Centric Consulting sponsored and attended this riveting gathering of tech entrepreneurs, investors and professionals that connects the tech community with education, resources and opportunities in their industry.
With the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, as its backdrop, for the second year in a row, Black Tech Week (BTW) gathered entrepreneurs and innovators from around the country to one of Centric Consulting’s core communities.
The annual event’s alignment with our belief in supporting a diverse, inclusive and equitable work environments led us to become a proud BTW sponsor and participant for the first time this year.
“The event put us in a room with some of the biggest companies in the tech space, as well as about 1,500 entrepreneurs and their companies,” said Maurice Faison, Director of Technology Solutions and co-lead of our Centric Together diversity and inclusion initiative. “Seeing the broad array of highly skilled and talented Black people in tech really debunks the myth that it’s hard to find talent among underrepresented groups.”
AI Was the Focus of BizDevDay
Along with Cincinnati Senior Manager Chris Galligan, Faison represented Centric at the event’s “BizDevDay,” a half-day long, speed-dating style networking event. There, they met one-on-one with several startups who were looking for partners they could work with to develop use cases for their innovative products.
“Everything was AI,” Faison reported. “We established next steps and follow-up plans with a couple of start-ups, including a compelling new company that does prompt engineering for AI and ChatGPT. Another is using AI to help fulfill regulatory requirements, which will be of interest for clients in our Energy and Utilities industry vertical.”
Other Sessions Helped Entrepreneurs Build and Pitch Their Business
Faison said most of the other sessions focused on helping entrepreneurs build their businesses and pitch them to potential investors and partners like us. A keynote session on authentic leadership by Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor especially impressed Faison.
“He spoke about how he has navigated in a business world where he often doesn’t feel fully accepted,” Faison said. “His C-suite is now about 68 percent people of color, half of whom are women. These are people getting the job done! His confidence and his narrative on how to diversify your workforce were very powerful.”
Attendees Wholeheartedly Recommend Attending BTW
Faison said the event was powerful and inspiring.
“It is more than a conference. It is a whole vibe that should be experienced,” he said. “I would recommend BTW not just to my Black Centric colleagues but to all my colleagues in Cincy.”
DEI Lead, Jodi Merriday agreed that events like BTW are important for all.
“Inclusive culture is strengthened by organically cultivating relationships in diverse spheres of influence,” she said, adding that part of our DEI talent strategy moving forward is to become a big fish in the diversities pond.
“Underrepresented groups are eager to find access to opportunities and partnerships,” she continued. “Simultaneously, we are seeking opportunities to build social capital and grow business. Attending events and conferences that showcase the talent and expertise of underrepresented groups is a win-win.”
“To become a multi-generational company, which is part of our vision, we have to be more purposeful about the places and spaces where we show up.” Faison said. “Attending events like BTW is not only one way we expand our presence, but it’s also a way we signal our support and desire to be a part of and contribute to this talented and innovative community.”