Over the weekend around 200 diverse influencers gathered in Silicon Valley for two days of collaboration, deal making, and impactful discussions to facilitate a more inclusive tech and innovation economy.
Hosted by New York-based consulting firm, Culture Shift Labs, the event attracted industry heavyweights from senior executives, venture capitalists, and accomplished entrepreneurs of color. The exclusive attendee list included bigwig executives from Ford, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Samsung, GE Ventures, and BCG Digital Ventures, among others.
With technology giant Google as the lead sponsor, the invite-only Culture Shifting Weekend: Silicon Valley 2016, in collaboration with Denmark West of Connectively Capital Partners, was held March 19-20 at the upscale Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park, California.
“It’s great that Google is sponsoring the Culture Shifting Weekend: Silicon Valley 2016,” said David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development for Alphabet, Google’s parent company. “Inclusion helps drive innovation, and this event is an important step in bringing that to life in Silicon Valley and the technology industry.”
“Google has been a valuable partner to Culture Shift Labs on this important bi-coastal event,” said Andrea Hoffman, founder and CEO of Culture Shift Labs, whose Culture Shifting events have been fostering valuable business relationships since 2010.
“There are a vast number of diverse individuals in Silicon Valley and tech who are leaders in innovation, business, and social impact and are flying under the radar,” she added. “Our goal is to paint a more accurate picture of the size and scope of these experts, connect them to each other and to corporations.”
The weekend began Saturday with a Social Innovation Think Tank, produced in partnership with Babson Social Innovation Lab. With a focus on education and workforce innovation, the Think Tank convened 70 of the most provocative thinkers and doers who collaborated to develop new business models and actionable solutions for change. The day consisted of discussions on Reinventing Education for Tomorrow’s Economy,” “Making the Jump From School to Tech Jobs,” and “Mapping Out Personalized Learning.”
Guests included Colin Gillespie, President of LEGO Education North America; Russell Okung of the Denver Broncos; Eric Kelly, Chairman and CEO of 3D Corporation and an advisor to U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Counsel; Krishna Thangalelu, Director of Career Development; and Milken Scholars at the Milken Institute, among others.
The weekend culminated with a Sunday afternoon Awards event starting with a garden party reception that served Veuve Cliquot and signature Belvedere cocktails, with the Santa Cruz mountains as the backdrop. Guests included Ken Coleman, Chairman of Saama Technologies; Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream; Walter Delph, Managing Director of BCG Digital Ventures; Marian Croak, VP of R&D at Google; Jolen Anderson, SVP at Visa. Other execs from Rothberg Ventures, Samsung, Harpo, and Carrick Capital Partners also came out to honor leaders and pioneers in technology, innovation, and social impact.
Award-winning actor, best-selling author, and philanthropist Hill Harper served as Awards master of ceremonies. He kicked off the event with the notion, “the future belongs to the fearless,” using physicist Dr. Hadiyah Nicole Green as his example of a change-maker for the future. Dr. Green, guest speaker and one of only 100 Black female physicists in the US, recently won a $1.1 million grant to develop a cancer treatment involving lasers and nanoparticles. Dr. Green even said the impactful Culture Shifts weekend “changed her life.”
The event honored Nichol R. Bradford, CEO, Willow Group; Internet of Things expert Marc Jones, CEO of Aeris; Lisa Lambert, VP & Managing Director, Software and Services and the Diversity Fund, Intel Capital, Founder of UPWARD; and Dr. Tony Coles, Chairman and CEO of Yumanity Therapeutics.
Each honoree left guests with an important message: “I want to transform the world by making happy and fearless accessible to all,” said Bradford. “I want to accelerate that culture shift that we all know has to happen in our country,” added Jones. Finally, Coles said, “I drive talent by seeing what may be possible through a different lens. This is really what matters.”
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