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The organizers of tech event Black Tech Week recently confirmed sports superstar Serena Williams as a keynote speaker at the event.
As part of the week-long event, which is scheduled to be held from July 18-23 in Cincinnati this year, Williams will be speaking about her company, Serena Ventures. Founded in 2014, Serena Ventures is a venture capital company that invests in businesses that are focused on diversifying leadership positions and other jobs available in their companies.
Williams will be joining a variety of other keynote speakers, including Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, and Janeen Uzzell, the CEO of National Black Society of Engineers, amongst others.
Held annually, Black Tech Week is a conference that connects Black tech professionals to help facilitate discussions and networking with leaders from different fields in the tech industry. Throughout the conference, tech professionals will be given the opportunity to attend business events, such as the Tech Career Fair, immersive experiences and management workshops, as well as downtime events like “the Wine and Wine Down” event.
“We’ll host a women’s brunch, we’ll have an opening night,” said the CEO of Black Tech Week’s owner Lightship Foundation, Candice Matthews Brackeen, to WCPO. “Just like many things, you will see a demo day. You’ll see a pitch competition where we will invest in some companies.”
In addition to Black Tech Week, here are five other tech events being held this month that are geared towards helping diversify the tech field.
- GTA Black Women in Tech Meet Black Men in Tech: Hosted by Global Tech Advocates Black Women in Tech, a London-based tech non-profit company that fights for giving Black women places in the tech world, “Black Women in Tech Meet Black Men in Tech” is an event created in partnership with Google. Scheduled to be held in Google’s London Headquarters on July 13, the conference connects Black women tech professionals with Black men tech professionals to give them the opportunity to network. The event will also feature a series of guest speakers who will be speaking about their journey in the tech world as a Black woman.
- BreakLine Live Q & A: Scheduled for July 7 as a virtual event, this Q&A is hosted by Blacks in Technology Foundation, a non-profit that connects Black people with tech resources. Through the event, attendees will be given the chance to learn more about BreakLine, a company that helps people from underrepresented communities find available job opportunities. Available as a free program, BreakLine already boasts an 87% success rate as they’ve previously helped people find tech roles in companies such as Google and BetterUp. Throughout the month, the non-profit is also hosting other virtual tech events. In addition to an event focused on getting high school students into computer science programs, the non-profit is also offering an event that’s focused on finding employment for those with tech degrees that are without a job.
- Black Tech & Equity: Serving as a pre-event to Black Tech Week, “Black Tech & Equity” is a discussion on how to use talent, find opportunities and build wealth for communities through tech. The Mercantile Library in Cincinnati, the city where Black Tech Week is being held, will be hosting the free event. As part of the discussion, speakers will share their own ideas and stories; the guests include Candice Matthews Brackeen, the CEO of Lightship Foundation, Chandler Malone, the CEO of tech employment company Bootup and Tim Barr Jr., an associate at holding company Endeavor.
- Games For Change Festival: Set to be held from July 13 to July 16, the “Games For Change Festival” is a festival dedicated to video games and other interactive methods of storytelling. Available both as virtual events and in-person events at the Times Center and Microsoft for the first two days of the festival, the sessions cover a variety of topics.
In addition to panels about healthcare in the metaverse, speakers will discuss representation in gaming design, the connection between gaming and climate change and the creation of games around the culture, heritage and art in Africa amongst others. The festival also offers panels about the diversification of gaming as speakers will take the stage to talk about how universities can help prepare Black and Brown youth for gaming job opportunities. Co-founder of CXO, Glow Up Games, Latoya Peterson, will also detail her experience starting the first all-BIPOC women-founded studio that works on creating stories about Black and Brown joy.
- The Black Tech Symposium (Atlanta): After being held in North Texas in June, “the Black Tech Symposium” is moving to Atlanta on July 29. Through the event, tech organizations, professionals, nonprofits and other groups that are dedicated to increasing the employment rate of Black people in tech are given the opportunity to network and help get Black professionals into leasing tech roles.