This session is part of Celebrating Black in Tech, a two-day summit where you’ll hear from Black leaders across the globe within different industries, sharing their expertise, personal stories, and best practices as leaders in their fields. Check out the full schedule here!
While the tech industry has grown exponentially over the past several decades, Black workers remain disproportionately underrepresented at both leading tech companies and the venture capital firms investing in tech startups.
In this panel, we will hear stories from Black leaders in tech on the unique challenges of being Black in tech. Our incredible panel will share stories of their professional journey, and discuss the sometimes smooth, sometimes rocky road to developing a successful career in tech. Additionally, we dive into how all of us can work together across education, hiring and investing to create a tech ecosystem where Black people are represented and can thrive.
This event is taken completely online via Zoom. + You will need access to a laptop or computer with strong internet connection. + For networking before, during and after the event, download the Plain Sight app now and check-in at General Assembly’s space. + Event set up information will be emailed to all signed up the day before the event launches.
About the Panelists
Ramona WrightCo-Founder & CEO ,
Ramona Wright is the co-founder and CEO of WeUp (weuptheworld.com), a platform that rewards people to stick to goals and solve social problems. Ramona has more than 15 years of strategic communication consulting experience. She’s worked in the corporate, non-profit and tech sectors internationally and she’s the fund manager for an apprenticeship program providing underrepresented youth access to STEAM careers. Her past professional experience includes raising $5 million for a global humanitarian organization and she managed a $2.5 million marketing budget for the pharmaceutical company Cialis®. She’s worked on behalf of Sony Music Latin, Reebok, Georgetown University, Film Independent, Qatar Foundation International and the West African country Sierra Leone.
Ramona is a first-generation college graduate from Loyola Marymount University, where she was an early pioneer teaching social media marketing and public relations from 2007-2011. Ramona is an accomplished lecturer who gave a TEDx Talk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Also, she’s spoken on behalf of Google, Microsoft’s Tech Goddesses initiative, and she is a sought after speaker at such universities as Cornell, Howard and USC. Ramona is published in Black Enterprise, the Congressional Record, Going Supernova: The Bold Paths of 101 Superachievers, and her podcast The Chair with Ramona Wright can be heard on iTunes and Google Play. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her @mswrightsays and @weuptheworld.
Angela DanielsSenior Program Manager,
Angela Daniels is the Senior Program Manager at Slack for Good, a division of Slack aiming to increase the number of historically underrepresented individuals in the technology industry.
Angela has a Master of Arts degree in Emergent Digital Practices from the University of Denver and is a Certified Scrum Product Owner through the Scrum Alliance.
Luis Martinez, MSOLFounder & CEO,
Luis Martinez, MSOL is an Afro-Latino from Honduras and raised in Brooklyn, New York with an M.B.A. in Organizational Leadership, Luis is an advocate, networker and ecosystem builder.
A Former Pro Basketball Player and U.S. Navy Veteran, currently he is the Founder/CEO for “We Tha Plug ” WTP works with Pan-African & Latinx founders and startups at all levels. (Ideation Phase to Pre-Seed & Series A Round). We Tha Plug empowers Pan-African, Latinx and other minorities & underrepresented founders as well as Minority Venture Capitalist and Angel Investors in the Startup, Tech & Innovation space.
The overall mission of “We Tha Plug” is to raise the awareness of innovation in Black and Latino communities in technology and create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs from grassroots to professional levels. We have over 100 Black & Latinx Founders in our organization across the U.S. and abroad. We want to provide a global ecosystem that gives founders access to startup fundamental education, mentorship, programming, and access to funding.
Luis felt the need to create a movement aimed at creating the super ecosystem for Pan African & Latinx Founders, Venture Capitalist & Angel Investors. The lack of access and information about tech and innovation that flows to these underrepresented communities is causing these communities to be behind in Math, Science & current Technology.
Also, there is a disconnect between minorities that have been successful in tech & innovation and those back in communities in which they came from. By creating “We Tha Plug”, Luis is connecting businesses, organizations, and individuals, leveraging their resources and talents to build a stronger Pan African & Latinx tech and innovation community through collective efforts.
James ChapmanFounder & CEO,
James Chapman is the Founder and CEO of Plain Sight, a mobile app for networking with like-minded people in virtual and physical spaces. The serial entrepreneur has a passion for helping other budding entrepreneurs. The Chattanooga native moved to Detroit for the opportunity to assist the Rock Family of Companies with helping local entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their businesses.
This led him to launch the first ever Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day. In just three years, Detroit Demo Day has provided nearly $4 million in funding to small businesses throughout the city; the majority of which have been minority and woman-owned. In Chattanooga, he ran a workspace from 6pm – midnight for side-hustlers that work full-time during the day. The attendees wanting to know the expertise of people at the space in real-time is what led him to start Plain Sight with his cofounders.
Katrina KerrChapter Organizer & President,
Blacks in Technology, St. Louis
Katrina Kerr, a native of St. Louis and has over 20 years of experience in Information Technology. She is passionate about technology. She has served as the Chapter President of the Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Katrina was appointed to the National Board of Directors and the Chairperson of The National Technology/Newsletter Committee for The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. She has served as the Chapter President for the Greater St. Louis Chapter and the National Membership Chair for TSUNAA. She is the Chapter President for Blacks In Technology in St. Louis.
Through continuous involvement with various organizations such as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., TSU, NCBW, and BIT she motivates and encourages youth and women to continue to strive to be the best. Mrs. Kerr remains committed to the youth in our community by being active and living the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
About Our Partners
Making meaningful connections with new people is vital to our success, but actually doing so is left up to chance or introductions. The way in which these connections happen going forward is being reimagined, as networking in the traditional sense has become nearly impossible. Plain Sight is a social platform for like-minded people to connect with each other in spaces virtually or in-person.