Presentation: Tips For Creating a More Equal Workplace



10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week:



Key Takeaways

  • Learn about the strategy for identifying things that your company can do to make the workplace more inclusive
  • Understand ways that will inspire you to improve your engineering culture
  • Analyze suggestions and ideas for increasing inclusion and providing equal access opportunities


Institutional bias is death by a thousand papercuts. Unequal work environments today are comprised of a lot of small inequalities that add up to the gender pay gap, the racial hiring gap, and environments that can be unintentionally antagonistic towards non-traditional groups. This talk covers what is institutional bias, why it’s a problem, and how it manifests in the workplace. Finally, we’ll go over a process to help you actually start addressing those paper cuts one at a time. While I don’t have all the answers, I will give you a process that will help you start to identify and solve workplace inequalities at your company.


Why are you giving a talk on equal workplaces?

My motivation is to make the industry more inclusive. I help people understand that they can improve their engineering culture and make it more inclusive by using analytical and problem solving skills that they already have as engineers.

I want people to have a dialog about equal access opportunities and find out what they can do about it.

What will you be covering?

My talk will focus on the strategy for identifying things that each company can do. I will walk through three major questions:

  • What are the things in your company that everyone should have equal access to?
  • What are all the advantages and disadvantages that people can have that provide equal access or prevent people from having equal access?
  • What are the things on the list of advantages and disadvantages that seem really unfair and that you can start to tackle?

There will be lots of suggestions and ideas in my talk for increasing inclusion in the workplace.

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

I want them to walk away with the feeling that they can identify and solve problems with inclusion in their environment and the engineering culture that they have in their workplace and with a formula for how they can actually increase inclusion.

They can use the formula in their own company, for instance by using brainstorm sessions to identify problems and come up with solutions to tackle them.

What do you feel is the most disruptive tech in IT right now?

Kubernetes is one of the most disruptive technologies, not as disruptive as I would like it to be because it’s rather complicated to use. The reason is that currently we get locked into cloud providers, making it hard to compare them or switch between them. The idea behind Kubernetes is that you can deploy the same system into any cloud provider. It will start the race to commoditize computing power and trigger cloud wars; price wars race between all cloud providers like Google and AWS and even in-house private clouds.

Speaker: Kate Heddleston

Founder/Software Engineer

Kate Heddleston is an athlete turned software engineer and entrepreneur in San Francisco. She is the founder of a startup called Opsolutely (yes, it’s a pun) that helps engineering teams ship software to service-oriented infrastructure. She writes about diversity and inclusivity on her blog (sometimes), and consults with technology companies on how to improve their developer productivity and company culture. When she’s not writing code or filling out legal documents for her startup, she likes to pretend her small dog is secretly plotting to take over the world. She is no way projecting onto her dog.

Find Kate Heddleston at

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