The digital divide may have narrowed a bit last week when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took the stage for an interview at the National Society of Black Engineerâ€™s 42nd Annual Convention in Boston.
Dorsey was interviewed by Laura W. Powers the co-founder of CODE2040 in front of scores of black engineering students and professionals. The interview was also live streamed for the Internet audience.
During the interview, Dorsey said that he was committed to making Twitter a more diverse and inclusive company in which to work.
â€œThe only way we are going to be creative is to have perspective from all over,â€ said Dorsey.
He also spoke of the need for empathy. â€œThe best way to have empathy for someone is to have them representedâ€¦ Empathy is not just about listening; itâ€™s about understanding and having action behind that understanding,â€ he said.
Dorsey also said that Twitter would begin rolling out unconscious bias training to all its employees and interns.
The NSBE invited Twitter users to submit questions during the interview by using the hashtag #NSBEAskJack.
Questions from the Twitterverse ranged from those curious as to how Twitter started the use of hashtags to more pointed questions about diversity and race relations.
â€œIf you take #BlackLivesMatter seriously then [sic] BW saying theyâ€™re experiencing daily violence/harassment #onhere should = change,â€ tweeted @karaincontrast to #NSBEAskJack.
Other quotes from Dorsey that particularly resonated with the Twitter audience based on retweets were:
â€œPassion canâ€™t be taughtâ€”all the skills can be taught.â€
â€œWe are looking for people with passion and purpose.â€
â€œThe spirit of entrepreneurship is to do whatever it takes to make it work.â€
â€œBuild for who you are and what you want to see in the world.â€
â€œTechnology gives you the choice to stay small and still have global impact.â€
Twitter was one of the Silicon Valley companies under fire last year for a lack of diversity in its workforce. In 2014, blacks accounted for 2% of its workforce, and Hispanics, 6%.
In December of last year, the company stoked further derision when it announced that it had hired Jeffrey Siminoff, a white male, as its new vice president of diversity and inclusion.
Anecdotally, however, it seemed as though the reaction by the audience to Dorseyâ€™s attendance at the NSBE event was favorable.
â€œAfter listening to @jack speak at #NSBE42â€™s @NSBEAskJack session today, my passion for #Twitter has been refueled,â€ tweeted @dr_zumba.