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2018 NYC Women of Color in Technology Reception

Our Presence, Our Power 3.0 Presented in Partnership with HBO Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The torrential downpour during rush hour in New York City did not rain on Digital Diversity Network’s parade on Tuesday, May 15. More than 100 women braved the monsoon-like weather to attend our third annual NYC Women of Color in Technology Reception.

Hosted in partnership with HBO for the third consecutive year, this signature, invitation-only event provides a platform for influential women of color within digital and technology sectors to impart their wisdom and passion; share their stories; and inspire others to defy the odds and thrive in the Creative Economy.

The multicultural group includes women from diverse backgrounds, pursuits and passions. They comprise founders, funders, advocates and professionals from academia, non-profit and companies including AMC Networks, AT&T, Comcast NBCUniversal, CUNY, Etsy, Facebook, Google, HBO, IBM, iONE Digital, Mount Sinai, New York on Tech, NYU, Nielsen, Octagon, Publicis Groupe, RLJ Entertainment, Samsung, SAVA360, Useable Tech, Viacom and more.

Themed, Our Presence, Our Power 3.0, the event launched with a cocktail reception which included a Go Photo booth sponsored by Octagon. Attendees then moved into the HBO theater where they received a rousing welcome from Kedma Brown, SVP, Production & Special Projects Zenith and DDN Board Chair; and Sabrina Caluori, SVP, Digital Media & Marketing for HBO. They underscored the timeliness of the evening’s conversations around microaggressions in the wake of recent headlines involving people of color who were presumed as not belonging in certain public places.

Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon, Ph.D., Senior Director & Panel Manager, Research at Catalyst Inc. shared findings of their research on the Day-to Day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women & Men of Color in the Workplace. Emotional Tax is defined as the Experience of Being Different due to Gender, Race and/or Ethnicity + Being on Guard to Protect Against Bias + Risks to Employee Well-being & Productivity. In addition to sharing how businesses also suffer when employees are not allowed to thrive at work, Jennifer provided recommendations for creating an inclusive culture that allows for individuals to simultaneously feel valued for their uniqueness and have a sense of belonging on the team.

The program was rounded out by a panel discussion, themed, Microaggressions: Why They Matter & How to Mitigate Them. Award Winning Journalist, and Brand & Content Expert, Kierna Mayo, led the conversation featuring: Khadija Ali,Senior Product Manager, Urban Compass Inc.; Rachana Kumar, Director of Engineering, Etsy; Jennifer Lopez, Commercial Innovation Technology Lead, CASIS (International Space Station, U.S. National Laboratory); Shweta Patira, Software Engineering Lead, Digital Products, HBO; and Jessica Robinson, CEO,PurePoint International.

Each of the panelists cited examples of their personal experiences with microaggressions and offered tips for coping. Here’s what members of our audience had to say about this panel:

  • “Thank you so very much for providing a powerful symposium. The opportunity to meet many of my peers, and women that are living their intention was awesome.”

  • “The panelists were really impressive with their honesty. Quite a few people in the audience shared with me that they were happy to be in a room with people talking about microaggressions publicly. “

  • “I was so impressed with the level of honesty, passion and integrity from the panelists.”

The theme, Our Presence, Our Power, was taken to another level as our guests connected with one another; shared experiences and ideas; received empowering career advice; and left with the fortitude to uplift one another and help improve the future for women of color in digital and technology.


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