Don’t make it harder to attract women to South Florida’s tech industry | Opinion

Joseph R. Russo
·2 min read

The South Florida tech industry is taking off, but we have plenty of hurdles before we eclipse Silicon Valley.

One of the biggest, yet little addressed, issues is how we maintain a welcoming and inclusive culture in our tech community.

I can only describe Lucy Lopez’s Feb. 9 story on miami.com, “Buy a big boat and ditch the hoodies: A Tech Bro’s guide to dating Miami women,” as a failed satire.

Her “hoodie-wearing boy-men” stereotype is disappointing; the message it sends to women in tech and the cultural tone with which is describes Miami’s culture does nothing to advance the positive brand of the region’s startup momentum.

In reality, there are important issues to address.

There is a diversity gap of both women and minorities in tech-related fields. There is the importance of facilitating inclusivity for anyone seeking a career in tech, regardless of their sexual orientation. And there seemingly is always a hurdle for someone to overcome in their career path.

Lopez downplays the importance of cultivating an inclusive cultural fabric in a tech community and the generational impact of the dedicated work of so many leaders, organizations and companies to get us to today.

Simply put, South Florida tech will thrive only through an incomparably awesome culture.

Tech Hub South Florida has worked hard to build a diverse and inclusive organization to help lead the growth of our tech industry, and its board reflects that.

We’re also blessed with committed partners — such as the Center for Black Innovation and aire ventures — working hard everyday to enhance inclusivity in tech. Not to mention a community that came together to adopt the MiamiTech Manifesto, which I proudly signed.

The South Florida tech community is collaborative and welcoming to all. We will fiercely defend this community and our culture. And because of this culture, we will become a premier tech hub.

Joseph R. Russo is president and CEO, Tech Hub South Florida, the region’s tech industry association.