Multicultural Professionals Challenge Silicon Valley to Build Diverse Workforce - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

There has long been a conversation in Silicon Valley in regards to not just hiring more diverse candidates but, actually retaining the talent. Recently, BeVisible’s #BeWokeSF, a conference in the Bay Area took place challenging Silicon Valley to do more than just hit certain diversity numbers. Their demand was that companies be intentional about going further than simply inclusion. The suggestions: move toward developing a sense of belonging that leads to retention and productivity. “Belonging is what we should be talking about all the time,” said Andrea Guendelman, co-founder of Be Visible and the event’s organizer.

The event brought together hundreds of young underrepresented professionals to the Pearl in San Francisco. It was filled with conversations that sparked thought including #MeToo, equal pay, activism and multiculturalism in tech. Additionally, there was also a unique mix of companies involved including Pathbrite, AT&T, Airbnb, Mitú, Backstage Capital, Tinder, and Lucasfilm. 

“It means a lot to me to be invited to speak here today because this is really the first opportunity for me to speak to an audience who may be interested in not only my perspective of working in the entertainment industry for 20 years but as a woman working in the entertainment industry, as a woman of color working in the entertainment industry, and as a woman of color who is a first generation child of immigrant parents,” shared Keynote Speaker Julie Peng, senior manager of Talent & Production, ILMxLAB at Lucasfilm.

In addition to the discussions, the guests didn’t leave before work was done. They were invited to participate in an intimate and immersive experience where they connected and built a community committed to fostering a more inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of America. 

Not everything at the event was heavy and serious. The night ended with an epic party that paid homage to diversity and multiculturalism. Performances included Smoked Out Soul, Deuce Eclipse of Bang Data, Afrolicious, DJ Umami, the exquisite rapper Aima the Dreamer, DJ Icon with a Silent Disco, and much more.

To learn more about BeVisible and their plans for more dynamic #BeWoke events in the future click here

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Sequoia Blodgett

Sequoia Blodgett is a Reporter for Black Enterprise. She is also the founder of Commas, a consulting firm that gives entrepreneurs access to top tech and creative resources to help them grow their business.


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