By Lydia Lum
When Harvey Anderson recounted his college and career paths to disadvan- taged undergraduates at Marquette University last year, the curiosity and
interest among the ethnically diverse audience sparked
ideas that percolated after he left Milwaukee.
Anderson shared his ideas with officials at Marquette, his alma mater. He also contacted colleagues
at technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley,
where he has been an information management and
tech lawyer for two decades.
By summer, a group of college and high school
students flew 1,800 miles to Northern California, where
Anderson led them on a four-day tour of major tech
companies. There, the young people, some of whom
are the first in their families to attend college, learned
about app development, product marketing and other
Anderson believes that such introductions can help
improve racial diversity in an overwhelmingly white
“That is my hope,” says Anderson, the chief legal
officer at AVG Technologies Inc., in San Francisco, a
provider of online security software and services.
Hispanics and African-Americans comprise 16 and
12 percent, respectively, of the labor force, according to
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since last year, however, some of the highest-profile,
Silicon Valley technology titans have released workforce and executive leadership data that confirmed
the embarrassing racial disparities that journalists,
equal opportunity activists and other observers had
long suspected. A USA Today analysis of seven corporations revealed that only 2 percent of their technology employees are African-American and 3 percent,
Hispanic. A survey of 22 companies by the Rainbow
PUSH Coalition, headed by civil rights leader the Rev.
Jesse Jackson, showed three Hispanics and six African-Americans among 307 C-suite executives.
“I really would like to see these numbers change,”
Anderson says of the disparities, a sentiment echoed by
other general counsel.
It’s not known how many—or more to the point,
how few—tech companies employ minority legal
Harvey Anderson Brian Cabrera