1. DDN 2014 Events Calendar


    Mark your calendars and save the dates for these upcoming events from DDN:

    Convergence – NYC: Inclusion, Engagement & Collaboration

    Co-sponsored by 


    Thursday, November 6, 2014
    9:00am-5:00pm EDT
    Bloomberg LP
    731 Lexington Avenue (between 58th and 59th Street)
    New York, NY 10022
    Our daylong conference (formerly called “Cloud Gathering”) returns to NYC for a third consecutive year.  This is a premier opportunity to network and be informed within a highly diverse assembly of digital media and hi-tech professionals.

    Change is the new status quo and entrepreneurship is a new corporate function in this fast-paced and ever-evolving world of new technology, consumer mobility, instantaneous and non-stop communication, user-generated content and shifting demographics.  And, despite the recent numbers released by some of the top tech companies, diverse professionals are alive and thriving in the tech world.

    Attend and hear how experts are:

    • Leading innovation through disruption
    • Remaining adaptable and relevant
    • Engaging fans and consumers
    • Collaborating to transform enterprises and teams


    These topics—and more—will be addressed at the Digital Diversity Network conference.   Our highly diverse speaker line-up includes digital media and hi-tech experts, entrepreneurs, business and thought leaders from a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines.  Make sure you are part of the conversation on November 6th!

    Save The Date!

    DDN Download: Google Hangout with Tonya Rapley, Community Outreach Specialist & Certified Financial Educator

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014
    6:30 – 7:30pm EST
    Details to follow.

  2. Succeeding in Silicon Valley Recap

    Insights from Digital Diversity Network’s Night at the Tech Museum

    “No one cares about your career, but you.”
    With this statement, Ken Coleman, Chairman, Saama Technologies, admonished attendees of DDN’s “Succeeding in Silicon Valley” event to “take charge of their own careers by asking the tough questions (e.g., “Why was I not considered?”); and making it easy for your boss to give you negative feedback.  You need to hear it in order to be promoted and to be successful.  Your only job security is your reputation and your skills.”
    More than 150 people from companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, PayPal Salesforce.com, Wells Fargo, and the Black Chamber of Silicon Valley–as well as a host of entrepreneurs–were on hand for the networking reception and conversations on Thursday, October 9 at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.
    Given the recent spate of media attention to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, the DDN event was focused on providing solutions and a view from diverse leaders who have cracked the Silicon ceiling and/or are opening the pipeline for people of color and women.    They shared insights from their personal career experiences and offered advice for getting in, getting connected and getting ahead in Silicon Valley.
    Coleman, an iconic advisor and mentor in Silicon Valley, was featured in a one-on-one conversation with Michelle Fisher, Founder & CEO, Blaze Mobile and a DDN board director, during the opening segment of the event program, which also included a panel discussion with diverse tech executives who are leaders within their organizations.
    Prior to founding Saama Technologies, a pure-play data and analytics services and solutions company focused on solving the business insight challenges of the world’s leading brands, Coleman’s storied career in Silicon Valley included stints with ITM Software, Silicon Graphics (SGI), Activision and Hewlett Packard. He also currently serves as a special advisor to Andreessen Horowitz and advises Pinterest. Ken is a member of the board of directors of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange, City National Bank, United Online and Entertainment Partners. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Ohio State University Business School.
    While maintaining that “there is a little bit of crazy in shifting to entrepreneurship”, he advised those who are starting their own businesses to “remember who pays the bills.  It’s the customers.  Above all else, you have to take care of the customers.”
    The panel discussion was moderated by Mark Horn, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Telecom, Media & Technology (TMT) Practice, and included:  Laura Gomez, Co-founder, Vyv; Monica Pool Knox, Sr. Director, HR, CBS Interactive; Brian Patterson, Partner, Business Attorney, Gunderson Dettmer, LLP; Tyler Scriven, Chief of Staff & Head of Corporate Development, Palantir Technologies; Laurence “Lo” Toney, Partner, Comcast Ventures; and Robin Washington, EVP &CFO, Gilead Sciences, Inc.
    Following a brief overview of some of the recently released Silicon Valley workforce demographic data, the panel cited some of the reasons for the lack of tech industry diversity and made suggestions for addressing the issue .  Among them were:
    • A lot of tech companies think they are diverse because they are global.  If you peel back the onion on some of the recently released diversity numbers and look at job levels and functions, the numbers are probably even more startling.
    • The tech industry had been given a pass on diversity until someone (i.e., Jesse Jackson) shone a media spotlight on the issue.
    • Having a better understanding of the customer will be the impetus for driving tech diversity.
    • Adversarial approaches to driving diversity will not motivate a community of innovators.
    Key career advice from our panelists included:
    • Be a continuous learner.  Take a risk and try something different.  Ask for help.  Manage your brand.”  — Robin Washington
    • “Use your social capital.  Network!  Other entrepreneurs are your best allies.”  — Laura Gomez
    • “If you are interested in working for a company, use their product.  Companies like to know that you use the product.”  — Laurence “Lo” Toney
    • “Believe in yourself, regardless of what is going on around you.  Find your path within the organization.”  — Brian Patterson
    • “Seek the truth in yourself and your work environment.” – Tyler Scriven
    • “Use your difference to your advantage.  You might be the only one, but you will stand out.”  — Monica Pool Knox
    Photos from the event coming soon.  Additional photos may be found on Instagram and Facbeook.
  3. Digital Diversity Network & Viacom’s Content Strategy Salon Informs, Educates and Inspires

    Content Strategy Salon panelists (l. to r.):  Karim Mawji, Viacom; Kedma Brown, Saatchi & Saatchi; Mina Seetharaman, The Economist Group; Michelle Lee, Magnified Media; and Rosa Alonso, MiVidaTec.com

    Content Strategy Salon panelists (l. to r.): Karim Mawji, Viacom; Kedma Brown, Saatchi & Saatchi; Mina Seetharaman, The Economist Group; Michelle Lee, Magnified Media; and Rosa Alonso, MiVidaTec.com

    “The shortest distance between two people is a story.”

    This observation from panelist Mina Seetharaman, Global Director of Content Strategy & Global Integrated Solutions, The Economist Group, underscored the consumer engagement proposition and was one of the key takeaways at Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) Content Strategy Salon, presented in partnership with Viacom, on Thursday, May 8th in New York City. “Storytelling,” added Seetharaman, “is essential in order to inform, educate, inspire and connect a brand to a specific consumer.”

    Much like storytelling, the Content Strategy Salon was designed to inform, educate and inspire diverse professionals in the digital media sector.  More than 100 attendees, described by one of our Tweeters as a “great and powerful crowd”, were on hand at Viacom’s headquarters to establish connections –both live and on social media–and glean thought-provoking business insights from a panel of distinguished industry experts.  The conversation extended beyond the walls of The Lodge at Viacom with more than 70,000 impressions on Twitter.

    Digital Diversity Network board directors Richard Gay, EVP, Strategy & Operations, Viacom Music Group; and Dhanusha Sivajee, CMO, AOL Brands, kicked off the event with a welcome on behalf of our hosts, Viacom, and DDN, respectively.  Kedma Brown, VP, Director of Integrated Production, Saatchi & Saatchi (and also a DDN board director) led the panel discussion on building buzz; viral and social traffic; and increased ROI for brands across multiple platforms.

    Featured speakers included:  Rosa Alonso, Creator & CEO, MiVidaTec.com and VP, Group Account Director, IMM; Michelle Lee, Chief Content Officer, Magnified Media; Karim Mawji, SVP, Digital Platform, Music & Entertainment Ad Sales, Viacom; and Mina Seetharaman.

    Other key observations from our panelists included:
    • Content strategy is about fan engagement.
    • Buying “likes” is a double-edged sword.  Consumer engagement, rather than the number of (meaningless) likes, is more critical to success.
    • Know your brand and your audience.  Avoid simply duplicating someone else’s strategy.
    • Know your data.
    • Latinos, compared to other demographic groups, don’t consume as much video on mobile devices so, depending upon your audience, a “mobile-first” strategy might not be optimal.

    A highlights video from the conversation is forthcoming.  Photos from the event are in the gallery below.  Additional photos may be found on Instagram and Facbeook. Click on the photos below to expand and see captions. [nggallery id=8]

    Complete Gallery Here


    Video Highlights from the Content Strategy Salon

  4. 2013 NYC “Cloud Gathering”

    Second Annual NYC “Cloud Gathering” Highlights Innovation, Disruption & Transformation

    “Awesome” and “amazing” were the adjectives most commonly used to describe Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) second annual New York City “Cloud Gathering” Conference on Thursday, October 3rd at The New York Times Conference Center in Manhattan. Themed, Innovation, Disruption & Transformation, the event featured a speaker line-up of nearly 40 diverse industry thought leaders from the realms of advertising, media, entertainment, education, healthcare, hospitality, mobile and private equity.

    The venue was filled almost to capacity with approximately 130 digital “natives” and “immigrants” in attendance throughout the day and provided an intimate setting for interaction and networking with speakers and attendees, alike.

    With a full-day agenda comprising panel discussions, one-on-one “Tech Talk” conversations and entrepreneurial Power Pitch sessions, the New York “Cloud Gathering” Conference provided insights into: (a) Cutting-edge technology; (b) identifying talent and managing teams in the Innovation Economy; (c) New rules of consumer engagement as technology disrupts the advertising industry; (d) Connecting with multicultural consumers, globally, across a broad spectrum of industries and platforms; and (e) Seizing opportunities in the emerging healthcare technology sector.

    During a Tech Talk moderated by Janel Martinez, technology editor, Black Enterprise, Ntiedo Etuk, founder & executive chairman, DimensionU, introduced the term, digital immigrants, in reference to those who did not grow up with technology, and shared how he has utilized the capacity for technology to engage children as a vehicle for enhancing and democratizing education.

    In a Tech Talk moderated by The New York Times senior editor, Dana Canedy, MacArthur “Genius Fellow” and Majora Carter Group Consulting CEO, Majora Carter, spoke passionately about her efforts to create sustainable communities with diverse economic role models and to ensure that underserved populations are creating technology enterprises. She especially emphasized the importance of learning how to code and her personal involvement in programs targeted to young girls.

    Bonita Stewart, VP, Americas, Partner Business Solutions, Google talked about her extensive background in marketing; the importance of “sponsors” vs. “mentors”; and the importance of taking on new assignments and demonstrating excellence throughout her career ascent in a Tech Talk moderated by Suzanne Spector, technology editor, The New York Times. Stewart also emphasized the current industry needs for engineers and people who know how to code.

    The “Cloud Gathering” Conference was capped off by a reception, hosted in partnership with Silicon Harlem and Urban Latino, on the rooftop lounge of The Copacabana and included an appearance by former New York Mets star, Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

    Event sponsors included DDN’s founding partners: Time Warner, The New York Times, The Walt Disney Company; Warner Bros. Entertainment and 21st Century Fox; annual sponsors: Bloomberg, Comcast/NBC Universal and Viacom; and conference sponsors: HBO and Pitney Bowes. Strategic partners included: the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and MMTC (Minority Media Telecommunications Council).

    Additional photos from the event are in the gallery below.

    [nggallery id=6]


    See complete gallery here

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