ABOVE PHOTO: Derrick Pitts, Hon. D, Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium. (Photo courtesy of Derrick Pitts, Hon. D)
By Monica Peters
Get ready for the return of #techInColor!
This year’s #techInColor will take place May 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at First Round Capital in University City. The free event, which is part of Philly Tech Week and is now in it’s third year, is designed to connect underrepresented groups in the tech industry–African Americans and technologists of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, individuals with disabilities and more diverse groups.
This year’s #techInColor is presented in partnership with the non-profit youth organization Hopeworks ‘N Camden, which uses education, technology and entrepreneurship to help young men and women find sustainable work and thrive in the midst of violence and poverty.
With the theme of “Success Hacks: Paving Your Own Way in Tech,” attendees will have the chance to hear from the panelists on what it means to be successful in the tech world and their personal stories of how they got where they are today.
#techInColor’s mission is to engage a network of individuals acting as champions for building a more inclusive tech community. This year’s event features expert technologists from Brooklyn to Philadelphia and even a recent White House fellow.
“The conversation around diversity in tech continues to touch a nerve in the local (and global) tech community,” says event co-organizer, Beth Blinebury, Founder of design studio Blinebury Design in Kensington.
“#techInColor creates a forum for that conversation to take place,” says Blinebury.
Co-organizer Kevin Taylor, owner of Argyle Analytics, says it’s also about establishing new relationships.
“It’s about developing relationships and creating supportive workplaces,” Taylor said #techInColor gives us the opportunity to bring a diverse group of technologists together, have fun, and forge new relationships.”
(Public Relations professional and SUN editor, Monica Peters, is also a co-organizer of this event)
The event will consist of panels featuring young people from Hopeworks technology training program and seasoned minority entrepreneurs from the region.
“I am looking forward to participating to be able to network as well as be a voice for the young people that can’t be at #techincolor,” said Adria Boultin, a Hopeworks trainee from Lithonia, Georgia.
Boultin and fellow Hopeworks youth technologists Gabrielle Lee and Justin Connor will participate on the” Hopeworks ‘N Camden Trainees Tell Their Stories” panel moderated by Derrick Pitts, Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium.
Speakers for this year’s entrepreneurship panel also include Felix Addison, Co-Founder and COO of Who’s Your Landlord; Courtney Wilburn, developer and 2015 White House LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit Fellow, Ather Sharif, Co-founder EvoXLabs and serial entrepreneur Tiffanie Stanard.
Whether you are a seasoned technology professional or seeking to learn about the tech industry this event is for everyone to enjoy.
“One of the key challenges for technology is not only finding qualified workers, but also diversifying the workforce. Both Hopeworks and #techInColor are addressing that problem in dramatic and effective ways,” says Hopeworks ‘N Camden Executive Director Dan Rhoton.
For more information on #techInColor, go to meetup.com/techincolor
6:15-6:45 p.m.: Panel 1–Hopeworks ‘N Camden Trainees Tell Their Stories moderated by Derrick Pitts, Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer and Director of Fels Planetarium. Panelists Adria Boultin, Gabrielle Lee and Justin Connor
6:45-7:30 p.m.: Breakout Sessions w/ leaders Kelly Meerbott, Bernardo Margulis, Monica Peters and David Dylan Thomas: Topics: Workplace Bullying; Balancing Multiple Endeavors; Path to Entrepreneurship; How Content Can Grow Your Audience
7:45-8:30 p.m.: Trainees, Tech Professionals Tell us How They Got There. Panelists: Felix Addison, Co-Founder & COO of Whose Your Landlord; Courtney Wilburn 2015 White House Fellow LGBTQ Innovation and Technology Summit; serial entrepreneur Tiffanie Stanard; Ather Sharif, Co-founder EvoXLabs
#techInColor, May 5, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at First Round Capital, 4040 Locust St., Phila. Event is free. Information: www.meetup.com/techincolor