Diversity in Startups: It Matters

February 6, 2015

9:00 am

startups diversity

Photo courtesy of the Addison TreeHouse

“People from different backgrounds see the world differently. Women and men, whites and blacks, Jews and Muslims, Catholics and Protestants, veterans and civilians, gays and straights, Latinos and Europeans, Klingons and Romulans, Asians and Africans, wheelchair-bound and able-bodied: these differences of perspective generate insights that can’t be taught. When you bring (diverse people) together in a work environment, (people) integrate to create a broader perspective that is priceless. (Eric Shmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, How Google Works, 2014)

Let me give it to you straight: diversity in startups matters because it equals to more sales and innovation. A broader perspective in your startup is priceless. Literally. With new perspectives, you’re able to capture a larger target market you haven’t before considered. Or, you’re able to communicate more effectively to an existing audience. Diversity is particularly important for B2C companies because consumers buy from companies that understand them, as discussed in this post “Why Should Startups Care about Multicultural PR & Marketing”.

Let’s be honest: If we do not make a conscious effort to build a diverse team, we will find ourselves building a team of people who are just like us. And, that is O.K. But, in the long run, that’s all your company will ever be… just “O.K”.

On Tuesday, February 17th at 6pm The Addison TreeHouse is having a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion from an impressive group of leaders who know what it takes to build, grow and sustain a diverse team. Moderated by Emmy-award winning journalist Rebecca Aguilar, we will be having a riveting conversation on what diversity and inclusion is.

What can you expect from this discussion?

This will not be like any other conversation on diversity and inclusion. We promise you will walk away with a new perspective on what diversity and inclusion means, from:

Mark Haidar, CEO, Vinli

Mark Haidar, DialexaThroughout his career, Mark has been able to build more than 42 different notable products and grow several technology-based businesses.

Mark cofounded Dialexa, a global product-focused technology innovation and development company headquartered in Dallas. During his tenure as the Co-CEO, Dialexa grew at an exponential rate with clients ranging from venture-backed startups to fortune 20 companies and governments around the world. In 2014, Dialexa started a division under the name of Dialexa Labs; a self funded venture lab that develops internal products or services that spins out new companies. In Sept 2014, Dialexa Labs launched Vinli, the first connected car platform at Techcrunch Disrupt. Mark is currently serving as the CEO of Vinli. Mark has numerous journal publications, pending patents, and is a regular speaker at global technology conferences.


Lamont Robinson, VP Supplier Diversity, Nielson

Lamont Robinson, NielsenIn 2012, Lamont joined Nielsen as the Vice President of Supplier Diversity. His passion for supplier diversity allows him to incorporate creativity into solutions needed for Nielsen constituents. He was honored by MBN magazine as one of the Top 75 Leading Men in Corporate Diversity, and by the same magazine as leading one of the top 101 supplier diversity programs. Nielsen’s program was honored by Black EOE Journal as being one of the Top Supplier Diversity Programs for African Americans and by Women’s Enterprise USA magazine as one of WE Corporations of the Year. Lamont authored his autobiography “TransformNational: Journey of a Bastard” which details his personal experiences in overcoming challenges on Chicago’s violent West Side to achieve success.


Evelyn Torres, CEO, Solaris Technologies

Evelyn Torres, Solaris Technologies

Evelyn Torres is the Founder and chief executive officer of Solaris Technologies, Inc.   Founded in Irving, Texas during 2010, Solaris Technologies provides a wide range of network products and services to support IT infrastructure at a competitive cost point.   Evelyn used her telecommunications and import and export experience to start Solaris Technologies, and has established long-term relationships with worldwide Telecom suppliers and customers.   Currently the company has its Headquarters in Irving Texas with offices in Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil and Chile.




Liji Thomas, CPA, CIA, CRMA, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Southwest Airlines

Liji Thomas, SouthWest Airlines

Liji’s experiences range from lobbying on Capitol Hill to developing and modifying complex information systems. In 2008, Liji joined the Internal Audit Department of Southwest Airlines. During her time in Internal Audit, Liji led the company’s first Capitalization of Labor Audit and published an article based on her experiences in the October 2010 issue of Internal Auditor magazine. Currently, Liji serves as Senior Manager of Diversity and Inclusion for Southwest Airlines, informing all aspects of Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the nation’s largest domestic airline.




Amy Czuchlewski, Senior Director of Mobile Engineering, BottleRocket

Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle RocketAmy Czuchlewski is the Director of Mobile Engineering at Bottle Rocket. She brings over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry to her current leadership role. In 2014, Czuchlewski joined Bottle Rocket to oversee mobile engineering. Under her leadership, Bottle Rocket has restructured its development teams and strived for maximum efficiency.  Prior to joining Bottle Rocket, Czuchlewski held leadership positions at Accenture, LLP, Blackberry, and ADT Security Services – aiding with web and mobile development, software product delivery, and telecommunications consulting.


Early-bird tickets for the event are on sale now. You won’t want to miss this.

Diversity in startups

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Paula belongs to the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, the Hispanic IT Executive Council, and is a 2014 Dallas Business Journal's Women in Technology awardee. She dreams of bettering the world. Follow Paula on Twitter @Agean6.