What is Black is Tech?
Black is Tech is a free conference in its fourth year that involves speakers, recruitment, networking, entertainment, and more. This year there were over 20,000 attendees for a full-on five-day virtual experience with some smaller in-person activations in one of the US’s biggest Black tech meccas: Atlanta, GA. Black and Brown thought leaders from the industry spoke on panels around growing your startup, the metaverse, cloud applications, and more. And our very own TJ Albert, VP of Business Integration and Assurance, was a panelist in one of the conference’s first panels of the week, “It's all in the Networks: Building Relationships as the Foundation for Your Career's Growth.”
“It was truly an honor to represent GumGum as a panelist at Black Is Tech. To be able to share my perspective on how to build relationships as the foundation of your career growth by way of building and cultivating a professional village was truly amazing. To be in a safe space for the Black community to connect really warmed my heart and exceeded my expectations!"
- TJ Albert, VP of Business Integration and Assurance
In addition to panels, roundtables were held, networking happy hours with live music were hosted, and so much more. Over 70 companies sponsored the event to recruit talent – including GumGum!
Why Did We Go?
At GumGum, we have some work to do when it comes to representing the true breadth of diversity of the world, especially when it comes to Black talent. We recognize this and are committed to changing that and as part of this effort, we know and understand the importance of meeting people where they are – including candidates that we’re trying to meet and engage with. Too often, the onus falls on communities who have been intentionally excluded to seek and find opportunities for careers in corporate America, especially in the tech industry, and that’s not okay. We know that it’s on all of us to show up and seek out talent. This is called equity. Our goal in attending the conference was to meet, engage, and hire Black tech talent, showcase GumGum’s company culture and tech innovations, and speak to our commitment to doing better. This was only our second in-person recruiting event we have gone to since COVID began, and it was our first time attending Black is Tech – but not the last.
“We want to pioneer change in the tech industry to improve representation across all sectors of our business, but especially in engineering where Black & Brown folks are disproportionately underrepresented.”
- Vanessa Rivero, DE&I, People & Culture Business Partner
Hear from GumGummers who Attended the Conference
The GumGum team attended virtually and in-person from all around the country – with GumGummers connecting with people at our virtual booth and on LinkedIn, and at our in-person booth in Atlanta. Hear what some of us had to say about our experiences there:
“There are hundreds of highly qualified black professionals who just need to get a foot in the door, and I'm here to open as MANY doors as I can!” - TJ Albert, VP of Business Integration and Assurance
“My favorite part of the conference was meeting new people!! The virtual booth was an incredible space for us to connect and engage with attendees and have authentic conversations. Folks would come in and out of our virtual booth asking our team thoughtful questions about our culture, our technology, our ERGs – and challenged us in the best way possible to speak honestly about the work we're doing in the DEIB space. The virtual format allowed us to interact with 100+ attendees over the five-day virtual conference. I met some incredible humans over those five days, many pivoting careers and looking to break into tech. I've already set up coffee walks with some of the attendees I built a genuine connection with, who I'm hoping can build their careers here at GumGum!” - Vanessa Rivero, DE&I, People & Culture Business Partner
“I wanted to support the DEIB initiative at GumGum because the Black community is underrepresented in engineering. And my favorite part of the conference? Meeting people! Everyone was so friendly and easy to talk to. It was great connecting with the community and I feel GumGum was well received. But in the future, I wish we had more open positions to offer to attendees.” - Eric Melz, Director of Engineering
“As a global company that hires remotely we felt it important to build a presence in new regions such as Atlanta. Being aware that there is a significant underrepresentation of non-majority personnel in technology we want to do our part to resolve this as much as possible by hiring from conferences like Black is Tech. I truly had an amazing time getting to know the attendees. I had some fantastic conversations and believe that we are starting to build a network from this event that will hopefully help us hire in the future.” - Josh Graber, VP of Talent Acquisition
The real work continues and this is just the start. It’s crucial for us to continue to amplify and seek out diverse talent, hear from different voices and further our mission of fostering diversity and equity in our hiring processes. And next year? We’re doubling down on these efforts and will continue to be transparent about our progress and goals. We know we have work to do, but we’re committed to it and more so, we’re committed to giving everyone equal access and opportunity to join the tech industry. For too long it’s been on the Black community to fight for a seat at the table, and though we’ll keep fighting, it’s high time that the tech industry and other systems in the US start meeting us where we are. We can’t always fight the systems set up to exclude us alone and I’m proud of the fact that our CEO truly understands this.
The Black is Tech conference has strengthened our goal to do better – and we’ll be back!