Author: Startup Bend

Rane Stempson: Helping Central Oregon Startups and More Create Diverse, Inclusive Workplaces

By Rane Stempson When it comes to diversity in the workplace, both Teri Hockett, with the Technology Association of Oregon, and myself have heard several commonly asked questions, including: What does inclusion really mean? Why do we need to pursue diversity when Central Oregon isn’t really that diverse? Are we forcing the matter in a region that doesn’t need it? What does this equal pay law mean for a small business? What is really considered sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace today? Does that stuff really happen in Central Oregon companies? And “Oh my, I had a woman come to me about what she was experiencing at work I and I had no idea what to say or how to advise her. What should I do?”

So Teri approached me and asked if I would help develop a equity, diversity and leadership workshop series targeted at startups and small businesses that would offer practical knowledge on these topics at an affordable price? As the former principal research director for Microsoft, I focused on diversity and specifically bring more underrepresented groups into computing, so this was in my wheelhouse. I opened the Ranemaker Institute and began developing the TAO workshop series, researching, and working with the City of Bend and the Bend Chamber on how we could better support our City’s equity needs.