Why Culture Change Starts With Community Involvement: #bossbabesATX x Aceable

SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler panelists chat their holistic approach to lifestyle design.

SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler panelists chat their holistic approach to lifestyle design.

Editor’s Note: In an effort to curate conversation around the intersection of holistic personal development, side hustles and tech, #bossbabesATX and Aceable partnered to produce a three-part production, as part of #bossbabesATX’s SHE TALKS program, a year-long discussion-based series exploring gender equity, intersectional feminism and professional growth. The following blog post gives a little backstory to this collaboration.

At #bossbabesATX, we believe (and data proves this true) that investing in culture and community-building has positive impacts on our economies, our social systems and our environment. For that reason, we regularly work with businesses, nonprofits and other organizations to create access points for our networks to discuss real issues face-to-face—with thought leaders and folks we consider experts.

That sentiment drives the production of our year-long SHE TALKS series. So, when Aceable, a mobile certification and training platform, reached out about becoming one of our SHE TALKS sponsors, we were first thankful for their support of our mission and then delighted when we found out they were committed to participating in the series as a hands-on partner and collaborator.

So, how do collaborations like this work and why are they valuable?

Let us count the ways.

Why collaboration and conversation are important for culture change:

First, our lives do not occur in a vacuum. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, 9-to-5er, freelancer, mother, artist, you’re part of a community and that community has a value system. Depending on where you live, who you hang out with and what your interests are, that value system could be a number of things.

For example, in the tech industry, a company may prioritize innovation and capital over collaboration and team-building (*although none of these goals are mutually exclusive). Their hiring practices may also disparately skew male and white. In turn, their organization may support certain voices over others. This is how company cultures develop.

So, how should companies circumvent that? If we’re going to make tech industries—any industry—friendlier toward women, people of color, LGBTQ folks and other marginalized groups, where does building a positive company culture start? Where do we go from hiring diverse teams?

For Aceable, an education-centered company, the answer was simple: Contribute educational programming to the community, while supporting a like-minded nonprofit organization (in this case, #bossbabesATX!).
 

The Aceable team at SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler, the first event in our summer SHE TALKS installation. Photo by Illyana Bocanegra

The Aceable team at SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler, the first event in our summer SHE TALKS installation. Photo by Illyana Bocanegra

How we worked together:

At its core, Aceable is an education company, and their mission is to make education more accessible for everyone. Within their organization, they’ve assembled a diversity committee focused on raising awareness, while remaining inclusive of all groups, whether or not they work in tech. On top of that, many employees at their organization are entrepreneurs, activists, side hustlers and creatives. For this reason, Aceable was particularly interested in journeying with us to create a series that encourages self-identifying women creatives to embrace and leverage the tech space, without allowing rigid lifestyle concepts to inhibit the diversification of our incomes or interests.

At #bossbabesATX, our objective is to change creative culture in the long-term by taking a novel approach to community and conversation. We focus on meeting people where they are (whether that's in a bar during our meet-ups, a coffee shop for discussion or while ~dancing~ at a fundraiser party)  and fostering discussion face-to-face.  Through our productions, we continually assign value to intersectionality, informed decision-making, sharing professional resources and actively advocating for women's rights.

With this in mind, we identified our mutual goals of community-building and education and locked in on a few ideas that would leverage our collective expertise, while actively empowering others to engage and rethink their relationship to tech and their lifestyles. We worked to craft a program that touched on the following:

  1. Lifestyle design

  2. Cultural and company diversity

  3. Time management and identity

SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler attendees listen intently to our panelists. Photo by Illyana Bocanegra.

SHE TALKS: Confessions of a Side Hustler attendees listen intently to our panelists. Photo by Illyana Bocanegra.

The results?

Our SHE TALKS summer installation. Through three panels with a number of qualified experts, we'll discuss what it means to prioritize your lifestyle, leverage your career and make actionable, sustainable steps toward your goals.

You can take a peek at what we accomplished during Session 1 here. Stay tuned for details on Session 2 and 3!