There has been an ongoing conversation about diversity in the tech sector for some time now. The lack of women and minorities representing some of the largest technology firms around are getting some justified scrutiny as of late. I think we're all hopefully that after careful thought and consideration, tech companies will begin to make logical strides towards addressing such deficiencies. That ideally means they avoid rushing into solutions of appeasement like affirmative action rather than addressing root issues such as lack of education on behalf of the industry, the public and potential employees about diversity trends.
As the conversations continue, we are witnessing that most companies are slowly attempting to do their part. Some are doing it through donations, others are hosting events and conferences, and some are simply allowing their diverse employee range to shine in new lights. Microsoft is among those moving towards the trend of positioning for more diversity. Earlier we reported Microsoft's donation announced at the 15th Annual Girls Who Code Conference. Today, Microsoft is also highlighting two of their lawyers honored by Savoy Magazine.
Savoy Magazine is one of many proud vanguards in recognizing excellence and success within the private and corporate industries with regards to diversity. Today, the publication announced its comprehensive list of the 100 most influential Black Lawyers. Microsoft's very own Bruce Jackson, Assistant General Counsel, Enterprise & Partner Group, and Neal Suggs, Vice President and Associate General, were among the list.
Since 2000, Bruce Jackson has worked with Microsoft and joined Microsoft's Law and Corporate Affairs (LCS) diversity committee in 2001. He was also instrumental in hosting the first-ever LCA summit. At the summit, women and minorities were encouraged to pursue careers in tech, specifically in intellectual property. Jackson also won the 2011 Diversity Awards from Microsoft. On top of all the other accolades, Jackson also serves on the advisory council of the National Association for Women and Minority Owned Law Firms. He is o the boards of the African American Chamber of Commerce for Westchester County and the other is the Henry Street Settlement in New York.
“Receiving this honor is humbling to say the least, and it’s an extraordinary privilege to work with a company that values Diversity and Inclusion. I’ve been blessed to have this platform as an Attorney and beyond to impact today and tomorrow’s workforce,” Jackson said. “For me, it is a personal obligation. Diversity in leadership has a transformative power because it promotes collaboration, innovation and contributions from every corner of the globe. Corporations thrive even more while remaining culturally relevant and doors are never closed for future change makers.”
Neal Suggs on the other hand worked on some of Microsoft's more critical businesses ranging from licensing and Xbox commercial sales during his 12 years with Microsoft. Suggs also has found time to come up with and foster legal diversity initiatives which he started while serving as the LCA Diversity Lead from 2007 to 2012. Among them he was a key contributor to Microsoft Law Firm Diversity Program. The program incentivizes outside counsel to demonstrate their level of commitment to ensuring a future of diversity. So far the program has netted a 12.9 percent increase in the hours of work at Microsoft by a wide range of diverse attorneys.
“It is a tremendous honor for my career to be recognized this way by Savoy Magazine and Microsoft,” said Suggs. “I appreciate the opportunities Microsoft has made available to me, and I continue to work to make sure others have those same opportunities. It is always humbling to receive recognition; I’m just happy to be able to give back in the way I have been helped.”
While Suggs and Jackson (they should also look into being on a buddy cop show as well) are not engineers or coders, we hope as the years continue we are met with more success stories for a wider range of diverse employees in and around technology.