Why I’m Looking Forward to WITness Success – by Mary Scotton

Why do we need this space?

I’m super excited to be in a space created by and for women. It’s rare and powerful to be in an intentional space created to foster community for a specific underrepresented group. For women in tech, it’s a relief to be in a place where they can feel safe and let their guard down a little (here’s more on that: Why Do We Need Affinity Groups?).

What can women learn about diversity? Don’t we know it all?

Diagram based on TEDxEMU—Justin Ford—Pedagogy of Privilege

All of the sessions will touch on diversity, or empathy, or inclusion. This session is specifically about diversity and inclusion. Why? Don’t women already know all about this? Nope. We don’t all have awareness and empathy for the struggles in each underrepresented group (e.g., Blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, military veterans). I recognize intersectionality and privilege is a continuum — women in each of the other underrepresented groups will be there, but we also have a lot of straight White cisgender able-bodied civilian women in the community.

As a cisgender White able-bodied civilian woman, each time I spend time as an ally in a group that I’m not a member of, I learn something new. When women advocate for equality across all groups, pooling our voices and energy, we get more work done. #EqualityForAll is powerful!

Check out this video at https://www.salesforce.com/equality/

What does equality look like in our community?

I have a very US-centric view right now (I have an opportunity to expand my awareness and empathy, for sure!). I loved this advice from Tony Prophet in Fortune’s RaceAhead Newsletter on July 13, 2017:

“The vast majority of leaders are well-intentioned people, but they need proof. “If you show them dismal diversity numbers over time – current staff, hires, promotions and attrition rates, etc – most people will respond,” he says. “Ask them questions about the data. ‘Does this company look like America to you? Are you proud of this?’”

To me equality is when representation in tech companies reflect the same ratios as representation in the overall workforce AND everyone feels welcome and included in those companies.

What’s an Allies Dinner and why should I go?

I’m really really excited about the Allies Dinner, Friday, Aug 11, 2017, and hope to see folks from both Midwest Dreamin’ and WITness Success there!

Allies Dinner panelists

Allies are the key, IMHO. Over a year ago I had an aha moment that I was leaving out a whole bunch of people in my talks and focus, and that those people want to be involved and to take action. None of us created the systems of white supremacy and sexism in the US. We need to align everyone to undo those systems and create a more fair and just union. I have a list of White Dudes in My Corner (#WDIMC) that grows every week. I’m overwhelmed by the people who reach out to me, share their stories, and ask how they can help.


Peter Coffee is a #WDIMC who I’ve known since I started as a Developer Evangelist. He helped me ramp up in the job (thanks, Peter!). I can’t wait to see him moderate this AMAZING panel of three people who I am honored to call friends.

Hope to see y’all there, too! Register now.


Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mary if you have additional points or questions on why Allies are important in moving the equality needle. You can find Mary on Twitter at @rockchick322004, join more conversations like these in the Women in Tech group in the Success Community, follow the event in Twitter @WITness Success or comment below!