How it all Started
Back in 2014, Elena Mendez-Escobar and Maria Troein (both MIT Sloan MBA 2015s) understood that neither of them "fit the mold." Whether it was Elena's PhD in Physics or Maria's expertise in Chinese wine markets what you saw was not what you got. Moreover, both women knew that many of their classmates were similarly “Breaking the Mold," and yet few felt empowered to dispel the traditional stereotypes imposed on them. With this in mind, Elena and Maria set out to educate the MIT community about unconscious bias and provide practical tools with which to address it.
“I remember thinking, ‘Maybe I can organize a seminar,’” Elena recounts. She quickly learned that she could aim much higher. With strong engagement from the MIT Sloan student community and the encouragement of the administration, the pair launched an initiative that continues to thrive today. Since its founding, Breaking the Mold has served as a platform for three conferences, four workshops, two hackathons, and dozens of open discussions, all aimed at promoting tolerance and understanding. In all, these events have drawn more than a thousand attendees.
Hack for inclusion 2018
Last year, Breaking the Mold partnered with the MIT Black Alumni group to organize and even larger and more impactful hackathon called Hack for Inclusion.
The Hack for Inclusion brought together some of the best and brightest minds from MIT and the surrounding communinties to build solutions that address some of today's biggest problems related to bias, diversity, and inclusion. Individuals from both technical and non-technical backgrounds addressed 10-15 different challenges related to diversity and inclusion. Key topic areas ranged from ability bias to racial bias, and even cultural and information bias.