Women of Silicon Valley

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Kesha Williams, Software Engineer for Chick-fil-A, shares her thoughts on the importance of mentoring, coding to young people and a sneak peek into her tech talk topic: What Humans Can Learn From Machines, ahead of her exciting talk at Women of Silicon Valley 2018 on March 21 & 22.

  1. How did you get into software engineering?

When I was a freshman in high school, my father purchased a computer to do the family finances.  Luckily for me, he placed the computer in my playroom.

My free time was spent with a Barbie doll in one hand and a computer manual in the other.

Later on, in my junior year of high school, I attended a summer science enrichment training program that taught me more about computers. My exposure to computers early on in life fostered a lifelong curiosity with technology.

When I enrolled in college, I majored in computer science and mathematics. I started my career with the National Security Agency (NSA) and 23 years later, I am still excited and intrigued by the continuous advances in technology.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about your day-to-day work?

I’m most excited about the opportunities to learn new and exciting technologies. Technology is ever-changing and it advances on an almost daily basis. I’m excited to be at the forefront of where emerging technologies like machine learning and computer vision/facial recognition will take society.

This may sound cliché, but these technologies (especially when combined) have the ability to change the way we live and can even bring ideas from the wildest science fiction movie to life!

  1. How did you get started on mentoring and why do you think it’s important to do it?

Mentoring is important for me because it is a way to give back to the tech community.  I’ve learned a lot during my 23-year journey in tech and the lessons I’ve learned can help others who are on the same path. I mentor girls and young women for two main reasons:

  • I am passionate about increasing the diversity in technology because there is a lack of representation of women and people of color at all levels in most organizations.
  • I enjoy seeing people reach their fullest potential in life and achieve things they never thought possible.

I seek to impact girls and young women at all stages of their journey:

  • Technovation allows me to reach girls between the ages of 10-18.
  • The New York Academy of Sciences allows me to impact young women in college.
  • WEST (Women Entering & Staying in Tech) gives me the opportunity to help women in the early stages of their career.
  1. What advice would you give to technical women who are struggling to achieve their goals in the industry?

My advice to women who are struggling to achieve their goals is first and foremost to always believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for someone else to believe in you.  Also, you can’t allow someone else’s perception of what you are or are not capable of stop you from going after your dreams. I’ve also found in an industry that lacks diversity, it is important to find a community that has other individuals that are like me. I’m very active with Women Who Code Atlanta, and this network has provided me a lot of support.

  1. Could you tell us a bit more about your Hour of Code sessions and the importance of teaching coding to young people?

Computer programming is a fun and lucrative career choice and more people should be made aware of the opportunities available.

I partnered with my local library to offer free Hour of Code sessions to elementary school students on one Saturday out of the month. I wanted to work with kids because the earlier they are exposed to computer programming, the more likely they are to choose it as a career field. This is evident through my own personal journey.

I also have my 10-year-old daughter serve as my teaching assistant. She studies the course materials ahead of time so that she can assist students that need help during the session. This exposes my daughter to technology, volunteerism, and leadership. This whole experience has been a win-win for all parties involved.

  1. What exciting things are you working on right now?

A really cool project that I recently worked on was one involving facial recognition. I led an innovation team of six developers to investigate how computer vision and facial recognition could improve restaurant operations and customer experiences.

My team developed a prototype that recognizes people as they enter a room and then provides a custom welcome message on a monitor that greets the person by name. This project was really cool because it is a first step toward using facial recognition and computer vision on a broader scale.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your tech talk and machines taking on human biases?

I invented a predictive policing machine learning algorithm called, S. A. M. (Suspicious Activity Monitor).  SAM looks at a particular situation (using computer vision) and predicts the likelihood of crime (using machine learning). SAM looks at several attributes about the person and even their current location in order to make a crime prediction.

When creating SAM, I intentionally excluded race as an attribute he considers because I didn’t want him accused of racial profiling.  The decision to exclude race was an “a-ha” moment for me because it showed me that machine learning can actually remove human bias from certain situations; the power of this technology is absolutely mind blowing.

After learning this, I wanted to share what I had learned with the world.  I routinely travel the world speaking and teaching at technical conferences about SAM and the power of machine learning. We must make sure the power of machine learning is used to improve society instead of reinforcing current issues like bias and profiling.

Kesha Williams is a software engineer with over 20 years’ experience specializing in web application development. In addition to being a software engineer with Chick-fil-A, she trains and mentors thousands of software developers in the US, Europe, and Asia while teaching at the University of California. She’s authored courses on Java, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Augmented Reality (AR). She most recently won the Think Different Innovation Award from Chick-fil-A for her work on investigating how emerging technologies can enhance restaurant operations and customer experiences. In her spare time, she leads the Georgia chapter of Technovation, serves as a mentor with the New York Academy of Sciences, and conducts free Hour of Code sessions for children at her local library.


From the creators of the largest global Women in Technology event series, Women of Silicon Valley is returning for two days of empowering keynotes, panel discussions, technical workshops and diversity-focused sessions on March 21 and 22, 2018 in San Francisco.

Learn from inspirational leaders and industry experts, get deep insight into tech trends and business strategies, boost your technical skills and learn how to flourish in the sector… let’s smash that glass ceiling!

The two-day conference will provide deep insight into the tech industry, as well as gender diversity and inclusion, through rich content delivered by experts. Sessions will include:

Inspiring Keynotes

  • Redefining Success: The Third Metric That Can Benefit Your Bottom Line (Arianna Huffington, Founder, The Huffington Post, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global)
  • Climbing The Tech Ladder in Heels: Where Technology & The Human ExperienceConverge (CTO, Estée Lauder Companies)
  • Transitioning From Engineering To Management (Director, Engineering & Product, LinkedIn)

Tech Specific

  • Security Isn’t Sexy – It’s Business(CEO, MKACyber)
  • Thinking at Scale(Software Engineer, WhatsApp)
  • What Humans Can Learn From Machines(Software Engineer, Chick-fil-A Corporate)

Diversity-Focused Sessions

  • C-Suite Level Panel – How To Champion Women in Technology Initiatives
  • Creating A Business Case For Diversity
  • Prevention of Sexual Harassment

Technical Workshops 
Topics will include: 

  • Real-World Practices: How To Successfully Implement Open Source Into Workflow & Projects
  • Microservices, Security, Deep Learning Analytics, The Future of Data Science & DevOps
  • JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, mobile APIs, Node.js, ECMAScript 6
  • The Digital Apocalypse: The Rise of the Games Industry
  • Building Apps For Windows, Office 365, Edge/IE, SQL Server, Azure, HoloLens, Visual Studio & ASP.NET

Take a look at the full conference agenda.

Confirmed speakers currently include:

  • Arianna Huffington, Founder, The Huffington Post, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
  • Chief Technology & Information Officer,Estée Lauder Companies
  • Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor, City of Los Angeles
  • Chief Data Scientist, Senior Principal Engineer, Office of the CTO, McAfee
  • CMO, VMware
  • Director,KPMG
  • Vice President,Amazon Web Services
  • CTO, SVP Technology, BMC Software
  • Senior Director, Engineering, LinkedIn
  • Senior Director, Products, eBay
  • CMO, GE Ventures
  • Software Engineer, WhatsApp
  • Senior UX Manager, Sony Playstation
  • San Jose Managing Partner,PwC
  • Partner, Microsoft Ventures 
  • UX Researcher, Google
  • Engineering Manager, Facebook

… and many more!

Our audience of 1,000 tech leaders and professionals enables you to engage with an intimate vibrant community, interact with our speakers and build meaningful relationships.

See full speaker list.

Request a brochure for all the info on the conference’s format, speakers and prices.

The Best of Small Business Awards

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Best of Small Business Awards

The Best of Small Business Awards ™ is America’s most prestigious honor that recognizes and celebrates the BEST Small to Mid-Sized Business Visionaries. With over twenty-five notable “Best of Small Business” categories to choose from, The Best of Small Business Awards ™ is the largest Annual Business Recognition Program in the US.

The Best of Small Business Awards ™ is presented by Small Business Expo (celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary with nearly 100 Successful Business Shows Produced), the Nation’s BIGGEST and most attended Business-to-Business Networking Event, Trade Show & Conference, hosted in 15 major US cities.  Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs attend our nation-wide events to attend cutting-edge business-critical workshops, shop for vendors that can help their business grow & network with thousands of attendees.
See below for the benefits of winning an award and to find out more information about the small business expos.
Benefits of Winning an Award Category:

  • National Recognition as one of the TOP Small Businesses in the US.
  • This Award is a great differentiator for your Product or Service
  • Instant credibility for new and existing clients
  • Give your sales a boost and show your new & old customers your company’s achievements
  • Great positive exposure for your business
  • Leverage your award recognition to gain more media exposure for your company

For more information and/or to make a nomination, visit: thesmallbusinessexpo.com/small-business-award

Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit on Being a Black Woman in Silicon Valley

LinkedIn

The Detroit native studied at Penn and Stanford, worked for Goldman and Google, and now runs the gig economy pioneer that Ikea acquired in 2017.

Stacy Brown-Philpot didn’t grow up aspiring to be the chief executive of a technology company. Instead, she wanted to be an accountant.

While interning at an accounting firm in the 1990s, Ms. Brown-Philpot — who was raised by her mother in Detroit — worked for a partner who happened to be African-American. “I was like, ‘OK, there’s a black person who is a partner at this firm. This is something that I can accomplish.’”

But as Ms. Brown-Philpot acquired more experience and education, her ambitions grew, too. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1997, did a stint as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then became an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in 1999.

She went back to college to get her graduate degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, then in 2003 joined Google, where Sheryl Sandberg became a mentor. At Google, Ms. Brown-Philpot assumed a series of leadership roles and founded the Black Googlers Network, an employee resource group.

After nine years at Google, she joined TaskRabbit — which lets people hire freelancers for odd jobs — as chief operating officer. She became chief executive in 2016, and last year, she sold the company to Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted at TaskRabbit headquarters in San Francisco.

Tell me about your upbringing.

I grew up on the West Side of Detroit. My mom raised my brother and me by herself. We didn’t have a lot. My mother worked a job that didn’t pay a whole lot of money, so she had to make a lot of sacrifices. But she prioritized education. She would fall asleep helping us with our homework at night. She always taught us that no one can take your learning away from you. And with that, you can go anywhere and do anything.

So I focused on getting good grades. I wasn’t always a popular kid. I didn’t have the best clothes. But I was a smart kid. It’s cool to be smart in Silicon Valley. It’s not cool to be smart on the West Side of Detroit.

What was your first job?

I had a paper route with my brother. I would help him collect the money. I was like the C.F.O. of that operation, making sure we got paid.

And then you went to Penn.

I had no idea what an Ivy League school was. I was a fish out of water. My high school was 98 percent black. Penn was 6 percent black. So I had to find community. I had to figure out how was I going to succeed in this environment where most people don’t look like me, and don’t come from where I came from.

So where’d you find community?

There was a black college house. I didn’t live there. I would just go over there and spend time just sitting around with people that, you know, ate collard greens and fried chicken, just like I did growing up. It just made it safer for me and more confident for me to walk into a classroom and know I knew the answers and speak up.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

A Scientist-Turned-Investor Is Helping Female Entrepreneurs Build And Scale Their Businesses

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Dr. Silvia Mah, investor and founding partner at Ad Astra Ventures, and her team are equipping female entrepreneurs to build, run and scale investable businesses. With her primary focus on empowering, nurturing and launching women-owned businesses, Mah is investing in new ventures that allow women to break through barriers in order to excel.

In addition, Mah serves as the Executive Director of Hera Labs, a business accelerator for women-owned small businesses. She also is the founding member of Hera Angels, an early stage female angel group.

Initially, Mah earned her doctorate (Ph.D.) in Molecular Marine Biology preparing to work as a researcher in a lab. Her pivot to investing began the day she was offered a position to lead a program focused on service learning projects for multidisciplinary undergraduate engineering students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Working with the students ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. She knew she wanted her next step to be in business, wanting to work with scientific companies. “I really wanted to be in this arena of commercialization and service learning,” she stated. “I began asking myself ‘how do I teach these students to be entrepreneurial as engineers?’” In order to prepare for her next pivot, she went back to school and earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Rady School of Business at UCSD.

“During that time,” Mah details, “my father passed away. He was an entrepreneur in Venezuela. I received an inheritance. Instantly, I became an investor. I didn’t want to buy a new house, I wanted to purposefully ‘give it away’. I thought this was pretty cool because as an entrepreneurial advocate, and a startup advocate, I knew access to capital is the number one thing that is so challenging for entrepreneurs. I also saw women are not getting enough funding, but I could actually make a big impact with the inheritance I received. So I became an investor in only female and minority-led startups. Fast forward, I have 21 companies in my portfolio.”

Working as a scientist enabled her to develop a strong foundation, which ultimately made it easier for her to transition to the investment world. “There are two things going on here,” Mah recollects. “One is a practical thing, and the other one’s more strategic. The practical aspect is that a lot of investors, or what I come up against, is that the science part of it, or the engineering part of it is a little bit daunting. Most investors have had great businesses and they understand the business side of it [investing], and then they come to the science part. They’re like, ‘oh, my gosh, I don’t understand it.’ For me, I understand the science part because I’ve been in the field.”

“The strategic part of it,” she continues, “is more that the scientific method is similar to the business development method.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

These 50 founders and VCs suggest 2018 may be a tipping point for women: Part 1

LinkedIn

For the last several years, we’ve compiled profiles of women founders and investors at the end of each year because they’ve either raised substantial amounts of money or otherwise achieved notable milestones.

This year, we don’t want to wait until December. We’re too excited about the progress we’re witnessing, with women-led startups getting seed, Series A or later-stage funding each week — all while top venture firms grow more serious about pulling women into their most senior ranks, female VCs band together to fund female founders and other women go about launching their own funds.

Some of you will note that this list is far from comprehensive, and we’ll readily agree with you. But we think it’s better to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the women who deserve attention than try to capture every last person we’d include if only there were more hours in the day.

Herewith, a list of 25 founders and investors who’ve had a pretty good 2018 so far, with a second list of women in the industry coming shortly, so stay tuned.

Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of Mirror

Harvard grad Brynn Putnam was once a professional ballet dancer, but she may eventually find more fame as a serial founder. Two years after her last performance in 2008 with a ballet company in Montreal, Putnam started a New York-boutique fitness studio, Refine Method, around a high-intensity, interval workout. It would later sprout into three studios in New York and attract the likes of Kelly Ripa and Ivana Trump.

Now, Putnam is using its founding principal — that gym users can wring more from their workout hours — to build yet another business called Mirror. Centered around an at-home device, it looks like a mirror but enables users to see an instructor and classmates for fitness routines like Pilates, all while tracking their performance on screen. Mirror isn’t available to buy yet, but investors are already sold, providing the company with $13 million in funding earlier this year so it can bring its product to fitness buffs everywhere.

Ritu Narayan, co-founder and CEO of Zūm

Ritu Narayan led product management at stalwart tech companies, including Yahoo and eBay, but her biggest challenge eventually became how to ensure that her kids got to where they needed to go during her working hours. She knew she wasn’t alone; there are roughly 73 million children under age 18 in the U.S., many of whom are driven around by frenzied parents who are trying to make it through each day.

Enter Zūm, a now 3.5-year-old company that promises reliable transportation and care for children ages five and older. Zūm isn’t the first kind of Uber for kids. In fact, another competitor, Shuddle, shuttered in 2016 after burning through more than $12 million in funding. But Narayan’s company appears to be doing something right. Earlier this year, Zūm raised $19 million in Series B funding, including from earlier backer Sequoia Capital, which is famously metric driven.

The company has now raised $26.8 million altogether.

Daniela Perdomo, co-founder and CEO, goTenna

When Hurricane Sandy cut off power in and around New York City in the fall of 2012, Daniela Perdomo  and her brother, Jorge, were struck by the need for a network that would enable people to call or text even when there’s no Wi-Fi or cell signal. Today, that company, goTenna, is taking off, powered by an early device it created that pairs with a cell phone via Bluetooth to transmit messages using radio frequencies, along with a newer version of the device that allows them to create a kind of mesh network.

To date, the company has sold more than 100,000 units of its devices. It has raised roughly $17 million from VCs. In May, the company also partnered with an outfit called Samourai Wallet to launch an Android app that, beginning this summer, will enable users to send bitcoin payments without an internet connection. The move could prove crucial for some of its customers, particularly in disaster areas.

Chloe Alpert, CEO and co-founder of Medinas Health

Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of surplus medical supplies are discarded every year, according to Chloe Alpert, the founder of Medinas Health, a Berkeley, Calif.-based startup that uses inventory data and matching software to help big hospitals sell excess equipment to small clinics and nursing homes.

Alpert thinks Medinas can create cost savings for both sides by creating something that’s fast and trustworthy and working with third parties who can disassemble, ship and re-assemble medical equipment.

Investors believe her surplus marketplace has a shot. Her 10-month-old company raised $1 million in funding earlier this year, including from Sound Ventures, Rough Draft Ventures, Precursor Ventures and Trammell Ventures.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, co-founder of Promise

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins was raised by a single mom who occasionally fed her two daughters with food stamps before a union job enabled the three to escape welfare. But that formative experience made a lasting impact. In fact, after graduating from college, Ellis-Lamkins worked for a union that helped organize low-wage home care. By the time she was 26, she was head of the San Jose-based South Bay Labor Council.

Ellis-Lamkins is far from done in her work to ensure that the disadvantaged can prosper. Her newest project: working in partnership with governments that release people from jail on condition that they work with her company, Promise. The big idea: Promise provides support to people caught in the criminal justice system to ensure they can return to their jobs and families until their case in resolved, rather than remain incarcerated because they can’t afford bail. The latter scenario happens all too often, agree VCs. Toward that end, earlier this year a handful of investors — including First Round Capital, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital — provided Promise with $3 million to help put an end to it.

Continue onto Tech Crunch to read the complete article.

Talent Dimensions Expands Strategic Retention Solutions with Acquisition of D&I Firm PRISM International, Inc.

LinkedIn

Talent Dimensions is pleased to announce the acquisition of the diversity and inclusion firm PRISM International, Inc. Headquartered in Sanford, FL, PRISM is a global provider of systemic diversity and inclusion (D&I) performance solutions focusing on optimizing the opportunities and complexities of the workforce, workplace and marketplace.

“We know the retention of talent is complex and requires a dynamic set of strategies to engage individual contributors who are critical to the success of any organization,” said Cile Johnson, Chief Business Officer for Talent Dimensions. “By expanding our portfolio of offerings to include diversity and inclusion, Talent Dimensions is poised to help organizations propel to new levels of performance through all their people.”

PRISM, founded by D&I thought leader Linda Stokes, offers training and consulting in the areas of Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion; Addressing Unconscious Bias; Managing Talent; Increasing Cultural Competencies; Preventing Harassing and Discriminatory Behaviors; and Creating More Effective Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Diversity Councils. PRISM is also the parent organization of the Association of ERGs & Councils and the innovator of the annual ERG & Council Conference and Honors Award.

In support of the transition, co-author of Leading in Black and White and Dear White Boss Ancella Livers has joined the team as President of PRISM. Previously, Livers managed the African American and Women’s Leadership Programs at the Center for Creative Leadership® Also during her tenure at CCL, she led their largest global business unit and later consulted and developed tailored solutions for their Fortune 500 client base. In addition, Livers led the Institute for Leadership Development and Research at the Executive Leadership Council.

“We see this partnership as an opportunity to align Talent Dimension’s engagement, retention and career development efforts with PRISM’s work for the powerful outcome of strategic retention and ultimate workforce, workplace and marketplace satisfaction,” shared Lynn Cowart, Chief Operating Officer for Talent Dimensions. “There is already great synergy between our organizations and we look forward to bringing expanded offerings to all our clients.”

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About Talent Dimensions Talent Dimensions is a global provider of innovative, practical and application-rich solutions in the areas of employee engagement, career development, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and the identification and development of key roles inside organizations for the strategic retention of its most critical talent. www.talent-dimensions.com and www.prismdiversity.com

Rahmaan Mwongozi teaches how to apply systems analysis to problems that arise in life as well as in business

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Rahmaan Mwongozi "Roc"

Rahmaan Mwongozi “Roc” is a motivational speaker and podcast host, as well as the author of Inner Demons. He guides individuals not only on how to ask smart questions and follow the trail to solutions, but also on how to embody a “no excuses” attitude that manifests in excellence.

His innovative approach to problem-solving, however, began as a young boy in East Oakland, where he was surrounded by poverty, gangs, violence, and drugs. Determined not to fall into the trappings of his environment, Roc followed the trail of possibility and opportunity, playing the long game and working hard. Now living the dream, Roc openly shares his story, as well as his thinking and strategy, with those who want something more from life.

Today an independent business analyst on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Roc cut his teeth on Fortune 500 corporations including Pfizer, Enron, and AT&T – where as an entry level employee in his early 20s, he solved systemic problems that had eluded management for years.

At 40, he took pause and reflected on his life to date. A systems analyst by trade, as well as by nature, Roc was eager not only to analyze his life internally but also to offer his journey as a case study in the human experience –leading him to write his debut book, Inner Demons, with a raw and gritty transparency. While the particulars of our lives may vary according to circumstance, Roc knew, we all face universal challenges, as part of the human quest to cultivate a successful, meaningful, and authentic life.

Through Inner Demons, Roc shares his transformational journey, Inner Demonsinspiring readers to rethink life in terms of possibility, creativity, and strategy, instead of obstacles, compliance, and defeat. Not just a good read but also a work of art, the book is illustrated by tattoo artist Eva of Bang Bang NYC, whose A-list clients include Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber.

At the heart of systems analysis is the awareness of relationship, where one recognizes not only all the moving parts and the big picture, but also their position in relation to each other and to oneself. So it’s no surprise that Roc’s book reads like a love story and is, at the core, about relationship – to and between self, family, friends, lovers, work, community, and society. Offering Roc’s own relationship web, and thread of choices within that web, as a model of how to honestly face a problem, ask smart questions about it, and follow the trail of answers to the optimal solution,

Inner Demons storytelling weaves together a blueprint for self-analysis and problem solving, applicable to diverse situations in life and business. In his own case, Roc’s problem-solving and “no excuses” mindset enabled him to avoid the trappings of his East Oakland neighborhood, where poverty, gangs, violence, and drugs took many down the rabbit hole of despair. Keeping his distance and planning his escape, Roc paid attention to where the power and resources lay, then went after them with gusto –leading him to an MBA degree, work with Fortune 500 corporations, and ultimately, the good life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Roc now leverages his power, influence, and platform to foster a community of cutting-edge artists and thinkers, who are not afraid to grab life by the lapel and “go there.”

Find out more about Roc and Inner Demons at RocsWorld.com.

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

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iGen

Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

National Minority Supplier Development Council Honors Leaders in Supply Chain Diversity on May 24th

LinkedIn

On Thursday, May 24th, the 2018 National Minority Supplier Development Council Leadership Awards will recognize the dynamic corporate executives, minority business owners and NMSDC affiliate council presidents for outstanding leadership that has a positive impact on their companies and resonates throughout the NMSDC network. Chuck Nice, television host and comedian, will be Master of Ceremonies. The black-tie gala event at the New York Hilton will begin at 6:30 PM, and will include dinner and a ceremony to present the honorees, with the festivities wrapping up at 10 PM.The NMSDC advances business opportunities for certified MBEs and connects them to corporate members. To meet the growing need for supplier diversity, NMSDC matches its more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to our network of more than 1,750 corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services and solutions. NMSDC, a unique and specialized player in the field of minority business enterprise, is proud of its unwavering commitment to advance Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in a globalized corporate supply chain.

Said President Louis Green of NMSDC, “NMSDC and its 23 affiliate councils around the nation look to vigorous, visionary leaders within our membership and our network. The Leadership Awards identify and recognize those who have set the bar high for our collaborative efforts on behalf of MBEs and corporate partners. We are most grateful to our honorees, who by their example show the way forward, as we advocate for robust minority business enterprises and for greater diversity and richer inclusiveness in corporations — not only in their supply chains, but in their board rooms and executive offices as well.”

This year, the Supplier Diversity Professional of the Year Award winner is Mr. Alex Alvarez, Jr., of Apple Inc., where he is Global Supply Manager, Apple Global Supplier Diversity in Corporate Procurement. The award honors a national corporate member with at least 2 years of experience in a corporate supplier diversity role. The seasoned recipient demonstrates exceptional action, engagement and leadership in supplier diversity and in support of NMSDC’s mission. Mr. Alvarez is a recognized thought leader and expert in Supply Chain in areas such as procurement and supplier diversity. He co-led Apple to Best in Class, Billion Dollar Roundtable, and several top awards, including NMSDC Corporation of the Year for Innovation.

The MBE of the Year Award is presented to Leon C. Richardson, Founder, President & CEO of The Chemico Group, one of the largest minority-owned chemical management and distribution companies in the United States. The award goes to the owner of a NMSDC-certified MBE who has been actively engaged within the NMSDC network for a minimum of 2 years. The recipient is a change agent, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in guiding their company to success and has shared their knowledge and wisdom with peers as a mentor.

The CPO of the Year Award is presented to Mr. Arnold Sowa, Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer, MetLife, Inc. The award goes to an outstanding leader whose vision, passion and integrity have proven impactful within the CPO’s corporation as well as the larger supplier diversity community. Mr. Sowa is responsible for overseeing MetLife’s global procurement, travel, third-party risk management, and supply chain social responsibility programs.

In addition to the above awards, the Vanguard Award is presented to an NMSDC affiliate council president who has exhibited leadership in driving the value proposition for minority supplier development among corporate and MBE constituents throughout the NMSDC network. This year’s recipient is Michelle Sourie Robinson, President and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), one of NMSDC’s most influential affiliate councils.

The Corporate Co-Chair for the evening is Toyota, and MBE Co-Chair is Rose International.

About NMSDC

The NMSDC advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members. One of the country’s leading corporate membership organizations, NMSDC was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes. The NMSDC Network includes a National Office in New York and 23 affiliate regional councils across the country. The network also includes five international partner organizations located in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa.

To meet the growing need for supplier diversity, NMSDC matches its more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to our network of more than 1,750 corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services and solutions. NMSDC, a unique and specialized player in the field of minority business enterprise, is proud of its unwavering commitment to advance Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in a globalized corporate supply chain. For more information, visit www.NMSDC.org.

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Female CEO Takes on Tech Industry with Edge Music Network

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Elizabeth Vargas

Diversity in STEAM Magazine (DISM) recently had the pleasure to speak with Elizabeth Vargas, founder and CEO of Edge Music Network.

DISM: Let’s start with the obvious question first: What’s your take on the lack of female leaders in the tech space?

EV: I could give a dozen reasons and even more excuses for our gender’s absence in the C-suite—not only in tech but in nearly every industry—but I won’t. The truth is that no one cares about why you haven’t succeeded; they’re only interested in how you’ve succeeded. That’s where I want to go. I want to focus on the future, and prove that with vision, hustle and commitment that you can break through and achieve your dreams. That’s how I think I can help young and mature female entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams.

DISM: Okay. Let’s go there… tell us your story.

EV: As a child, I always loved music and theory but wasn’t allowed to watch TV until I was 13. My dad was a preacher and I think he thought that delaying my exposure would protect me from the outside world. So, it’s kind of funny that, of all programs, I got hooked on MTV. I remember thinking I would own it one day! That was my big dream– which eventually evolved into what is now Edge Music Network.

DISM: A lot must have happened between “one day” and now…

EV: In between, I gravitated to all things music, first studying jazz vocals at the Cornish College of the Arts and then creating the Vargas Girls Jazz Cabaret in Seattle–where we played in nightclubs. My experience in the music industry paved the way for Edge Music Network to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world.

DISM: Has there been anyone who has helped you along the way to achieve your big dream?

EV: I get asked that question often. People assume since I’m a successful female CEO and entrepreneur, I have a powerful man or group backing me. It was the exact opposite. I had everyone around me including those closest to me telling me to quit while I was ahead and it couldn’t be done and to give up on a regular basis. But I can tell you, everything I’ve achieved has been of my own sheer will, passion and desire to work hard– beginning with the Vargas Girls. I had a day job testing software, which came naturally to me. Being tech-savvy helped me launch our first website and later, my own digital channels like YouTube live video, where I live-streamed and interviewed bands and rock legends—all while keeping focus on becoming the next MTV. The only thing that changed for me was the platform. Television wasn’t the only game in town.

DISM: Speaking of the only game in town, explain Edge Music Network and how it diverges from other music video platforms like Spotify and Vevo.

EV: Edge Music Network (EMN) globally streams premium music video content from top-tier distribution partners and independent artists. But it’s more than a free platform for fans to watch their favorite music videos and entertainment programming. EMN offers fans access—from phones, tablets, computers and TVs—to the music and artists they love while providing artists and record labels with the royalties they deserve. We’ve completely flipped the compensation structure of platforms like Spotify and Vevo that give artists 10 percent or less of the profit share. We ensure a 90/10 split in the artists’ favor. On top of that, because EMN believes in the transformative power of music, we dedicate 10 percent of ad revenue to charitable causes such as those that feed the hungry, house the homeless and help victims of natural disasters.

DISM: Sounds like you found a straight path to your dream. Was it really so simple?

EV: It has been anything but simple. I spent years learning how to navigate application development, digital rights agreements, content licensing and distribution and how to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring EMN to life. But it’s the decades of relationship-building with my partners, advisors, record labels and artists that serve as the foundation of EMN.

DISM: What’s your advice for women today who want to pursue a career or start-up in tech?

EV: Today, every business is tied to technology, whether you work behind a desk, with your hands, your voice or your heart. So, to say there are few women in tech will eventually become a thing of the past. What may remain unchanged is the lack of female LEADERS in tech and that’s a personal choice. It’s up to each one of us to find our passion, find a mentor, find a way to achieve our goals, whatever the odds or the required education. Learn it. Do it. Fail. Get back up and do it again. And again. And that’s never easy. But it’s certainly fulfilling.

About Elizabeth Vargas:
Elizabeth Vargas is the founder and CEO of Edge Music Network, a music video streaming service providing live and on-demand content through a video syndication platform. After studying jazz vocal and music theory at Cornish College of the Arts and attending Bellevue University to study international business and media technology, Vargas combined her passions and pursued a career in the music industry. Over several years, Vargas was able to learn the ins and outs of application development, which allowed her to effectively lead the development and engineering of EMN’s platform. She has decades of experience architecting and brokering digital rights agreements between content creators and publishers to ensure equitable revenue share and royalty distribution and has worked with industry leaders to fight for fair compensation structures to keep the music alive—all of which paved the way for Edge Music Network. With deep working knowledge in content licensing and distribution, application development, as well as strong industry partnerships, Vargas acquired the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring to life the Edge Music Network app that gives artists the royalties and respect they deserve while giving fans access to the music they love—anytime, anywhere, from any device.

With philanthropy at the core of Edge Music Network, Vargas has built one of the most technologically advanced platforms to bring people together with the power of music while providing support to charitable organizations that feed the hungry, aid victims of natural disasters and support homeless veterans. For more information, visit edgemusic.com. Download the app at Apple ITunes Store and Google Play.

Richer Than Oprah: How The Nation’s Wealthiest African-American Conquered Tech And Wall Street

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robert f smith

It’s a Saturday afternoon, at the height of vacation season, in one of South Beach’s hottest hotels, and Robert Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, is dressed like exactly no one within a 100-mile radius of Miami: in a three-piece suit.His signature outfit–today, it’s gray plaid, accented by an indigo tie and a pink paisley pocket square–apparently doesn’t take a day off, and Smith isn’t taking one now either. He’s gathered dozens of CEOs from his portfolio companies, software firms all, for a semiannual weekend off-site to drill them in the ways he expects his companies to operate.

It’s not just the suit that’s unusual. Private equity firms almost never treat their portfolio companies, transactional chits by design, like an organic cohort. And until recently, PE, a field built on borrowing against cash-generating assets, wouldn’t touch software firms, which offer little that’s tangible to collateralize. Yet Smith has invested only in software over Vista’s 18-year history, as evidenced by the CEOs, like Andre Durand of the security-software maker Ping Identity and Hardeep Gulati of the education-management software company PowerSchool, who have been summoned to Miami Beach, waiting to swap insights about artificial intelligence and other pressing topics. And Smith deploys more than 100 full-time consultants to improve his companies.

“Nobody ever taught these guys the blocking and tackling of running a software company,” says Smith, an engineer by training, as he takes a lunch break at South Beach’s 1 Hotel to nibble on a plant-based burger. “And we do it better than any other institution on the planet.”

Smith includes the likes of Oracle and Microsoft in that boast, and his numbers back up the braggadocio. Since the Austin-based firm’s inception in 2000, Vista’s private equity funds have returned 22% net of fees annually to limited partners, according to PitchBook data. Smith’s annual realized returns, which reflect exits, stand at a staggering 31% net. His funds have already made distributions of $14 billion, including $4 billion in the last year alone.

Not surprisingly given those numbers, Vista has become America’s fastest-growing private equity firm, managing $31 billion across a range of buyout, credit and hedge funds. Smith is putting all that money to work at a breakneck pace, with 204 software acquisitions since 2010, more than any tech company or financial firm in the world. After finishing an $11 billion fundraising for its latest flagship buyout fund last year, Smith has already deployed more than half of it, focusing as usual on business-to-business software. “They recognize it’s a kind of central nervous system,” says Michael Milken, whose bond-market innovations basically birthed the modern private equity industry and who has been a co-investor in two Vista deals. Taken together, Vista’s portfolio, with 55,000 employees and more than $15 billion in revenue, ranks as the fourth-largest enterprise software company in the world.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.