It’s a sad truth that African-Americans are extremely underrepresented in the tech industry. Many of today’s top tech companies have a workforce that is less than 5% African-American, and only 2% of venture capitalists are black. African-Americans influence the world’s culture; they lead conversations on Twitter and Facebook, and they are part of a diverse population that tech companies should be focusing on to stay relevant in the innovation economy.
My life’s mission is to educate and inspire entrepreneurs who are passionate about using technology to change the world—especially African-American entrepreneurs. We live in a time where we have access
to more information than ever before. Where entrepreneurs in Northern California are developing autonomous car technology, yet in other parts of the country communities don’t have access to clean drinking water.
Black History Month is an important time to reflect on how African-Americans have been innovators in America. We often share stories such as Mae C. Jemison, the first African-American women to travel in space, or George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery and became a scientist, inventor, and teacher. Notable black pioneers such as Ken Coleman, Roy L. Clay, Sr., Shellye Archambeau, Omar Wasow, and Platform founder Hank Williams are not well-known names.
To put it bluntly, we need more successful African-American roles models in tech.
As part of AOL’s commitment to increasing diversity in tech, AOL BUILD will host a special panel of African-American entrepreneurs on Monday, February 15th, 2016. Joining me for a conversation on black leaders in technology will be:
- Aisha Bowe, CEO, and Co-founder of STEMboard, @arbowe
- Kevin Hagens, Founder of Topik, @kevinhagensjr
- John Henry, Managing Director, Cofound Harlem, @johnhenrystyle
- Sian A. Marson, author, and CEO of Kollective Mobile, @xianamoy
- Rod Robinson, Founder & CEO of ConnXus, Inc., @rodrobinson
- Moderator, Wayne Sutton, Co-founder of Tech Inclusion, @WayneSutton
We hope you join us!
Black Tech Leaders
Monday, February 15th, 2016
AOL HQ, 770 Broadway 4th Floor, NYC
It was a great panel and you can watch the recap here: http://www.aol.com/build/