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diversity and inclusion

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True Acquires Diversity And Inclusion Technology Company Jopwell To Put More POC Talent In Leadership Roles

The advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion is looking to be taken to a new level under a new acquisition.

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 27, 2023

Like Husband, Like Wife: Meka Knepley, Developer And Wife Of A Fortnite Creator, Launches Her Own Social Shopping App ReUp

While developer Meka Knepley is married to Pete Knepley, Principal Programmer at Epic Games — one of the creators of Fortnite Battle Royale — she set out on her own, looking for a way to improve the world during the height of the pandemic. As the world witnessed massive shutdowns disproportionately impacting small businesses, Knepley conjured an idea to develop a frictionless shopping experience to connect consumers with businesses. ReUp is a byproduct of Knepley’s efforts and the platform welcomes brands and shoppers to join its growing community. “I was talking to my friends, like ‘How can I make the difference?’ Some of my friends were like, ‘I’m going to go on protest’… ‘I’m going to write a paper about it’…and with me, I was like ‘I need to help people.’ ‘How can I help the community?’ And then I felt like, you can’t get to Maslow’s Hierarchy if you’re still worried about your job. So, if we can get you to a higher platform where you have your own business and you’re...

Samantha Dorisca

Aug 31, 2022

Demond Cook Is On A Mission To Create A Gateway For Minorities To Tap Into Cybersecurity

This consultant leveled up his career to tap into cybersecurity and wants to kick open the door for more to follow suit. Demond Cook transformed his finances shifting from corporate security at the National Basketball Association (NBA) to cybersecurity. Finding his footing took time and Demond Cook relied on self-study, networking, and trial and error before securing his first green light. While venturing into the field, Cook recognized a striking disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters in the cybersecurity space. This led to the creation of Cook Consulting Group (CCG) in June of 2020 to address the knowledge gaps. Now, Demond Cook operates as a beacon of hope for others, opening the doors for more minorities looking to venture into the field. “I noticed the disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters in cyber security,” Cook told AfroTech. “Most recruiters have no idea what cyber security professionals do for a living, so I started CCG to bridge the gap. This would...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 26, 2022

Dalana Brand Becomes Twitter's Chief People And Diversity Officer

Twitter welcomes Dalana Brand as the chief people and diversity officer. Dalana Brand will spearhead the company’s Global People Team in addition to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility initiatives. Dalana Brand will aid the company’s next steps by collaborating with executive management. “We are on a journey to become the world’s most inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible technology company, which is key to serving the public conversation,” she said in an official press release announcement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the company’s global workforce and accelerate the progress we’ve made to create the best, most inclusive people experience for everyone at Twitter.” Prior to her time at Twitter, she served as the vice president of Total Rewards for Electronic Arts, Inc. She also spent nine years serving in multiple leadership positions at Whirlpool Corporation. Throughout the span of her career, she has curated and developed global people programs...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 7, 2022

Meet 24-Year-Old Lana Denina, A Creative Who Has Made Over $300K Selling Her Art Through NFTs

Lana Denina is a Black woman artist who has made over $300,000 just in selling NFTs, CNBC reports. And not just any NFTs — but NFTs of her original artwork. By now, everyone is familiar with the NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, and its growing popularity in the tech world. Their popularity has sparked a revolution, especially among celebrities and creatives, too. And for this Montreal, Canada-based creative, NFTs has made her quite a pretty penny. And she told CNBC that she hopes her success story inspires other creatives of color to follow in her footsteps. “I hope to inspire more creatives who look like me to step a foot into tech,” she said. “When they saw the Mona Lana, they really wanted to buy an NFT. Before that, they were looking at other projects, and they didn’t feel fully represented maybe.” She also said that she plans to donate a portion of her sales to a charity that supports African artists, and to various women’s shelters in Canada. So, what else should we know about this...

Digital Black Face? This Company Places White Actors In Black Roles For Its VR Diversity Training

It’s a tale that’s as old as time, white people practicing Black face and not thinking twice about it! This time, it’s a tech company that provides human resource training to large corporations. They’re using white actors to portray people of color within sessions about diversity, equity, and inclusion — the audacity, right? According to BuzzFeed News, Mursion, a corporate education company, has created virtual reality simulations for various clients where hypothetical scenarios are conducted between the participant and an animated human avatar played by live human actors. Those human actors follow concise plans while also improvising where they use voice modulators and remote controllers to switch between characters. This feature means that the actors, known as “simulation specialists,” often play characters of races and genders that are not their own.

Shanique Yates

Dec 3, 2021

Spare Change App 'I Heart My HBCU' Announces Partnership With Xavier University Of Louisiana

Have you ever wanted to support your favorite HBCU, but didn’t have the means or the wherewithal to do so? This “spare change” app will help you do just that! AfroTech previously spoke with Dominique King — founder of the I Heart My HBCU app — who leveraged this technology to make donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) easy (they can be done in as little as 60 seconds) back in December of 2020. “When creating this app, it was important for me to encourage HBCU Alumni to support all HBCUs. Users can easily adjust how much or how little of the spare change they share to their five favorite HBCUs,” she said in a statement about the I Heart My HBCU app. “I Heart My HBCU became the first platform where users could donate spare change to any of the 104 HBCUs in one place.” King first launched her groundbreaking app in 2017 and became one of an elite cadre of Black female tech entrepreneurs in the space. A graduate of Howard University, King’s first goal was to...

Jay-Z-Backed The Parent Company Names Tiffany McBride As The Managing Director Of Social Equity Ventures

The Parent Company — a publicly traded U.S. cannabis organization backed by Jay-Z — is on a mission to make the cannabis industry more diverse, inclusive and equitable. Aligning with this, the company has hired Tiffany McBride as its new managing director of Social Equity Ventures. Founded in January 2021, The Parent Company is California’s leading vertically integrated cannabis company. McBride’s hire comes as the company also welcomed Kerry Arnold as its chief people officer. “This is an exciting time to join The Parent Company as the Managing Director of Social Equity Ventures to continue to ensure that minority communities have a seat at the table in the cannabis industry,” McBride said in a press release. “The Social Equity Ventures Fund and the recent opening of LA’s first Black Woman-Owned Dispensary, Josephine & Billie’s, are just some of the ways we are already making progress toward a more equitable future in cannabis. McBride joins the company with more than 15 years of...

Michelai Graham

Nov 30, 2021

TikTok Taps Shavone Charles As Its First-Ever Head Of Diversity And Inclusion Communications

Things are looking to be headed in the right direction for Black TikTok creators when it comes to getting their long-overdue credit with the platform’s latest team addition. TikTok recently announced Shavone Charles, former director of communications and creative partnerships at VSCO, as the platform’s first-ever head of diversity and inclusion communications. According to Adweek, the multi-hyphenate creative will “lead all diversity and inclusion communications globally, overseeing the video creation platform’s multicultural campaigns in collaboration with media and diverse creators.” Although Charles is stepping into a newly formed role at TikTok, the now Los Angeles-based executive is in familiar territory when it comes to being a trailblazer in major tech companies’ diversity departments. While at VSCO, she led strategic brand partnerships and product campaigns across key consumer interest verticals youth culture, community, diversity/inclusion, entertainment and fashion,...

Ngozi Nwanji

Nov 22, 2021

Elaine Welteroth Joins Forces With Public To Help Black Women Get Into The Game Of Investing

Elaine Welteroth is more than a triple threat. She has stacked up an impressive work portfolio, which includes becoming a New York Times best-selling author,  serving as a judge on Bravo’s hit show “Project Runway” and also as the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. On top of her impressive arsenal of business ventures, Welteroth is intentional about using her platform to help others. During her time at Teen Vogue, diversity and social justice were pushed to the forefront of the outlet’s coverage, and she also created the 15 Percent Pledge encouraging major retailers to commit 15 percent of their buying power to funding Black-owned businesses. Now, Elaine Welteroth is continuing her commitment to help the BIPOC community in a new arena by partnering with investment platform Public , which AfroTech previously told you has an online community bolstering one million users with a demographic of 40 percent women and 45 percent BIPOC. The partnership will lead the future generation...

Samantha Dorisca

Nov 10, 2021

These Sisters Created A Diverse Children's Brand That Will Now Be Sold At Walmart

Sisters and founders of Kids for Culture — Lamia Haley and Kristen O’meally — had a mission to create diverse and inclusive products for children, which has now received a stamp of approval from Walmart. Haley and O’meally created Kids for Culture in response to O’meally casually scrolling on Instagram and stumbling across ABC flashcards. Despite the great intention behind the product, she could not help but feel indifferent due to the lack of representation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kids For Culture®️ (@kidsforculture) “I saw some ABC flashcards and I said well those would be nice if they also represented other races because it was just majority caucasian children that were on there and I said ‘Well I’m going to create some,'” O’meally shares in an interview with WHAS 11. After excitingly revealing the concept to her sister, Haley suggested the incorporation of affirmations to their products. The idea blossomed at the height of the pandemic and Kids for Culture...

Samantha Dorisca

Nov 4, 2021

Joseph B. Hill's DEI Job Offer Was Reportedly Rescinded After 'Flagging Racial Bias'

In efforts to “diversify” the workroom, some companies are hiding behind the gaze of inclusion in hopes of finding a token to enhance their agendas. Joseph B. Hill, a Black Chief Diversity Officer with over 20 years of experience, accepted a new position to serve at Memorial Hermann Health System in the city of Houston as the Vice President, Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer. To prepare for a relocation and help Hill find the right home, a real estate agent contracted by Memorial Hermann was hired. Hill noted red flags from the agent as he recalled “unconscious racial bias” being exhibited from the white realtor such as bringing light to a Black-owned clothing store and commenting, “One of those stores over there is owned by a rapper; I don’t know those guys.” Hill also recalled the agent presenting a public golf course as “someplace where you would play,” to wittingly imply he was not welcomed at a private club. Hill, uncomfortable due to the microaggressions, presented...

Samantha Dorisca

Nov 4, 2021

Elise Smith And Heather Shen's Praxis Labs Raises $15.5M In Oversubscribed Series A Round

Praxis Labs, a Black and Asian-woman-founded company utilizing the power of virtual reality (VR) for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) training, just raised $15.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A round. This is the second major funding round for the company, which raised $3.2 million in February 2021, AfroTech previously reported. According to their website, Elise Smith and Heather Shen, both Stanford graduates, launched Praxis Labs in late 2019 to leverage their unique experiences and perspectives to “build the most efficacious and impactful learning experiences.” In a press release, Praxis Labs indicated that the financing round was co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective. Other investors in the round included Penny Jar Capital (anchored by Steph Curry), Precursor Ventures, Concrete Rose Capital, Ulu Ventures, SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund and Firework Ventures. “Our society is more segregated than ever, and the workplace is often the most...

Colleen Williams

Oct 22, 2021

How Ava, The Eight-Year-Old STEM Entrepreneur, Is Inspiring Kids To Find Their Own Genius

This eight-year-old Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) entrepreneur is inspiring kids from all over the world to find their own genius. The creator of Team Genius Squad, eight-year-old Ava The S.T.E.M. Princess®, experienced academic challenges for several years. These challenges negatively impacted Ava in her day-to-day life with her educational instructors and peers; specifically, being singled out as a poor performer, teased for not understanding classroom material and excluded from friendships and cliques because she didn’t fit the mold. Not knowing what her inner genius was and the learning style that worked best for her caused Ava to experience bouts of discouragement and low self-esteem. These unfortunate events were the catalyst that catapulted Ava to learn and entertain herself and others in a different manner. But through the utilization of visual aids (videos), scripting skits and utilizing her creative gifts and talents (i.e. developing designs,...

Study Finds Tech Professionals Aren't Impressed With How The Industry Addresses Diversity

Nearly 70 percent of young tech professionals say they have felt uncomfortable at work based on their identities and lack of inclusion. Wiley , a developer of digital education solutions, published this stat along with others in its Diversity in Tech: 2021 U.S. Report during the 2021 ASU+GSV Summit. The company surveyed 2,000 early-career tech professionals and 270 business leaders. Wiley found that 68 percent of businesses represented in the report said there is a lack of diversity in their tech workforces. These key findings may come as a shock since U.S. companies are spending a collective $8 billion a year on diversity and inclusion efforts, yet 50 percent of young tech professionals surveyed said they have left or wanted to leave jobs because of company cultures and unwelcome workplaces. “This report proves that investment alone isn’t enough to achieve equity in the workplace,” Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services, said in a press release. “We need to take an...

Michelai Graham

Oct 7, 2021