Damien Hooper-Campbell, the chief diversity officer at eBay, played a dynamic role in this year’s RIDE Conference. The Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate previously served as the first head of global diversity and inclusion at Uber Technologies and was a diversity business partner and community strategist for Google’s Diversity, Integrity and Governance Division. During this year’s RIDE conference, Hooper-Campbell moderated and participated in several panel discussions and shared key information with attendees regarding diversity and technology.
Rolling out spoke with the nationally recognized expert about the future of tech and non-traditional jobs in the field.
How do you feel about the RIDE Conference?
The organizations that didn’t think about digital [applications], the newspapers and print who stayed there and didn’t move, you see where they are now. We’ve seen that across so many different industries. What I love about RIDE, besides the awesome team that puts it together and Munson Steed’s vision, is that it’s in [Atlanta]. This is where I went to school. It’s so great to see so many people from minority communities here, hungry for more, but also contributing and coming from so many different sectors of the world. You’ve got people here who are media people, people who are pastors and entertainers, people who are students, people who are entrepreneurs, people who know tech like nobody’s business and people who know business. … It’s just nice for me as the chief diversity officer at eBay to see the diversity of individuals who are here, the hunger that people have and the hustle that people have.
How do you feel about millennials and diversity in tech?
As a Black man with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder], it means race and ethnicity, but it also means, you know, mental health and ability or people with disabilities. It can mean a lot of different things. I think tech is paying attention to it even more. Tech has been paying attention to it for a few years now, but I think where we’re going now is beyond thinking about the number of people that we have and putting those numbers out. It’s also about the experiences that those people are having and not just the minority groups, but the majority groups and how are we coming together to make things better.
Tell us about nontraditional jobs in the tech space.
I will tell you that almost six years ago when I joined the tech industry and moved from Wall Street, I was blown away because I thought it was going to be all engineers and that, if I didn’t know how to code, I would be at a loss for a career. It’s been exactly the opposite. I would say — just a guesstimate — that about 50 percent of the jobs at each tech company are not tech. That means that if you are an accountant, a marketer, in human resources, a communications major, there are opportunities that are out there. Tech companies are companies at the end of the day.