Michelle Frechette on Diversity and Inclusion of Underrepresented Groups in Tech

Cory Miller and Michelle Frechette dicussing underrepresented groups in tech

Underrepresented in Tech aims to “demystify diversity” and dispel the fears that get between employers and underrepresented groups in tech.

Demystifying diversity and prioritizing inclusion of underrepresented groups of people

As 2020 ended, Michelle Frechette and Allie Nimmons launched Underrepresented in Tech. Then in March 2021 they added a vlog. More than a job board for underrepresented groups and employers, Underrepresented in Tech's goal is to “demystify diversity.” Allie and Michelle want to push past the fears and awkward conversations that often surround the topic of diversity in many tech circles.

Concerns over tokenization can hold back capable but underrepresented groups of people working in tech fields. A lack of inclusive hiring practices can keep employers from getting these stellar workers. How can we overcome those obstacles to build diversity in tech and make a more inclusive industry?

Find out the answer to that question as Cory Miller talks with Michelle about the important work of Underrepresented in Tech.

About Michelle

Michelle Frechette is the Head of Customer Success at GiveWP. Michelle and the Customer Success team work with fundraisers all over the world to make it a better place. Part of her work involves helping customers evaluate their websites by researching what converts site visitors to supporters and donors. In addition to her work at GiveWP, Michelle is the Podcast Barista at WPCoffeeTalk.com. She is also a cofounder of underrepresentedintech.com, creator of wpcareerpages.com, and a volunteer for BigOrangeHeart.org. Michelle is an author, business coach, and a frequent speaker at WordPress events too. You can find out more at her website, WorksByMichelle.com.

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Machine Generated Transcript

Cory Miller: Everyone welcome back to another Post Status webinar. And I've got my friend Michelle Frechette on, from underrepresented in tech. And we're going to be talking about diversity and helping the underrepresented break into WordPress, break into tech. And, um, but first I wanted to say, thanks Michelle, for being on here, we actually, we have back-to-back meetings by the way.

[00:00:26] Did you know this. I saw that we do. I have, I'm privileged to serve with Michelle on the Big Orange Heart foundation where we’re starting a US nonprofit based on the one that Dan Maybe started a reasonably WP and then became Big Orange Heart. And, uh, so we actually have. I've been talking to Michelle quite a bit in the last couple of months.

[00:00:49] We're besties now. Exactly. And her, uh, partner at underrepresented in tech alley is not feeling too well today. So we're, uh, Michelle and I are going to have a lovely chat. If you have questions as we go for Michelle, uh, please post those in the Q&A button right below the video where you see us. And, uh, but Michelle, first and foremost.

[00:01:12] So could you tell us a little bit about yourself and then how underrepresented. In tech got started.

[00:01:18] Michelle Frechette: Absolutely. So as you said, I'm Michelle Frechette. I'm my day job. I am the head of customer success for give WP. So I work with nonprofits and underserved populations around the world on a daily basis. So you can see where my, um, my sympathies lie and where my passions are just through that.

[00:01:34] Um, and I love what I do. But I like to do even more than what I do that I get paid for. And so, um, hence the, the work that I do with big orange heart and some of the other things that I contribute to the WordPress community. Allie Nimmons. And I have had conversations, you know, going back way before, um, you know, the race things started happening any last year in the U S uh, you know, that kind of coincided with the pandemic and all of that.

[00:02:01] And the, and the political unrest that was happening and really started talking about what it means to be an underserved person or an underrepresented person in the WordPress space. Specifically, and then technology at, at a greater level. And we wanted to try to find a way that we could, um, suggest people to other people.

[00:02:21] So like if you have a podcast and you know, I look at the lineup of the, of all the people, all the guests you've had. And I see a lot of white men, are you really serving the true diverse public? That is, that makes up your podcast. Chances are no, because there's a lot more diversity in the world then than there is white men.

[00:02:40] And I'm not just not to say that white men are great. Right. So you're all doing a great job, but there's more perspective and there's more experience in the world then than just that one perspective. There's women, there's people with disabilities. There's people of color, there's people in the LGBTQ community.

[00:02:56] There's never a divergent people. Well, and there's people that are older than what the, you know, what you would normally find the technology and all of those people are not the people that you usually find on stage at conferences. I'm on podcasts as guests writing guests. Posts and being hired in, you know, for dev and other kinds of jobs within WordPress and technology.

[00:03:17] So we started to think, what could we do when people come because you know, people know who I am. They ask me all the time. Do you know anybody? They ask ally, do you know anybody? And so we started to put together a spreadsheet and Google docs and very quickly thought. Maybe people should be giving us permission before we start recommending them out to the world.

[00:03:39] And so we started to talk about what that might look like and through a conversation, just like this one, where we got together on zoom, we decided that a website that we could build a database that people could self-select into and then others could search through to find matches for their projects or their jobs would be what would ha what would.

[00:03:58] Serve us best. And so, as we were talking, I went right into a like GoDaddy account and registered underrepresentedintech.com. And from there, it was kind of born. One of the most important things to us is that nobody pays to be listed in our directory and nobody pays to search the directory.

[00:04:17] And some people have asked us, well, you, I understand that charging people to be in the directory, but why aren't you charging people to search the directory? And that's because a lot of people won't pay to search the directory and therefore you're still taxing and you're still making those underrepresented people, um, have to jump through hoops to be found.

[00:04:35] And so the whole idea is that this is free to search. It's free to use. It's our gift to the community. If you will, to make sure that there's access to underrepresented people and that those underrepresented people have a way to be showcased.

[00:04:49] Cory Miller: I love it because you're lowering the barrier is what you're doing.

[00:04:52] You're putting more visibility on this, uh, battle subject. And I love on your about page. It says Divis, demystifying diversity, and I'm going to play the role of why, obviously I'm white guy. Uh, but you know, as. I built my previous company and current and thinking through how do I hire pull people in and in diversity, it, this is exactly for me trying to think through, okay.

[00:05:19] Who do I know? Oftentimes when I recruited over 10 years that I themes, it was just the people I knew. And that was obviously, uh, the people I saw at the same conferences you're talking about. Same people, groups and things like that. And so, um, I want to really dig into that too, because I want to help people that are listening like me, that may be running a company and want to promote diversity within their team.

[00:05:45] Um, I've seen a bunch of studies and, and thoughts about that. You want a diverse team. You don't want people just like you, and, and now I'm not talking about. You know, skin color or sexual orientation or religion or any of those things, but just, you don't want people to just think like you and having those diverse.

[00:06:01] So I, I, I get it. Um, And, and, and all those senses and I want it and all those senses and for those people out there that are looking to promote diversity within their own organization. I want to get to that in just a second. Um, so have you, you've obviously started this because it's a passion of yours and alleys, um, And, and you've got submissions already in your database and people on the other side.

[00:06:25] So tell me a little bit about that. What have you been hearing from people that have been saying, Hey, here, here I am. I want to, I want to get into the database and I want to be found and I want to break into tech or, you know, get a good position. I work for us top company.

[00:06:39] Michelle Frechette: Exactly. So people have been super excited.

[00:06:41] A lot of we're still getting the word out. Of course, you know, it's something that's kind of new and people often think, Oh, You know, I'm, it's not for me because I, what do I have to offer? But the truth is we all have something to offer. If you're looking for a job, if you'd like speaking, if you like being included.

[00:06:57] Yeah. This is an opportunity to do that. And it doesn't mean that if somebody reaches out to you that you can't say now, right? So if somebody reaches out to you for a project and it really doesn't fit with what you want to do, you're well, you're welcome to decline that. Right. But you can't decline it if you haven't been offered the opportunity.

[00:07:12] So the whole idea is to get as many people in that database as possible to help them be found and to help organizations. And projects be able to be more inclusive. And as you said, offer greater perspective and experience, um, at that table when you're building your projects and you're putting things out into the world makes a difference

[00:07:34] Cory Miller: and I'm not making excuses at all, but sometimes oftentimes most of the time, I'm just in my bubble, you know, and I think this is about getting outside of the bubble and you're trying to ask the groups that are underrepresented.

[00:07:50] Hey, and then someone like me can go, okay, when we're doing our next post status live or whatever it is. Can I come here and go? Cause I might hear on your opportunity page since speaking on a podcast, writing a guest post, talk about SEO. That is that's fantastic. Cause now this is a resource for us to go and not really have an excuse for say we didn't at least do our due diligence.

[00:08:12] You know, to try to get diversity on this panel or this workshop or the job that we're looking for.

[00:08:19] Michelle Frechette: Absolutely. One of the things that comes with being underrepresented is that feeling of imposter syndrome sometimes, right? Because when you look at the people sitting at the table, that proverbial table, right.

[00:08:31] And you see that none of them look like you, then you. Start to self doubt whether or not you actually belong there. And so if people reach out and you over and make room at the table and invite you to sit next to them, that's an entirely different experience than tapping somebody at the shell on the shoulder and saying, can you make room for me?

[00:08:49] Right. So it's much more comfortable if we all kind of scooch over and make room at the table, then to try to try to ask people to wedge their way in. Uh, one of the, one of the things that we hear often is. Especially about hiring as well. Anybody can apply, I'm not stopping people from of color from applying for that job.

[00:09:07] But the truth of the matter is depending on who, how you're representing your company, how do you're representing that job opportunity? You actually may be making the barrier to entry way too high for somebody or making it really uncomfortable for them to join. And so there's ways that you can increase.

[00:09:25] The opportunities for people and outreach is one of those things, you know, asking somebody to apply for a job doesn't mean you're guaranteeing them that job. It's just saying, I'd like to look at your body of work and see if we're a good fit for each other.

[00:09:38] Cory Miller: That's that's really good. You know, going back to like, if you're the inclusivity and being inviting, um, I can't remember who it's, who said it?

[00:09:46] Maybe it was you, but talking about the Pac-Man strategy. So this is, this is old school for me. Pac-Man where you kind of leave an opening. You're in a circle of people at a conference, like a work camp. Hopefully we have some soon, um, leaving, leaving that little opening to know that. Hey, we're not actually, uh, an exclusive crowd crowd.

[00:10:05] You can come in and join. I think, uh, to it's, uh, to me, I want to hear your feedback is the value of just a smile to someone when you're at a conference, particularly like a work camp and showing that. Hey, you know, recognition of another human being, no matter who they are smiling, knowing, you know, just saying hi, hi.

[00:10:27] Or, uh, just that simple smile, I think goes a long way. But when you're thinking about conferences, cause hopefully we will have some Word Camps coming up. Um, what, what are some things you think about that we can pull in to unrepresented at? Let's say a word camp and then I'm going to get to. After this, I actually want to talk more about what you just brought up, which are the objections you hear and talk through some of those things too.

[00:10:49] Sure. So like conference

[00:10:53] Michelle Frechette: conference, the, the number one thing that we see at conferences isn't necessarily who's attending, but who's actually speaking. So when you're putting together your list of who's speaking at a conference, take a step back and look at the people who've applied. If they all look like you, you have not done a good job at recruiting people to speak at your conference.

[00:11:13] Several years ago, might've been two years ago. There was a conference and. Forgive me for not remembering which conference it was, but maybe that's a good thing. There was a conference in Europe and they had all men. Literally all men were on the lineup and they came under some pretty big fire for not having any women speaking at the conference.

[00:11:33] And their response was, well, women didn't qualified women didn't apply. Well, that's not good enough. Right. You sit, there are so many qualified women. Did they know about it? Did you ask people to apply to speak? Did you do a bunch of outreach or did you just kind of let it go between the people who already, you know, were already thinking about applying.

[00:11:51] They came under so much scrutiny that they actually ended up having to cancel the event because when they started to tap women, after hearing the, the criticism, every woman was like, you're not going to tokenize me. I'm not going to step into that Meyer now because the, you know, the issues already there and I'm not going to be the person to bandaid it for you.

[00:12:09] You need to think about those things in advance. So if you want to have. More diversity attending your conference. Then you have to have more diversity represented in the faces of the people who are speaking at your conference and who are organizing it. So if everybody on your org team looks exactly the same too, then you've already, also doing a disservice to the community.

[00:12:32] Cory Miller: That's good for sure. I think I remember recalling that. Um, So, you know, it occurs to me if I'm a conference organizer one, now I have a database to search underrepresented in tech. Um, but I think you laid out some of the things that we can do. Go out and intentionally ask, Hey, call for speakers, any underrepresented people of color, uh, uh, uh, female or, you know, things you can think of for these sets of topics we're looking for.

[00:13:04] It seems like that's the first start to me and just reaching out who, who could talk. On this that aren't typically represented in my conference would be one way. In addition to searching your database, do you have some other tips for a conference? Um, organizing?

[00:13:20] Michelle Frechette: Yeah, absolutely. I basically take a look through.

[00:13:24] The, or the people who have spoken at other camps, other conferences, um, look at some of the people who are representing already see if those people might be interested in also coming to speak at yours. Uh, and then also you can just kind of look through, you know, I like Twitter because Twitter tends to be where a lot of tech folks, um, land, right.

[00:13:43] But look through hashtags, look through things like that. Look, who's being vocal about the things that you want talked about and see who can bring diversity to your, um, your conference that way too. Yeah, not everybody's going to be in a database, but there are still so many people out there who have so much to contribute.

[00:14:01] Cory Miller: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So we've kind of talked about conference stuff. I want to switch gears to the team side. Um, you know, and we'll, we'll put me up for this one. Okay. I let's say I own a company and I have on the company where I hire people. Give me some steps again, to making sure I am broadening the scope as best as possible, um, for pulling diversity onto my team intentionally.

[00:14:30] Michelle Frechette: So look at them at the language that you're using on your website and look at the imagery that you're using on your website. If you're using stock images, are they all white people? Are they all men, you know, are they all 20 somethings? If you're really heteronormative that way, then you are really not going to be able to diversify as much because people look at that and say to themselves, do I belong here?

[00:14:52] Do I fit in here? Nobody also wants to be tokenized. Like I'm going to be the one woman on the team. I'm going to be the one. Over 50 on the team or whatever it is, which I'm N I'm those I'm that I'm over 50 and I'm a woman. Right? So, uh, so some of those kinds of things, I don't want to be the only one. I don't want to be tokenized that way.

[00:15:09] Also language language really, really matters. And people don't necessarily hear things in their own head from other people's perspectives, which is why sometimes it's great to have a consultant come in and take a look at those things for you. I looked at somebody's intake form. And the language that was used at the, at the, after the whole job description said, if you think you might be a good fit, then apply below.

[00:15:36] So if. And might, our Lang are actually disqualifying words, right? So as somebody who already doesn't, isn't sure that they might fit at that table that if, and that might, might make me stop from applying and I might be the person that you need on your team. So instead of saying, if you think you, if you think you might, right.

[00:15:56] So those are like words that are very, very tentative, um, instead say, apply for this position below. People already are going to decide whether or not they're a good fit based on what you've already said. Encourage the application. The worst thing that happens is you disqualify them for whatever reason.

[00:16:15] They're not a good fit, but don't help them disqualify themselves because they still have self doubts as opposed to they just aren't the right fit for the, for the job

[00:16:25] Cory Miller: that pairs with what you're talking about with imposter syndrome. Most of these people groups probably have ha. Huge sense of unbalanced imposter syndrome about it.

[00:16:37] And so you're saying on those page, try to be as open and welcoming. I mean, as much as I, I know you talked about photos and two, and I liked the language part, um, you know, I don't know, I'm trying to get to a question here of, and I know you put on the side too, like, Hey, we're HR experts. We aren't, you know, this but language that would be inviting to any.

[00:17:01] Any group of people to, to apply. I know we said, if you might, that those two things are kind of indicators. Um, you're trying to get as many applicants from, uh, underrepresented groups. Do you have any more suggestions regarding language? I really liked that.

[00:17:19] Michelle Frechette: So if, if you are really truly trying to grow a diverse team, because you want those diverse experiences, you want those outlooks, you want, all of that comes with the diversity.

[00:17:28] Say, so say we're looking to diversify our team. We're looking to get to hire people with, um, diverse experiences and backgrounds and outlooks on life so that we can make sure that we're providing the best service, the best product, the best, whatever it is that your project is. Um, To the rest of the world, because we want, you know, bottom line and you're not going to say this, but I want to sell to everybody.

[00:17:52] Not just people who look like me. So if I'm going to sell to everybody and not just people who look like me, I need to include everybody. And that just people who look like me, because the only way to have that diversity in a product is to bring the diversity before you start to sell it before you bring it to market.

[00:18:09] Cory Miller: Hmm. That's good. And I can, I can think at certain times in my previous company that I go. Well, if I would try to do this, for instance, rolls of tape back and go, okay, I'm going to be really, really intentional. Um, I would have said. I don't feel like we're very diverse right now. You know, there was a time where we were just, I mean, we had a CRF is six hire was female identifying as female.

[00:18:35] Um, but I would have said very, very quick. We're not diverse, but we want to be, you know, but we want to. Make sure we're including any everyone we can to do that. And maybe state even why, like, I love that you shared the why is, I mean, one, it just, frankly, if there's a business case, which there shouldn't need to be for this it's that diversity.

[00:19:00] In a team of different experiences makes things better. Right. Um, so, uh, that, that, that's something that came to mind when I was trying to scroll back on my own career and go, okay. Be intentional Corey, and then number two, just flat out, admit we don't, we don't have it. You're going to see photos of our team and they're going to look very Pell and white and we don't necessarily want.

[00:19:25] We want diverse, but we're not there, but you could be, you could help us. I don't know. How does that language sit said to you?

[00:19:32] Michelle Frechette: Yeah. So basically you want language that says your voice matters, your experience matters so that we can make our product better, or we can make our service better. The whole idea is that we want to be better.

[00:19:43] Not. We want to tokenize, we want a black face in this company pictures so that we look like, look what we do. We hire diversity. It's not about how we look to the other people. It's about how we can provide better because we have better diverse experiences that are coming to the table to help whatever it is that we're creating.

[00:20:02] So, um, you know, I have a podcast and on my podcast, if I only had white women, I would be doing a disservice to the whole WordPress community. Instead of having people from people from six continents, I have people from all over, you know, 20 something different countries. And having that representation really matters because people can hear themselves.

[00:20:20] And the stories of the people that I bring forward. And so if you, if people can't see themselves in your product, because you are only thinking myopically in one direction, right, then you're, you're doing a disservice to yourselves as well. Right. As well as to the community.

[00:20:34] Cory Miller: Excellent points for sure. And I'll tell you, I, it's something that I know in my brain.

[00:20:40] I have to go be intentional about this. It's an extra step, but it's a vital step that is missing and why your organization exists in the first place is because, uh, we need the extra step when we're not doing it right. But thinking through that going okay. When I hire, how do I open it as wide as possible?

[00:20:58] How do I be inviting? And I really like that. So I want to as token, token, white guy for a second or default, why guy? I want to ask about token that's and I want to just put my hands out and say, tell me more because okay. You help demonstrate in my mind how I could just not try to, I don't want to be part of the more potential harm.

[00:21:22] You know, and I realized, I'm saying, this is myself now that I have been. And I, I want to be part of the wave. That is the inviting. And so when I hear token, I go, okay, tell me more about this. Tell me how I can, like you said, It's not just saying, Hey, we need a black person on our team. Right. So, you know, it is saying like, I love how you said that we want a diverse set of experiences that come from all people, uh, in here.

[00:21:51] But tell me the contrast there, where we're talk me through that. So I understand that better place. So it's

[00:21:57] Michelle Frechette: about intention, right? So one of the things that we put out in a lot of what we put out in social and everything is representation without tokenization, because tokenized just means, you know, you have that person on the team to look better.

[00:22:11] Representation means there's an intention to do better and to be better and to make better. So like I said, if it's a podcast and you are intentionally being more diverse, And included, including underrepresented populations, your podcast just became richer and offers way more experience. So more people are likely to learn from it and also identify with it.

[00:22:34] The same goes for products. Same goes for services teams, you know, your blog, all of that. If everything comes from a homogeneous, you know, route, then you're really only serving a small population and not the grand population. And so it's all about intention.

[00:22:51] Cory Miller: Yeah. When you keep saying homogenous, I think, yeah.

[00:22:54] Guilty for sure. Uh,

[00:22:57] Michelle Frechette: not, we're not here to make anybody feel bad. We're here to

[00:23:00] Cory Miller: help them grow. Absolutely. And I really appreciate that. And now your tone, I want to just put myself out there to go. Like we can. We can make progress. And what I tend to have been doing now is go ask questions first before I think I just know the answer.

[00:23:17] And so I like that, that we intend to do better that business, that any life is better with diversity and that unique voices and their experiences at our table are going to make all of us better. I can, I can totally see that. Okay. Because I, I, I think there could be some. Okay.

[00:23:40] Uh, people that have the heart to do right. And I'm saying this myself too, and that in a, in inadvertently, like right here, making sure we reset to our core is the message. I think I'm hearing for you is reset to the core, do and be better about diversity, about reaching people that have not had these opportunities.

[00:24:00] Like I have most of my life, um, to do that. And I think that's a very powerful and hooking it to a Y, which is. Yeah. I mean, it's a business case, which is two, which is a diverse teams, are better teams

[00:24:16] Michelle Frechette: and, and recognizing privilege is huge. And there's been a lot of conversation over the last year about privilege.

[00:24:20] One of the conversations Allie and I had on our blog recently, um, underrepresentedintech.com. We have a blog. So every Thursday we have a video conversation and posted out there and it's some of it's going to be controversial. But, uh, one of the things we talked about was privileged because, uh, somebody said there's no barrier.

[00:24:38] To having your own podcast. Anybody could have a podcast of a person of color, wants to be on a podcast. They can just build their own podcast. The truth of that is that yes, perhaps you can use the equipment you already own, you can use free software, you can use audacity, whatever. You can get a website for pretty darn cheap, and it doesn't cost anything.

[00:24:56] If you're using like anchor to FM or something to actually put your podcast out there. That doesn't mean there's no barrier to entry. Because, uh, as let's say, as a woman, let's say I was a woman, let's say it was a lot younger than I am. Let's say I was a woman in her early thirties. And when I wasn't a woman in our early thirties, I was a single mom re working.

[00:25:14] Full-time raising a daughter by myself. So where was, what were my barriers were? How was I to find time? Around that to build my own podcast, as opposed to podcasts that already exists, that hire somebody to come in. Right. So recently there was somebody who was hired in to do a podcast. If they had hired, let's say a young woman with a family, and now she's actually getting paid to do it.

[00:25:38] And so she's actually providing for her family and not taking away time that might may or may not eventually end up in some kind of remuneration. So there always is a barrier to entry. Sometimes it's simply time, but time is huge. And so we have to think about all of that before we open our minds and say, there is no barrier there's barriers to entry to applying for a new job, uh, regardless of who you are, you have to take the time.

[00:26:02] You perhaps are. You know, risking the current job that you have now. Um, there's all kinds of barriers to applying for a job. So having somebody reach out to you and say, we would love, we've seen your body of work. We'd love for you to at least apply. I can't guarantee you a job, but I'd love for you to apply.

[00:26:20] Says I'm not an imposter. I've been asked to do this. And if this is a good match, it's worth my time to do it and take the, take that investment of time to do that, to be on a podcast, to write a blog, post those kinds of things.

[00:26:33] Cory Miller: I'll tell you that late last, uh, was around August last year I met, uh, an amazing couple there they're clinicians.

[00:26:41] They run a treatment center in Illinois and, uh, Steven, Lisa Lackey. And Lisa did a, I was hosting the webinar, uh, continuing education webinars for therapists, just hosting it. Uh, Lisa was the talent, of course, and it was all about race and it was so, uh, It was, it was, it was in a very positive way, confrontational toward my heart to say, uh, wow.

[00:27:06] You know, I've either had had these and had to examine myself and I, and it was so enlightening to go, like, because you're right. I mean, I have looked back on my life and even talking to Steve, who I work with, uh, every week now and in my mental health startup, uh, you know, he's been, uh, arrested. Uh, falsely arrested.

[00:27:27] So has his sons. Um, and I think I was driving down the road, you know, and, uh, late last year now I've rectified this, but I hadn't had a date tag and I was driving down the road and a police officer came behind me, but I realized the privilege I had was. I wasn't afraid for my life. I was afraid I'd get a ticket, but I wasn't afraid if I got pulled over that I could potentially, you know, and so, uh, he, he, their relationship, our relationship has helped me really kind of start to do that in the conversations like this, that we put out there and start to really understand that.

[00:27:59] On the other side of the perspective, there are these barriers that I go, I wrote it down barrier to entry and just try to understand those empathetically. And to be a part of the, the progress and not the

[00:28:12] Michelle Frechette: that's even saying right in your application process, that we will do interviews at your convenience, recognizing that some people can't take time away from their day jobs to apply for the next job, or they can't take time away from weather when they're with their children and finding somebody to babysit so that they can apply for a job.

[00:28:30] But being able to, um, open up your schedule to evening hours or to earlier morning hours. Yeah. Reduces that barrier as well.

[00:28:39] Cory Miller: I don't have the statistics, Michelle, but particularly with COVID the amount of. Uh, females, moms that have come out of the workforce is staggering. It's, it's really huge because it often falls to, uh, to the mom.

[00:28:56] And, uh, and so I resonated with that because I saw my wife, Lindsay worked through that. We, we intended for her to keep working, even after we had our kiddos. Uh, our first one Callaway had hip dysplasia, double hip dysplasia had to be in a full body cast and Lindsey. He goes, I I'm going to stay home with Callaway and then to see her try to transition from a political career and then.

[00:29:21] Get out of a, a career outside of her, you know, or home or whatever, and try to reenter was incredibly stressful and pressure for her. I've asked her to talk about that too, because now she's a prolific entrepreneur and had transitioned her career. And so many people over the years, Michelle has been like, have asked her I've been around her at conferences, obviously.

[00:29:44] And they've been like, tell me your story, tell me how you transition because. It doesn't equate for me. I was working the entire time, you know, uh, I was able to do that, you know, and she stayed with our kiddos, but. Uh, just seeing it firsthand. I go, the, the fear, the imposter syndrome you're talking about, and those barriers, uh, were very real, uh, for her.

[00:30:05] And I see that more and more every day I work with actually an illustrator amazing illustrator. That's helped me do things like this snowball illustration here and, uh, around December. Um, I wasn't hearing back from her as fast, you know, as I thought, and I came back and she goes, Oh, sorry, she's basically a stay at home mom and trying to do part-time work while her husband happens to be a nurse and all that stuff.

[00:30:29] And, and the PLI is. The pie is real. And I'm only sharing that because I've seen that particular

[00:30:36] Michelle Frechette: imagine if she, if she had the opportunity to have a full-time job with the pay equal to what other men in the physician have, she'd be able to afford childcare for her children and go full force on the job that she loves and have it.

[00:30:49] All right. So nobody ever says to a man, how do you balance. Home and work, but they ask women that all the time. Right? So we get asked, how do we balance child raising and having a career? Nobody asks men that they just don't, because it's assumed that you have somebody at home taking care of your children for you.

[00:31:09] Right. And how many guys over the years say, Oh, I can't go out. I'm babysitting my kids. No, you're not babysitting your kids. You're raising them. You're parenting your kids. Right. So just the way that with the terminologies we use and the, you know, the language that we apply to say things, actually, it shows our privilege a lot of the time.

[00:31:26] And, and you're right. Like, I could imagine if I said to you, and I know you, I know your heart. If I said, we'll have so impressed with the work you do half the time you say to me, my wife, my wife's, the real rock star. You should see what she does. Right. So. Acknowledging, um, the people who are doing amazing things as another way that we can recognize privilege, for sure.

[00:31:44] Cory Miller: Truly. Uh, some of my favorite entrepreneurs are female entrepreneurs because, uh, yeah, incredible. Uh, that I go and I'm saying by me going, I don't have that kind of grit, discipline. I work with one female entrepreneur and she we're on a zoom call and she's changing her adopted she's fostered and hopefully adopted the big change it, having this in conversation with me.

[00:32:10] And I'm like, I have, I'm trying to take everything I can. And so I'm very, very impressed, um, uh, by so many of the female entrepreneurs, because I. My, my theory is have to put up with so much have to go. The barrier that you're talking about is so high that, um, I just kind of, I go, Oh, I can't, I can't do it half of that, you know?

[00:32:35] So I'm very, very impressed for sure. Okay. Um, okay. A

[00:32:40] Michelle Frechette: got a pretty awesome people out there for sure.

[00:32:42] Cory Miller: Absolutely. Okay. So we've talked about conferences. Uh, imposter syndrome is a real thing. The barriers we've talked about that, you know, one thing we haven't talked about is pay range. Um, this one, I just kind of know, I don't have any statistics, but just the pear disparity between male and female salaries is pretty still, uh, the silliness is definitely there.

[00:33:06] And the disparity

[00:33:08] Michelle Frechette: here in the United States, we have something called the equal pay day. And what equal pay day is, is how far into the next year a woman has to work to make the salary of them, of, of a man doing the same job in the previous year. So equal pay day usually falls mid April. So let, so all things being equal.

[00:33:26] If I had the same job as a man, And he worked till December. I would have to work till mid April to make the same salary that he did the previous year. It becomes even more alarming when you start to add ethnicity to those same women. So a woman who is a black woman has to work until August. To make what Amanda, the previous year, a woman who's a native American into September and a woman who is Hispanic has to work into October towards the end of October.

[00:33:54] So almost two full years to make the same salary that Amanda and the same job does. So, yeah, there's a lot of disparity and I don't have statistics on, um, you know, ethnic. Changes within the same, um, gender orientation or gender. Uh, so I don't, I couldn't tell you a black man to a white man, what that looks like.

[00:34:12] I, but I specifically have studied over the years, um, what women make and it's alarming.

[00:34:19] Cory Miller: Yeah, absolutely. I think we can all kind of shake your head and then now it's a real thing. Okay. Well, if you have questions for Michelle topics you want to talk about with Michelle, please put those in the Q and a, uh, button, rebel or video.

[00:34:32] Um, Michelle, while they're doing that, I want to ask what have I missed? And I'm here to learn and then to ask questions and to listen. But what, what, what have I missed that we should talk about?

[00:34:45] Michelle Frechette: So one of the things that I love about our website, so underrepresented in tech is we launched this kind of in November.

[00:34:51] We kind of put it out there to the world. And the first thing that people started asking was how can we support this? Which I thought was phenomenal and we didn't intend to make money off this in any way, shape or form. And then see if we are not making money off this, but we have had people because people, as we did put the tip jar on our website and we've made a little bit of money just to kind of value the work that we're doing, nowhere near, what two people putting in the amount of time that we put in there.

[00:35:17] Is is worth. And we do have in kind sponsorships, but we don't take corporate sponsorships. We don't do anything like that. The whole purpose is to be able to help people be found and help you find people to do what you do. But because, um, I always say this and I, and you and I have had a conversation about things in the past, the more good you do in the world, the bigger the target on your back becomes.

[00:35:40] And so even with underrepresented in tech, we have come under fire for even doing things like allowing people who begged us to give a little bit of money and to honor the work we do, um, to put that on there as well. Profiting off of the people that we purport to help and nothing could be further from the truth.

[00:35:57] We absolutely 100% appreciate that people have valued our time a little bit. And I just really wanted to say this, and I appreciate that. You're giving me the opportunity to say it. It's not about making money, it's it really isn't that all of the sponsors that you see at the bottom have just given us their plugin or their hosts.

[00:36:14] Or they've done an audit of our site for accessibility. No corporations are spending money and they're not, and we don't allow them to put themselves on there so that they look diverse. Literally they have done what they can to try to help us move forward by just giving us their services and their products.

[00:36:33] So I just wanted to put that out there too.

[00:36:35] Cory Miller: Well, like I saw gravity V and then Zack, and he's not some guy and, but, uh, being able to display that the profiles and everything is really fantastic. Um, it, it hurts my heart even more to hear that. As you're trying to do good work. Um, there are people that, you know, here's what, there's this principle, Hey, you're on the YouTube, you're on YouTube.

[00:36:59] And you're like, this is the most amazing Ted talk or whatever it is. And you go, there's gotta be five trolls. There's going to be five people that go down, down arrow. And you're like, really like one, we have to have a down arrow anyway or down, down thumb anyway. But yeah. Um, the fact that no matter what you do, someone will down their down, thumb it down, you know, kind of thing.

[00:37:21] So, but I love the work that you're doing and I want to get more attention to it. And I personally want to be part of the solution, not part of that, that holds us and drag us, drags us back particularly fast.

[00:37:33] Michelle Frechette: We're actually, we're going to start blogging. So we're asking the people who are in our database to write their stories so we can find them and tell the things that they're doing and let them showcase themselves pretty well.

[00:37:43] So that's the exciting that's coming up at the blog series. We just started with talking about some controversial stuff. We talk about what we're doing and. Because we do honor our own work. We are actually starting to offer services now. And the services that we offer are for hire. So people can pick our brains, we can help them with marketing and we can help them, um, you know, with their website and things like that, so that they can increase the diversity in their company that has nothing to do with charging people.

[00:38:08] To use the database or to be in the database that is strictly something off to the side because we can't give hundreds of hours of our time for free. So you will see that that's a brand new brand new thing on the website is offer that services. Um, and I'm not here to sell that or market that, but I'm just in full disclosure when you say, but they are making money.

[00:38:25] That's one little service that we're offering on the site.

[00:38:30] Cory Miller: Well, if my opinion matters, I would say. You do good in the world. You should, you deserve to do well in the world too. And I love the work that you're doing and I have absolutely no problem with it. Of course. So someone's out there. Someone is going I'm underrepresented.

[00:38:47] Someone is in a people group. We've talked about, um, what do they need to do, Michelle?

[00:38:52] Michelle Frechette: They just need to go to underrepresentedintech.com, click the join to join the database. Um, there's a series of questions that you'll be asked, including what makes you underrepresented. Because we do gatekeep. Cause we don't want just anybody in there.

[00:39:05] We absolutely want to make sure that we are representing the right people, um, who are underrepresented. And then, uh, you know, you can, you can upload a photo of yourself. So you have a headshot in there. It's not required. Some people don't want to put that in there. We never disclose on the website. What makes you a diverse person?

[00:39:21] We never under disclose on there. What makes you underrepresented? Yes. If you see my face, you know that I'm a woman. You can guess that that's probably why there are white men on the data in the database as well. But there are things that make people underrepresented that are not physical traits, right?

[00:39:36] So we have neuro divergent people if people LGBTQ plus community. And we have people who are older and people who have disabilities. So. Keep that in mind, when you do see somebody on there, it's not our job to announce what somebody is. Diversity is just to represent them and include them in the database.

[00:39:53] And if you are looking because we have gravity view on there, you can search that database for people, for whatever your project is. So if you're looking for somebody who knows WordPress and wants to be on a podcast, great, you can search specifically under those terms and you can make offers and reach out to people directly.

[00:40:09] We don't actually gatekeep any of the conversations that happen between people. There's no form to fill out on the website to get in touch with them. We are not keeping any of that information. We're not keeping your information. We just want to make them accessible. Sounds pretty

[00:40:24] Cory Miller: cool. Excellent. Okay. Be sure you go to underrepresentedintech.com.

[00:40:31] If you're one that is underrepresented, please submit your profile, uh, there. And, uh, if you're looking for your next hire or co-founder or anything in between. Uh, what a great database to go through and search when you were talking about photos or something that just hurt my heart, uh, that Steve, Steve, who I've worked with, um, uh, in Illinois, and he said that for the first couple of years of their practice, their treatment center, they didn't put their photos on their website because they were African-American and dot, and that was a barrier and it just hurt my heart that, um, One that had to do that for person foremost.

[00:41:08] So I totally get that if they choose not to put their photo and, and, uh, till he gets us prayers, Michelle, it has been, it has been awesome. I've learned a lot. I've got notes here, uh, to how I can make change in my own life and sphere of influence and are so much appreciated you. Um, where can they find out more?

[00:41:27] Michelle Frechette: Yeah. So go to underrepresentedintech.com. If you were looking for more information about the project, you can reach out to me on Twitter. I'm @Michelleames. Uh, it's so hard to change your name once you're divorced. So it's always going to be there as at Michelle Ames. Uh, my DMS are open. I'm always happy to serve as a resource to people.

[00:41:43] If you have questions, reach out to me there or email me at michelle@worksbymichelle.com.

[00:41:49] Cory Miller: Michelle Frechette underrepresentedintech.com. Thank you. My friend, I'll see you in about like 15 to 20 minutes for a board meeting. So I so much appreciate it. Yeah.

[00:42:01] Michelle Frechette: Thanks for having me. It's always great to talk about passion projects like this, and I appreciate your openness to it.

[00:42:06] Cory Miller: Absolutely. Well, thanks for listening in postatus.com where we host conversations like this. We're WordPress professionals. Our community over there is rocking. Come and join us. All right. Thanks everybody for being here today. Bye.