Re: How to get diversity of nominees was Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

Fred Baker <> Tue, 26 January 2021 19:11 UTC

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From: Fred Baker <>
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Subject: Re: How to get diversity of nominees was Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2021 11:11:22 -0800
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Guilty as charged regarding having been in a working group chair capacity for a while. For the record, my co-chair was at one point my AD. One thing to think about in chairs - it is common to couple an experienced chair and “fresh meat” for training purposes.

A suggestion: it might be worthwhile to keep some form of nomination roll - if someone would like to become a chair, they sign up, and their colleagues can (in one way or another) say good things about them. Then when an AD is looking for a possibility, s/he can review the roll. I suspect that the biggest reason ADs choose folks they know is that they don’t necessarily have ways to expand their circle of friends. The most common timing for people to become chairs is probably at working group formation, although it’s not limited to that, and the chair is one of the proponents of the project. Another source of leaders is folks that post drafts. If a person posts periodically and becomes known as an intelligent person that is easy to work with, they become part of a pool to tap.

The comment about “big companies” holds water. I once worked for a smaller company, and was told that its employees read and commented on drafts, but didn’t venture further; the company tried to NOT employ leadership. I filed drafts anyway, and lo and behold the NM AD (Dave Crocker at the time) wanted to open a working group and needed a chair. But yes, larger companies sometimes see leadership positions as in their interest, and are willing to see employees take that step (may even include the possibility in job descriptions or internal training, or institute a corporate policy of promoting its people or hiring leadership). So anyone *can*, but larger companies have more resources to expend in that direction. I have mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again: if you’re *expected* to show up at random meetings and workshops, funding can be an issue. The LLC can encourage non-big-company folks by having a funding mechanism for their travel expenses.

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> On Jan 26, 2021, at 10:28 AM, STARK, BARBARA H <> wrote:
> Since this conversation is happening, and I had a first row seat to all things NomCom this past year ...
> I don't think the pool of nominee diversity reflected the diversity of the set of people who regularly attend meetings. In my NomCom Chair report at IETF 109, I specifically highlighted the big difference in "time zone" / geographic diversity that was made obvious to me by the time zone info Calendly gave me when nominees scheduled their interviews vs. available statistics regarding current-address-continent of meeting attendees.
> IIRC, all the nominees were WG Chairs. This is generally considered an intermediary step towards the NomCom-appointed leadership positions. I strongly suspect (but don't feel incented to get real statistics) that the nominee pool diversity reasonably resembled WG Chair diversity, but that WG Chair diversity does not reflect attendee diversity. It may be useful to focus on how to increase WG Chair diversity. I actually think there are some rather simple-to-implement ideas that could move this in the "right" direction (where "right" => leadership diversity = regular attendee diversity).
> Most organizations that have improved their diversity at various management layers have done so by instituting a policy that requires the "hiring boss" to interview a diverse candidate pool. In many cases, the organizations also had to implement policies that made it easy for people interested in a position to self-nominate (apply) for it, rather than allowing the "hiring boss" to choose the candidate(s) from among the people they like, hang out with, and are comfortable with (or recommendations from such people). I've noticed that WG Chair positions are rarely broadly advertised and that each AD seems to have their own method of figuring out who to interview for a Chair position. It might make it easier for ADs to interview a more representative (of regular attendees) set of people if available WG Chair positions were posted and people were allowed to ask to be interviewed (or nominated by a "friend") for the position. 
> Another part of this, though, is the scarcity of open WG Chair positions. People mentioned that they don't want people hanging out in AD and IAB positions for many terms. But what about long-standing WGs where all the Chairs have been there for 10 or more years? Might it be useful to encourage a little more rotation of WG Chair positions?
> Just some thoughts...
> Barbara