Lloyd Carney is an African-American chief executive at the helm of a successful tech firm. The 55-year-old Jamaican native is CEO of Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., a data and storage networking company. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Brocade has 6,000 employees worldwide, with annual revenue of more than $2.3 billion.
Over the years, Carney has secured senior leadership roles at various technology companies. Still, he says it’s glaringly obvious that Silicon Valley has a diversity problem.
While Asians are well-represented in tech, African Americans are vastly underrepresented, according to Carney. In fact, blacks, Latinos, and women are severely underrepresented in technical and senior management roles.
The Brocade chief exec explained that “for years, in the Valley, we convinced ourselves that there wasn’t a problem [with the lack of diversity],” and because of that African Americans and Latinos are not as prevalent in the startup industry. Even though it is a problem in the Valley, other parts of the country are more aware.On the East Coast, it’s a different story. “[East Coast] people know what you’re saying when you say you have a problem,” said Carney in a video interview at Silicon Valley’s Culture Shifting Weekend. “They say we don’t have enough people of this color.” Part of solving the problem comes with educating people about the lack of representation for people of color and holding events like the Culture Shifting Weekend that are geared towards cultural diversity.
Organized by Andrea Hoffman, CEO of the management consultancy Culture Shift Labs (CSL), the bicoastal event takes place in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley. This year’s event is the third annual Culture Shifting Weekend in Silicon Valley. The event consists of think tanks, panel discussions, and fireside chats with diverse tech influencers.
Carney said initiatives like these are “a huge step in giving [businesses] the tools to say here are some of the things you can do to solve the minority problem you have.”
Carney recently sold Brocade for $5.5 billion and previously sold his company Xsigo in 2013. As a Culture Shifting Awards Honoree, Carney was one of over 200 African and African-American tech executives and entrepreneurs at the 3-day event that helps grow and innovate businesses through inclusion.
Footage: Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs, Video Editor Kennedy Crenshaw
Follow Kennedy Crenshaw on Twitter@kennedy_crensha