Can a white executive help increase diversity at a company? That's the question many are asking upon news that Twitter, one of the most popular social media networks, has hired Jeffrey Siminoff to lead Diversity & Inclusion there.
Siminoff, formerly of Apple, is taking on an industry wide issue. One in 14 tech workers are Black or Latino.
Some Black techies were critical of the decision. Former Google employee Erica Joy wrote that the new VP does not have a great track record when it comes to diversifying the companies he worked at before.
"Prior to his time leading Apple’s less than stellar diversity efforts, he lead diversity and inclusion at Morgan Stanley: the Morgan Stanley that had a racial discrimination suit brought against it during his tenure," she wrote. "So now the man who cultivated those environments is bringing his act to Twitter."
Everette Taylor, a growth marketing strategist to Microsoft and owner of Millisense, wrote that he was initially disappointed in the decision but was optimistic about the future. "I would've loved to see a person of color in this position, but since that's not the case — I offer my support to help make change," he tweeted.
70 percent of those working at Twitter are male while 30 percent of those working are female, according to data released in July 2014. Tech positions are filled with 90 percent women. Overall, 59 percent of the company is made up of whites, 29 percent are Asian, 3 percent are Latino and 2 percent are Black or African-American.
In August 2015, Twitter released their expectations for the new year:
"Increase women overall to 35%
Increase women in tech roles to 16%
Increase women in leadership roles to 25%
Increase underrepresented minorities overall to 11%*
Increase underrepresented minorities in tech roles to 9%*
Increase underrepresented minorities in leadership roles to 6%*"
Currently, Twitter has several employee-led groups that help with the issue of inclusion at work, including Blackbird, whose members include Black employees; Alas, Latino and Latina employees; and TwitterOpen, those who identify as LGBTQ. The company is also working to recruit new talent from historically Black colleges and universities and women's colleges.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
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