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This woman saw a problem with diversity in her workplace. Here's how she's fixing it.

She was usually the only black woman in the room, so she created her own company to change that.

Success in the tech industry isn’t new to Melissa James.

The office-manager-turned-CEO of The Tech Connection helped grow her former team at Sample6 Technologies from a handful of techies to 25 people in just two years. She did all kinds of work, including ciphering through data and metrics, and finding the best and brightest applicants. This is where she started to notice an unfortunate trend, which she decided to conquer by founding her own startup.

When she started her career in tech, James was often the only black person — and the only woman — in the room.


Photo used with permission via Melissa James.

“When people hear the word 'diversity,' they tend to immediately think of race,” James said. “It’s more about the diversity of thought. You want a multitude of backgrounds representing your team, and that currently isn’t the case in most tech offices.”

Now, James is creating a software system to help companies "hire blindly."

Here’s how it works: According to James, many hiring managers see a name and instantly get an idea of who that person is and what their background means. James’ program removes the candidate’s name from the resume. It also removes where they went to school and their current location. Those details are replaced with their core skill set, where they’ve worked in the past, and the character strengths they bring to the table. This, she believes, will help increase hiring diversity for these companies.

While her product is limited to the tech world right now, she's working to ensure that the software won’t just be a product initiative. Instead, she hopes it'll also introduce a necessary dialogue about increasing workplace diversity.

James’ diversity concerns are echoed pretty much everywhere in the tech industry.

Does this look like your workplace? According to the data, probably not. Image via iStock.

Just last year, Apple came under fire for the lack of diversity on its leadership board. White men made up 72% of all leaders. Today, 28% of Apple's leaderships roles are held by women, 6% by Latinos, and just 3% by black leaders. Yikes.

Apple isn’t the only company struggling with diversity issues, though. Just about every major tech company in America, from Google to Facebook, is struggling to find the balance between men and women in the workforce. And the gap only gets larger as you climb higher up the leadership ladder.

Gay and transgender employees still make up about 6% of the workforce for federal, state, and local jobs, and workers with disabilities still struggle to find gainful employment, too.

When we remove opportunities to create and use stereotypes, we open ourselves up to lots of choices.

James' software is a push in the right direction, but it certainly isn't the only step we need for bringing diversity to every workplace.

Thankfully, lots of companies are working on this problem. Just last year, DiversityInc recognized companies including AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson as leaders for increasing diversity. Apple declared a commitment to increase diversity in their offices, and "Saturday Night Live" added Sasheer Zamata to the cast after comments from cast member Kenan Thompson led to an outcry from viewers about the lack of initiatives to increase diversity.The methods vary in all of these cases, but it's clear that in all industries, the need for change has been made apparent.

“Diversity is like rice,” James said. "It’s a staple that’s cooked differently in every different household, and each version is delicious in its own way. We have to have that diversity in culture, ideas, and thoughts. Diversity is not limited to race, and when we tap into various community backgrounds when looking for talent, we inevitably find produce something greater.”

That sounds like a pot of goodness we can all enjoy.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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