If you step outside, you can likely smell the Black excellence in the air. And that is an indicator that speakers, attendees, and businesses are getting ready for AfroTech Conference 2023.
Last year, the team went down to Austin, TX, and took over, proving the power of influence by Black entrepreneurs, technologists, and corporate baddies.
Conference attendees were immersed in a deep, empowering, thought-provoking cultural experience packed with tools for leveling up each day. The specially curated schedule was doubly impactful with AfroTech speakers including heavy hitters: Mark Cuban, Touré Roberts, and Tanya Sam.
From the wisdom and insight on the Main Stage to the consistent gems dropped at the Learning Lab to the innovative insight shared on the Product & Engineering, Executive, and Web3 stages — there were constant moments filled with “oohs and ahhs” as attendees digested everything the speakers gave out.
But tapping in with AfroTech isn’t just for business. Those who work hard can play hard.
AfroTech debuted the Music Stage and concerts that delivered vibes from Bia, Wale, and Dru Hill. And if that wasn’t enough, each night offered an array of mixers and socials with open bars, passed hors d’oeuvres, and DJs with the vibes to keep a party going.
Sounds lit, right? Great anticipation is in the air, and all roads lead back to Austin, with AfroTech ’23 set for Nov. 1-5. And this year will be just as impressive as AfroTech ’22, but you have to know we are taking it up a notch.
From learning to recruitment opportunities to impeccable vibes, register now to avoid missing out on the conference guaranteed to set you up for success.
So as the conference gets closer, the first round of AfroTech speakers has been confirmed, and there’s more on the way. Click here for updates in real-time.
Editorial Note: Please be advised that this list is not final and is subject to change prior to AfroTech Conference 2023.
Nate Thompson is managing partner of HTX Sports Tech, a consultancy providing strategic advice to sports organizations and founders developing tech-enabled companies.
Ashley DeWalt is an emerging fund manager, advisor, and mentor for venture-backed startups. He is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of The Collectiv, a VC fund that invests at the intersection of sports, media, and entertainment, and the Managing Director of DivInc, which supports underrepresented entrepreneurs in building high-growth startups. Previously, he led marketing for the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League. With 20 years of experience, he has consulted for major sports talent, brands, and properties. His work has been recognized by ESPN, Sports Business Journal, Front Office Sports, and more.
Natara Holloway Branch
Natara Holloway Branch is a seasoned strategic management professional with expertise in the sports and entertainment industry. With a strong accounting background, she has excelled in overseeing strategic priorities and key business lines, creating new ventures, and managing large teams. Her accomplishments include P/L management, contract negotiations, and multi-million dollar budgets. She is known for their skills in strategic partnerships, business development, and marketing. She also contributes to the Advisory Board for the Bauer School of Business and serves on the University of Houston Sports Task Force.
Ron Guerrier held positions as the Global CIO at HP, Secretary of Innovation & Technology for the State of Illinois, CIO at Express Scripts, Farmers Insurance, & Toyota Financial. Guerrier currently serves as a Board Director at Equinix, a Fortune500 digital infrastructure company.
Dami Osunsanya is a co-lead and heads Value Creation for SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, where she’s charged with helping their portfolio companies grow and scale. She’s led ecosystem partnerships and value creation work for SB’s $100 billion Vision Fund, including WeWork, Uber, and others.
Fonz Morris is a well-respected growth design leader and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience.
Chris Locklin is the engineering manager of the data platform team at Grammarly. The team is responsible for ingesting, processing, and surfacing over 50 billion events per day. They own many of Grammarly’s centralized data platforms, including the ingestion framework and data lakehouse.
Maneesh Bhide is a dynamic professional leading a nationwide field engineering team for a new Business Unit (BU) focused on Digital Native Businesses. Maneesh’s team collaborates with some of the most advanced data teams globally, aiming to foster partnerships and drive the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as Delta, MLFlow, and Spark, along with the comprehensive Databricks platform. With a passion for innovation and expertise in engaging sophisticated data teams, Maneesh is at the forefront of empowering organizations to leverage Databricks’ transformative solutions.
Alexandrea Morson is vice president of artificial intelligence, data analytics, and innovation at Morgan Stanley & E*TRADE. Morson leads the integration and implementation of conversational AI initiatives such as OpenAI, ChatGPT, and the metaverse across the $14 billion firm.
Through over 20 years of hard work, grit and determination, Krista Bourne worked her way up from mailroom assistant to the C-suite. She is Verizon Consumer Group’s first Black COO and an advocate for women’s rights using her voice to encourage others to pursue their dreams.
With 25 years in technology, Kwesi Ames had the privilege of working for KPMG, Symantec and now Salesforce. As vice president of software engineering, he lead a team that optimizes their developers productivity. Outside of work, you’ll find him playing soccer, reading sci-fi, or lost in comics.
Jonté Harrell is ZenLedger’s CFO/CRO & Investor at Ossian Capital. Harrell is also an ex-Amazon exec, former Wall Street trader, and decorated military vet. He’s traveled to 100 countries.
David C. Williams
David C. Williams has been featured on FOX, NBC, REVOLT, EBONY, and more. He won the 2022 IT Team of the Year Award, the 2022 NSBE Award. He’s also a best selling author and patent-holding inventor.
Jason Lee is an NYC-based American businessman and fintech entrepreneur. He is currently the founder and CEO of Salt Labs, a loyalty and payments technology company that enables frontline workers to own the long-term value of their work.
Bernard Coleman is the CDO at Gusto, where he leads the DEIB team. Before Gusto, Bernard led DEIB at Uber and also directed Hillary for America’s HR & DEIB efforts and was the first-ever CDO in U.S. history for any presidential campaign.
Freada Kapor Klein
Freada Kapor Klein is an entrepreneur, an activist, and a pioneer in the field of organizational culture and diversity. She is the founder of SMASH, the Summer Math and Science Honors Academy, and co-founded the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion, the first organization in the U.S. to address sexual harassment. She holds a Ph.D. in social policy and research from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She is a member of the Obama Foundation Tech Policy Council, the UC Berkeley Board of Visitors, and a board observer of the air quality monitoring company Aclima.io. Along with Mitch Kapor, Freada is a founding partner at Kapor Capital and co-chair of the nonprofit Kapor Center in Oakland, CA.
Mitch Kapor is a pioneer in the personal computing industry and an entrepreneur, an investor, and an advocate for social change. He founded Lotus Development Corporation and designed the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is the founding chair of the Mozilla Foundation, creator of the Firefox web browser. He also serves on the board of SMASH. Along with Freada Kapor Klein, Mitch is a founding partner at Kapor Capital and co-chair of the nonprofit Kapor Center in Oakland, CA.
Michael S. Regan, the 16th Administrator of the US EPA, took office on March 11, 2021, making history as the first Black man and second person of color to lead the agency. Growing up in Goldsboro, NC, Regan developed a passion for the environment through hunting, fishing, and exploring nature. Coming from a family of public servants, he followed in his parents’ footsteps and pursued a career in public service. Before his EPA nomination, Regan served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, where he led initiatives to address climate change, transition to clean energy, and clean up environmental contamination. He also established North Carolina’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory board. Throughout his career, Regan has emphasized consensus-building, scientific integrity, and the interconnectedness of environmental protection and economic prosperity.
Uriridiakoghene “Ulili” Onovakpuri is a Managing Partner of Kapor Capital, focusing on sourcing investments, conducting diligence, and supporting portfolio companies, particularly in digital health and medical technology. Previously, she served as Director of Global Programs at Village Capital, which supports healthcare, education, agriculture, energy and FinTech businesses. At Village Capital she worked side by side with entrepreneurs from around the world helping them grow their ideas into marketable businesses. Ulili holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and is a proud UC Berkeley Alum.
As partner and CIO at IDEO, Wes Eugene enables the technology that enables IDEO to explore all that is possible and create maximum value for clients and partners around the world. He explore the edges of IDEO’s core experiences to design IDEO’s digital transformation.
Tarik Loukili is a staff robotics engineer at John Deere, where he leads a group of engineers in applying CVML for precision agriculture. Tarik earned his BSEE from the UND and his MSEE from ISU, where he also did Ph.D. coursework. He is currently conducting research at the USQ.