Beyond the Usual, Passive DEI Efforts in Tech

About Me:People, Product & User Experiences

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Manny Becerra as a child

My passions and professional opportunities have allowed me to grow as a people, product and user experience leader in the tech, academic and non-profit sectors: I recruit and lead teams by trusting and empowering them; I value life-long learning; I've written code and created accessible, digital experiences for small-to-large, innovative shops, like Tesla; and, I believe in creating access opportunities to education and mentorship and cultivating inclusive, diverse workplaces.

I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.

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Product Philosophy

Our work, practices and products in tech are inseparably tied to the lives of the people that use our products, both directly and indirectly; consequently, products (can) create and reinforce beliefs, attitudes and social norms—knowingly or not by product creators—which is why I believe in taking an intersectional, inclusive approach in the development and evolution of products. I believe it's critical for folks to be aware of their own limits and biases stemming from any (unearned) privileges and societal power they may have, along with being mindful of their data. As such, I believe that anyone involved in product development, regardless of official role assignment, has a responsibility to be conscious of what norms and potential barriers they're reinforcing or creating, and to seek out and be open to user feedback.

For a lot of people, accessibility in your products isn't a luxury, it's a necessity; access to information and electronic technologies is a civil right.

I believe in making a better and more equitable world for all by helping create more access opportunities to education and mentorship, including technology, health and economic resources, in addition to amplifying voices from historically underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Manny is one of the most hard-working, dedicated and loyal members of the team who embodied the Tesla spirit more than anyone I have known. — Victor Barclay, Sr. Manager, Web & Digital Products @ Tesla

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How I work and lead

I have a reputation with coworkers and stakeholders of being team-oriented and influencing across an organization with getting things done collaboratively. I am reliable and reflective, and my approach is to be an active, empowering leader: knowing how much and when to get involved on a tactical matter, while deferring judgment, trust and responsibility to others on the ground to steer the team's trajectory toward desired outcomes.

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I recruit, on-board, lead, and mentor happy, productive and cross-functional teams—remote and on-site—within a continuous learning culture using trust, inclusion, and compassion as guiding principles.

Related posts:

On Systems

"with time, things turn into a mess"

As the second law of thermodynamics underscores, things get messy over time, however, that's no reason to throw in the towel; if anything, it's more the reason to explore different ways in which to conduct our work in a more sustainable, inclusive and accessible manner. Whether I'm designing and coding full-time on a project, or leading a team in a tactical or visionary capacity, or a combination of both, my team and I leverage design systems as a part of the product creation and tooling process. When it makes sense, I create my own and support my team in creating one for our own products. Design systems make our work and output not only more ideal, they optimize collaboration with cross-functional teams and help bring great ideas and high-quality products to life faster than otherwise.

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Projects can get messy; especially, in the ever-changing tech world. Learn about and leverage design systems to help bring order-to-chaos and assist with scaling your projects with quality, consistency and confidence.

Related good reads, resources and people

I'm a big fan of Jina Anne, Diana Mounter, Mina Markham, Rachel Andrew, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jen Simmons, Dan Abramov, Tatiana Mac, Sara Soueidan, Timnit Gebru, Karla Monterroso, and others' work in the area of systems (both online and offline in society), design, Web standards, learning, A11Y, and CSS. I would strongly recommend checking out all of their evolving work and advocacy in their respective areas of focus on making web experiences and tech culture better, more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Here are some relevant resources and good reads:

Products (can) create and reinforce beliefs, attitudes and sociel norms. I believe that anyone involved in product development, regardless of official role assignment, has a responsibility to be conscious of what norms they're reinforcing or creating, and if such norms are exclusive or inclusive.