Latest Articles

Beyond Banking: Capital One's Commitment to Elevating Black Tech Leaders And Small Businesses

Prominent industry leaders are increasingly expected to embody customer ideals and represent the communities they serve. This expectation has even some of the biggest tech giants shook, but Capital One seems to be fearlessly embracing this responsibility with a sense of urgency. This is precisely what propelled Emmanuel Offiong, VP and CTO of Business Bank Engineering, to join Capital One after he saw the company’s deeply rooted commitment to diversifying their teams and empowering small businesses. “What struck me the most was meeting leaders who looked like me in even more senior roles than the one I was being recruited for,” Emmanuel recalled about his interview process with Capital One. This was crucial for Emmanuel who serves as a member of the mentor network for Level Up Ventures, a mission-driven investment firm founded by the Hearst Corporation that aims to close the wealth gap by investing in high-growth Black and Latino-founded startups. He also serves on the board of...

Jun 18, 2024

More Than A Bank - Capital One Stands Tall As A Tech Leader Committed To Creating Space of Diversity And Belonging

The world is in an age of technology that people from decades ago likely could not fathom. With the emergence of AI and the range of tech products offered, there is little that people can’t imagine regarding innovation and advancement. This new tech era has revealed there isn’t just one way to create, to develop, or even to exist. In many ways, this technology amplified the necessity and interwoven strategies of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The intersection of tech and DEI often manifests unexpectedly – in organizations where many people would not naturally think of those intersections. Capital One, for instance, is primarily known as a finance organization but is also a leader in technology and innovation. During a 2023 interview with Built In , the firm’s Director of Product Management, David Henkel, summed up its innovative approach. “We’re a tech company disguised as a bank,” he said. The work of people like Maureen Jules-Perez has cemented this identity marker. As...

Jun 7, 2024

From Mystery Woman to Super Woman: Finding Inner Power After Lupus Diagnosis

It was at the young age of 12 that Heather started to experience a variety of seemingly unrelated health issues. First joint pain, particularly in her knees, ankles and elbows. Then came the rashes on her face and back, the hair loss, the fatigue, the sensitivity to light and the difficulty breathing. These symptoms baffled her medical team and lead them to refer to her as a “mystery person.” Her symptoms were difficult and draining to manage while she spent her young adolescent years living with this mystery. It would take many years, ER visits, missed family moments, and the birth of her son before Heather finally learned exactly what was causing her mysterious symptoms. Unbeknownst to Heather and her family, her symptoms were interconnected and all stemmed from one major autoimmune disorder: lupus. “I vividly remember the day I was diagnosed,” Heather tells AfroTech. “I was in bed [at home], struggling to breathe and [I] had a red, inflamed rash on my face. Being a single mother...

May 16, 2024

How Tech Equity Collective, a Google Initiative, is Creating Holistic Pathways for Black Tech Innovators

Google has long been recognized as a technology leader. However, the tech giant is also leading the way in fostering inclusiveness within the ever-evolving realm of digital innovation. From groundbreaking products to visionary initiatives, Google stands as a paragon of diversity and a catalyst for change, embracing voices from all corners of the globe to shape the technological landscape of the future. Tech Equity Collective (TEC) is one of Google’s latest initiatives you may not have heard about, yet further cements it as a technology trailblazer. TEC is designed to drive innovation by creating a tech ecosystem consisting of programs, community and industry partnerships that unlock opportunities for aspiring and emerging Black tech professionals. What Makes TEC Special TEC is unique in its approach to raising awareness within the Black tech community, encouraging both aspiring and emerging tech professionals to join the collective. TEC is available for individuals at different...

Mar 19, 2024

How ServiceNow’s Approach To Talent Strategy Is Becoming A Game Changer

There is a commonly held belief in the business world that we are in the midst of a global skills shortage. In fact, 80% of CEOs are still reporting skills gaps as a major threat to their organization’s growth. But there is good news to be found in this current climate; because, as ServiceNow’s Sarah Tilley simply puts it, “While there is a very real skills shortage, there isn’t a global people shortage.” For Tilley’s team, that means approaching talent acquisition and development on a multipronged level that takes external recruitment, internal mobility, learning and talent planning into consideration to support ServiceNow’s overall talent strategy and business priorities to ensure a seamless and quality employee experience. “Our integrated approach allows us to be more transparent and establish clear expectations for candidates and employees,” Tilley explains. “Through a unified approach, we can also better understand and respond to employee needs, which drives higher engagement,...

Feb 22, 2024

DAP GAP Inspires Icons in the Making: Gap Collaborations Lead, Brigid Andrews, on Partnering with Harlem's Style Icon

At the center of Gap’s ethos is a commitment to individuality, creativity and self-expression. And while the company points to one’s fashion sense as a surefire way to incorporate all three into one’s life, it has also intentionally sought ways to ensure that consumers can see their style and values reflected in the brand as well. The Hip-Hop generation will likely recall first becoming aware of Gap’s desire to connect with the culture in 1997, with the iconic LL Cool J commercial. Today, the company continues to foster those cultural moments through unique brand collaborations, and by making sure that those tasked with spearheading these initiatives are people who truly get what these moments can mean when properly executed. “Gap is one of the world’s most beloved brands. People know and love Gap because at our best, we do more than sell clothes. We create conversations,” says Brigid Andrews, who leads the company’s partnerships and collaborations. “By blending creativity with...

Feb 16, 2024

Warner Bros Discovery Charts Its Future With Diversity in Mind and Action

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and media, Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) stands as a powerhouse – not just in terms of its vast portfolio, but also in its commitment to innovation and inclusion. On the heels of its 100-year anniversary, the company remains committed to its mission of amplifying the voices of global storytellers to reflect audiences around the world, promoting diversity, removing barriers and creating space for all to share ideas and be heard. As the Senior Vice President of Applied Data Science and Machine Learning, Haile Owusu has witnessed first-hand the organization’s transformative journey. Across his five years, WBD has drawn the brightest minds and fostered an environment of creativity, diversity and limitless opportunities. A Legacy of Reinvention WBD’s scale is unparalleled, boasting 95 million direct-to-consumer subscribers globally. This scale gives the company even more reason to be innovative while addressing complex tech issues and solving...

Feb 14, 2024

Unlocking Success: UC Berkeley Extension and the Trend of Professional Certificates

Written by: Carolynne Mims Christoff In a world where professional landscapes are ever-evolving, the pursuit of continuous learning has become more than just a choice; it’s a strategic move. For Black professionals navigating their career paths, staying ahead of the curve is not only a testament to resilience, but a key to unlocking unprecedented success. We all know there’s really no such thing as a “traditional career trajectory” anymore. Between the exponential speed at which technological advances keep changing every aspect of our work and lives and the way the market keeps shifting to keep up, professionals are recognizing the need to upskill continuously. UC Berkeley Extension is leading the way with this movement, offering a gateway to achievement through professional certificates and continuing education courses . The days of relying solely on a degree are a wrap. Instead, we are walking into an era in which specialized knowledge and skills hold the key to career...

Jan 31, 2024

How Vanessa Smith and ServiceNow.org are Leveraging Technology to Empower NGOs

In the fast-paced world of technology, where innovation is a driving force for change, ServiceNow emerges as a beacon of leadership. Vanessa Smith, President of ServiceNow.org, shares her insights into her journey and the organization’s commitment to making a positive impact on nonprofit organizations, the transformative power of technology, the role of digital experience, and the importance of inclusivity in the tech industry. A Change Catalyst: Vanessa Smith’s Tech Odyssey Smith’s journey with ServiceNow began in September 2020, a time marked by the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was drawn to ServiceNow by three key elements: the readiness for change, the remarkable capabilities of the NOW platform , and the chance to work again with influential tech leader Bill McDermott . With over 25-years of experience in tech and a family deeply rooted in the industry, Smith’s unique perspective and passion for social impact fuel her role as President of ServiceNow.org . Smith’s family...

Jan 30, 2024

Step Into The Metaverse: What It Means To Be An Engineer Behind One Of The World’s Most Innovative Brands

Whether you’re using WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family across oceans and time zones, or finding all types of entertainment and inspiration on Reels, chances are Meta touches your life on a daily basis. Many of us have had a front row seat to the evolution of this brand, from the days when your Facebook page had to be linked to a college email address, to the futuristic capabilities of the new Meta Quest 3 VR headset. Behind the tech giant that has come to permeate our lives are diverse tech creatives who have built an amazing ecosystem that equally pulls from their similarities and their differences. We recently caught up with Cyriel Dikoume, an Engineering Manager at the company, to find out more about what it’s like to be part of the team responsible for the wide range of innovation that has happened at Meta in even just the last two years. “It’s kind of like our apps: connecting people is what we do best,” Dikoume told AfroTech. “The essence of connection and...

Dec 18, 2023

How Expedia Group Is Addressing Traveler Pain Points While Bringing Some Fun Back To Travel Planning

For years, Expedia Group has powered and influenced some of the most unforgettable travel experiences, and their brands are among the best-known names in global travel. The company is at the cutting edge when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), with those tools enabling customers to discover new destinations, plan and structure their trips without hesitation. That’s all by design according to Candice Tang, Vice President of Technology, Developer Experience with Expedia Group. “AI covers everything from booking to shopping to how travelers change their flights,” she says about the importance of AI platforms. “We’ve been using AI for years building on our platform’s capabilities to simplify our traveler’s experience.” Candice, who has been in the position for a year, focuses on the developer experience and leads a team that streamlines and automates routine tasks, so developers can focus on what they do best– solving tough tech challenges. Her team has...

Dec 8, 2023

Celebrating Tomorrow's Innovators: The TWIX® College Reception Unwrapped

Every year AfroTech brings the best and brightest talent together to network, elevate their skills, and look ahead to discuss the future of tech. This year’s conference proved that the future couldn’t look any sweeter. The TWIX ® College Reception created an exclusive space for the students who will soon be the innovators, creators and industry disruptors of tomorrow. This private networking event gave 75 TWIX ® Scholars the opportunity to take a break from their studies so they could tap in with other up-and-coming tech talent and embrace one of the most slept-on forms of resistance: Black joy. TWIX ® partnered up with Blavity.org to transform The Reverbery into a red and gold foil-wrapped speakeasy where attendees enjoyed mouth-watering sliders, playful caricatures, interactive photo booths, and all-you-can-eat TWIX ® candy bars – and yes, we’re talking full-sized. It was the perfect backdrop for bright-eyed students eager to see what golden opportunities the tech space could...

Dec 5, 2023

The More You Know: An In-Depth Analysis of Lupus and its Impact on the Black Community

Dr. Ashira Blazer was still a student at the Baylor College of Medicine when her understanding of lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease, suddenly hit close to home. Her cousin had unexpectedly missed Thanksgiving dinner that year due to an illness. At the time, Blazer was studying immunology and reading about this disease extensively. “My cousin told me she had been sick. At first, I thought maybe she meant she had a cold or a stomach bug,” Blazer said. “But then, she started listing her symptoms, and I referenced my immunology textbook, thinking, ‘This could be lupus.’ I took her to my professor at the time and went with her to an appointment. She ended up being diagnosed.” Fortunately, Blazer’s cousin had access to a knowledgeable family member and trusted health resources to help her arrive at a timely lupus diagnosis. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many Black women who live with lupus. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects women of...

Nov 10, 2023

Gather Against the Gap: Northwestern Mutual and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Bring Together Changemakers to Drive Racial Equity

The racial wealth gap for Black Americans remains significant, directly impacting social and economic growth. For some, this wealth gap is one of the biggest hindrances to upward mobility and a key producer of financial anxiety. Organizations are working to reduce the racial wealth gap and provide a space for everyone to reach their financial goals. Northwestern Mutual , a leading financial services firm, is one of the companies committed to equity-focused work by supporting the growth and diversity of businesses, as it delivers a multiplier effect on job creation and community vitality. On October 26, Northwestern Mutual hosted Gather Against the Gap in partnership with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and brought together hundreds of leaders, academics and experts in the field to have a conversation on how to best standup initiatives and funding to reduce the racial wealth gap and sustain action for racial equity. The event was supported by the Boston...

Nov 8, 2023

How Will Cleveland Found His Dream Job Driving Inclusive Travel with Analytics at Expedia Group

Finding Opportunity at AfroTech Will Cleveland has always had a thing for analytics. Throughout his career, he’s been charged with figuring out strategies via content curation that give customers the data they need to make the best decisions possible. He’s always tried to make sure that people who look like him are empowered with information and opportunity. It’s his mission in life. As president of his former job’s Black employee resource group, he was able to present advancement opportunities for others while also helping the company advance in its diversity efforts. It was during his attendance at AfroTech 2022 in Austin that he discovered he was destined to do even more on a greater scale. “I love attending AfroTech. It feels like a safe space where I can see people who look like me and what they’re doing in tech to help us advance,“ Cleveland says. “I attended the Expedia Group panels and got to see the innovative things they’re doing to give their customers the power when it...

Oct 30, 2023