FERTILE GROUND: Hundreds of technology professionals attended the 100 Year Plan event at Bloomberg (photo credit: UK Black Tech)
A CONSORTIUM of nine black technology professionals have come together to form UK Black Tech, which advises and up-skills those who find themselves without support in a lucrative industry which doesn't often feature visible black leaders or entrepreneurs.
Last night, UK Black Tech brought together several hundred tech professionals, press and supporters for an evening at Bloomberg in London where they shared their 100 Year Plan for "promoting cultural diversity within (tech) organisations".
The evening also showcased accomplished individuals who hold leading positions in blue-chip companies including Vodafone, Price Waterhouse Coopers and TFL that rely heavily on technology; as well as entrepreneurs as young as eight years old who are making waves in tech.
ON A MISSION: 'The 100 Year Plan' outlined how tech can be more inclusive (photo credit: Dara Kirton)
Tech specialist at Vodafone and co-founder of career mentoring brand Your Future, Your Ambition Rashada Harry appeared on the podium to share her journey:
"I had labels put on me. I was the 'aggressive black girl'...a lot of my counterparts were being told they were leaders, that they were driven."
Whilst at Cisco, Harry got together with other black employees, whom were scarce, to form Your Future, Your Ambition which is an annual event that motives black and minority ethnic (BAME) people from the age of seven upwards to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. Harry's vision was encapsulated as she closed her speech:
"I've got two hands, right? One to help myself and one to help the person behind me".
SCHOOLING US: Mark 'Urban Teacher' Martin, UK Black Tech co-founder (photo credit: UK Black Tech)
Mark Martin, also known as the Urban Teacher is a co-founder of UK Black Tech and an ICT teacher by day who offered an insight into how the organisation came-up with the plan itself:
"The 100 Year Plan came about from a really interesting conversation with Julian and Phil (fellow co-founders)...BMW think 100 years into the future and we need to do that too."
Martin named the cornerstones of the plan:
The group will achieve their goals through offering training, networking events and fellowship groups, workshops on personal branding and marketing to name a few methods.
UK Black Tech also urged the audience to spread the word about a social media campaign they are running to demonstrate to young people of all ethnicities and BAME people in particular, that there are 'faces like their's' in leading tech positions. To get involved, they ask that members of the public post their pictures on social media with a caption detailing their tech occupations, their location and the '#faceslikeme' hash tag.
YOUNG, GIFTED AND TECH: UK Black Tech co-founder Julian Hall introducing young entrepreneurs from his Ultra Kids movement
Another UK Black Tech co-founder, Julian Hall, also runs Ultra Kids which encourages children to refine their natural talents in the realm of business and creativity. Hall introduced a panel of children who were invited to tell delegates how they use "technology to unleash their potential".
Nine-year-old Na'ariyah Kamare Hall (Julian's daughter) is enjoying success with her vegan-friendly 'clean' chocolate spread, ChocoRia and told the room, "my Instagram is growing daily" as well as the details about her YouTube posts which caught the attention of Hello Fresh - "they let me do some cooking with their chefs, it was a nice experience".
The talented foodie also spoke of her collaboration with YouTube sensation Kirly-Sue, a popular vegan YouTuber. This collaboration led to the young Hall receiving an invitation to South Africa:
"This will be my first international speaking gig and I'm really excited".
Watch Na'ariyah Kamare and Kirly-Sue below
Towards the close of the evening, Dionne Condor-Farrell, software developer at TFL offered some interpersonal advice for would-be black tech experts:
"We're getting in our own way...a lot of people are waiting for opportunities to come to them. If I don't believe in myself first, how can I expect someone else to believe in me?"
To find out more about UK Black Tech, click here.
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