Celebrating Urban Tech Innovation: Invest in the Future

Celebrating Urban Tech Innovation

Urban Tech
(Left: Pat Bransford, Urban Tech founder and president with Dr. Tonya Leslie)

Luminaries from the entertainment, business, and political worlds convened on Tuesday night at The National Urban Technology Center’s (Urban Tech) 2016 Gala Awards Dinner in New York City.

As the 21st anniversary event, the theme this year was “Invest in the Future.” Urban Tech is an organization dedicated to promoting digital, financial, social, and emotional literacy to prepare students for 21st century careers.

Notables included:

  • Actress and model Veronica Webb
  • Producer and director Crystal McCrary
  • Global head of corporate investment banking of Citigroup Inc. Raymond J. McGuire
  • NAACP’s Dr. Hazel Dukes

Dukes joined Urban Tech’s president and founder, Pat Bransford, in accepting or presenting awards to those making a significant impact in Urban Tech’s mission.



  • The PwC Charitable Foundation’s “Earn Your Future” program received Urban Tech’s Community Service Award. The award was accepted by Shannon Schuyler, chief corporate responsibility and purpose officer at PwC. The program helps develop financial skills in urban youth.
  • June Ambrose, creative director, author, and celebrity stylist, was presented the Youth Empowerment Award, for serving as inspiration for young people to go after their dreams.
    The Visionary Award was given to McCrary, for her work as an outspoken advocate for education, children, and women’s rights issues.
  • Citigroup Inc.’s McGuire was presented the Humanitarian Award, for his extensive volunteer work on several boards and committees dedicated to education and the arts, including the Advisory Commission for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. McGuire has also been featured in Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.

Innovator Acknowledgements

The Urban Tech also acknowledged several innovators, including:

  • Dr. Dukes, assemblyman for the 79th District, NY
  • Michael Blake, president and CEO of United Way of New York City
  • Sheena Wright, Esq.
  • Tonya Leslie, vice president and publisher of Learning Supports and FACE, Scholastic Inc.
  • Sharon Y. Brown, commissioner at U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The full list of honored innovators can be viewed here.