All Articles Tagged "digital"
By 2009, blogging had become a viable career choice with entrepreneurial opportunity. Noticing this trend were then-Toronto-based actress and singer Andrea Lewis (she played Hazel Aden on the hit show Degrassi) and author and photographer Shannon Boodram. After a few conversations and jokes from friends about Andrea and Shannon’s eccentric personalities, they created Those Girls are Wild, a video blogging destination where girls and women who “weren’t afraid of dancing to the beat of their own drum,” could feel “comfortable fully expressing themselves.”
In three years, Those Girls are Wild (TGAW) has gained over 50,000 loyal subscribers who’ve watched and shared their videos more than seven million times spawning a growing number of TGAW-themed products and events.
And with countless TGAW fan submissions for themes like “Shameless Mondays” and videos that discuss topics such as friendship, relationships, and natural hair, Andrea and Shannon are driving the discussion that is inspiring a new generation of ‘wild girls’ to celebrate the ups and downs of life while living out loud on their own turns.
Here, Andrea and Shannon talk about their biggest regrets and inspirations, growing a business with a partner who lives in a different city, and the origin of their ‘shameless’ promotion.
Madame Noire (MN): What was the inspiration and purpose behind TGAW? What made you want to join forces?
Shannon Boodram (SB): Essentially blogs were all the rage during that time in our city of Toronto and we wanted a piece of the shine too. We both felt like we were in a place in our lives both professionally and personally where we felt comfortable sharing our lives and we believed others could benefit from that kind of honesty.
Andrea Lewis (AL): I always feel like the best way to get people to support you is for people to feel like they know you. Especially for myself coming from the acting world. Often people just assume you’re exactly like whatever character you were playing on TV. At the time before we started TGAW we didn’t have anything where people could get to know who we really were. [With TGAW] we truly got a chance to just be ourselves!
MN: You have an active digital audience of more than 50,000 people. Was it hard to grow your audience or did you find that people knew you from previous work?
SB: Andrea being famous has and continues to help, but at the same time there is SO MUCH to pay attention to online. So it is hard to get attention. Unless you are doing things in the formulaic way — beauty, DIY stunts, cats, tag videos — it can take a long time before one of your videos sees 1,000 hits! We had to be very persistent and innovative from [day one]. And living up to that standard has been tough because now that we are both busier it is a lot easier to do the standard videos than the risky ones.
What social networks do you use? According to Quantcast’s Top 10 list of US networks, Google ranked number one followed by YouTube and Facebook in the top three slots.
Quantcast is a Web analytics company that measures site traffic. Its top 10 list ranks websites based on the number of people in the United States who visit each site within a month. There were no African-American sites listed in the top 100 most-viewed. This does not mean African Americans don’t use any of the top sites; in fact African Americans are some of the most frequent visitors to the top 10 list.
While the racial breakdown of Google viewers isn’t available, we do know that 11 percent of Facebook users in 2009 were African American, up from seven percent in 2005, according to Black Web 2.0. YouTube is another favorite for African Americans. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, seven in 10 American adults online are using video sharing sites such as YouTube, with minority users using the most. “Blacks and Hispanics were the most active video consumers online — with 76 percent of African Americans and 81 percent of Hispanics saying they used video-sharing sites,” found Pew.
But it is Twitter that is king among African-American digital users. Twitter came in number five on the Quantcast list. According to Gawker, “Black users are disproportionately represented on Twitter… African Americans make up a whole 25% of Twitter users.” The site speculates that it is because African Americans tend to follow entertainment news closely.
What are your favorite sites? (BTW, be sure to follow @MadameNoireBiz, if you don’t already.)
Welcome to another “Behind The Click.” We continue with the longest running profile series of African-American women in tech with Lauren Wesley Wilson. I’m a fan of hers not only because we both share the same first name but because of her achievement in creating a trade association, ColorComm, that brings together women of color working within the communications field, many of them involved in digital areas. I had the opportunity to meet the founder and chief networking officer as an invited guest at a tea the organization had in Washington, DC and I wanted to be sure that I shared information about their work with Madame Noire readers. Here we go!
Current Occupation: Founder of ColorComm, Inc.
Favorite website: Forbes Woman
Favorite read: Got What It Takes?: Successful People Reveal How They Made It To The Top by Bill Boggs
Recent read: Little Bee by Chris Cleave
2012′s ultimate goal: To evaluate my place in this world
Quote Governing Your Mission: “Surround yourself with people who light up your life and make you laugh till it hurts.” If you don’t surround yourself with people who make you feel good, how can you become the best version of yourself? And you need the best version of yourself to accomplish your goals and make an impact in this world.
Twitter handle: @ColorCommntwk
Lauren deLisa Coleman: How did you decide on Spelman and what was it like attending college there?
Lauren Wesley Wilson: Spelman was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; a choice that truly took me out of my comfort zone and provided an opportunity to interact with and learn from people who looked just like me, something I wasn’t used to. Growing up, my environment and upbringing included little diversity. I attended St. Louis private schools since kindergarten and had only one black friend. Spelman was what I needed to understand who I am and to know that there is an intellectual black community that exists in droves. I entered Spelman as an only child and graduated with plenty of sisters.
LdC: How did you decide on your major? What role did it play in your later position with public relations powerhouse Hill & Knowlton?
LWW: I majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. It was very fitting to have a well-rounded education with global experiences to work at a global company. Some of my clients included Qualcomm, SunEdison, and Wipro.
LdC: How did you transition from that to your work as communications director for a member of Congress?
LWW: I knew there was an opening for a communications director for a Texas Democratic Congresswoman, because the previous communications director came to work at Hill & Knowlton. When I was ready to move on from [the firm], I reached out to a colleague and friend in that office and became the new communications director.
LdC: You then went on to apply your skills to the Obama campaign. Tell us more about your work for Obama at the Florida campaign headquarters?
LWW: For the short time that I was in Florida, I learned so much about media booking and media relations. It was a great learning environment for me, because I’m used to being in control and feeling as if I know everything. Working in Florida proved that this wasn’t the case.
LdC: What led you to start ColorComm?
LWW: This answer is very long and I welcome any coffee meetings with folks who want to hear the true and uncensored story. The short version is this: I wanted to see more examples of women of color in leadership positions in my field. The PR industry is not dominated by women of color. Frankly it’s just the opposite. It is important for us to come together at the mid to executive level to share our brainpower and resources to better ourselves professionally and personally.
ColorComm started off as an invite-only luncheon series in May 2011 and transitioned into a membership organization in July 2012 with a chapter in Washington, DC and a presence in New York and Chicago.
LdC: What is the mission for the organization? What is the biggest challenge you have in running ColorComm?
LWW: [As it says on the website], “The ColorComm mission is to personally connect women with other like-minded individuals to build a strong network of leaders by creating mentors/mentees, business relationships and friendships. ColorComm offers a unique opportunity for women to share experiences and learn from one another to enhance their personal and professional development.”
The biggest challenge is balancing it all with our full-time jobs and extracurricular activities. ColorComm has such a great leadership team that we are able to make this work, despite all our crazy schedules. We carefully plan each program several months out, because the most important thing is to continue maintaining the quality of our organization and to service the needs of our members.
LdC: Describe the membership base for me.
LWW: Our membership base is pretty diverse in age and background. We have members that are [ages] 25 to 60-plus and that are in all industries of communications (PR, media relations, advertising communications, small business owners, digital communications, etc). It’s an environment where we can all come to the table and learn from one another.
I would say that if you’re involved in ColorComm, most likely you use digital strategies on a daily basis to service your clients. You also use digital platforms to connect with members outside of the programs. It’s great to see members connecting online and supporting each other’s events and activities.
LdC: Why is it important to have organizations like this for women of color, particularly in the digital age?
LWW: Women bring a unique energy to networking and to the conversation. Because there are few of us at large PR companies and in the industry as a whole (in comparison to the majority), it’s truly important for us to know one another and to collaborate with each other.
A woman of color in this field will experience a different set of challenges because of who we are and our perspective. ColorComm provides an opportunity for us to come together and learn how to navigate our way through this industry. The programs and events are unique experiences that challenge our thinking and allow us to form meaningful relationships with like-minded people.
LdC: What advice might you have for women who are particularly interested in the convergence of tech and politics?
LWW: Read, read, read, read some more. Follow the people who you strive to emulate and join organizations. As a woman of color working in policy, my challenges were met by having a strong outside network. This is something that anyone can create. Just remember that connecting initially should be genuine and less transactional.
LdC: What are your plans for ColorComm for 2013?
LWW: To continue building the ColorComm network and to focus on expansion in other key major cities.
So, there you have it! Be sure and watch for the next profile. In the meantime, please follow me about all things digi-social via my new Twitter handle @ultraLdC.
Just as African Americans have had influence through radio — with popular shows such as “The Tom Joyner Show” and Steve Harvey’s morning program — and television with Oprah Winfrey and BET, social media has become the new microphone for news, entertainment, and influence for the black community.
In a 2011 study from multicultural agency Burrell, 73 percent of white consumers and 67 percent of Hispanics said they believe that blacks influence mainstream American culture, and social media amplifies that. In 2012, LeBron James was the most influential athlete on social media during the London Olympics and the black community turned to social media to rally around the family of Trayvon Martin.
As of August 2011, 70 percent of US black Internet users ages 18 and up were on social networks, a higher percentage that whites (63 percent) and Hispanics (67 percent), according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
This number has only grown. In its “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing” 2012 study, Nielsen reported that 72 percent of black consumers have more than one social networking profile.
With a younger population than other ethnic groups, it makes sense that African Americans are more likely to use social media, which has always skewed younger. As these younger consumers mature and become the main consumer segment in the US, their influence and preferences when it comes to social media will be critical for marketers.
“As we’ve seen over the past couple of years with the Honda Battle of the Bands, social media is definitely an effective and authentic way to connect with African-American consumers, said Gina Jorge, assistant manager of multicultural marketing for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., in an email with Madame Noire. (We covered this event here.) “We see a continued increase in engagement across emerging digital, social and mobile platforms.”
Pew also released data this year about how social networking impacts political activities. Blacks have shown how they leverage social media to influence and connect with others around political issues of importance to them. Among black US social network users, 42 percent said they think social networks are important for recruiting people to get involved with political issues that matter to them, and 38 percent said social networks are an important forum for political discussions or debates. These percentages were higher than those for whites or Hispanics.
“Social allows people to have a voice on a grassroots level and that’s one of the things that has been hard for the African-American community to do: get their voice heard and heard loudly,” Keisha Brown, senior vice president and general manager of multicultural agency Lagrant Communications, told Madame Noire. “With social, and the campaigns and election showed this as well, you are able to create groups for African Americans [and others].”
So as the black community leverages social media as a channel to build its cultural influence, what does the future hold?
Brown told Madame Noire that the opportunities for African-American entrepreneurs within social media and technology will grow: “For millennials and Gen Y, they are growing up with this medium and their thought process is different. They see the sky as the limit because social media brings in so many different aspects of business and you can reach so many different people.”
Verna Coleman-Hagler, a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, told Madame Noire via email that the future will also include more philanthropic and community initiatives that build a greater reach through social.
P&G and its My Black is Beautiful program turned to social when it launched “Imagine a Future” in 2012, which will “work to impact the lives of one million black girls over the next three years,” she said, and will partner with Black Girls Rock! and The United Negro College Fund.
As social media usage continues to rise overall, African-Americans will become more prominent players in the technology industry and as entrepreneurs, expanding the community’s influence even more.
Behind The Click: Tamar-Melissa Huggins’ Business Incubator Promotes Women and Minorities in Technology
Welcome back! Ready for another profile in the longest running series on African-American women in tech? Let’s get to it!
Since we’re on the topic of business incubators, this profile will focus on Tamar-Melissa Huggins. I actually don’t know too many African-American women running incubators in the tech space. Do you? Huggins is founder and CEO of Driven Accelerator Group, managing business development initiatives and oversees day-to-day activities for the organization. Here we go….
Occupation: Founder, Creative Visionary Officer, DRIVEN Accelerator Group/CEO of knexxion communication group
Favorite website: StartupNorth.ca
Favorite read: Radical Careering by Sally Hogshead
Recent read: Fascinate, Sally Hogshead
2012′s ultimate goal: Successful first year with DRIVEN (execute program, graduate the first class, encourage more women and minorities to think of entrepreneurship as a career)
Quote Governing Your Mission: “Congratulating an entrepreneur for raising money is like congratulating a chef for buying ingredients.” You are expected to achieve certain milestones as an entrepreneur. Don’t look for people to pat you on the back for doing what you are supposed to do. You should get recognition for doing the risky things many people wouldn’t do.
Twitter handle: @DrivenAccel @TamarMelissa @KnexxionPR
LdC: You are our first Canadian profile subject! I think many of our readers would like to know what it was like attending college in Canada and how you chose the subjects you did to study?
TMH: I took creative advertising at Centennial College, with a major in media planning. I knew I wanted to be in advertising when I was in grade 10. College was just like high school to me, just a higher level. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA because I loved what I was doing.
LdC: And from there you started your own PR firm. What led you to jump out on your own?
TMH: It was during the recession in 2009. The ad firm I worked for lost all their major clients. One of my clients was one of them, so I was out of a job. It was a great opportunity for me. It didn’t look like it at the very beginning, but now that I look back, I know God was shaping the way my life would look over the next few years. I took the opportunity to sharpen my skills, and did a few courses at Humber College in their PR program. I learned a lot working with some of the most coveted brands in Canada, namely Nike and H&M. I am a go-getter by nature, so utilizing my skills in a new and creative way was the obvious choice for me.
LdC: What was it like working on the digital strategies for those companies?
TMH: My manager pretty much gave me the reigns on the accounts I worked on. I executed tasks and projects as an assistant, that traditionally only supervisors and managers did. When mobile advertising began to emerge, I led the first mobile campaign for H&M, which was a pretty big deal considering how conservative they were. I will always remember the Nike Airforce 25 campaign. That was my first project, I led the digital component for that campaign which won awards. It was a lot of hard work, that eventually paid off. I gained a lot of transferable skills working on those accounts.
LdC: From there, what led you to start Driven Accelerator Group? What is the vibe like for incubators in Canada?
TMH: I found a lot of my clients (PR) asked a lot of questions outside of marketing. So, I constantly found myself stepping into business development roles, and really enjoying it. I figured it was God’s way of telling me that I need to explore new career options. I tried various career planning options, but nothing settled with me.
I launched DRIVEN as an online training platform for young entrepreneurs. It was a new form of TEDx, but specifically for young entrepreneurs. The plan was to interview high-profile entrepreneurs and share their insight with budding entrepreneurs. The first entrepreneur I interviewed was Al Nelson of EzVIP. I saw him on Shark Tank, and figured he was perfect. The interview was successful, as we had over 75 people watching and commenting. However, I still felt something was missing, and that I didn’t hit the “sweet spot” just yet.
It was very early in the beginning of this year that I became familiar with the accelerator model. There are a few accelerators in the USA that really stood out to me, namely TechStars. So I chose to follow their model, with a few twists of my own. There is an accelerator bubble in Toronto, and very few are providing real value to startup founders. When I started to develop the program, I reached out to several entrepreneurs, some attended incubators/accelerators. The ones that did, always felt there was a disconnect when it came to understanding how to run a real business. So my goal was to provide valuable content, and to ensure our founders learned from proven mentors.
LdC: What’s your main mission for this organization?
TMH: I researched all the existing models in Canada, and realized there was something missing. Research proves that women and minorities consume A LOT of digital media, yet we aren’t the ones creating it. I think there are several reasons for that. The main one being women and people of color do not see enough of themselves in tech, and subconsciously believe they don’t belong.
One of our female startup founders, Theresa Laurico, felt the same way when she attended Lean Startup Machine, a popular tech event in Toronto. She came to the event with an idea, and almost left when she realized she was one of very few women among highly technical men. If it wasn’t for another female mentor who encouraged her to stay, she would have left. Who knows where SociaCal would be today, if it wasn’t for that bit of encouragement.
We accelerate innovative tech startups led by women and people of color. We give the underrepresented market a platform to showcase their talents, grow their business, and receive access to funding. We teach our founders everything from go-to-market strategy, to financial planning in just 12 weeks. We get them ready for everything from seed to series A funding. Investors want to know the companies they invest in are led by intelligent and passionate entrepreneurs. I am happy to say our first cohort is a perfect example of that.
Brian Shields started IncubateNYC, an educational community and incubation program for entrepreneurs, with co-founder Marcus Mayo in January 2012. “We designed our incubation program specifically to help aspiring entrepreneurs get started the right way and to continue to make progress. We accomplish this through the power of community,” reads the group’s website. The organization currently has 60 alumni who have gone through the incubation program, and is planning to expand more in 2013.
Shields spoke to Madame Noire about diversity within the technology industry and among entrepreneurs, advice for starting a business, and his personal journey with IncubateNYC.
Madame Noire: Tell us more about IncubateNYC and your role there.
Brian Shields: IncubateNYC is an entrepreneurial education organization that provides people curriculum and content through experiences. We’re really big on learning by doing and everything we do is tailored adult education that helps people learn in the most effective way. To learn sales, we make them pitch, which is obvious. Or to teach market research fundamentals, we make participants go out and talk to people. We make people learn things by executing it and we provide content around it.
Marcus and I have known each other for 10 years and tried to start a bunch of businesses, but we weren’t super passionate about any of them. We’ve been angel investing for a long time and decided that, because we’ve seen so many great things through entrepreneurs, learned a ton from working with and advising them, and funding them and seeing great exits, we decided to create an academy that provided people the education they needed to be successful.
MN: What are the goals for Incubate?
BS: From a business standpoint, this year is really about rocking out with the companies that we have. We’ve had about 60 founders come through so far in our six months of existence. So it is about enriching the alumni program and continued incubation.
And for next year, our goal is to roll out a la carte classes for people in three areas: business, product development, and industry expertise. One of the most important things is you have to know the industry you’re in and people who are entrepreneurial really thirst for learning more from people. We bring in new people once a month to talk about different industries. We’re going to be doing music in January.
MN: You said there are 60 alumni so far. What are some of the success stories from IncubateNYC?
BS: One example is a company called The Women’s Age, which is a media business for women to have a conversation about their ages and aging gracefully. This is a woman who is about 33 but most of the people in her family have died really young. She’s created this platform to celebrate women aging gracefully, through a combination of written media and a ton of guest bloggers and video content, like talk shows and interviews.
When she first came to the program she had a business idea that she wasn’t totally connected to, but [the experiential learning] eventually got her to this. She’s been doing this for two months, taught herself HTML and CSS, and started her own website.
MN: What is the percentage of blacks and women in your program?
BS: Our program is about 70 percent minorities, meaning not white males. It’s not by design. We are open to everybody and aren’t minority focused, but it is partially because Marcus and I are minorities and people gravitate to people they know. There are great programs like NewME, which are specifically minority focused. But we have the belief that the best want to work with the best, so we hope to attract the best.
MN: What can be done overall to get more minorities into technology and digital fields? How can the industry attract African Americans?
BS: You have to make tech cool. “Cool” is a relative term and “cool” is different for people who have grown up with two parents or parents who were doctors or teachers or bankers. They understand the fundamentals of business or math and science, and where that can take your career. But for a lot of minorities, in particular African Americans, our culture isn’t defined totally by that, [particularly] if there is a separation in the family foundation.
It would be great to elevate role models who people can relate to. That’s a big part of it. If I were to rewind the clock, I don’t know if I would relate to Mark Zuckerberg. Think about the impact that Barack Obama’s election had on people’s vision of what’s possible in this country, race-agnostic, and I think that can be applied to a business industry that is meritocratic in and of itself.
MN: What about diversity within investors? Is that something that is changing or on the rise?
BS: It’s changing. It’s the chicken or the egg thing when you are trying to get people in. It’s the same thing with women. Do you need more women investors or do you need more women entrepreneurs? Can you have one without the other?
If you look at the way the VC market is going now; it’s going more heavily operational. Entrepreneurs want to work with a funder or investor who understands what they are dealing with and who can help them think through questions, not just somebody who is about money. Entrepreneurs want to work with somebody who understands them and you can cut that down any segment or line: women, minorities.
MN: What is your advice for people who are starting out with their own business and how to jump in?
BS: My general advice is, look, it’s going to be hard and you aren’t going to make the right decisions. There’s a lot of research that says 2/3 of business decisions, either in new business or corporate, is going to be wrong. So just go do it; you’re not going to be right. But being wrong is the fastest teacher and you’ll learn the right answer sooner. And just stick with it. The hardest thing we find is getting started and then sticking with it. We tried to start like eight businesses, but we couldn’t stick with it because we weren’t passionate about it. So find that thing that really matters.
Quote that inspires you: “Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man; But sooner or later the man who wins is the one who thinks he can.” – Walter D. Wintle, “The Man Who Thinks He Can”
Favorite Website: LinkedIn’s News Section
Current Read: The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman
Who Inspires You and Why: My Mom. Whenever I think about where I am today and the viewpoints I have on life, I have always appreciated my mom for that.
Colleges and universities are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and adopting new digital trends. Now, as younger consumers spend more time online, colleges are starting to woo them via social media, smartphone apps, and online classes.
Time magazine analyzed this trend in a very interesting article on its website today. According to a study from study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 90 percent of colleges were pleased with their investment in social media.
“What we’re trying to do with social media is be relatable and relevant,” Perry Hewitt, Harvard University’s chief digital officer, told the magazine. “In today’s communications environment, it’s not a ticket to win. It’s a ticket to play.”
But using social media to connect with students and prospective students isn’t always easy. First, some students do not want to be bothered by their colleges and universities on Facebook and other social sites. Additionally, the schools must be willing to be a bit more transparent and open and go beyond traditional brochures and marketing messages. And last but not least, there are risks in getting involved on social media, saying the wrong thing, and starting a bad Internet meme among college kids.
But connecting via digital channels has also moved beyond current students. An organization called Semester Online is partnering with well-known universities, including Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and Brandeis, to offer online courses for credit. Students enrolled in any undergraduate program can pay to take classes at top-tier universities and receive credit at their current institution.
This program is different from massive open online courses, provided through companies such as Coursera. Those programs provides free online classes to post-graduate learners for no credit, but with Semester Online, students must pay, be academically eligible to participate, and receive credit—more like a study abroad program, via the internet.
An infographic on ClassesAndCareers.com shows that there are 5.6 million online students and that 24.8% of “distance learners” identify as black and 20.8 percent were Hispanic. This is compared to 14 percent of “traditional” students who are black and 6 percent who are Hispanic. If minorities continue to turn more often to online courses and programs, the expansion of programs such as Semester Online and Coursera may be a boost to education and growth within the communities.
Would you take an online course? Do you think students will continue to connect with colleges on social networks in the future?
Do you find that some days, you just don’t get anything done at work? And by the time you get into gear, it’s time to clock out? Distractions can thwart productivity. And one of the biggest distractions is technology.
People spend lots of time at work chatting on IM services, checking Twitter or updating their status on Facebook. In fact, a new study found that social media distractions at work could be costing the U.S. economy $650 billion per year — or $4,452 per company.
And even when you log off, it takes time for to get back to work. According to the study, conducted by Mashable, it will take you 23 minutes to get back on track.
Catching up with the latest office gossip and bringing problems from home can also eat into your day.
The Washington Post recently interviewed Robert Pozen about how to boost productivity. According to Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, there are practical lessons to increasing productivity. The general philosophy of these lessons is that you should focus your time on your most critical goals. So first, you have to identify and rank your priorities based on your own skills and desires as well as the needs of your organization. Then you clear away the lower priorities with as little headache as possible. Finally, you perform your high-priority goals more efficiently by quickly reaching tentative conclusions, instead of spending days or weeks researching basic facts, Pozen tells the Post.
In order to prioritize however you need to define your goals, he adds. Determine which are long-term versus short-term, then rank the longer-term goals by importance. Then figure out what you have to do more immediately, taking into account what your boss wants and what the business needs, Pozen explains.
And of course, keep your personal online activity to a minimum. Checking social media on your lunch hour or during 15-minute breaks is fine. But if you’re spending too much time on Facebook, all the prioritizing in the world can’t help.
Ready for another one of my “Behind The Click” profiles? I’m particularly interested to bring you this column on someone who’s making a contribution to the tech arena in a way which I don’t normally cover. Erin Horne Montgomery serves as the president and executive director of the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs. NAMDE advocates for, unites and promotes the interests of diverse companies, organizations, individuals and entities within the technology and broadband market industries.
Given the imbalance oftentimes in the tech arena, an organization such as NAMDE is important to have at your fingertips. But Erin, like many women, easily multitasks. She is also a graduate researcher at Howard University studying the participation of women and minority entrepreneurs in the innovation economy.
In the words of Slick Rick, “Here we go…”
Executive Director, National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (NAMDE)
The Information Society and the Black Community by John T. Barber and Alice A. Tait
2012′s ultimate goal:
To launch NAMDE’s app to better connect women and minority digital entrepreneurs.
Quote Governing Your Mission or a Quote that Inspires You:
Twitter handle: @namdedotorg
LdC: So, Erin, you are a graduate researcher at Howard, but you also did undegrad work there. How did you select Howard and how did you like it?
EHM: One of my favorite teachers in high school recommended Howard to me. I later found out that a lot of my family members attended HU as well. After that, I wasn’t interested in going to any other school.
EMH: My initial interest in tech came in the late 90s when one of my long-time mentors in entrepreneurship co-founded a start-up in Northern Virginia. He encouraged me to get active in this space.
EMH: Working with National Telecommunications and Information Administration was a phenomenal experience. I had a wonderful mentor in my supervisor, and I was able to learn a great deal first-hand how to impact policy.
EMH: My day usually starts with the reviewing of news stories online and tweeting topics of interest to our followers. Then I’m usually headed to a conference or meeting related to our issues. I also try to squeeze in some calls or emails to plan future NAMDE projects and events.
EHM: My biggest concern is that our community is being left behind in the innovation economy, from ownership to participation. I’m truly concerned about the long-term negative impacts on our community’s generational wealth potential.
EMH: Two of the biggest challenges black tech entrepreneurs face today are access to capital and access to the startup ecosystem. We’re almost completely excluded from both. How can one create a company, grow, and compete against other companies in this space when the resources available are limited and not equitable?
Motherhood has inspired singer Alicia Keys in more ways than one: she has just announced the launch of an app for kids through her company, AK Worldwide, and Bento Box Interactive.
Called “The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee,” it is about a young New York City girl’s relationship with her kind and wise grandmother. The application, which is released today, costs $3.99. For the interactive tool, Keys produced the music and the storyline for the app is loosely based Keys and her own grandmother.
“It’s a new adventure for me, and I’m really enjoying it,” Keys, who gave birth to her son with producer Swizz Beatz two years ago, said in an interview with BusinessWeek. “It does remind me of my world. The piano, the journal, music’s such a big part of my life, the city, all of that.”
According to Keys, the idea was not only inspired by her own childhood but by her son, Egypt, as well.”I was just getting introduced to kind of the TV shows and the DVDs and all the things you start kind of introducing your kids to, and I thought how cool it would be to be a part of something that really allows them to hear music from different places, different cultures, different sounds,” she said in the interview. “That’s what we’re able to do with this.”
Keys also has a new CD, Girl On Fire, set to hit stores on Nov. 27. It feature Maxwell, Jamie xx, Bruno Mars and John Legend.
Keys isn’t the only celebrity with app news. Earlier this year, LeVar Burton resurrected “Reading Rainbow” on iTunes and as an iPad app.