Gender Diversity in Startups, Donations Make Initiative a Reality, 16 Traits of a Great IT Leader, Code.org, Few Females in Ad Tech

Gender Diversity In Startups Might Be More Important Than You Thought

Did you know that while it is no secret that the tech startup community is lacking women, this gender imbalance may actually be impeding startups? David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, delves into this topic and provides tips for combating gender disparity in this Wall Street Journal blog entry.

Cohen references a 2010 study completed by researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College on collective intelligence in groups. As Cohen points out, the study “found that groups with more women had a higher collective intelligence, which led to better group cooperation.” David also stresses the importance of creating a more balanced work team in stating, “This is not just a problem for women – it’s a big problem for all of us, because we’re missing out on immeasurable untapped talent, creativity and different points of view.”

Continue reading David’s post to learn more on his five tips that will help you create a more diverse startup culture. You can also learn more about related collective intelligence research from Christopher F. Chabris, a previous NCWIT Summit presenter, in his archived presentation titled, “Women and the Collective Intelligence of Human Groups.”

Donations Help Make Womens IT Initiative at UNO a Reality

Did you know that one generous donation made by the parents of a previous University of Nebraska - Omaha (UNO) student had a significant impact in driving UNO’s Women in IT fundraising initiative? The $25,000 gift, along with contributions from many other donors, helped UNO reach their fundraising goal of $250,000 this past summer. UNO will ultimately need to raise a total of $400,000 to implement this initiative, which aims to double the female population within the College of Information Science & Technology over the span of two years.

UNO’s Dean, Hesham Ali, stated, “Donors were motivated for different reasons… Some want to close the gender gap in the field as a matter of equality. Others see a need for more IT workers, no matter their gender. And, some see gender diversity as increasing the quality of work in computing.”

Read more about UNO’s fundraising efforts and their future plans here. Would your institution consider using a similar approach to implement a Women in IT initiative?

16 Traits of a Great IT Leader

Did you know, according to a recent article featured on CIO.com, while many great leaders share similar characteristics, it may take a more specific set of skills to succeed as a tech leader? Today’s IT leaders face a unique set of challenges in comparison to other corporate leaders, including the rate and pace of change, the massive integration of systems and processes, cybersecurity and privacy threats, and many others. Personal and professional development is therefore critical in the demanding IT field.

“While there are some things one cannot change about individuals, some leadership traits can be learned. There are very few people who are natural leaders – leadership is something people have to work at. Knowing what your shortcomings are, and recognizing them as such, is half the battle," says Allan Boardman, International Vice President at ISACA.

The 16 traits in this article can help you become more successful in a technology career.

Code.org Gains Traction

Did you know that Code.org, an NCWIT K-12 Alliance member, marked its launch back in February with the release of their video, What Most Schools Don’t Teach? In less than a year, Code.org has experienced significant growth in national support, now backed by over 100 partners, including NCWIT.

Earlier this month, Code.org announced its initiative, an Hour of Code, as an effort to encourage 10 million students to try an hour of code during CSEdWeek (December 9-15). There will be a variety of hour-long tutorials that everyone can access -- on a web-browser, tablet, smartphone, or even with no computer at all.

As a special prize, 50 U.S. schools at the K-12 level have the opportunity to win a class-set of laptops, and another 50 will win classroom video chats with tech leaders like Bill Gates. The registration deadline is November 15 and nearly 1,000 submissions have been received. Learn more about special Hour of Code prizes for educators and schools here and spread the word.

Why So Few Female Execs in Ad Tech?

Did you know that few females serve as board members at ad tech companies? According to this article by Digiday, after taking a close look at six ad tech companies, it was found that only ten percent of their board members are female.

Why does it matter to have women on the board? Ad tech companies are in a position to experience substantial growth when social media companies like Twitter and Facebook go public. Since women are significant users of social media and important consumers targeted by advertisers, a lack of gender parity in top-level positions at ad tech companies is problematic. Not only does diversity promote equality, but it also enhances innovation and improves the bottom line. According to Catalyst, companies with a higher number of women on their board of directors outperform other companies in three financial areas – equity, sales, and invested capital.