Name: Fabian Elliott
Profession: Tech Hybrid-Entrepreneur
One Word That Describes You: Focused
How HE Ordinarily Impacts: Using data as way to create a blueprint of inclusion for black males, Fabian Elliott’s Black Tech Mecca aims to create thriving black tech communities in cities around the world. His Black Tech Ecosystem Assessment Framework ™ will not only provide a significant road map for growth but assist in leveling the technology field to include all professionals of color.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It really does mean a lot. There have been so many amazing brothers featured so I am grateful to join their company. These brothers and their stories inspire me and being selected motivates me to keep pushing in my endeavors to drive progress with the hopes that I may inspire others as well.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I am focusing on creating better spaces for black males to contribute to and benefit from the growth in the tech sector through my organization Black Tech Mecca. We use data to creating thriving black tech ecosystems through research, education, and advocacy. Outside of my efforts with BTM, I keep a rigorous speaking schedule and often mentor and find ways to support other brothers operating in the tech space. Lastly, I am a member of the 100 Black Men of Chicago and look forward to continue to support their mission of improving the lives of black males.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
One of my biggest life crossroads came the summer after my freshmen year of college. After what I thought was a successful freshman year, I failed to meet my top goal of securing an internship and was forced to spend the summer back home with my parents. The only job I managed to find that summer was doing janitorial work at my church. I realized that I did not have much control over my situation, but I had full control over how I could respond to it. I used my experience as motivation to start a campus organization to prevent the same from happening to others and eventually earned an internship with Google, which led me into technology and launching Black Tech Mecca.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Trust is paramount for me and I use dependability as my gauge especially for business. Before we can do anything meaningful, this must be in the equation. I evaluate how promises and commitments are delivered based on promptness and quality.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
At Black Tech Mecca we recently developed our Black Tech Ecosystem Assessment Framework ™. We noticed that there were many diversity in tech initiatives but that no one was one measuring progress or impact. If no progress is measured, then no progress is made so we decided to take action. Our framework has enabled us to now go into any city to evaluate the health of their Black Tech Ecosystem and help them drive measurable growth. You can find our inaugural research report here and our Chicago BTE report comes out in September. With everything happening in our communities today, it is more important than ever for us to have real wins and real progress, especially in technology.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The answers are in the questions. Instead of looking to others, pose the question to yourself to find the answer. Sometimes we look everywhere else except to ourselves for answers when they are within us the whole time. Whenever I have an issue, I use this tactic to pose the questions I have to myself and am always amazed by how the brain responds to provide insights.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Introspection across your purpose, your gifts, and your vision is absolutely vital. Making a difference is never easy or obstacle free so make sure you are moving with purpose and are committed. You also must be well acquainted with yourself especially strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, you must be crystal clear on what you want to do and your vision. If any of these elements are missing, you chances for success are slim. Once you have introspection down, start somewhere. Anywhere. Just get started.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Research is important for me. I research either the people in attendance, their organization, or any available details on the event. For meetings, I identify my intent, goals, agenda topics, and key questions that I have. If I’m nervous about a big meeting, I’ll write a mock follow-up email to the person in advance of the meeting thanking them for a successful meeting. Helps put me at ease.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Vacation is important for me. I try to do something quarterly even if it’s just a long weekend. My best trip was definitely to South Africa. I got the full Soweto experience and spent the New Year on Table Mountain in Cape Town—which was absolutely amazing.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Since I haven’t been yet, I am not sure if I would want to stay there, but it would be Bahia, a state in the Northeast of Brazil. I am fascinated with their culture and especially the experience of the African diaspora there. Also, I really like Chicago, so it would be a hard sell for me to settle anywhere else.
Anything else you’d like to say?
You must work for anything that you really want in life. You must work to obtain it and continue working to maintain it. Any other hopes are delusional so make sure you enjoy your work.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.