Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

Fernando Gont <> Tue, 26 January 2021 00:24 UTC

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From: Fernando Gont <>
Subject: Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
To: Michael StJohns <>,
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Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2021 21:24:05 -0300
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Hi, Michael,

On 25/1/21 16:06, Michael StJohns wrote:
> On 1/24/2021 6:28 PM, Adrian Farrel wrote:
>> Can I just top-post to throw into the mix that one of the candidate
>> questionnaire questions is (quite reasonably) to you have support from 
>> your
>> employer (financial and time) to fill this role. Answering this 
>> question, of
>> course, means going to your employer and getting that support (or for
>> independents finding a sponsor). This represents a certain investment 
>> in of
>> reputation, may be a lot of work, and can be treated differently by
>> employers when a candidate is not selected.
> One of the main drivers of our "diversity" problem is the input set of 
> people from which we draw our candidates - it lacks diversity on a 
> number of axes.  We've noted this before - that GIGO  or rather 
> Conformity In is Conformity Out.
> I wanted to pull out this paragraph from Adrian's note and use it to 
> make a suggestion:   Let's have the last 5 or so Nomcom chairs plus 
> Andrew drag in the appropriate people from some of the larger companies 
> and ask them to help us with our candidate diversity problem. 

Wouldn't "drag in the appropriate people from some of the larger 
companies" actually be the wrong first step?

Those larger companies usually have the means for financial support, 
operating in a specific set of countries, and have a specific level of 
influence in the IETF. (many of these things are probably quite related 
with the diversity problem).

In that light, why not poll:
* folks from such large companies
* folks from universities
* independent consultants.

And for all of the above items, have folks from each of the different 
regions and, to the extent that's possible, from multiple genders.

(Still not perfect, but certainly a more diverse sample to tackle the 
problem of diversity -- otherwise it might result in micro-diversity)

> It may also make sense to see if they'd be interested in providing 
> funding for candidates not from those larger companies (e.g. smaller 
> sole consultancies, academia, non-profit research institutes) that may 
> not be able to find internal support for the large time commitments the 
> ADs especially have to make.    In academic terms - an endowed chair. 
> I'm not looking for them to fund their competitors obviously, but there 
> may be some benefit in providing support for someone nominally 
> independent of their company.

Wouldn't the Internet Society be an obvious fit for this one?


Fernando Gont
SI6 Networks
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