Kevin L. Nichols

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Changing the conversation from diversity (the noun) to inclusion (as a verb) in tech!

Building an All-In Bay Area event

Building an All-In Bay Area event

By: Kevin L. Nichols – The Social Engineer

 

[April 22, 2015] OAKLAND.  Thanks to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, there has recently been a lot of talk about technology and its lack of diversity.  Some of the Silicon Valley tech giants have pledged to do something about the disparities of underrepresented minorities, women, LGBT, persons with disabilities, veterans, etc., however, it seems that there has been a lot more “talk” going on but little action.

 

Vator Splash is taking place today and tomorrow in Oakland.  Vator, Inc.’s mission is “to help great entrepreneurs find funding, and for investors to get in on the ground floor of tomorrow’s leading companies.  There a lot of workshops and seminars designed to marry entrepreneurs with investors, which in theory, will provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to have access to the tech world, but does not affect the tech giants or more mature startups disparities in the valley.  Similarly, the PushTech 2020 Summit will take place on May 6th.  This event will feature more panels regarding funding opportunities, a pitch competition, and supplier diversity opportunities for small businesses.  Nevertheless, at first blush, these events are not targeted at having a significant impact on moving the needle from diversity being the noun, versus inclusion being the verb in changing the face of Silicon Valley to reflect at least the population of the Bay Area, the State of California, or the nation.

 

Not everyone has the determination, motivation, creativity, and other qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur.  Moreover, there is this misnomer that everyone who works at a startup in Silicon Valley is right out of college, with a computer science or engineering degree, or a coder.  There are numerous other jobs in tech that are not just hardcore science related jobs, such as sales, HR, recruiting, accounting, legal, real estate, etc. and increasing diversity in these areas makes tech more inclusive.

 

The way that I see it, there are three areas of focus in order to make the tech world more inclusive:

 

  1. Pipeline – Tech companies need to fund nonprofit organizations designed to encourage youth to pursue careers involving math, science, and engineering (AKA STEM).  There are many notable organizations such as my friends, Kimberly Bryant’s Black Girls Code, Kalimah Priforce’s Qeyno Labs, and Wayne Sutton’s BUILDUP that are making a tremendous impact inspiring youth to pursue technology.  Moreover, my friend, Professor Bryan Brown and I have partnered to expose 11-12 year olds to math and science at Stanford University’s Science in the City camp and I am planning a STEM related camping conference this fall for a 150 high school students.  Investing in the future creates the necessary pipeline to have underrepresented groups at the table when it is time to hire eligible talent.
  2. Seeking and Retaining Eligible Talent –  It is not enough to recruit at a few Black colleges, all women colleges, etc., tech companies need to also seek these individuals out at the mainstream institutions that they recruit at.  Furthermore, they need to have a retention policy/plan in place to make these underrepresented groups (which some make up 1% of the workforce based on the study referenced earlier in some cases) feel welcome and included.  At least Affirmative Action gave employers incentives to consider diverse talent before hiring them.  Tech now needs its own version of the Rooney Rule , which requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
  3. Retraining Those Suffering From Age Discrimination – Surprisingly, if you are 38 or older, you are “over the hill” in Silicon Valley.  There is a huge disparity of age in tech, where older job seekers feel that they are overlooked for opportunities.  Although the younger generation has moved away from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Vine, older (in this case 38+) are capable of learning coding, software languages, IT, etc., in addition to the traditional skills like accounting, finance, HR, management, legal, etc. The tech industry needs to soften it’s emphasis on the “hip culture” of t-shirts and khakis at work, playing volleyball at lunch, and the like and diversify its workforce with people that can still get the job done (and have a little fun too!).  This is in-line with President Obama’s New TechHire Initiative to provide pathways for the middle class  to get jobs.

 

Making the tech industry more inclusive has more benefits than meets the eye.  Today, I was fortunate enough to attend an event called “Building An All-In Bay Area” organized by the San Francisco Foundation and sponsored by PolicyLink and USC’s Program for Environmental & Regional Equity.  It basically was a satelite overview of data complied from extensive research on equity, or lack thereof, throughout the Bay Area.  For example, although the racial/ethnic composition is projected to increase until 2040, the Black population is projected to decrease.  Wages grew significantly for middle and high wage workers aged 25-64 from 1979-2012 in the Bay Area, but decreased for lower waged workers.  Lastly, people of color have lower wages and higher unemployment rates. It might be naive, but more inclusivity in the tech industry will allow people of color to earn higher paying jobs, the ability to live in the communities where they work, have their tax paying dollars be applied to the schools that their children will attend, and improve the Bay Area’s overall quality of life.

 

For more information about the study on Equity, please visit http://nationalequityatlas.org.

Kevin L. Nichols is an entrepreneur, a legal technology, diversity, social media, and political consultant who resides in the Bay Area.  He is a passionate community organizer and activist.  Kevin is affectionately known as The Social Politician and The Social Engineer™ who is engineering a better life for the next generation, socially.  For more information, please visit www.kevinlnichols.com.

 

Black Men and Women Leaders in the Bay Area

Black Men and Women Leaders in the Bay Area

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Don’t forget to vote on November 4th!

You Don't Understand the Problem

[October 30, 2014]  OAKLAND.  This mid-term election is critical for our country’s future.  Rather than complaining and whining about the state of our communities, our schools, our taxes, the environment, etc., here is our opportunity to show up and make a difference.  Electing our representatives and leaders is our civic duty and we should be proud to exercise it.  The deadline has passed to mail in absentee ballots, however, it is not too late to vote in person.  November 4, 2014 is the mid-term election day in California, so if you do not know where your polling place is, please visit http://bit.ly/1uaOdRr to input your home address to find out.

Since I am The Social Politician ™, I work tirelessly for my clients to effectively disseminate their message and reach as many potential voters as possible.  Unfortunately, I do not have any clients running in this particular election, so for the most part, I have been sitting on the sidelines until I am retained.  Nevertheless, I have many friends and colleagues running in this election, so like I have done in the past, please see their campaign websites, make donations/contributions to their campaigns if you feel compelled, and give the best candidate your vote!

State Assembly District 15

Tony Thurmond – http://www.tonythurmond.com

Kevin and Tony

U.S. Representative 15th District

Eric Swalwell – http://www.swalwellforcongress.com

Eric Swalwell

U.S. Representative 17th District

Mike Honda – http://mikehonda.com

Mike Honda

El Cerrito City Council

Gabriel Quinto – http://www.quintoforelcerrito.com

Gabriel Quinto

City of Richmond

Uche Justin Uwahemu – http://www.ucheforrichmond.org

Uche

Oakland City Council, District 2

Kevin Blackburn – http://www.kevinblackburnforoakland.com

KEVIN-BLACKBURN-OAKLAND

Oakland City Council, District 2

Dana King – http://www.danakingforoakland.com

Dana King

Oakland City Council, District 2

Abel Guillen – http://www.abelforoakland.com

Abel Guillen

Oakland City Council, District 6

James Moore – http://www.jamesmoore4district6.com

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Oakland City Council, District 6

Desley Brooks – http://democracy.com/Desley-Brooks/default.aspx

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Oakland City Council, District 6

Michael Johnson – http://www.hope4oakland.org

Michael Johnson 037 (2)

Oakland Mayor

Bryan Parker – http://bryanparker.org

Bryan Parker

Oakland Mayor

Libby Schaaf – http://libbyformayor.com

libby schaaf

Oakland Mayor

Courtney Ruby – www.CourtneyRuby.com

Courtney Ruby

Oakland Mayor

Dan Siegel – http://siegelforoakland.org

Dan Siegel

Oakland Mayor

Joe Tuman – http://joetuman.com

Joe Tuman

Oakland Mayor

Jean Quan – http://www.jeanquanforoakland.org

Jean Quan

President Obama’s Last Bay Area Visit Before the Primary

President Barack Obama will have a reception at the W Hotel in Downtown San Francisco, California, on Friday, October 10, 2014.

This will be the President’s last visit to the Bay before the midterm elections.   It is just announced that Maxwell will be performing live.  The ticket prices have been reduced to reflect the new location.  To purchase your ticket, please visit  http://bit.ly/1p2rMpD

October Fundraiser Page 1

The Social Politician ™ MC’s the 4th Annual Men of Emerge Fundraiser

[September 11, 2014 ]  SAN FRANCISCO.   Last night, Emerge California hosted its 4th Annual Men of Emerge Fundraiser at Roe Nightclub and Lounge in downtown San Francisco.  Emerge identifies, trains, and encourages women to seek elected office.  Every year, the organization leans on various men (typically those who have political connections), to financially support its mission through this fundraiser.  Not only was I c0-host for this event, I had the pleasure of emceeing the event thanks Emerge’s Executive Director, Kimberly Ellis.  I introduced State Senator Mark Leno and State Assemblyman Rob Banta, who both expressed their support and gratitude to able to assist women getting more involved in politics.

Some of the hosts and supporters were Hon. Rob Bonta, Shon Buford, Hon. David Chiu, John Comerford, Todd David, Hon. Mark Farrell, Hon. Kevin Mullin, Hon. Darren Parker, Luis Quinonez, Hon. Tony Thurmond, Hon. Igor Tregub, Hon. Rodrigo Santos, SF Firefighters Local 798, Hon. Steve Westly, Brett Badelle, Sean Donahoe, CA Cannabis Industry Association, Joel Freston, Hon. Abel Guillen, Hon. Robert Jacob, Hon. Ash Kalra, Hon. Mark Leno, Edwin Lindo, Eamon O’Byrne, Tim Woodbury, Ohad Ben-Yoseph, Benito Delgado-Olson, Daniel Flores Jason Fried, Peter Garza, Leon Gilmore, John Hall, Nicholas Josefowitz, Hon. Andy Katz, Phong La, Jesus Lara, Hon. Steven Lee, Napa- Solano Central Labor Council, Northern CA Carpenters Regional Council, Steve Olson, Elias Portales, Gabriel Quinto, Jon Riley, Darryl Sladden, Andy Slivka, Henry Symons, Patrick Valentino, and Robert Warshawsky.

Here are some photos from the event and for more information about this organization, please visit www.emergeca.org.

2014 Men of Emerge California Fundraiser

2014 Men of Emerge California Fundraiser

Why Dr. Naomi Eason is Right for Alameda County Schools

[May 28, 2014] OAKLAND.  Public service is not all of the glitz and glamour that it is cracked up to be.  Candidates typically take 6 months, a year, to maybe 2 years out of their lives to run for an office that they may not ever get or if they do get it, their constituents could turn on them in a heart beat.  Why do people make this tremendous sacrifice and what is in it for them?  Some like the power and prestige.  Others like it because in their minds, it is the next logical step in their career path.  The rare few do it because the work is what they are good at and they are motivated by their passion.  This is the main reason why I am the campaign manager of Dr. Naomi Eason and support her bid for Alameda County Superintendent.

The Alameda County Superintendents’ race is a heated one where the primary election is coming down to the wire, culminating in less than a week on June 3, 2014.   Before candidates can and should be evaluated for this position, voters should know what the county superintendent is responsible for:

  • Educating specific student populations (i.e., special education, disenfranchised youth, Court and Community)
  • Monitoring and oversight of student academic environment
  • Monitoring and oversight for district fiscal stability
  • Providing academic support and assistance to districts and their schools
  • Providing direct services to small school districts
  • Implementing regional support activities to assist district and school staffs

All of the candidates come with many accolades, backgrounds, goals, and aspirations for the office.  Before I offer my opinion, I advise any Alameda County residents to make an informed decision on who they think is best suited to oversee their public schools and why. League of Women Voters of California Education Fund’s SmartVoter.org provides an excellent comparison of all of the candidates side by side with no endorsement.  Moreover, the California State Employees Association held a candidates forum that featured all of the candidates thoughts, opinions, and platforms directly.  Lastly, the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune held a candidates forum, which provides another glimpse of all of the candidates together so that you can choose whose values you identify with best.

Having provided you with enough independent information that you can make an intelligent decision on your own, I am going to now show you why you should vote for Dr. Naomi Eason:

1.  Here is the television commercial that thousands of voters have already seen;

2.  Here is an overview of Dr. Eason’s Educational Background;

3.  This is why there is a time for change;

4.  Check out her vision;

5.  Here is what Principal Denise Burroughs has to say about Dr. Eason;

6.  Principal Mary Fisher shares her views on Dr. Eason and Court and Community Schools

7.  School Teacher Blanca Nieves talks about the importance of Preschool Education and how Dr. Eason is right for Alameda County; and

8.  After School Teacher Maggie Lam discusses the significance of After School Programs and Dr. Eason’s passion regarding same.

Finally, Dr. Eason is a wife and dedicated parent of 5 children (3 of which are school aged and attend Oakland Public Schools); an educator who taught in Oakland public schools and the California State University system for CalStateTEACH teacher’s preparation program; and administrator who was the principal in the Emery Unified School District and served as a district office administrator, and was the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Alameda County Office of Education for 8 years.  This wealth of experience is vital in this role, however, what equips her most to deal educating specific student populations is the fact that Dr. Eason was kicked out of her high school for poor academic performance, but continued on in school to receive her doctorate in educational leadership.  There is nothing more inspiring to hear Dr. Eason’s passion for our youth, innovative ideas, and methodical processes for executing same.  I am proud to stand by her and I hope that you will feel confident that she has earned your vote.

For more information about Dr. Naomi Eason for Alameda County Superintendent, please visit her website at www.naomieason.us

 

 

The Social Politician™ discusses Social Media with Cory Booker

Cory Booker and Kevin L. Nichols

[May 1, 2014] SAN FRANCISCO.  I had the pleasure of meeting Cory Booker again during his visit to San Francisco last week.  Many people know him as the former Newark, New Jersey Mayor, or current U.S. Senator of New Jersey.  I know him has a social politician!

Whereas, I make politicians look good online and in some cases manage their campaigns, Cory Booker is the actual candidate who also runs about 90% of his social media.  I was floored when I asked him how he juggles it all?  He said (paraphrasing that is) that basically before or after appointments, he logs into his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to see what is going on and either responds or sends out new material.  Then, he also schedules more thought provoking or meaningful communications when he knows that he will be unavailable.

I am glad that Cory took the liberty to ReTweet my Tweet to his 1.46 million followers on Twitter and all and all, he is a really great guy.

 

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To learn more about his campaign, please visit http://www.CoryBooker.com and to learn more about Cory and other politicians, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

 

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The Social Politician™ attends the California Democratic State Convention

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[March 20, 2014] SAN FRANCISCO.  Last weekend, I accompanied a group of volunteers that descended upon Los Angeles to encourage party unity for the office of Secretary of State.  Leland Yee, a current democratic state senator representing District 8, wanted to follow the recommendation of California Democratic Party Chair, John Burton, to not endorse a particular candidate at the state convention.  Since the new law allows the top two vote getters to be on the November ballot, theoretically, there could be two democrats on the ballot as opposed to the one candidate who would receive the party’s endorsement.  Despite Burton’s plea, there was a lot of resistance.  Nevertheless, Senator Yee was victorious in achieving a no endorsement outcome at the State Convention.

Although this was a wonderful learning experience of the real life democratic process, the trip was not all work.  In addition to attending various caucuses on issues that concern all Californians, there were numerous hospitality suites, happy hours, and party’s to celebrate various elected officials and candidates running for office.  For example, I attended a reception for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.

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I also attended a party for former San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome at the Westin Bonaventure.

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All in all, it was an eye opening experience and I look forward to possibly being a delegate in the future.

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By:  Kevin L. Nichols, The Social Politician™