The Joy of Acceptance: Presenting at the Grace Hopper Celebration

Receiving the news that our session on “Practical Steps for Tackling Bias in Software Engineering in the Age of AI” has been accepted for the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) was nothing short of exhilarating. GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women and non binary technologists, and being a part of this event not only provides a platform to share vital insights but also aligns with my passion for fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry.

Organized by FINOS (the Fintech Open Source Foundation), this panel addresses a crucial issue: bias in software engineering, particularly within financial services and beyond. Despite widespread recognition of its importance, DEI and bias continue to be significant challenges in software development. This session is a testament to the collective effort and progress we’ve made, especially through FINOS’ DEI Strategic Initiative launched in 2022.

Why This Session Matters

In recent years, the tech industry has seen a growing awareness of the need to address bias and improve DEI. However, awareness alone is not enough; practical steps and actionable strategies are essential to drive real change. Our session at GHC will delve into these practical steps, highlighting best practices around AI fairness and the significant work done through FINOS’ AI Readiness project.

The DEI Strategic Initiative by FINOS has made notable strides in increasing awareness and participation from underrepresented groups in the industry. Looking ahead to 2024, the DEI Special Interest Group (SIG) aims to expand leadership opportunities, prioritize the development of diverse talent, and ensure inclusivity across all FINOS projects, events, and software development processes. This session will explore these efforts, offering insights and strategies that attendees can implement in their own organizations.

The Path Forward

The focus of our panel will be on practical steps for tackling bias in software engineering and generative AI. By drawing on best practices around AI fairness and leveraging the insights from the AI Readiness project, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of responsible governance frameworks and use cases that ensure trust, inclusion, and safety are at the heart of AI development.

Preparing for the Panel

Preparing for this session involves not just collating data and developing content but also engaging with leading financial services institutions (FSIs) and tech practitioners. The collaborative nature of this preparation reflects the core ethos of FINOS and the broader DEI movement: progress is best achieved through collective effort and shared knowledge.

The anticipation of presenting at GHC is accompanied by a deep sense of responsibility. It is an opportunity to influence and inspire a diverse audience, share critical insights, and contribute to raising the bar towards a more equitable and inclusive tech future.

A Personal Reflection

On a personal level, the acceptance of this session is a milestone in my journey as a tech professional and an advocate for DEI. It reinforces the importance of the work we are doing and the positive impact it can have on the industry. Being part of GHC is not just about presenting; it is about connecting with like-minded individuals, learning from their experiences, and collectively pushing the boundaries towards a more inclusive tech ecosystem.

In conclusion, the joy of being accepted for a session at GHC is a mix of pride, excitement, and a renewed commitment to the cause. It is an acknowledgment of the efforts made so far and a call to action for the work that lies ahead. I look forward to sharing our insights, learning from the GHC community, and continuing to drive positive change in software engineering and beyond.

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