1. Tech Diversity: 40 UNDER 40

    Meet the Top 40 Under 40
    Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley Recognition Reception
    Wednesday, September 16
    6:30 – 9:30pm
    The Atrium at 888 Brannan Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    Hosted by:
    Tickets are now available for the 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley awards presentation and celebration. Digital Diversity Network has partnered with theREGISTRY BayArea.com–a leading cultural catalyst for the San Francisco Bay Area’s African American community–to launch this unprecedented recognition of the outstanding achievements of 40 diverse leaders from underrepresented ethnicities, under the age of 40, in the innovation economy. Individuals (age 40+) or entities selected for the categories of Game Changer and Silicon Icon will also be acknowledged.
    This premier even includes a VIP reception, awards presentation and celebration and will be hosted by Airbnb, in San Francisco, on the evening of Wednesday, September 16. Technology movers and shakers, including influential innovators, diversity and inclusion officers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, leaders of corporate employee resource groups (ERGs), academics, executives, professionals and non-profit organization leaders are expected to be in attendance.
    The “40 Under 40” recognition will become an annual program to: (1) Showcase the contributions of diverse tech professionals; (2) Acknowledge tech industry progress and promise in advancing multi-ethnic diversity; (3) Inspire tech companies, and the industry at-large, to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion; and (4) Identify role models, thereby inspiring future generations to pursue careers in the tech sector.
    Click here to purchase tickets.
    For information about tickets and sponsorship of this year’s event, please contact kathy.johnson@ddno.org.
  2. DDN & Warner Bros. Partner to Present West Coast Content Strategy Salon

    The Cross Campus tech hub in Santa Monica provided the backdrop on July 15th for the Content Strategy Salon, hosted by Digital Diversity Network and Warner Bros. This evening of conversations and connecting—both live and via social media–was designed to inform, educate and inspire diverse professionals in the digital media sector. The dialogue between the more than 100 attendees extended beyond the walls of Cross Campus with more than 684,000 impressions on Twitter.
    The 90-minute program got underway with a fireside chat themed, Creating an Immersive Experience, which featured Guy Primus, co-founder & COO, The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) in conversation with Laurence “Lo” Toney, partner, Comcast Ventures and DDN board director, about virtual reality, immersive experiences and emerging spaces. VRC is a newly launched content studio—helmed by some of Hollywood’s most successful creators—to produce the best VR experiences by combining the best in technology, art and storytelling.
    This new role at VRC is also blends Primus’ experience in technology and entertainment. The Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School alum was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Overbrook Entertainment, the film and television production company founded by actor/producer Will Smith and producer James Lassiter. He also co-founded and managed Tentpole Ventures, a seed-stage tech investment fund that focuses on consumer lifestyle companies. And, prior to joining Overbrook, Guy was Director of Digital Media at Starbucks, where he co-created the popular “Pick of the Week” program.
    Primus strongly advocates for women and people of color to get in on the ground floor of emerging technologies and entrepreneurial opportunities, and advised those who are starting businesses of their own to “always play for the love of the game.”
    In a crowd-pleasing rarity for a digital media event, our panel featured an all-female line-up. Themed M3: Multi-Platform, Multi-Cultural, Multi-Purpose Content this session was moderated by Diana Mogollon, Business Strategy & Development, Warner Bros. Television Group and included: Amy DuBois Barnett, Media Executive/Brand Architect; Robinne Burrell, Founder & Head of Mobile Innovation, Redflight Mobile; Anna Fieler, EVP, Marketing, POPSUGAR Brands; and Evette Vargas, CEO, Writer, Director, Executive Producer & Multiplatform Storyteller, Digital-Reign Productions.
    This group of accomplished professionals possesses background and experiences from the realms of linear television content and distribution; publishing and online media; mobile; advertising; e-commerce; and digital content creation. The conversation touched upon shifts in media consumption and demographics; engaging moving audiences; content strategy and monetization; and the definition of success.
    There seemed to be a consensus around the need to reevaluate the definition of targeted marketing—particularly as it applies to Millennial audiences. Given that this generation is more bi-racial and multicultural than those that came before them, it gives pause to the notion of segmenting for demographics vs. psychographics.
    Other key takeaways from the conversation:
    • The story is first. The platform is second.
    • Making consumers happy is a measure of success.
    For highlights from the Content Strategy Salon, please click on the link, below.
  3. The Sharing Economy: Transcending Economic, Geographic & Social Boundaries

    As part of our mission to provide education and information about technology in the context of diversity, DDN presented a webinar about the Sharing Economy on Tuesday, June 23rd. This was the first of three installments for our 2015 Digital Town Hall Meeting series.
    The conversation was moderated by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer, Purch; and included: Peter Giorgi, Global Head of Advertising & Content, Airbnb; Vincent Paradiso, CEO & Co-founder, Let’s Du+tch, Inc.; and Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations & Management Sciences & NEC Faculty Fellow, New York University Stern School of Business.
    During this hour-long telephone town hall, innovative brands and a renowned authority on the Sharing Economy discussed the impact of technology in promoting a more efficient and equitable distribution of resources at all levels of society, thereby inducing the economic and social redistribution of power. Through virtual platforms, individuals, organizations and communities have been given the capability to collaborate and create experiences and/or distribute products and services peer-to-peer, person-to-person (P2P).
    A live poll of the Town Hall participants confirmed these assertions. Seventy percent indicated that they have used a peer-to-peer service to either save money or access goods and services that were not otherwise within their reach.
    DDN will offer additional Digital Town Hall Meetings during Q3 and Q4 2015. Please click here to listen to the audio file from our June 23rd event.
  4. Executing for Success – RECAP

    Thank You


    An Intimate Conversation with Pandora Founder, Tim Westergren
    Tim Westergren
    Founder, Pandora
    Warner Bros. Portrait - Kiko Washington
    Kiko Washington – Moderated By
    EVP, Worldwide Human Resources, Warner Bros.
    Pandora founder Tim Westergren launched the popular personalized radio service in 2000 with the creation of the Music Genome Project ®, a novel way of discovering music using hundreds of distinct musical attributes. Today, this database, carefully built by a team of trained music analysts, includes more than 125,000 artists and drives Pandora’s unique personalization technology.
    During a reception on the evening of Thursday, February 26th at Pandora’s Oakland, California headquarters, Westergren sat down for a one-on-one conversation with Kiko Washington, EVP, Worldwide Human Resources, Warner Bros. and Digital Diversity Network (DDN) Board Director. Nearly 100 industry professionals were on hand for networking, dinner from a local restaurant, and to hear about Tim’s original vision and the 15-year entrepreneurial odyssey that ultimately let to Pandora.
    “Inspiring” was the word most attendees used to describe the avid music lover’s journey from Stanford History grad, to part-time nanny and musician, to founder of a worldwide company which now has more than 1600 employees—more than half of whom are women. Westergren attributes his success to a combination of hard work, persistence, and not giving up on his idea. While pitching investors, he cultivated his public speaking skills and asserts that it is one of the most important attributes for an entrepreneur.
    According to Westergren, Pandora’s success did not occur overnight. There were many lean years–motivating the move to Oakland from San Francisco to save on rent. In fact, he says that 50 people worked without pay for two years in order to help keep the business afloat. Because the Oakland location was integral to Pandora’s success, he is committed to giving back to the city and, rather than serving lunch at the office, encourages Pandora employees to patronize the local restaurants.
    Westergren’s ability to keep his team intact through the lean years is testament to his commitment to creating a culture where people are excited to come to work every day. As a few of the attendees observed, “We are all the sum of our environments. An organization is only as powerful as its people and it’s up to management to foster a healthy and productive environment. The CEO’s management style shines through in the environment Pandora has created.”

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