Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

Michael StJohns <mstjohns@comcast.net> Mon, 25 January 2021 19:07 UTC

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Subject: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
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From: Michael StJohns <mstjohns@comcast.net>
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Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2021 14:06:53 -0500
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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.  E.g. a 
substantial portion of the folk that end up as ADs or IAB or other 
leadership are funded as part of their employment with those 
companies.   It might actually be a useful exercise to look at the input 
representations we're getting from those companies and see if perhaps 
they can work internally to help broaden the diversity of the set of 
people they send to the IETF.

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.

Later, Mike