The Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) is proud to announce that it has been recognized as the 2022 winner of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) award for Innovation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). TECNA, which represents approximately 60 technology associations across the United States and Canada, hosts the awards ceremony each year to honor technology council staff and teams who play a pivotal role in developing and implementing impactful work on behalf of tech associations.
“Creating a community that is welcoming and allows professional and personal growth without fear of persecution is paramount to the Council’s mission for our innovation economy,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Council and SciTech Institute. “As an industry, we still have a long way to go before people of all walks of life are equitably represented. However, we are proud to be a part of the solution, and to be recognized by TECNA for these efforts. This award is a testament to our incredible staff, board members and member organizations who work tirelessly to create and support DEI initiatives throughout our state. This work is a journey, not a destination, and we will continue to prioritize equity at every possible opportunity.”
The Council’s dedication to DEI initiatives is exemplified through several internal and external partnerships and programs that are moving the needle on inclusion within Arizona’s technology industry. A few key highlights include:
- ALRISE grant: The Council was recently selected by Arizona State University to receive a portion of a $10 million National Science Foundation Accelerate Latinx Representation in STEM Education (ALRISE) Alliance grant. The grant is intended to help mobilize the Council’s membership in offering experiential work-based opportunities in STEM to students who identify as Latinx.
InclusionAZ is an initiative with FairHire that is enhancing the vibrancy of Arizona’s technology ecosystem by imploring tech employers to provide unbiased and fair hiring opportunities that attract diverse talent from across Arizona and beyond.
- AZTC Tech Inclusion Forum: The Tech Inclusion Forum quarterly series focuses on highlighting the inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness (IDEA) challenges facing women and other underrepresented identities in STEM fields, and showcasing the many extraordinary and accomplished professionals in Arizona’s technology ecosystem.
- AZTC Women in the Workforce: An event series in Southern Arizona designed specifically to engage women in technology, the Women in the Workforce committee facilitates quarterly learning and mentoring opportunities, provides career and leadership development, and positions women to more effectively pursue and excel in technology careers.
- Written Publications:
Zylstra’s thought leadership columns focused on moving Arizona’s DEI initiatives forward frequently appear in various publications.
In addition, the Council is focused on electing women to its board of directors to reach 50/50 gender parity. The goal of this initiative is to not only reach equity but to better integrate the voices and ideas of women technology leaders in shaping a more diverse future for Arizona’s technology industry.. Since the Council made this commitment, it has elected 10 women to the board, including technology leaders like Raytheon’s Ivonne May and Intel’s Christine Boles. In addition, the Council’s SciTech Institute, has elected a number of women to its board, including Dianna McMahon of SRP, Angie Harmon of Freeport-McMoRan, Monica Villalobos of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Heidi Jannenga of WebPT and Renu Navale of Intel.
For more information on the Council and its commitment to diversifying Arizona’s technology industry, please visit www.aztechcouncil.org/
Register for the Council’s upcoming Phoenix and Tucson tech events and Optics Valley optics + photonics events.