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Black Enterprise TechConnexT Summit kicks off in Silicon Valley

jessejackson

Some of the top innovative minds in tech were present at day one of the inaugural Black Enterprise TechConnecxT Summit. Held at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California, the event featured several notable panelists, an HBCU hackathon, and an awards ceremony.

Panel themes included “How to Deliver a Powerful Pitch to Investors,” “Investing in Millennial Tech Stars,” and “Ascending to the C-Suite in Silicon Valley.” Stacy Brown-Philpot, COO of TaskRabbit; and Laurence “Lo” Tony, Google Ventures, sat down with moderator Erin Teague, who serves as director of product management at Yahoo.

Brown-Philpot, who once worked at Google, discussed her relationship with former Google exec and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who served as her mentor.

“Sheryl was the last person who interviewed me in 2003,” Brown-Philpot said. “We did a walking interview, she asked me questions I didn’t know the answers to and [I] feared that I wouldn’t get the job. But I eventually got the job and Sheryl and I became close. I was able to help her solve problems, She trusted me to make decisions. She saw that I had the potential to lead at a higher level. She brought me in to run a 200-person team. The relationships were built. Over time, I think I graduated from Google and Sheryl. I still call her and talk to her today.”

Tony also shared his thoughts on the importance of mentors. “The best thing that helped me were mentors. he said. “I asked a mentor about what I wanted to do next. She asked me about how to lead and think about product. She said I was ready to be a CEO. Ask the mentor questions and make sure they are aware of where you want to go with your career.”

The hackathon featured students from Spelman College, Howard University, Morgan State University, Southern University, and Johnson C. Smith College. And the evening came to a close after the Trailblazer Awards dinner.

Ken Coleman, Saama Technologies; Caretha Coleman, Coleman Consulting; and Roy Clay Sr. were all recognized for their efforts in tech and diversity.

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