Meet Code2040: Increasing diversity in tech #withAsana
May 23rd, 2017
According to the US Census, the US population grows by one person every 14 seconds, or 2.25 million people each year. Based on this growth, and the current growth of people of color, the year 2040 marks the start of the decade when the majority of the US population will be people of color. Unfortunately, though the tech industry is growing at a similarly rapid pace, it’s not representative of such change.
Code2040 is a nonprofit well acquainted with the growth of the Black and Latinx populations and their underrepresentation in tech. Founded in 2012 with a mission to close the wealth gap in the US by diversifying the tech industry, they create pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for Black and Latinx professionals. Their goal is ambitious: to ensure that Black and Latinx communities are proportionally represented in America’s innovation economy—as technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs—by 2040.
Code2040 provides companies with the tools and insights they need to break down barriers in recruiting and retaining Black and Latinx talent.
Since launching five years ago, Code2040 has matched close to 290 students with internships at tech companies through their Fellows program. It builds bridges between top college-level Black and Latinx engineering talent and companies who are in need of engineers.
Fellows who want access to the innovation economy and have been historically overlooked by it gain the network and experience they need to build careers in the tech sector. Company partners learn how to put diversity and inclusion into action with entry-level candidates.
To date, Code2040 has worked with 75+ company partners, such as Airbnb, Dropbox, and Lyft. And in 2017, they’re expanding their diversity and inclusion offerings to companies outside of the Fellowship. This will ensure that more companies are equipped with the tools and insights they need to break down barriers in recruiting and retaining Black and Latinx talent.
Every year since founding, Code2040 has doubled both their budget and staff count. Like many non-profits, most of their growth comes through programs, such as their Fellows Program, so it can be a struggle for their small operations team to keep up. “We mitigate this through our use of technology and building systems that are designed for scale,” says Allison Jones, Code2040’s Director of Marketing Communications.
In 2016, Code2040 increased their impact by doubling the size of their Fellows Program. Additionally, their Technical Applicant Prep (TAP) Program had 4,000 students in its network. The TAP Program bridges Computer Science education with careers in tech by providing Black and Latinx students with the network, resources, and community to launch and sustain their tech careers.
This year, Code2040 is implementing their strategic plan and continuing to build their community of Black and Latinx technologists. “In 2017, we will add more staff, continue growing our programs (including rolling out our Company Training program), and serve more students than ever before,” says Allison.
Serving more students #withAsana
Growing and scaling at this rapid rate isn’t without its challenges. To manage their growing workflows, the whole Code2040 team uses Asana.
Before using Asana, the team tracked requests in scattered Google Docs or Slack (check out how Slack integrates with Asana). Since switching to Asana, they developed processes around how they meet and ask for support so that critical information is no longer lost. The team relies on three key Asana use cases to serve more and more students each year:
“With Asana, we’re able to set deadlines, organize projects, and keep our teams up-to-date and engaged.”
Code2040’s most common use of Asana is for managing meetings. For one-on-ones, managers and their direct reports track discussion topics, review agendas, and prepare in advance using projects. And for large meetings, like their Leadership Team and All Staff meetings, the meeting agenda and notes are all kept in Asana. This makes almost all meetings at Code2040 much more productive, and leadership team meetings get more input from other staff members because the planning process is transparent.
At Code2040, all finance, operations, and communications requests are filed in Asana. For example, the communications team manages requests for collateral, promotion, and editorial review through Asana. Their staff also uses the email-to-project feature to easily request one-pagers, decks, and other branded assets. “This has cut down on back-and-forth in other places like Slack, email, and the hallways,” says Allison.
Tracking and sharing progress
Beyond tactical details—like meeting topics and requests—Asana allows the team to track and share broader progress across the organization. “With Asana, we’re able to set deadlines, organize projects, and keep our teams up-to-date and engaged,” says Allison.
A huge mission
Building a tech industry that reflects the diversity of the broader population is a huge mission. For Code2040, this requires keeping up with the rapidly changing landscape of the industry and country at large, as well as their growing team.
In the process, Code2040 has impacted the lives of thousands of students in the innovation economy. We can’t wait to see how Code2040 continues to empower future generations of Black and Latinx technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs #withAsana.