Bärí A. Williams knows a thing or two about what it means to truly be inclusive in the tech space!
Williams joined Will Lucas on the latest episode of Black Tech Green Money to share her experience as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bandwagon Fan Club, Inc., the data and analytics tech company that focuses on sports and entertainment.
Thanks to her roles at companies like All Turtles, Facebook, and StubHub, Williams has helped to use data to drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the sports and entertainment sectors.
For Williams, her role in the tech space isn’t what one would call traditional. In fact, she speaks to Lucas about the bias that comes along with working in technology and not being able to code and how that can lead people to not feel included in the tech realm.
“There are lots of people who say, ‘you’re not really in the industry because you can’t write a line of code,'” said Williams. “And my response to that is, ‘I sure can’t but if you show me how, what you’ve written, and how it works, I can tell you whether that’s legal or not valuable.'”
She also speaks to the systems in place when it comes to what people believe is tech and what isn’t.
“There’s definitely a hierarchy and people look at it as the people who can code or the people who are product managers or that the people who are product designers, are the people that are really in tech,” she continued.
In the tech space, Williams explains the reasoning behind this type of thinking.
“When it comes to your GNA functions, your legal, your sales, your marketing, HR, DEI, they look at it as if it’s not tech because to them, we’re not really moving the product forward.'”
Through her roles, Williams has a mission to change that narrative, despite the fact that folks with her background aren’t always invited into the room.
“They don’t want us in the room, but I think what’s important and what I always lead with is from a diversity standpoint and if you tell people how much money they will lose, that is when they will start to listen,” Williams explained. “That is when they will care. I never start a conversation with, ‘Oh well, this is the right thing to do.'”
For more on how Bärí A. Williams is actively doing the work to combat the bias of artificial intelligence, spreading the real meaning of DEI, and how lawyers like herself can be critical to the success of a startup, listen to the full Black Tech Green Money episode below: