What I Learned at Blavity’s AfroTech

I finally made it to Blavity’s AfroTech conference in Silicon Valley last month thanks to Product Hunt & AngelList sponsoring me. Here’s what I learned while I was there:

All the feels at my first ever AfroTech

1. Feeling included leads to high levels of self-belief and inspiration.

TLDR: Being black in the tech industry can sometimes feel like being a token. Events like this provide an opportunity to restore my self-belief and connect with talented people who challenge the narrative.

Meeting fans IRL 😻

2. A company’s inclusion efforts are noticed and amplified by the groups they are aimed at.

TDLR: If your team is not optimizing for inclusion in everything you do for your community and customers, you should be.

Bumped into my fave VC Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital

3. Understanding privilege is hard.

TLDR: I will always go the extra mile to empathize with a techie’s life experiences, especially if they are of a different identity to me.

Quick snap of folks walking around

4. The pipeline problem is a myth.

TLDR: If you’re struggling to recruit black people you must review your recruitment strategies and ask yourself what it is about your culture that doesn’t optimize for the inclusion of those who are underrepresented in your team.

VP Global Community & Belonging at Brandwatch. Author of careers book #DreamBigHustleHard Host #Techish