Last week I was honored to attend the third annual White House LGBT Tech & Innovation Briefing. Over 200 LGBTQ tech professionals convened at the White House to discuss how the tech community can tackle issues affecting LGBTQ people. The event was intentionally inclusive; Leanne Pittsford, CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech and Tech Up, invited 50% women, 50% people of color, 20% transgender and gender nonconforming people - all of whom were also diverse in terms of geography, skill sets, and company/organization.

Jamesha Fisher, Security Operations Engineer at GitHub, and me hanging out before USCTO Megan Smith's keynote.

The power of an intentionally inclusive and diverse group was inspiring. At the Briefing, we broke out into sessions dedicated to issues such as criminal justice reform, health & mental health, and the environment. I participated in the session on tech hiring and inclusion since I am committed to making sure the tech industry not only hires a diverse set of people, but also actively includes everyone after hiring.

The best part is that this White House Briefing was only the first step in tackling these important issues. At the Briefing, we started planning the Tech Up Inclusion + Innovation Week Summit this November 14-20th, in Mapbox’s own backyard of Washington, D.C. I’m excited to welcome the Tech Up community to my hometown and connect everyone to the local DCTech community, including companies, startups, and tech meetups.

Interested in attending or planning this November’s Tech Up Summit? Follow @LesbianTech and @wetechup or find me on Twitter at @AlexUlsh to learn how to contribute!