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Tracy Chou: Tech Industry Diversity Trailblazer


Tracy Chou- Tech industry trailblazer for diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley.
Tracy Chou- Tech industry trailblazer for diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley. Image from Vogue.

Tracy Chou is a software engineer and diversity advocate working to make the tech industry more inclusive and representative.


Chou graduated from Stanford University with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. After college, she worked as a software engineer at several major tech companies, including Quora and Pinterest. Her parents were also computer scientists based in Silicon Valley. Even with her cookie-cutter pedigree, she still faced racism, prejudice, and gender bias.


Why is she awesomely beautiful? In 2013, Chou launched a GitHub repository to track staff demographic data at major tech firms. This public data highlighted the lack of diversity, especially when it came to women and underrepresented minorities, at companies like Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and others. Her spreadsheet, bringing transparency to these company diversity numbers, went viral.


This move is widely credited with pushing tech giants to finally release robust workforce diversity reports and make commitments to improve hiring and retention of underrepresented groups. As reporting increased, it shone a light on the severe imbalances in the industry's workforce.


Since then, Chou has continued her advocacy work in several notable ways:

  • In 2015, she co-founded Project Include, a non-profit organization that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions across tech.

  • At Pinterest, she led the creation of tools and initiatives to promote inclusive hiring practices.

  • In 2017, she was involved with the BRAID initiative between Adobe and the Anita Borg Institute to help drive more inclusive product development processes.


Chou has spoken at many conferences and written extensively on her website and other outlets about diversity issues in Silicon Valley. Her writing covers topics like combating harassment, retention of underrepresented minorities, and strategies for building more ethical and accountable tech cultures.


Though she continues her work, Chou remains humble about being credited as a pioneering figure pushing for diversity reforms in the industry. In interviews, she emphasizes there is still much more progress needed from tech companies and leaders.


Currently, Chou is founder and CEO of Block Party, which builds tools for online safety, privacy, and anti-harassment.


Let's go Silicon Valley (and all the other subsequent alleys), less bro culture and more chou-culture.


Peace,

MA

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