Black Girls in Technology: Reflecting on the Black in Tech Event

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Photo by Clifton Henri

It was a Wednesday evening, but not just any ordinary Wednesday. This was the evening we would experience Black in Tech presented by entrepreneur Thomas K. R. Stovall, for The Founders Series vol. 2. Before the event began, the venue, conveniently located at 1871 in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, was buzzing with all sorts of techies, entrepreneurs, journalist, photographers; essentially, a plethora of Black excellence, networking, socializing, finding friends and making new acquaintances, as we waited for our panelist to take the stage. The founders of some award winning technology and companies were about to share some of their entrepreneurial expertise and growing pains.

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Photo by Greg Rothstein/Spot My Photos

The forum opened with greeting from Mr. Stovall, who shared a bit of his story and the importance of creating intentional spaces for people of color in tech like initiatives like Black In Tech. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Stovall who said, amongst many things, that having a plan is necessary for taking your idea from the paper to the public: if you can't plan it, you can't execute it.

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Photo by Greg Rothstein/Spot My Photos

During the panel discussion, we were introduced to a variety of Black entrepreneurs and business-owners: Rodney Williams (LISNR), Gregory Coleman (Nexercise), Dawn Dickson (Flat Out of Heels), Nichelle McCall (BOLD Guidance), Frederick Hutson (Pigeonly), and Jason Caston (Caston Digital). The moderator of the evening was Dave Roberson (U.S. Trust- Private Wealth Management).

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Photo by Greg Rothstein/Spot My Photos

Some of the discussion points given were some of the most valuable insights I've heard, for individuals who want to start their own business. Areas of development such as 1. Identifying a product or problem you understand and develop a solution, 2. Survey your target audience, 3. "Nail it then scale it", and 4. Know your competitors like you know your own business. Black in Tech was an experience that taught perseverance, self-awareness, planning, execution, and big thinking. It was an event that, at the culmination, would make you believe there is a shift coming to technology startups; we believe this is underway in Chicago.


unnamedHey yawl I’m Tyler Marie, or Ty as I’ve come to be called. I am a (West-Side) Chicagoan ‘til Chicago ends. I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School here in the city and went on to attend the first Private HBCU, Wilberforce University (OH) where I obtained my B.A. Sociology in 2012. It’s probably pretty clear now that writing is kind of ‘my thing’ but I’m more than okay with that. Other hobbies include eating, playing basketball, modeling and singing. Basically, I spend all my time trying to be as fly of a Black Girl as I can be. Connect with me via: Twitter/Instagram- @_Mighty5| Tumblr- iamjusttyler.tumblr.com