Episode 14: “I Was The Only Person of Color in The Room” — Embracing Diversity Through Mentorship — Christopher Lafayette
Play • 42 min
Christopher Lafayette is an Emergent Technologist and a Thought Leader in Ecobiotic Diversity and Inclusion. He is an international speaker and the Founder of Black Technology Mentorship Program, a mentor/mentee program that brings underserved black communities into technology. Why do companies struggle to bring a diverse set of perspectives into their rooms? The truth is, 1. They don’t know where to find these people and 2. People end up leaving because they don’t feel like they fit in. Christopher shares how mentorship can change that.
Key Takeaways
How do you create on-ramps for people of color in tech?
How did Christopher get into this line of work?
When we think of ecosystems in a tech setting, we think of hardware and software. However, this is false. Ecosystems are people.
If you ask five diversity and inclusion experts on the definition of diversity, you’re going to get five different answers.
The conversation about diversity has started off wrong.
What’s more important? The color of your skin or the culture?
In the U.S., African American culture has been driving culture for decades in trends.
A lot of people leave rooms because no one looks like them. However, this ends up being a vicious cycle. What’s the solution?
Christopher has been in many rooms where he was the only black man in it. That didn’t stop him from being there.
Trip shares his experience teaching on a Native American reserve and how you qualify as a Native American.
People leave rooms because they don’t feel comfortable knowing no one has a similar background/values to them. Mentorship programs like Christopher’s show that you can have your differences and still be accepted.
Based on the color of your skin, there is a certain expectation on what you like, how you should talk, act, and be.
The feedback Christopher is getting from his mentors in the program is that they’ve wanted to meet more people who have a different background from them, but they have had trouble finding them.
How do we remove our biases to stick to our own kind?
The good news, you can teach and train yourself to identify bias and not let that set you back.
When you’re able to be free from what other people think of you or expect of you because of your skin color, there is a liberty to that.
Christopher doesn’t want handouts from Silicon Valley; in fact, he’s extending his hand out to help it.
If we don’t embrace our differences in our culture, on a global scale, we have a real threat on our hands.
What is the Black Technology Mentorship Program about?
Interested in being a mentor? The commitment is one hour a YEAR!
Email Anna: Anna@Thebraveworkforce.com
Christopher on LinkedIn Special Guest: Christopher Lafayette.

This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit bravenewworkforce.substack.com
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