Looking back on AfroTech 2018

blerds needn't look further for the best event around
Blavity has effectively covered all aspects of young black life from traveling while black to life as a blerd (or black nerd). I really believe they’re the voice of black millennials. And for the past three years, Blavity established itself as the gatekeeper to the black-millennial-tech community with its annual conference, AfroTech.
 
Packing the house with black millennials from around the world, the conference is truly the first of its kind, and I believe it’s the largest black tech conference in the world. Though this is not the first conference for people of color in tech, it is, without question, the most exciting one to date. Just look at some of these tweets.

Talent at AfroTech 2018

AfroTech has been very successful attracting speakers as unique and diverse as their attendees. And diversity in thought leadership ensures that each uniquely diverse attendee finds value.
 
If you’re interested in tech, there is something for you at AfroTech.
 
Even with some of the most amazing speakers in the world, some of the most valuable information came from the Harlem Capital crew who walked around the conference sharing venture capital knowledge with all that would listen.

Programming at AfroTech 2018

This year’s program was organized into three tracks: entrepreneurship, engineering, and recruiting. Programming including everything from ‘Navigating your career as a designer’ with Tim Allen of Microsoft to fireside chats with Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Parties of AfroTech 2018

There was no shortage of parties this year. While Uber seemed to tone it down this year from previous years (all Uber Brunch 2018 attendees know what I mean), Amazon, Pinterest, and Lyft were there to pick up the pieces. Brunch2Bomb’s Pajama Jam party was a welcome addition this year, while Toasted Life’s official AfroTech after party still held true as the place to be Saturday night.

Is AfroTech for everyone?

“You want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go together.” —Heather Hiles, quoting and African proverb

AfroTech has information and knowledge for everyone. If you are in the early stages of your startup, you can find advice from other founders, VCs to pitch your company to, or the tech talent you may need to get your idea going. This is the place to forge the connections you need to succeed.
 
If you’re looking to start your tech career, there are 50+ companies present that are serious about hiring the top candidates in the space, there are tracks and panels all about how to approach and get a foothold in your career. If you’re like me and you’ve started your career but need help navigating your next steps, they got something for that too.
 
Quinnton Harris gave the best summation of my experience and the importance of AfroTech. It’s a place ‘that allows us to be our authentic selves’ and not receive ridicule or judgment. The atmosphere and conversations that were taking place were simply amazing!” –Karesha Barnes

Recruiting at AfroTech 2018

If you are looking for a career in tech, AfroTech is the place to be. This isn’t your average conference or career fair where you pass out résumés and never hear anything. The companies that attend AfroTech are ready to hire. Equipped with digital information intake forms and interview spaces, come to AfroTech dressed for the job you want and you may just leave with it.
 
The conference has a true sense of community and the participating companies do very well at authentically connecting and networking with potential candidates. I highly recommend this conference. See you in 2019?

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Ashten Fizer
Starting a career in social media strategy by necessity is no easy task. Ashten began as a deejay, and knew she had to find new ways to create a following for herself. Once she realized she had a gift for staying a couple steps ahead of the next person, she took her social media strategy skills to the Chicago political realm. It was in this function that Ashten began to flourish as a thought leader in her field. In her time, Ashten has been called on by the likes of Clear Channel nationwide to help manage on-air talent communities, as well as held deejay residencies for industry giants like Google and CISC. She currently works at GoDaddy in Phoenix, Ariz., which she lends her social media and web hosting expertise to the GoDaddy Web Design Department and the GoDaddy GoTeam to engage users with targeted content. Ashten is a three-time WordCamp Speaker and Vice President of GoDaddy's Black in Tech.