The Diversity in Tech Awards was an amazing display of individuals from many diverse backgrounds coming together for one night. Held last night at The Bowery Hotel in NYC, the awards brought attendees together to invest their “time, talent, and treasures” to help fund the dreams of minority youth, especially those interested in careers in tech. Everyone there celebrated the individuals, organizations, and companies who are thriving in fostering initiatives in the community to close the digital divide.
Danielle James, Marketing Specialist at MongoDB with Bold Contributor Myrna Datilus
Upon entering the event, I was greeted by a sea of diverse individuals networking and mingling while munching at the flavorful rice bowls sponsored by Dos Toros, and sipping cocktails from an open bar sponsored by Quantcast. DJ Nancy Whang provided the music that flooded the air of the event to prepare everyone for the evening’s festivities. Lola Banjo of Salesforce and Kirk McDonald of PubMatic were the hosts for the night, introducing the keynote speaker, Magda Yrizzary of Verizon Communications. Yrizzary said, “We need more African Americans and Latinos in every profession to close the digital divide and the gap on education in tech.”
The Individual Tech Awardee, Danielle James, a Marketing Specialist at MongoDB, shared how she graduated from college although she “experienced first-hand what the criminal incarceration system in the United States does to families, mothers, fathers, and children.” She did not expect to make it to college, but once she did, she knew she could make a change in this world through her writing and communication skills — hence her English and Communications degrees. While at MongoDB, Danielle launched the MongoDB Diversity Scholarship, the Female Innovators Initiative, an employee resource group for underrepresented employees, and the #changetheratio campaign, which was an event series for high school students who are learning to code.
The Organization Tech Award went to Black Girls Code, whose mission is to “increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering young girls of color ages 7-17 to become innovators in STEM fields.” The organization is passionate about bridging the digital divide amongst women — primarily women of color.
The Initiative Tech Awards went to Justwomen of Justworks, and The BNY Mellon CTS High School Internship Program. JustWomen is on a mission to “bring accomplished women together with a shared goal of promoting growth, sharing knowledge and building community among women entrepreneurs.” The BNY Mellon CTS High School Internship Program provides amazing opportunities for teenage girls who are interested in computer science. These young women have the opportunity to attend Hack-a-Thons at tech companies such as Facebook and Google, and are all very excited about their future careers thanks to this program.
The remaining awards were: The Media Tech Award (awarded to Buzzfeed), The Student Achievement Award, Teacher Achievement Award and School Achievement Award.
To conclude the night, Guest DJ Questlove took over the DJ booth and blasted sounds of hip-hop and R&B that had the crowd dancing the rest of the night away.
All in all, this was an event that allowed attendees to mix, mingle, network and learn more about different tech fields. Most importantly, the night was full of learning how the tech community can provide more opportunities for women and for people of color, especially for those who love the technology field, who are qualified, and who want to have profitable careers in the tech world.
Myrna L. Datilus is the Partnerships Director for Bold. Ms. Datilus has a Masters in Public Relations along with a diverse background of music, theatre, and sales. Her focus is to utilize her personal, academic and professional background in a broader scale. The primary goal is to work with Organizations and Brands that are relative to how the world is shifting technologically.
Myrna loves to sing, dance, meet & mingle with people and have something amazing come to fruition. “I am looking forward to all the BOLD adventures that are to come!”