Trevor Noah Guides A Discussion On Diversity In Tech

Diversity, equity and inclusion has been an issue in the tech sector. But one group hopes to change that through dialogue. The first episode of LONG ASS TABLE TALKS (“LAT Talks”), a new series of intimate conversations on those complex issues recently launched

Episode one taps guest star Trevor Noah, the award-winning host of Emmy and Peabody winning series, The Daily Show.

Episode one is hosted by Expensify’s Joanie Wang and Puneet Lath, in collaboration with culture and diversity expert Zanele Mutepfa-Rhone.

“Talking about race and representation is scary, and many people are afraid of saying the wrong thing,” said Puneet Lath (he/him), Director of Sustainability at Expensify. “We wanted to show that it can also be lighthearted, casual, and engaging. And when it is, you can bring more people together to participate in the conversation.”

“The thing people take for granted with diversity is that it’s [hard] work, but the upsides are so much greater,” says Trevor Noah in the 20-minute long session.

As the series expands, it will feature inspiring individuals whose experiences bring clarity to a complicated, interwoven set of issues. LAT Talks began as an internal series, but quickly grew into something bigger as the company came to understand the value in what it had discovered. The primary goal of the film series is to facilitate discussions that can result in meaningful policy and culture change in the workplace, and act as a complement to a company’s existing DEI initiatives.

“Companies across the globe are challenged with this task to build robust DEI educational resources — however, we must not forget that the most impactful education can come from real stories and real people,” said Zanele Mutepfa-Rhone (she/her), Culture and Diversity Strategist working with Expensify. “This series does exactly that. It shows us the power of representation through stories of diverse thought leaders and the value in creating psychologically safe spaces that enable all people to show up as their authentic selves and unpack these tough topics. These conversations are essential to building open and inclusive cultures of belonging.”

The series was developed with creative agency Alto New York and production company PRETTYBIRD.

Directed by Sam Bailey, best known for her Emmy-nominated webseries Brown Girls and her work on Netflix’s Dear White People, the 21-minute film focuses on representation, and the importance it plays in demonstrating the existence, potential, and value of historically underrepresented peoples.

“Our goal is to create an intentional space to discuss these issues in a way that is compelling to everyone, whether it is your first conversation or your 100th,” said Joanie Wang (she/her), Director of Marketing and Brand at Expensify. “As this project progressed, we realized that episode one and the accompanying discussion guide could be resources that any individual could bring back to their small business or organization as part of their journey to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.”

Click here to watch the first episode and download the accompanying discussion guide.