It’s been cloudy in the city of Austin for a few weeks now, and while this isn’t uncommon for this time of the year, it has been impactful for me as it reminds me of the type of weather we’ll find in Seattle. Why is this impactful to me? Well, my family and I are planning on moving to the Seattle later this year, and I certainly cannot wait for it. Seattle is a city I enjoy visiting, which I have multiple times and during different times of the year. Yes, I am aware that there are many days where the word “overcast” is the standard word coming out of local Seattleite’s weather experts, and I am OK with that. You see, overcast weather makes me feel inspired and creative, don’t know why. Cloudy days have a positive effect on my energy and state of mind. While it relaxes me, it also brings good energy to me and the need to write, read, code, or do something creative like that.

Rainy days are beautiful in my opinion, and I am not referring to stormy weather but those rainy days that if you are lucky you’ll see from time to time, and hopefully you’ll give yourself some time just to see it and enjoy it. I am a coffee drinker, and also like to enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea sometimes. Rainy weather makes me want to drink more coffee and more tea. Drinking coffee is like a drug, and I don’t fight against it, I just enjoy it and to be honest, I just cannot resist it even if I wanted to when it is overcast or rainy outside.

There is also the colder temperature; it is common for the temperature to drop just a bit when it is overcast or when it is raining. There is something about having to wear a jacket or a hoody that I enjoy; it just feels right. And while it might be cold outside, it is far more comfortable to be in colder weather than to have to deal with hot temperatures as we do here in Austin, Texas every summer… and fall.

I don’t know about you, but I usually see more people reading, writing, or just having a conversation with each other in public places when it is cloudy and rainy. Perhaps since the weather is “bad,” people tend to stay indoors and talk to each other more than if it was sunny and warm outside, I don’t know. Also, are you less hungry when it is raining? I am, which is yet another reason I have perhaps more time to read, write, code, chat, or any other activity but eating. I overeat, consistently, and I don’t feel guilty because enjoying food is still one of my favorite pastimes.

It’s been cloudy and rainy in Austin for a few weeks now, and I love it. I think this is the world preparing us to be ready for Seattle weather, or at least that is what I tell myself. Oh, and yes I know Seattle doesn’t get as much rain as other places in this country, but they certainly have a fair share of overcast and rainy days, and I am looking forward to it.

The other day I saw the following tweet from Lara Hogan and it inspired me to do something about it.

The first thing that came to mind was what is the difference between mentoring and sponsoring, then I read the article, and while its focus is about women being over-mentored instead of sponsored, the article painted a clear picture about the differences between the two.

In short, the idea is that while women and other underrepresented minorities are being mentored more than ever, the number of them being sponsored is still low. Sponsoring within the context of helping them get a job, get a raise, a promotion, funding, etc.

This article and the tweet made me think about ways that I could help sponsor women and other underrepresented minorities to get their foot into tech and succeed in it.

Many years ago I was sponsored by a small business owner in Minnesota who believed in me. At that time I was a young Hispanic man who had just graduated from a technical school, didn’t have any professional experience, and couldn’t even speak English clearly (I am still working on it). This person knew that I didn’t have the experience but he saw something in me, he trusted me and took me under his wing. The way he sponsored me was by hiring me to take care of his small office local area network (LAN), maintaining the computers in it, and taking me with him to see his clients where I learned about the business, sales process, and how the business worked. Within a year, I was writing software, meeting with clients to explain the technical side of the projects, and helping with hiring and other tasks.

By the time I left this job to move to Texas (Minnesota winters are long and harsh), I had developed a few web applications, a couple of desktop apps, and an automated process which helped increase the revenue of this business and it also created new revenue streams and offerings to new and existing clients. I acquired experience and self-confidence. It was a win-win.

Today, while I am not in a position to hire or promote someone, I can help others get more exposure and self-confidence. As an organizer of a meetup group and a techie, I can sponsor underrepresented minorities by promoting them, their businesses, and their ideas with the rest of the Austin tech community.

I think we can all agree that diversity in tech (and everywhere) is not only beneficial for the people in these minority groups of which I am part of, but it is also beneficial for the company and people who work around them. A company who embraces diversity and inclusion in the workplace will have the advantage of having access to a variety of viewpoints, increased adaptability, and new perspectives and ideas.

There are already many organizations and programs to help bring underrepresented minorities to a level where they can compete for a job or start a business. However, there is still a lot of work to do to help them get to the finish line, or near it. Once people gain the skills and are ready to start a business or apply for a job, we can still do something to help them get a job, a promotion, a meeting with an investor, etc.

I can help by providing a framework and a platform for underrepresented minorities to expose themselves, their experience, their ideas, and their businesses. There is also a new list on Github that I created today where people can add themselves, a short bio, and a link to their website, business, etc. The goal is exposure and promotion.

This will at the very least increase their exposure and help them create those connections that are indispensable in any industry to succeed.

This is what I can do today.