Diversity in the Future Workplace

As students graduate college, a key concern on their minds will most likely be finding job. While working at prestigious companies may bring a good income and bragging rights, Susan Lyne, the founder of BBG Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in startups with at least one female founder, advises students to consider factors such as diversity when deciding where to work. In Lyne’s words, diversity can be constituted as “not just ethnic background, racial background … it’s the way you think about the world.

In Tuesday’s first panel, Lyne discussed her experience rising to positions of power and finding her role in the conversation around diversity. Quoting the issue of tokenization in the workplace, Lyne repeatedly stressed the importance of finding a support system. She says: “Find your posse as fast as possible. It can be soul-crushing to work at companies like these if you feel you’re the only one.” Lyne notes that discovering a solid group of people not only makes one feel more empowered, but also helps one level the playing field at large companies. She revealed that change in the workplace is very slow until it accelerates, so it is crucial that employees within organizations continue the fight for diversity. Lyne further acknowledges that current diversity in the workplace might be due to some degree of tokenization, but to not let this thought become a hindrance. She stresses that it is crucial to keep moving towards one’s goals and build relationships that will help one achieve those very goals. Lyne says: “If you get too angry personally about tokenization, and you don’t play the game, you’re not gonna solve anything.”

Lyne’s advice leaves students with an important choice as they head off into the workplace: what type of company do they really want to work for, and what message do they want to spread to the world?

Find your posse as fast as possible. It can be soul-crushing to work at companies like these if you feel you’re the only one.
— Susan Lyne