Technology Council Reopens Awards Nominations After Women Were Omitted

The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council is reopening nominations for its annual executive awards, following criticism that the top categories omitted women for the third year in a row.

"Wouldn't it be great if, whenever we saw an injustice, we quickly called it out and got it handled?" said Diane Hessan, the founder of Boston marketing firm C Space and a critic of the council's original nomination process. "I think it would be so incredible if that were the lesson of this."

MassTLC President Tom Hopcroft did not respond to an interview request. He told WBUR last week he was disappointed that 15 men and zero women were nominated for the group's highest individual honors. He said a committee would look at ways to foster gender diversity in next year's awards.

"This experience is certainly causing us to get together and reevaluate," Hopcroft said at the time.

As prominent figures in the local tech community slammed MassTLC, the group decided to take action this year. Six high-tech heavy hitters — HessanDavid Cancel, David ChangKathleen Kennedy, Jesse Mermell and C.A. Webb — teamed up to pen an op-ed in Thursday's Boston Globe.

"If our leading organizations can't figure out how to recognize women, then they don't deserve to represent any of us," they wrote.

Hopcroft responded in an op-ed that the Globe published Thursday evening.

"Over the past week, MassTLC has, rightfully, been called out in the press and on social media for a lack of diversity in the individual leadership categories of our annual awards program," he began. "While MassTLC works diligently throughout the year on advancing women and other underrepresented populations in tech, we failed to spotlight and recognize that advancement. For this, I apologize."

MassTLC will keep the original nominees but open up 15 additional slots. The deadline for new nominations is Aug. 10.

"What MassTLC is dealing with is not uncommon in the technology world," said Candice Benson, the Boston regional director of Women in Technology International, and advocacy group. "Women are underrepresented in such awards and for various reasons, one of the reasons being that many women are not comfortable focusing on themselves or spotlighting their success.

"We support MassTLC's decision to reopen the nomination process and look forward to seeing more women come forward and be recognized for their achievements."

This article was originally published on July 27, 2018.


Headshot of Callum Borchers

Callum Borchers Reporter
Callum covered the Greater Boston business community for Bostonomix.



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