Community and Diversity

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Hanover, MD, 29 September 2020

Onyx Point was a finalist for the 2020 MD Cybersecurity Awards’ Cybersecurity Diversity Award. We did not win but had a great time at the online ceremony. One of the things that struck me the most was the sense of community at the event. Although it was only a few presenters and an online chat, one could tell that people knew and were comfortable with each other based on sincere congratulations, silly jokes, and creative acceptance speeches.

As a believer in diversity and inclusion, it touched me how open and inclusive the local Cybersecurity community is. I am part of the local DevOps community and feel that this community is also incredibly inclusive and diverse. This feeling of community is also important within our company, and I am hoping this is helping with Onyx Point’s attempt to continue improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

I feel like Onyx Point is doing its best to ensure we have diversity in our workforce. According to Onyx Point President, Jay Stoner, “Building a diverse workforce has allowed Onyx Point to provide our customers with the most well-rounded, creative, and innovative support. All of our team members are different pieces of a puzzle that fit together and complement each other”.

There are several ways that being part of a community helps, among them are volunteering, flexibility, and participating and hosting community events:

Volunteering is a great way to meet interesting and talented folks. One of the OP interns last summer was the result of a friendship I developed at a meeting for local computing volunteers. This was an event where people of all walks of life got together, based on their love of all things tech, in an effort to help out local students. Here you will find not only people with shared interests but also the skills to make things happen and a desire to help. This, to me, makes for an ideal co-worker. OP also holds some volunteer events on-site (when possible) to attract students, volunteers, and community members that could potentially be part of the OP workforce. Many employees participate in partnerships and job fairs at local colleges. Many of the interns (“part-timers”) and employees are from colleges close enough that even during the school year, they can pop into the office and put in time on projects when they are not too busy with schoolwork.

The flexibility that Onyx Point offers is another important aspect of an employee/employer relationship that encourages inclusion and equity. Whether it is to help with childcare, school, medical issues, or any of the many other aspects of life that may affect a person’s ability to work a 9-5 daily schedule, the company really tries to be as flexible as possible.

Lastly are the many meetups and conferences in which employees participate, and sometimes organize or host. Onyx Point’s sponsorship of the local Puppet meetup has given the company visibility in the Puppet community and even brought some new hires. The networking at these and other industry-related events allows employees to engage with folks that we may not have otherwise met.

As you can tell, being involved in the community is only a small part of what it takes to build an inclusive and diverse workforce. There is much more to talk about in terms of the recruiting process, as well as the daily effort it takes to keep employees feeling like they are part of something they enjoy, and to stay with the company. Perhaps in an upcoming blog!

“I … try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Judy has been a software engineer for over thirty-five years, and has been at Onyx Point since 2015. She has also functioned as a System Engineer, Project Manager, ScrumMaster, and a record store clerk. She was lucky enough to have started programming in the 19XXes when her Dad brought home a PDP-8 - she eventually progressed from paper-tape and punched cards to more modern computing systems. When not at work, Judy can be found baking yummy treats for family, friends, and coworkers; attending hockey games and rock concerts; or trying to finish a good book. Judy also loves to volunteer, especially in events that promote diversity in technology. Proof of her dedication to this cause is the fact that both of her awesome daughters are engineers.

At Onyx Point, our engineers focus on Security, System Administration, Automation, Dataflow, and DevOps consulting for government and commercial clients. We offer professional services for Puppet, RedHat, SIMP, NiFi, GitLab, and the other solutions in place that keep your systems running securely and efficiently. We offer Open Source Software support and Engineering and Consulting services through GSA IT Schedule 70. As Open Source contributors and advocates, we encourage the use of FOSS products in Government as part of an overarching IT Efficiencies plan to reduce ongoing IT expenditures attributed to software licensing. Our support and contributions to Open Source, are just one of our many guiding principles

  • Customer First.
  • Security in All We Do.
  • Pursue Innovation with Integrity.
  • Communicate Openly and Respectfully.
  • Offer Your Talents, and Appreciate the Talents of Others

techgirlz, diversity, programming, OOP

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