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AI: Access & Ingenuity - 4th Annual NYC Conference

Diverse founders and experts from a variety of industries and disciplines, including animation, digital and social media, finance, gaming, private equity, mobile, venture capital, and virtual reality were showcased during Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) fourth annual New York City conference, AI: Access & Ingenuity, on Wednesday, September 28th at Civic Hall in Manhattan.

The day-long agenda included panel discussions, one-on-one “Tech Talk” conversations and product demonstrations from Uber, Landit (a start-up providing women with a personalized playbook for career advancement); and the Emmy-nominated, The World Cup of Hip Hop: Take Back the Mic VR experience.

2020Shift, an education startup that connects women and minority professionals to top opportunities in tech through training and programming—no code required, was also on hand to provide attendees with LinkedIn profile assessments and complimentary headshots.

Attendees were effusive over the diverse and high-caliber speakers; informative and useful content; inclusive conversations; and the intimate setting which provided opportunities to make meaningful new connections and renew old acquaintances.

In a series of 30-minute Tech Talks, Chinedu Echeruo, CEO & Founder, Gigameet, was interviewed by Angelica McKinley, Digital Designer for The New York Times in a conversation themed, Digital Dividends – Using Technology & Creativity to Derive Value. Marlon Nichols, General Partner, Cross Culture Ventures discussed Cultural Investing with moderator, James Dennin, Staff Writer,; and Lindsay Grace, Associate Professor & Founding Director, American University Game Lab & Studio, was featured in Tech Talk themed, Social Impact Gaming with Aisha Bowe, Co-founder & CEO, STEMBoard.

Conference sessions and speakers included:

Social Media for Social Change featuring Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Founder & Editor-In-Chief,; Nicole Alston, VP of Legal, YouTube; Michelle Herrera-Mulligan, Writer/Author, Founding Editor, Cosmopolitan for Latinas; Jonathan Jackson, Co-founder, Head of Corporate Brand, Blavity; and April Reign, Creator, #OscarsSoWhite & Managing Editor, Broadway Black.

Venturing Into Capital with moderator, Lisa Skeete Tatum, Co-founder & CEO, Landit; and panelists, Sarika Doshi, Co-founder & Advisor, Rank & Style; Veronica Guzman, Founder & Innovation Catalyst, WAMVentures; Richard Kerby, VP, Venrock; Christine Souffrant Ntim, Forbes30Under30, Founder of Vendedy & CaribbeanStartups Accelerator; and Tanya VanCourt, CEO & Chief Sower, Sow.

New Dimensions in Virtual Reality, moderated by Joergen Geerds, CEO, Creative Director, Koncept VR. Speakers included: Robinne Burrell, Chief Product Officer in Residence, Redflight Mobile; CJ Follini, CEO, IMMINENT; Michael Scogin, VP, Late Night, NBC Entertainment Digital; and Evette Vargas, CEO, Writer/Director/Producer, Digital-Reign.

Super Powers: Diversity in Animation, moderated by Maureen Carter, VP, Design & UX, BET Networks, Digital. Panelists included: Shawn Martinbrough, Artist & Creator for Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics & Image; Author of How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling (Random House); Mary Nittolo, CCO/President, The Studio; and Karen Toliver, SVP, Production, Fox Animation.

Northwestern Mutual was the presenting sponsor for the AI: Access & Ingenuity conference and the inaugural Innovation & Inclusion Awards reception and Uber was the official transportation partner for both events. STEMBoard was an event supporter. Outreach partners included 2020Shift, SAVA360 and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. DDN’s founding partners are The New York Times Company, Time Warner, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Our annual corporate sponsors are Comcast NBCUniversal, HBO and Viacom.


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