NewME Hank Williams Launches Platform
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Serial tech entrepreneur Hank Williams announced yesterday his newest venture, Platform, a not-for-profit organization he founded with the Tides Center and several unnamed technologists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists who are dedicated to increasing the participation and success of underrepresented minorities in the innovation economy. The launch event was hosted at the home of celebrated business women and philanthropists Loida Lewis and her daughter Christina Lewis Halpern, who run the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, which is dedicated to the memory of the first black man to head a billion dollar business empire.

“The problem is in 2013 the innovation economy, is the economy,” said Williams, a graduate of the inaugural NewMe Accelerator class, which became a part of the series Black in America 4: The New Promised Land. “If all the significant growth that we expect going forward is coming from fields in which vasts blocks of people have no participation or engagement, then we are heading for trouble.”

One of Platform’s first endeavors, Platform Summit, will take place July 12-14, 2013 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The invite-only gathering will bring together 30 of the world’s foremost thinkers across various fields as speakers to explore new ideas, highlight and model success stories, and accrue tactical resources toward the goal of fostering the kind of innovation-driven prosperity that has escaped blacks, Latinos, and women.

While The Platform Summit will consist of no more than 300 invite-only attendees, the event will model the video-driven conference format made famous by TED Talks and be video-recorded and distributed through Platform.org. The intent is to reach millions as the anchor of a new movement. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, and Tavis Smiley are among the more notable speakers at the summit, but technology industry veterans like William Crowder, of DreamIt Ventures; Jessie Woolley-Wilson, of DreamBox Learning; and Charles Hudson of Bionic Panda will also be providing innovative insights and thought-provoking talks.

Google and the S. Ahmad-Llewellyn Family Foundation have signed on as the summit’s first sponsors. Williams is hoping that other individuals and institutional partners will join in the coming weeks. In fact, at the launch, he solicited guests with the hopes of signing up 50 founding members who will make a $5,000 financial contribution to Platform’s inaugural summit. In return, they’ll receive a lifelong membership to the organization.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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