Ah, what it means to be a geekz! You know who you are. Your insatiable curiosity keeps you up all night developing innovative tech products and services that the marketplace needs. Your unstoppable work ethic inspires you to create solutions that are uniquely matched to consumers’ desires. Finally, your focus and confidence are unshakeable.
But, even extraordinarily committed geekz like you could use a brief respite to chill out and connect with like-minded individuals. I’ve scoped out four tech-related conferences to help you do just this. Packed with information, inspiration, and authentic collaboration, these are truly must-attend events. More importantly, all these platforms are committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the tech and innovation economy.
Of course, these aren’t the only tech forums taking place this fall but I can guarantee you that these are some of the most important ones to help infuse you with enough networking, engagement, self-affirming and soul-stirring experiences to get you through the end of the year. Check them out:
Now in its second year, this two-day Summit brings together high-profile leaders from Silicon Valley and the tech ecosystem to exchange ideas and provide information about corporate and entrepreneurial opportunities that exist across all areas of technology. The forum will provide unparalleled opportunities for diverse innovators, developers, and creatives to collaboratively showcase the latest technologies aimed at solving fundamental business challenges and improving everyday life. Confirmed speakers include Tristan Walker, founder and CEO, Walker & Co.; Ime Archibong, director, Global Product Partnership, Facebook; Ryan Leslie, CEO, Mozrt; Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO, THX Ltd.; Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder, Slack; and Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO, TaskRabbit, with more to be added. For registration details contact: Black Enterprise TechConnext Summit 2016.
Culture Shifting Weekend is an invitation-only bi-coastal event where diverse influencers gather in 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 Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley events attract industry heavyweights from senior executives, venture capitalists, and accomplished entrepreneurs of color. The robust symposium includes Saturday’s Social Innovation Think Tank and the Sunday Culture Shift Awards. The latest roster of curated speakers for the upcoming NYC event includes Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon; Errol King, Experience Manager, Google Computer Science Education; and Bo Young Lee, Chief Diversity Officer, Marsh & McClennan Companies, among others. For more information contact Culture Shifts Labs.
I personally experienced one of the most inclusive and informative tech events ever when I attended Tech Inclusion 2015! If next month’s lineup is anything like last year, it will connect you with a broad network of entrepreneurs and industry leaders who are accessible, resourceful, and genuinely interested in helping you achieve your goals. The forum also features a unique career fair that connects talent with tech companies who care about diversity. Heavyweight speakers include Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest; Parker Thompson, Partner at AngelList; Leslie Miley, Director of Engineering at Slack; Megan Rose Dickey, Reporter, TechCrunch; Wayne Sutton co-founder of Change Catalyst; Chris Genteel, Head of Diversity Markets & Supplier Diversity at Google, and many more. For more information visit: TechInclusion 2016.
Blavity is the perfect brand to create the kind of tech conferencing space we’ve been waiting for! I have a feeling that this will become a signature event for millennials, technologists, professionals, and entrepreneurs worldwide. AfroTech is a two-day educational conference connecting techies, founders, and employees with the fastest-growing tech startups. Conversations will range from raising venture funding, combining tech and culture, and navigating the tech industry. Although new to the tech conferencing scene, this year’s inaugural event has scored many of the biggest names in the tech sector. Confirmed speakers include Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups; Erica Joy Baker, Senior Engineer at Slack; anf Porter Braswell, CEO & Founder, Jopwell. For information visit: AfroTech 2016.
Main Image: Ana Díaz-Hernández from Udacity at the 2015 Tech Inclusion Conference (photo credit: Jerome Dorn)
Lori Shepherd is the founder of 25SecondsPR where she manages small to large PR campaigns for digital, technology, and nonprofits worldwide. Her company is based in Oakland, California. She spent 15+ years as an in-house PR professional working for Silicon Valley technology companies including Hewlett Packard, Intuitive Surgical, and Guide by Cell. After forming her company, she has worked on the accounts of brands including Blitzify, Grammarlt.com FMSI, VentureFund.io, SkyChildCare, Nobody Cares Go Harder, the Points of Light Foundation, the Association of Women In Science, Local Futures, PrivacyAtlas, and numerous other.