Talking AfroTech, What’s Next & Self-Care Tips With Blavity CEO Morgan DeBaun
During November 7th-9th, associated writers to @TheClosetRachet, @Iamtamishamonet, and @thirdeye_Ni had the opportunity to attend and Interview top keynote speakers for the AfroTech Convention, brought to us by Blavity Inc. and held in Oakland California, where technology is fastly growing.
AfroTech is the largest Tech conference catered to Black millennials who aspire to break into the tech industry through conduits of leadership, entrepreneurship and engineering with panels, discussions, events and educational tracks. AfroTech is an ecosystem of venture capitalists, engineers, start-up founders, employers and more. Get funded, get hired, get sponsored, get plugged in and receive the support you need to propel you forward in career trajectory only at AfroTech. AfroTech news is a subsidiary of Blavity, Inc.
Blavity is a community of the most exceptional multi-cultural creators and influencers in the world. They partner with diverse content creators and influencers to help them reach a wider audience, amplify their message, and fund their hustles. Believing that the world shifts according to the way people see it— and if you change the way people view the world, you can transform it.
Since launching Blavity Inc. in 2014, Morgan have led their company to acquire Travel Noire, a travel platform for black millennials and Shadow And Act, a black entertainment news site. Launched several profitable consumer summits, including Summit 21 for black women creators and entrepreneurs and Bay Area’s AfroTech, the largest tech conference for Black innovators and founders. All while scaling their internal operations, raising over 9 million dollars in venture funding and building a team of over 70 employees.
She has a following of about 200,000+ entrepreneurs, founders and creators she confides in via my social media, private email list, and curated events.
AfroTech 2019, Oakland, CA
Morgan DeBaun CEO, Blavity Inc.
Closed Session Interview
Over the weekend associated writers to @TheClosetRachet, @Iamtamishamonet, and @thirdeye_Ni had the opportunity to attend and Interview top Key-note speakers for the AfroTech Convention, brought to us by Blavity Inc. and held in Oakland California, where technology is fastly growing.
Gathered in the media room at the Oakland Convention center of the Marriott Hotel, we wait for the arrival of Morgan DeBaun CEO, Blavity Inc.
Morgan: Jeff our CTO Aaron, our COO, started Blavity in College. So, we all started in Corporate America. And then we’re like wait, something is missing. There’s no way for us to come together; we need a space where we could collectively gather. Talk about our challenges, our opportunity sharing knowledge with one another.
“One of the things that is beautiful about AfroTech is that we focus on our strengths. Everyone is focusing on like, how they can share their information.”
“So if you raised 10 million we don’t ask you: Oh what’s it like to be a black founder? “I’m like, how’d you raise 10 million dollars? You know; we want to talk about how to get to the next step and to teach one another.” And so the whole conference is designed around community and getting you to the next step.
“ Blavity Inc; is all about economic empowerment.”
Morgan DeBaun CEO, Blavity Inc
“It’s an out of body experience when you’re building something people really need so much.”
Morgan DeBaun CEO, Blavity Inc
Morgan: We know To reduce the wealth gap and the digital divide, you have to be apart of the tech community. You have to be engaged in this space where there’s so much wealth creation. And we need to be owners in these companies. I feel good that people are starting to wake up and see the opportunity and they want to be involved.
Tamisha: “I know how busy you are with AfroTech and Blavity; so that requires a lot of work, a lot of hustle and bustle; what are some of your self-care practices like?”
Morgan: “I sleep 7 to 9 hours a night; which is counter-intuitive. People think being this busy that you lose sleep; that’s the only way I can operate and be that level headed. So that’s one of the things I learned probably the tough way and the hard way that I have to take care of myself first. So Sleeping is this biggest form of self-care for me. I don’t care how many emails are in my box. I’m like no... going to bed.”
Tamisha: So just seeing how Blavity has grown, and you guys tapped into different industries; you have 21Ninety, you have Travel Noire. What do you want to do next?”
Morgan: “Next. Lol! I’m happy we’re here. I’m so grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last four years with AfroTech and the five years at Blavity Inc., and I think moving forward we want to think about how we can make it more accessible. It’s still a hefty price, it’s still far for some people who are coming from out of the country. And so how do we make the content accessible online so you don’t necessarily be here to be able to get some of the energy, and some of the knowledge so we’re working on that.
Tamisha: “I’m from Oakland; I’m a native, but I traveled from New Orleans to be here. Thank you.”
NiEma : “So, I’m also a native of Oakland, thank you for bringing this into our city and opening up something for our community.” My question to you is for the younger generation who isn’t sure that they want to get into tech… those that are leaning on the fence about it, what advice would you give them...Maybe like what software or like applications would you advise them to use to get started in the tech industry?
Morgan: “For one, I would say that it’s cool to be a nerd. I was a nerd, I was in the Chess Club; braces and glasses and all. Lol! I think that we are all now, more- today than ever before, so connected to our devices to the world around us. There are less barriers to entry when it comes to being in technology. And so If your on your phone and you like Instagram; you like Tik-tok, and you like Facebook and you have Alexa and you have Siri, then you should probably understand how those products are being made and how you information is being used,
and you should probably have a say in how those things are being done. And so being in tech isn’t just about them; it’s actually about us and us owing a piece of the things we use and having a say in our daily lives.”
Ni Ema: Thank you!