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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,...

Tai Saint-Louis

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...

Tai Saint-Louis

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...

William Dawson

Feb 14, 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...

William Dawson

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...

Tai Saint-Louis

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...

William Dawson

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...

Taylor Gordon

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...

Josh Rodgers

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...

Josh Rodgers

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...

William Dawson

Oct 30, 2023

Reimagining Health Care: Optum Technology’s Approach To Better Service

Dated magazines, recessed lighting, and antiquated playsets are some stereotypical items in a doctor’s office waiting room. Although modern times have caused many medical facilities to have more up-to-date assets for patients waiting to be seen, one thing has not changed. Navigating the healthcare system can be a task. From the long intake forms to associated care costs, patients routinely face some challenges when seeking the medical attention they need. However, the people at UnitedHealth Group (UHG) believe the power and innovation of technology can mitigate some of the challenges associated with patient care. The Optum technology teams at UHG are developing and applying the technology of the future to help modernize, streamline, and simplify the health system so it works better for the people it was created to serve. Through technological advances and data, Optum delivers care by empowering people, partners, and providers with the necessary guidance and tools to achieve better...

Josh Rodgers

Oct 20, 2023

Closing the Wealth Gap: How Northwestern Mutual’s Accelerator Program Is Empowering Black Entrepreneurs

Access to resources is one of the most significant barriers to entry for Black entrepreneurs. Whether it is a lack of funding or a gap in training, Black business owners have often found it challenging to tap into the same level of success–at the same rate– as some of their racial counterparts. Northwestern Mutual , a leading financial services company which has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 160 years, acknowledges this systemic challenge and is committed to investment opportunities that will help reduce the racial wealth gap. One program the company has stood up, its Black Founder Accelerator program, furthers its commitment to championing diversity, equity and inclusion. Based on recent research, Black founders receive less than two percent of venture capital funds. Northwestern Mutual is stepping in and offering each eligible entrepreneur a $100,000 investment and inclusion in a 12-week intensive program. As part of the accelerator,...

Josh Rodgers

Oct 20, 2023

Let’s Have A Super Real Chat About Life Insurance, Shall We?

Be honest: how much thought have you put into financial planning? Depending on where you are in life, you might think that you’re not making enough money for that to be a concern; or that you’re too young to be thinking about retirement or life insurance. But the truth is it’s never too early to take the necessary steps to set yourself and your family up for the future. And the idea that financial planning is one of the best ways for people of color to start leveling the playing field when it comes to generational wealth really is a thing. Especially if those plans include a life insurance policy. Now before we go any further, let’s dispel some of the shame and judgment that exists around this sensitive topic. Yes, communities of color remain severely under protected when it comes to life insurance. Yes, Grandma’s house could have stayed in the family longer if only she’d had life insurance. But if you’ve ever made a slick comment about someone’s family having to turn to...

Tai Saint-Louis

Oct 13, 2023

An Inside Look Into UnitedHealthcare Group’s Commitment to Diversity Equity And Inclusion

The United States of America seems to be at a consistent inflection point. From media-heavy events to moments of social unrest, there appears to be a pervasive tone that seeks to divide humanity rather than unite. While some would look the other way, hoping society will self-correct itself, other organizations and companies proactively work to create environments and cultures that champion justice through diversity, equity, and inclusion. UnitedHealth Group is a part of that work, intentionally implementing programs and initiatives that support and uplift their employees regardless of some societal status quo. UnitedHealth Group (UHG) created a strategic framework for advancing diversity rooted in recruitment tools, building cultural competencies, and continued education for equity and inclusion tools. For UHG, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a business priority. This working prodigy includes vast representation across demographics, including Black/African American,...

Josh Rodgers

Oct 2, 2023

How Famous Amos’ Ingredients for Success Program Honors Its Entrepreneurial Roots

  The latest round of winners of the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative have been selected, and their businesses represent an impressive cross section of the entrepreneurial talent that exists in the African American community. It’s a community that unfortunately continues to be underserved when it comes to opportunities.   Each year since 2021, Famous Amos has partnered with the National Black Chamber of Commerce to award three Black, early-stage business owners with $50,000 in unrestricted business capital. But the Ingredients For Success Entrepreneurs Initiative gives its winners and participants much more than that, coupling the grant with business and mentorship resources provided by the NBCC.   The 2023 winners– Steffanie Rivers, Emir Horton and Londyn Jackson –have not only developed impressive businesses, they’ve done so through amazing personal journeys that have put them in position to inspire and support others in their fields. And they are all...

Tai Saint-Louis

Sep 26, 2023