We sat down with Asif Sadiq following his session at Women of Silicon Roundabout to talk D&I, being an ally, and an exciting project.
Who is Asif Sadiq? Tell us about yourself.
I am head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at The Telegraph. I have worked in the D&I space for a number of years, in addition to the public sector (police service), private sector (professional services), and now the media.
Why did you decide to get involved with Women of Silicon Roundabout?
I felt that it was an important event to be a part of especially as it showcased Diversity and Inclusion and helped move the conversation forward on gender diversity, highlighting the great talent and innovation that women bring to the tech sector.
Why should people attend Women of Silicon Roundabout?
To learn and share experiences with some of the leading individuals in this space and support them in their journey either as an organisation or an individual to learn more about women in tech.
What did you speak about at the conference?
I spoke about how, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, nothing ignites greater debate than goals, targets, and quotas.
On the one hand, setting specific diversity goals has been found to be one of the most effective methods for increasing the representation of women and other minority groups in companies.
On the other hand, contentious arguments about targets vs. quotas, accusations of reverse discrimination, and fears of incentivising the wrong behaviours have arisen around goal-setting.
As a male ally, what has been your biggest takeaway from the event?
The enormous talent we have within the community and how, if organisations don't embrace the opportunity to support their female talent, then they will loose out on innovation.
Why are women so crucial to the continued growth of the tech sector?
We need women in order to continue to be innovative and to ensure we are creating products without biases. Having diversity of thought in the sector accelerates business objectives within organisations.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you’d like to share with us?
I am exploring how VR can be used within diversity training to create experiential learning and long-lasting change.
Finally, what can our readers, as individuals, do to push for diversity and inclusion?
The greatest thing anyone can do is to understand the importance of the D&I agenda and the role each individual can play in creating a sense of belonging for others.
Diversity is not just something that has to be led from the top, we can each play our part in making the workplace more inclusive, even if it is one small step at a time.
Missed out or want to join us at one of our other women in technology events? There's a host of upcoming conferences for you to attend. See below for our 2019 events.