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Reinventing tech’s pipeline: Inside the effort to boost black and Latinx talent

I was quoted in this article by Protocol.

“There are different orgs that focus on the different parts of the leaky tech pipeline,” said Coronel, who credits her job as an engineer at Slack to networking on Techqueria. “Our issues do intersect a lot, but we do have more-unique issues,” like Latinx workers who may be undocumented or have undocumented family members.

Protocol
Protocol Article
Protocol Article

Petty has turned for advice to Techqueria, which has grown in five years to nearly 10,000 members nationwide. Though black and Latinx tech workers can face varying obstacles, Techqueria Co-Executive Director Frances Coronel said her group draws inspiration from many black organizing efforts, like the “Black Tech for Black Lives” pledge that has attracted signatories from Facebook, Airtable, Box and many other big-name tech companies.

“There are different orgs that focus on the different parts of the leaky tech pipeline,” said Coronel, who credits her job as an engineer at Slack to networking on Techqueria. “Our issues do intersect a lot, but we do have more-unique issues,” like Latinx workers who may be undocumented or have undocumented family members.

Groups like Techqueria are also thinking about how to best work with internal tech company employee groups, often known as employee resource groups or ERGs. Such groups for Latinx, black and LGBTQ workers, and others, are sometimes viewed as “co-opted” by corporate HR, said Techqueria Co-Executive Director Felipe Ventura. Participation may add stress to already high-pressure jobs.

“A lot of people in these affinity groups or ERGs or whatever they want to be called are essentially doing extra work that is not being compensated and frequently comes at the expense of their career,” said Ventura, who identifies as Afro-Latino with his Dominican and Colombian heritage. “I see groups like Techqueria and other external groups supplementing that labor in a way that makes it sustainable.”

By Frances Coronel

Frances Coronel is a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack where her mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

She has been working professionally as a developer since 2015 and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Hampton University and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell Tech.

Outside of Slack, Frances is an Executive Director of Techqueria, a 501c3 nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech in the US.

She also supports Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.