Twenty-three grand slam titles, the undisputed GOAT and a role model to generations of little girls born into the ‘if you can see it you can be it’ era – the impact Serena Williams had on women and sport cannot be underestimated. And now, following her retirement from professional tennis earlier this year, Serena and sister Venus are inspiring a whole new cohort of women, this time with their support of the tech sector.
The Williams sisters’ interest in tech is no passing fancy, the pair have actually been involved at ground level with several startups, and are committed to supporting women in tech.
Serena set up the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Serena Ventures in 2014. The fund currently has a portfolio of 60 companies including SendWave, MasterClass, and Daily Harvest. In March 2022, it raised a $111 million fund to invest in under-represented founders, and Serena’s commitment to empowering and pushing women continues as the fund focuses on companies that show promise from the start, and supports everyday life. She’s also heavily interested in African companies, believing that Black people should invest in Africa.
Earlier this year the pair invested in community-based app Shares and became the platform’s first ever ambassadors. Encouraging users to learn and manage investments through shared information, it became the second most downloaded app in the finance sector on the App Store.
Speaking about their involvement with Shares, Serena said: “It is rare to find companies that are equally as passionate about opening up opportunities and breaking barriers to entry that have prevented traditional spaces like investment from being totally inclusive.”
Shares is not the only tech company committed to breaking barriers and opening up space for women and minorities in tech. The companies below are all making strides in terms of diversity and inclusion, developing programmes and initiatives that encourage women from all backgrounds to succeed.
We may not be able to echo Serena and Venus on the tennis court but when it comes to tech, we can work at a company determined to create a level playing field. Best of all, each of the highlighted companies is hiring for a number of roles across all levels and functions on the Alt A Review Job Board.
Recently named as one of the Best Places to work by Fortune, Roblox has shown tech companies how to embrace and empower a diverse workforce through its initiatives, including the introduction of employee resource groups to support underrepresented groups and help educate the broader employee community.
Other reasons Roblox is considered a great choice for those working in tech is its commitment to tackling burnout with its no-meeting Wednesday approach, and paid mandatory mental health days. Plus, its staff training on how to work with, and manage teams remotely is seeing other companies follow suit.
Known for its employee perks such as its anytime anywhere working policy and its quarterly staff dividends, Airbnb is also committed to tackling gender diversity across its hiring policies – partnering with a range of individuals and organisations to make the technology industry more inclusive. This has resulted in a rise across the percentage of underrepresented minorities on its leadership team – from 2.6% to 15.2%, and the population of underrepresented minorities on its technical teams increasing by 1.6% to 8.5%. The company is currently hiring for a number of roles across its tech operations and other functions, including Software Engineering and Marketing.
Previously considered more traditional, ITV is actually one of the most progressive companies in the UK when it comes to diversity and equality. Over the past few years the broadcaster has taken steps to ensure its hiring policies and workplace culture supports diversity and inclusion by establishing a Cultural Advisory Council, which works to ensure there is a focus on disability and socioeconomic adversity. Even better news for those working in or interested in the tech media space is the fact that it is considered one of the most technologically advanced broadcasters in the UK – consistently on the cusp of new advances.