Welcome to Friday.

Week one of grad school is a wrap. My transition back to NYC has been both filling and nostalgic as I find the time to reconnect with friends in Harlem while juggling classes and sitting in on conversations at the Data Science Institute on community, journalism, and society.

Today, we conclude our gratuitous partnership with Capital One. Between class sessions, I had the honor of speaking with Mark Mathewson—Chief Technology Officer for Capital One’s small business and international card banking division. He’s responsible for all software product engineering of customer-facing tools.

Over the last month, Capital One has given us an inside view of their initiatives to empower women and girls within the tech field, and drawing distinct attention around their diversity initiatives, which Mathewson has played a large role.

Take a quick read through our interview below. We’re grateful for our relationship with Capital One and look forward to bringing more insight into the work they’re doing to create an environment for diverse talent within this industry.

What excites you about Capital One’s culture? 
When I first came here, I wanted to be at a consumer-focused company that didn’t feel like every other bank. It’s a bit more of a casual atmosphere and entrepreneurial atmosphere, meaning that it is a lot less hierarchical and true to the foundations of who Capital One is.

The last several years, we’ve had a maniacal focus on what the future of financial services looks like. The new generation of users and customers in the world. We’ve decided that a lot of it is creating the right software experiences. And then what does it take to create the right software experiences? Well, you have to attract the talent and put them in an environment that allows their creativity to build and flow. I really appreciate the investment we’ve put in to make creativity a real part of our culture.

Talk about your personal engagement of the diversity and inclusion efforts Capital One has embarked on both internally and externally. 
Over the last three years, I’ve been involved in several diversity initiatives playing a variety of roles in our Women In Tech initiatives. Internally, I also support our Male Allies efforts [for women in tech]. I’ve also been the accountable executive for our campus diversity recruiting efforts. We hired over 400 technology development engineers this year. It’s such a huge hiring opportunity for us and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to increase the diversity of the people we hire through that program. We put a lot of time and focus on creating diversity-led events, partnership engagements, and changing our sourcing methodology to focus on not just how we get the greatest talent out of those schools, but how we get the greatest diverse talent out of those schools.

Recently, I’ve been sitting on our internal tech diversity and inclusion council, playing an active role on our blacks in tech to address pipeline problems, internal inclusion challenges in our culture, and the development of our internal resources for attracting diverse senior leadership.

What does senior leadership recruitment strategies look like? 
There is no magic bullet. We’ve done a lot of things from forging partnerships with organizations that are aware of and fosters the talent of diverse C-level talent in technology.

We’ve also done things internally like organizing recruiting efforts around broadening the pipeline and seeking out diverse talent that shares our values and bringing those candidates into our pipeline. And even if we don’t have a role available, creating a role for them.

Also, we’re working internally on cultivating our referral networks in a different way, creating awareness and having people think about the people in their networks that we can actively bring in. These are all active seeds that we’re planting and we’re starting to see the fruit of those efforts.

What are you looking for in terms of talent and skill sets? 
First and foremost, our strategy has really shifted more toward engineering, away from what used to be heavily a project management, systems integration and vendor management type culture. We’re really looking for people in software engineering, data engineering, cyber-security, full-stack developers. There’s also a great set of design and front end development talent, we look especially for these domains and develop and round out their skill set.

Rise.
Sherrell

Interested in exploring a career at Capital One?
Find your next role at Capital One Careers. 

 

Program Aims To ‘Hack’ Tech’s Diversity Problem By Building A Bigger Pipeline
The program aims to increase the number of blacks and Latinos working at technology companies by recruiting interns from often-overlooked places, like community colleges and urban schools. Its first band of interns are currently training this summer.
ZENINJOR ENWEMEKA | WBUR
Meet 12 Black ‘Shark Tank’ Entrepreneurs Inspiring Next Generation Of Founders
In honor of National Black Business Month in August, meet 12 black entrepreneurs who’ve made it to ABC’s hit business reality show, Shark Tank — the holy grail of small enterprises.
KY TRANG HO | FORBES
‘Bet on Baltimore’ Program Reaches Out to Young Entrepreneurs
Bet on Baltimore program’s inaugural class had the opportunity Thursday to allow the interns from Green Street Academy to pitch enterprises to a panel of venture capitalists and mentors in the Baltimore Community.
KATHLEEN CAIRNS | FOX BALTIMORE
This App Wants To Save Black Women From Stylists Ruining Their Hair
Finally, in the fall of 2016, Thompson and Lambert launched Swivel Beauty with 15 salons and stylists in New York City. Last year, Swivel Beauty went through the prestigious Sephora accelerator program. Today, less than a year later, there are over 150 recommended stylists, with over 10,000 downloads.
RINA RAPHAEL | FAST COMPANY
Long Beach Wants Fewer Commuters, More Entrepreneurs
The plan’s second pillar is “economic inclusion,” backed by objectives like increasing minority-owned businesses in the city, increasing non-traditional capital and city spending on minority-owned businesses, and increasing investment in low-income corridors.
JOHNNY MAGDALENO | NEXT CITY

Get our daily newsletter delivered to your inbox when you subscribe here.