when it comes to inclusion, and hear about things that they can do to be intentional and make people of an underrepresented group feel more welcome.

My experience is: Once you start doing this and get to know people from different, race, gender, etc., and find out who they are you will probably see that they are very similar to you, more than you expected. You will see that they care about the same things and find ways to help them.

Speaker: Anjuan Simmons

Technical Program Manager @ Questback

Anjuan operates at the intersection of business and technology by relentlessly focusing on delivering delight to customers while effectively using engineering resources. He was a Technical Program Manager at Assemble Systems. When leading projects, he prefers Agile practices but will choose the right approach for the conditions on the ground. Anjuan works primarily in Swift and contributes to open source projects as often as possible.

Find Anjuan Simmons at

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