On June 28, 2024, AFROTECH™ held its first-ever event in Brick City. Hosted at Prudential Tower, AFROTECH™ Executive hit Newark, NJ, in partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).

For AFROTECH™ Executive Newark, attendees convened for discussions about tech innovation, financial responsibility, and creating wealth in the community. The sessions were led by speakers Angela Rye, principal and CEO of Impact Strategies; Will Lucas, brand manager of AFROTECH™; Erica Duignan Minnihan, founding partner of Reign Ventures; Vaughn Crowe, managing partner of Newark Venture Partners; Sam Caucci, founder and CEO of 1Huddle; Michele Alcazar, vice president of workforce transformation strategy at Prudential Financial; and Daniel Adeyanju, director of partnerships at The Knowledge House.


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Among the sessions was a panel titled “Future-Proofing Workplaces by Harnessing AI,” which included Caucci, Alcazar, and Adeyanju. Following the discussion, Robine Theodule, who works in business operations for a cybersecurity startup, shared that she is looking to pivot into artificial intelligence (AI), and attending AFROTECH™ Executive Newark gave her insight on how to take steps toward making the career shift.

“Somehow I want to transition to AI, so I’m hearing about this and talking about how we’re going to level the playing field, I just know I’m in the right direction,” Theodule said. “Going to these events you’ll definitely get that insight.”

Brianna Farquharson, who works at Deloitte, chimed in, “And just going back to your networks. A lot of times it’s not that the opportunity isn’t there, it’s just that we don’t have access to that network and the people who are doing the things that we might not even know that we have an interest in if we’re not in the room and being present. That’s how being in this event opens the doorway for us to know, ‘Hey, there’s a space for me. The problems that I want to solve in this world, they’re there to solve. There are people who are solving those problems, and I can also partake in that.'”

For Roll Up Life Inc. Founder and CEO Tiyahnn Bryant, AFROTECH™ Executive Newark was his first AFROTECH™ event. The networking experience was new for him as he said that he isn’t used to being around as many people who are “technologically sound.” What’s more, the overall event exposed him to things that he hadn’t initially heard of even though he considers himself to be a techie.

“I’ve been following AFROTECH™ for probably like the last three or four years since COVID started — on Instagram and Twitter,” Bryant said. “And finally, since they’re local enough to me, I wanted to see what it would be like to experience it. 

He continued, “For someone like me that’s looking to seek investment and seek further capitalization and know what rooms to be in and how to conduct yourself in those rooms, Vaughn Crowe was amazing at describing that ability and what companies he would be interested in and invested in. Going from there to AI and understanding how we can use AI in the workplace from 1Huddle, then from there to a powerful Angela Rye session, AFROTECH™ owes me nothing.”

In addition, Bryant said that these type of AFROTECH™ events can help professionals sharpen their skills and meet people who are in their proximity that look like them and come from similar backgrounds.

“We’re gonna announce the elephant in the room,” he said. “It’s comfortable to be here. Everybody here looks just like us. And everybody here is trying to see people that look just like us win, and that’s something that we’re not always privy to. Sometimes people can get nervous when they’re in rooms with people that have high positions, but they don’t look like them. You can be uncomfortable when it comes to things like that, so this is a homey environment. I’m glad that this environment welcomed me.”

He added, “These type of events are definitely the ones that propel you to move forward in any type of career path that you’re trying to choose when it comes to technology. Whether you’re a founder or you’re looking for your next position, I think that AFROTECH™ and this environment that’s been created, at least from what I’m seeing with my two eyes, is definitely something that people should use as a stepping stone to move forward in their lives and in their careers.”

For professionals interested in catching where AFROTECH™ heads next, stay updated with events here and click here to secure your spot for the 2024 AFROTECH™ Conference in Houston, TX.