Women in tech: Diversity, inclusion and belonging

A Conversation with Mindy Ferguson, Managing VP at Capital One, and Laura Gomez, founder & CEO of Atipica

Hi! I’m Laura Gomez. I’m the co-founder of Project Include, a non-profit that aims to bring true diversity and inclusion to the tech ecosystem. Founded six years ago by six women with a collective experience of 150 years in tech, our mission is to push for true accountability and action in venture capital, startups, and tech companies.  

I’m also the founder and CEO of a venture-backed data company focused on predictive analytics for DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Most recently, I have been advising companies on product inclusion, to help answer questions like, how can we build products that are inclusive right from its conception? With the recent changes in remote approaches in workplace environments, how do the dynamics of inclusion change?

When Capital One approached me to collaborate  with Mindy Ferguson, MVP, Card Technology, for their workplace trends of 2022–and focus specifically on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in the tech space (DIB), I jumped at the opportunity. Capital One does not just talk about DIB, but they have walked the walk since my first interaction with them in 2015. 

Nowadays, when you are building a startup as a female founder, trying to get access to experts and potential clients is almost impossible. In 2015, I remember feeling defeated when I couldn’t talk to HR leaders to validate my products. I knew there was a space for predictive people analytics but I could not get experienced leaders to share their thoughts with me. But, that all changed when I was introduced to leaders at Capital One. They were vital to shaping my very early, early, early idea… and eventually the product. Part of me has always been grateful to Capital One for those opportunities to meet and connect.

Fast forward to today and of course, given my prior experience, I had high expectations coming into my chat with Mindy. What if the Capital One of my past was not the Capital One I was collaborating with? What if I couldn’t be my authentic self in the process? But, from the pronunciation of my name to how I identify, the Capital One team thought of everything. 

My chat with Mindy was not only engaging and informative, but it was also transparent. We discussed DIB as it should be discussed: as a key component of any successful business. We spoke about how women can not only have a seat at the table but move the table and if they want, change the chairs for more comfortable ones. The conversation flowed.. it felt like I had known Mindy for years!

Through my chat with Mindy, I saw Capital One’s true commitment to discussing the topics at hand. I sighed when I knew I had made the right choice to pursue this collaboration. I don’t negotiate who I am in the business partnerships I engage in, and this was no exception.

I don’t want to give too much away, so please do watch our chat. Hope you enjoy it.

Laura Gomez, Founder & CEO of Atipica

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