Black women talk tech
Last week, the tech world was on fire introducing the world to an overlooked, known fact; black women dominate anything we touch. The two-day conference that is in its fifth year had to do a major pivot (as most businesses and companies did this past year) and went virtual.
Virtual does not mean a small-scale audience, because the event numbers were “through the roof,” which allowed for the conference to reach an International audience. The event was curated by two brilliant, Black women in the tech world, Regina Gwynn and Esosa Ighodaro-Johnson. Both women, who are killing it and breaking down barriers in their respective fields, created the event five years ago to allow black women to have accessibility to finances, partnerships, and exposers. “The conference was built from the perspective of Black women to empower other black women, who statistically have become the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States. The objective was to network and open doors to these leaders that are driving innovation around the world within untapped markets to unlock billion-dollar opportunities. The power-packed conference included over 2,500 investors, tech evangelists, and Black female founders in the tech world.”
The two-day, 5th Annual Roadmap To Billions conference received support by reputable sponsors; such as, Sephora and Netflix starting each day off with morning meditation led by Shyedeia, Founder and CEO of Black Girl Magik. The purpose of the meditations was to get everyone centered for the road ahead. With everyone cleansed of all the bad energy, tension and nervousness, the day was in full effect from the multiple stages, live chats, and even a marketplace to purchase goodies.
The event was geared towards ensuring that each woman was set up for success. “In addition, there were live virtual tech activations with big brands, including Microsoft, PayPal, Goldman Sachs, Netflix, Amazon, Intuit, JP Morgan Chase, and Sephora. Recruiters were on site actively scouting new faces for potential job openings within the virtual rooms. Networking was done within each breakout session and live chat all throughout the conference.”
The conference had a diverse selection of speakers to offer advice, motivation, and “keeping it 100” with the trials and tribulations that come along with being business owners. Speakers included couple WomenForTheCulture you may know or want to get to know: Mellody Hobson (Chairwoman of Starbucks), and Dr. Toyin Ajayi (Founder of Cityblock Health). The speaker that caught our attention was serial Entrepreneur, Grammy-award winning singer/song writer, reality star, and the “Hustle Queen” Kandi Burruss-Tucker.
Kandi’s interview started off with the question “What is your why?” Her answer was real (as expected) and relatable on so many levels. She discussed why her “why” has changed over the years, saying “at first it was to not be broke… to be the child star that went broke.” As Kandi has evolved, so has her “why.” Her “why” is setting up her children and family, purposely having businesses in black communities, and connecting with other women. Kandi kept giving important gems throughout the interview, informing us on the steps she took to ensure she was successful. She read financial books, made sure her circle consisted of liked-minded people making it easier for her to network, and also took risks on herself, because “I’m always gonna come through for myself.”
Kandi said it herself, “I can turn a shade tree into a money tree,” and hustle queen doesn’t play about her coin, but with all that success, business can be stressful. When asked where she gets her confidence from, Kandi credits her mother for having faith in her and letting her know from an early age, “If you can conceive the thought, you can make it happen.” Now, with that mindset, anything is possible. Kandi is “far from achieving all her goals,” and that includes her goal of reaching “EGOT” status (she has the “G” already, so we are rooting for you Kandi!).
Roadmap To Billions was not all business. There was time for laughter and music. “To keep the momentum going and party flowing, DJ Olivia Dope gave live sessions spinning hits from today and yesterday that kept the virtual dance floor packed. Comedian Jazmyn W. closed out the final evening with skits that were funny and relatable across the board.” The conference ended providing much-deserved women with cash and prizes to go towards supporting their businesses. “Black Women Talk Tech partnered with the global leader in prestige beauty, Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and world known tech giant Google to present the pinnacle event of the conference, the Pitch Competition which awarded over $50,000 in cash and prizes”. Congratulations to each of the ladies!
The world of tech and business is constantly evolving, so stay tuned to see what next year’s conference will roll out. Remember, collaboration over competition.
First Place: Mandë Halford Co-Founder/ CFO of Killer Snails, LLC
Second Place: Tiffany Townsend Founder of Ship Black, LLC
Third Place: Shante Frazier Founder/ CEO of Well Capped