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Announcing The First Round Of Speakers For AfroTech Conference 2023

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...

Josh Rodgers

Jun 15, 2023

Two-Day Work Weeks: How This CEO Shaped Her Business for the Life She Wanted

The hustle and bustle of startup life can leave founders drained, workers burned out and investors wondering what’s next. Tara Reed, the founder and CEO of Apps Without Code , said she is extremely intentional about the way she schedules her work weeks. Chicago-based Apps Without Code is an organization teaching people globally on how to build apps without using coding. Before creating Apps Without Code, Reed worked in the marketing department for major tech companies like FourSquare, Google, and Microsoft. She went on to launch her first company Kollecto, an app that helps users find art and home decor but ran into development issues. “One of the challenges that I had was that I would speak to developers and they would tell me they were building my app,” Reed said. “I had no way of telling what was a good job and what wasn’t because I couldn’t write in code.” Reed discovered a system of creating apps without knowing how to code and decided to build a company out of it. Once it...

Arriana McLymore

Nov 12, 2019

Alphonso Morris Wants to Bring EdTech to Everyone as a Product Designer at Coursera

Alphonso “Fonz” Morris is a senior product designer at Coursera, one of the world’s largest EdTech platforms. We sat down to talk to him about his journey and his vision for the company and himself. The Beginning Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Fonz made his way to the south in search of higher education at the historically Black Morehouse College. As a self-described “engineering-minded kind of kid,” his childhood dream was to become an architect. However, when he got to college, a computer science career seemed to have more potential than an architectural one. While at Morehouse, he also participated in a study-abroad program at Oxford University, where he studied art history and visited some of the world’s most iconic museums and galleries. Although he began his computer science degree at Morehouse, he later transferred to Georgia State after two years because he could no longer afford tuition. While he made this move purely out of financial necessity, he believes everything worked...

Colleen Williams

Nov 5, 2019

Mandela SH Dixon Took Over Our IG and Dropped Major Gems to Prepare You For AfroTech 2019

The AfroTech 2019 speaker lineup is crazy! Among those speaking is Mandela SH Dixon, founder of Founder Gym , a leading online program dedicated to supporting and educating founders of color on how-tos of startup funding. Since Founder Gym’s inaugural cohort, nearly 400 founders have graduated and raised over $40 million in startup funding, according to its site . Along with her Founder Gym accomplishments, Mandela also has other success receipts, including seven years in Silicon Valley, where she was invested in by some of Silicon’s biggest investors. Mandela, who also spoke at AfroTech 2018, took over AfroTech’s Instagram and dropped some gems that will help attendees take full advantage of this year’s conference! Here are some take-home points: Don’t Show Up Unprepared As DJ Khaled would say, “Don’t ever play yourself.” To show up to AfroTech ready to execute your plan, you first have to develop one. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” Mandela said, advising attendees to...

Devin Crudup

Nov 5, 2019

This Software Engineer is Using His Voice to Create Dope Tech for the Culture

Kyle Woumn — a speaker at AfroTech 2019 and a software engineer at Twilio — is no stranger to technology or the culture. If you take a look at the engineer’s LinkedIn, his tagline says it all. “I came up with that tagline, ‘Creating Dope Technology For The Culture,’ earlier this year because I was trying to think about who I am and the kind of work I wanted to do and put out into the world,” Woumn said. The world of technology is not new to Woumn. As an only child, born and raised in a traditional nuclear family in Atlanta, GA, he has always been a creator. His intense passion for learning and technology prompted his mother to enroll him in STEM summer camps in the Atlanta area at a young age. He attended youth programs at Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology. His enthusiasm for engineering persisted through high school and he eventually enrolled at the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology to study computer engineering. However, he quickly found that his real...

Colleen Williams

Oct 18, 2019

This Researcher Is Giving Users The Experience They Need

Each time you open an app and navigate to a search bar or click “follow” on some other user’s page, there is a person behind the scenes researching and designing better ways to bring these features to you. User experience (UX) design is more than just making sure audiences know how to navigate an app. It is also about ensuring that a variety of people can use features effectively. “Before you can even make something look good, you have to understand why this person uses an app,” Renee Reid, UX Design Researcher at LinkedIn, said. “It is about first getting down to the core of understanding why and how someone would even use the feature.” As with most tech professions, UX’s lack of diversity greatly impacts the types of products that are put into the market. Reid said product developers often miss blindspots because they work to only solve problems for one group of people. “When you have a homogenous team, you’re only developing and testing in these homogenous environments,” Reid...

Arriana McLymore

Oct 14, 2019