May 18-20, 2023
Join more than 1,500 tech founders, investors, professionals, and enthusiasts for our 7th Annual Roadmap to Billions!
Pitch Competition Applications are Open!
Register now to enter for a chance win $25K
About Roadmap to Billions
Roadmap to Billions 2023 returns to Brooklyn, NY May 18th – 20th.
Come kick it with Black Women Talk Tech and 1,500 founders at the Brooklyn Navy Yard! Join us for the only annual tech conference created exclusively by Black women founders for Black female founders and their supporters.
A conference built from the perspective of women, the goal is to showcase the brilliance of Black women in tech, create a stage for our experiences, foster deep connections, and create real funding opportunities. We believe in learning from those who are paving the way. Through their successes, (and failures), gain insight and valuable lessons to inspire and guide you on your path to success.
Join investors, tech evangelists, and founders who are just starting out and those who have been in the game for years at the largest gathering of black women tech founders in the world.
Your ticket gives you access to
It’s our 7th year and we’re only getting better.
Roadmap to Billions 2023 is designed for you, by women like you. Full of exciting, engaging, and enlightening experiences, you’ll leave the conference feeling powerful, motivated, and ready to take the next steps on your journey.
4 KEYNOTE SESSIONS
25K CASH PRIZES
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm2023-05-18 All
Opening Mixer at RollerWave
Join us as we kick off the 7th Annual Roadmap to Billions conference at RollerWave NYC! Grab your skates and join your fellow female founders in the rink for an opening party the way only we can do it. Get ready to have a great time!
625 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217— RollerWave NYC 625 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
8:30 am2023-05-19 All
9:00 am - 9:10 am2023-05-19 All
Welcome Address from BWTT Team and HostRegina Gwynn, Esosa Ighodaro Johnson, DeDe McGuire Main Stage
9:10 am - 9:25 am2023-05-19 All
Rise Up - Morning Dance Party— Main Stage
9:30 am - 10:10 am2023-05-19 All
Its Givin' Boss - Opening Keynote
A celebrity founder shares their journey to success and their companies they have built over the years.— Main Stage
10:10am -10:30am2023-05-19 All
Reshaping the Wealth Management Ecosystem
Morgan Stanley Sponsor MomentTasha García, Jeffery Kennerly
10:30 am - 11:10 am2023-05-19 All
About Damn Time
A conversation with Arlan Hamilton and her mother on how they came from humble beginnings including homelessness to now building multiple businesses.Arlan Hamilton, Earline Sims Main Stage
10:30 am - 11:10 am2023-05-19 All
11:20 am - 12:00 pm2023-05-19 All
Big Energy: Boosting Productivity and Work-Life Flow
Are you looking to level up your productivity within your business, achieve a better work-life flow, and hit your professional and personal self-care goals? In this workshop, Alice will explore enhancing productivity and balancing work and personal life. She will discuss strategies and tools for maximizing efficiency, reducing stress, and achieving your goals. From time management and task automation to virtual assistants and self-care apps, this talk will provide valuable insights and tips for leveraging tools to boost your Big Energy and achieve your full potential both professionally and personally.Alice Foy Main Stage
12:10 pm - 12:50 pm2023-05-19 All
Bet on Yourself
Join Andrea Donkor, SVP of Global Regulatory Relations and Consumer Practices at PayPal, and Mandy Bowman, Founder, and CEO of Official Black Wall Street, to discuss how to create a network of mentors and allies that can support you in your journey to take ownership of your career – and to recognize and leverage your potential. Whether you’re in the corporate world or an entrepreneur, learn these skillsets that will help you follow your passions and pursue any career path.Andrea Donkor, Mandy Bowman Main Stage
12:10 pm - 12:50 pm2023-05-19 All
Fuel your startup's growth with a masterful fundraising strategy!
Develop a solid fundraising strategy by creating a timeline, identifying target investors, and creating a plan to reach them. Research each target investor to understand their criteria and tailor your pitch accordingly. Focus on building relationships through networking and personalized communication. Increase chances of securing investment and scaling your business with a well-crafted fundraising strategy.Katleen Francois, Yemi Adewunmi, Tani Chambers, Kelauni Jasmyn Cook Stage B
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm2023-05-19 All
Lunch & Expo Booths
Grab a bite to eat with a new colleague and learn about the products and offerings at our corporate partner booths. Join us back promptly at 2 pm to kick off the afternoon sessions!—
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm2023-05-19 All
Keynote: Journey to a Billion
The Black Unicorns have arrived! We all know that becoming a Unicorn startup is rare and what's even more rare is a black unicorn. How did they do it? What are the challenges? How do they overcome everyday obstacles? What's their favorite food? Join us for a conversation with Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins Founder & CEO of Promise, Beatrice Dixon Founder of Honeypot, and Selena Hill Deputy Digital Editor of Black Enterprise and learn about their Journey to a Billion.Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Beatrice Dixon, Selena Hill Main Stage
2:40 pm - 3:20 pm2023-05-19 All
Why Civic Tech with Presidential Innovation FellowsNatasha Bansgopaul, Elise Nelson Leary, Regina Green Main Stage
2:40 pm - 3:20 pm2023-05-19 All
Founder Power: Funding Beyond VC
Did you know there are a variety of ways to get funded beyond traditional banks and investors? This panel will share where and how you can secure alternative funding startup funding to kick-start your business. Whether you are just starting out with your business or looking to take it to the next level, this session can provide valuable insights and support to help you secure the funding you need to succeed.Kalish Nesbitt, Oliver Libby, Pat Keegan, Kelly Ifill Stage B
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm2023-05-19 All
Vetting and Evaluating Startup Ideas - A Framework for Success at any Stage
Are you considering starting a company, or have you already started and want to ensure that your idea is on the right track? This panel discussion, will provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating and vetting startup ideas. Participants will hear real-life examples of that have turned innovative ideas into billion-dollar businesses. Whether you're just starting out or looking to pivot your existing idea, this talk will give you the tools and insights you need to validate your concept and set yourself up for success.Cordelro Brown, Ekwutozia Nwabuzor, Charlotte Newman, Michaela Keady, Spectra Asala Main Stage
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm2023-05-19 All
The AI Advantage: Unraveling the Benefits and Challenges for Tech Entrepreneurs
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a ubiquitous technology in the world of business, and particularly in the tech industry. This panel discussion will examine the current state of AI and its impact on tech companies. Experts will debate the question, "Can a tech company be built today without using some form of AI?" They will explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of building a tech company without AI, and whether it is even possible to do so in today's technology-driven landscape. The panel will also discuss the implications of this for startups, established tech companies, and the future of technology.Michael Brown, Corey White, Mutale Nkonde, Ariel Lopez Stage B
4:00pm - 4:05pm2023-05-19 All
Audible Sponsor Moment—
4:05 pm - 5:10 pm2023-05-19 All
Pitch Competition Sponsored by Walmart Connect
Watch as 4 startup founders Pitch their businesses to established investors for a chance to win $20,000 in cash and prizes for their startups.Deidra Suber, Simone Jordan, Kofi Ampadu, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, Benjamin Keith Main Stage
5:10 pm - 6:00 pm2023-05-19 All
Closing Keynote: Build & Scale: Scaling Brand Partnerships for Growth
Brand partnerships are a crucial aspect of growing a business, but scaling them can be a challenging process. In this panel discussion, experts will share their insights and strategies for effectively scaling brand partnerships to drive growth. From understanding target audiences to clear communication and adaptability, the panelists will explore the key factors that are essential for success. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your brand partnerships to the next level, this talk will provide valuable insights and tips for building and scaling relationships that drive business results.Bonin Bough, Esosa Ighodaro Johnson Main Stage
6:05 pm - 6:15 pm2023-05-19 All
Closing Address from BWTT TeamRegina Gwynn, Esosa Ighodaro Johnson
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm2023-05-19 All
Stick around for a post-conference drink or two with your fellow colleagues and conference attendees.—
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm2023-05-19 All
Investor Reception hosted by New York Ventures
Private post-conference mixer. Invite only.— Private location
11:00 am - 11:10 am2023-05-20 All
Welcome AddressEsosa Ighodaro Johnson, Regina Gwynn Main Stage
11:10 am - 11:40 am2023-05-20 All
Opening Keynote: Amplifying Our Voice: Elevating Diverse Talent Within in the Tech Industry
Bias, micro-aggressions, and lack of advancement are no mystery to diverse talent. These challenges can create unnecessary barriers to success for ambitious & goal-oriented professionals across industries. Thankfully, alongside any obstacle, there is opportunity: Brenda Wilkerson (President, anitab.org) and Shannon Morales (Founder, tribaja.co) are dedicated to the mission of closing the gap between opportunities and qualified talent in the tech industry. Join us in conversation with two trailblazing leaders in talent acquisition and learn about the importance of advocating & supporting diverse talent in the workplace.Brenda Darden Wilkerson, Shannon Morales Main Stage
11:45 am - 12:30 pm2023-05-20 All
Your Roadmap IntuitTanisha Barnett Main Stage
12:35 pm - 1:25 pm2023-05-20 All
Rising up the Ranks Panel
Are you a technical professional looking to take your career to the next level? Whether you are a software developer, data analyst, or cybersecurity expert, we’ll be dropping valuable knowledge for mid-level technical talent across all sectors. Join us to learn from industry leaders and gain insights into what it takes to advance to a leadership position.
Our panel of experts will discuss topics such as the skills and qualities required to move up the career ladder, strategies for building a strong professional network, and tips for navigating the recruitment process. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and network with other mid-level technical professionals.
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm2023-05-20 All
Networking— Main Stage
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Former CEO, Board Director, Author
Home Cook & Recipe Developer
DJ Olivia Dope
Founder of Khadijah Adams, LLC dba Girl Get That Money
Tech Check Anchor, CNBC
Comedian & Content Creator
Journalist, Producer, Content Queen
With nearly three decades of experience under her belt, Kandi Burruss has remained one of music’s most steadfast and prolific songwriters. The Atlanta native has added a number of hats throughout her career, including businesswoman, entrepreneur, actress, TV personality and proud mother of four.
Burruss entered the music industry at age 14 when she co-founded the all-female R&B group Xscape. They’ve released three Platinum-selling albums (1993’s Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha, 1995’s Off the Hook, 1998’s Traces of My Lipstick) and have sold over 7 million albums worldwide, while simultaneously putting Atlanta’s musical creativity and talent on the map. After achieving success with Xscape, the group members decided to take a hiatus to pursue various ventures. From there, Burruss solidified her legendary status in music as a songwriter, solo singer (she’s released her debut Hey Kandi… in 2000 and followed up with Kandi Koated in 2010), and producer.
Her credits include Destiny’s Child’s GRAMMY-nominated “Bills, Bills, Bills,” Pink’s “There You Go,” Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, Ariana Grande’s “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”, *NSYNC (“It Makes Me Ill), and TLC’s GRAMMY-winning “No Scrubs”. In 2000, she became the first woman to be honored with ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Music Award for Songwriter of the Year.
But Burruss had her eyes set on expanding her empire beyond an unpredictable music industry. “We started our career when I was 16 when we signed our deal with So So Def. My mom put this in my head: ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!’” Burruss recalls. “So I used to read all these books about finances. The main thing they always say is you need to have multiple sources of income in order to become and stay a millionaire.”
Since 2009 she’s starred in 12 seasons of Bravo’s pop culture juggernaut The Real Housewives of Atlanta, where she used the reality TV franchise to not only transform into a household name but to showcase her musical accolades as well as a platform to launch her ever-growing businesses.
“It’s more personal. Fans feel more connected. They’ve been able to see inside my life for the last ten years. Now, though, I do think that people learned to respect me for what I’ve done as a songwriter,” Burruss previously said of joining the series as an artist. “They’ve witnessed what I have written and produced for some of the other people on the show. From there, they figured out what else I have done, be it Xscape or TLC or other artists I’ve worked with.”
Burruss has since launched two restaurants with husband Todd Tucker (Old Lady Gang and Blaze Steak & Seafood Restaurant), made her Broadway debut in the long-running, Tony Award-winning revival of Chicago in 2018, landed a recurring role on Showtime’s acclaimed drama series The Chi in 2020 and scored her first feature film role in Lifetime’s Envy: A Seven Deadly Sins Story that is based on Bishop TD Jakes’ “Seven Deadly Sins” series of books.
As she continues to blossom as a businesswoman, Burruss’ love for music is never too far behind. In 2020, she won the third season of the Fox competition series The Masked Singer. And in 2021, Xscape participated in the Verzuz series alongside fellow popular ‘90s girl group SWV.
Managing Partner & Founder, Precursor Venture
EVP Global Sales, PayPal
As Executive Vice President, Global Sales, Peggy Alford leads all of PayPal’s Commercial, Customer Success and Go-to-Market teams worldwide. In this role, Peggy brings extensive experience leading high performing teams across product development, finance and growth strategy.
Peggy has thrived throughout her career by building and leading experienced and diverse teams. She fosters a culture of collaboration that allows teams to develop scalable and effective solutions.
Peggy has held numerous senior leadership roles at PayPal, including Senior Vice President, Core Markets; Senior Vice President of People Operations; Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific Region and Global Cross Border Trade; and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Americas Region. In March 2019, Peggy returned to PayPal after two years as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Operations at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization.
Prior to joining PayPal in 2011, Peggy worked at Rent.com, a national internet real estate listing service and former subsidiary of eBay Inc., where she served in positions of increasing responsibility, including President, General Manager and Chief Financial Officer.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Macerich (NYSE:MAC).
Driven by her passion to help others succeed, Peggy serves as an advocate for children, women, and minorities. Peggy was an honoree at the 2018 Culture Shifting Awards which recognizes leaders and pioneers of diversity.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Timnit Gebru is founder of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research (DAIR) Institute. Prior to that she was a co-lead of the Ethical AI research team at Google Brain, from which she was fired for raising issues of workplace discrimination. She received her PhD from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and did a postdcast Microsoft Research, New York City in the FATE (Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in AI) group, where she studied algorithmic bias and the ethical implications underlying projects aiming to gain insights from data. Timnit also co-founded Black in AI, a nonprofit that works to increase the presence, inclusion, visibility and health of Black people in the field of AI.
Coming soon …
UI Engineer and Design Technologist, Square
Ayo Suber is a UI Engineer and Design Technologist at Square, working with the Developers and APIs team.
Her passion for all things tech stems from her experience creating digital presences for small businesses, working at various tech companies, and creating art that integrates technology.
All of these things require different types of tech stacks, which is the basis for Tech Stack 101. Ayo enjoys making complex concepts as accessible as possible, and being a resource to increase our representation in tech. She is an avid traveler, writer, and arts advocate.
Founder & Managing Partner, Zane Venture Fund
Shila Nieves Burney has spent a 20+ year professional career working closely with leading organizations and exceptional talents to create solutions that address disparities through investment in human capital. Her super-power is connecting!
After spending a year sourcing investors for a startup that culminated in a $5M term sheet, mentoring and advising founders of color, Shila was able to see first hand challenges diverse entrepreneurs face getting access to capital and the resources they needed to grow and scale their companies.
She founded ZANE Venture Fund, a seed fund that would invest in underrepresented founders with the goal of closing the funding gap and generating high returns for investors, thereby closing the gap to generational wealth, and Zane Access which provides early-stage companies led by diverse teams access to cross-functional experts, resources, best practices and customized content critical to accelerating growth.
SVP Global Partner Success, Via Transportation
Nichole Jordan is the Senior Vice President, Global Partner Success at Via Transportation, Inc. Formerly, she was the Chief Operating Officer at Remix Software, which was acquired by Via in March 2021.
She currently manages executive account relationships and ensures customer satisfaction and retention for over 400 cities across five continents.
A dedicated customer advocate for over 15 years, Nichole previously led Customer Success for Fond, C3.ai and Contact Center Operations for Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). At PG&E she amassed over ten years of experience in customer care, human resources and information technology. Nichole is an active volunteer and leader for several non-profit entities. She currently serves as the International Technology Chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®.
Nichole is a former president of the Twenty Pearls Foundation in Oakland. In her final year as president, the organization awarded over $25,000 in scholarships and grants to deserving students and organizations. She was initiated into the San Francisco chapter of the Links, Incorporated in 2016and served as President of the board of directors for the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco from 2011-2016.
Nichole has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from U.C. Davis and an M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She was the first African-American female to matriculate in the Wharton West Executive MBA program. Her proudest accomplishments include receiving PG&E’s 2008 President’s Diversity Champion Award and launching the MBA Fellowship program at PG&E–which provides full tuition sponsorship for high potential employees.
In her free time, she actively volunteers with her sorority and enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, wine tasting and reading. Nichole is also passionate about mentoring women of color and has served as an executive mentor for Sequoia Capital’s Ascent Mentoring program, designed to support emerging women leaders in tech.
Inclusive Recruiting Lead, Spotify
Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
As the global leader of inclusive recruiting and development at Spotify, Henry leverages his passion for people to develop strategies that educate, empower and ensure inclusion.
Prior to joining Spotify, Henry worked across talent acquisition and diversity, inclusion and belonging teams, industry sectors, and geographies to create spaces that invite, reward, and celebrate individual differences
Tech Check Anchor, CNBC
Jon Fortt is co-anchor of CNBC’s bi-coastal tech-focused program “TechCheck”. Previously, he co-anchored CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” and prior served as an on-air editor based at CNBC’s global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Fortt joined CNBC as technology correspondent in July 2010, working from CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau where he covered the companies, start-ups and trends that are driving innovation in the industry
Journalist, Producer, Content Queen
Danielle Young is the content queen. You may know her from her candid and viral red carpet clips, her powerful sit-down interviews, from her way-too-funny and honest pop culture commentary, from her matter-of-fact opinion video series on The Grio, “Opinionated,” from her hilarious and Webby-honored “Judge of Characters” series videos from The Root, her often viral interview series, “Real Quick,” or what Forbes calls a viral hit show, “The Danielle Young Show.”
Before betting on herself and stepping out on her own, Danielle was a video producer, editor writer and host for ESSENCE, where her video series, “The OverExplainer” and “The OverExplainer Reacts” consistently over-performed. She broke down topics that matter to Black people (and everyone) and offered hilarious hot takes on the internet’s wildest moments, respectively.
Tanya Van Court
Founder & CEO, Goalsetter
Tanya Van Court is the Founder and CEO of Goalsetter. Goalsetter is a family saving, financial literacy and smart spending app that makes it easy for the whole family to go cashless and learn how to be money-smart. Goalsetter is Nickelodeon meets Fintech–it combines the best of Fintech companies like Acorns and CashApp with financial education and gaming that appeals to the whole family. As such, Goalsetter is the first money app for the whole family, giving kids-from cradle to graduation-healthy financial habits that will last a lifetime
President & CEO, Gryphon Consulting
Frank Valdivieso is the President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting. Gryphon Consulting is an Information Technology Services company specializing in helping small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits deploy and leverage technology in their organizations.
Mr. Valdivieso is a Co-founder of the Black Channel Partner Alliance, an Advisory Board Member for Women In Cloud, and a member of Voices For Innovation.
Dr. Nashlie Sephus
Tech Evangelist, Amazon AI
Dr. Nashlie Sephus is the Tech Evangelist for Amazon AI focusing on fairness and identifying biases at AWS AI. She formerly led the Amazon Visual Search team as an Applied Scientist in Atlanta, which launched visual search for replacement parts on the Amazon Shopping app in June 2018. This technology was a result of former startup Partpic (Atlanta) being acquired by Amazon, for which she was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Prior to working at Partpic, she received her Ph.D. from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 and worked for a year with Exponent technical consulting firm in New York City. Her core research areas were digital signal processing, machine learning, and computer engineering. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University (2007).
Dr. Sephus is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and a 2003 graduate of Murrah High School/Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC). She’s had several internships and research experiences worldwide with companies such as IBM, Delphi, University of California at Berkeley, GE Research Center, GE Energy, Miller Transporters, and Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea. Recently, Dr. Sephus became founder and CEO of The Bean Path, a non-profit organization based in Jackson, MS, to sow technical expertise and bridge the tech gap in communities by hosting free tech office hours in local libraries, conducting youth coding workshops and giving away grants. She is also developing 12 acres of land in the downtown area deemed the Jackson Tech District for strengthening a community amongst the next generation of technologists.
Dr. Sephus has been featured in AJC, CBS kids’ show Mission Unstoppable, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Amazon Science, AWS re:Invent, Afrotech, Your First Million podcast, along with several others. She also serves on several startup and academic advisory boards along with mentoring others and investing in Atlanta-based startups. During her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis, playing the piano, listening to music, bargain hunting, biking, and working on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects at home.
Managing Director in the Multicultural Client Strategy Group, Morgan Stanley
Alice Vilma is a Managing Director in the Multicultural Client Strategy Group at Morgan Stanley in New York City, where she strengthens Morgan Stanley’s connection to the multicultural business community through development and execution of commercial opportunities with corporate, government, institutional and individual clients. She is also Co-head of the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator that invests in and supports tech and tech-enabled startups with a multicultural or woman founder.
Ms. Vilma has been with Morgan Stanley for nearly 15 years and has had different roles within the Firm, including Equity Capital Markets and Securitization. She has over 20 years of investment banking, capital markets, structured finance and investing experience, executing over $25Bn of securitization, structured finance and equity transactions. She graduated Cum Laude with a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Miami and received her MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Director of Global Partnerships – Public Sector & Education, Microsoft
Anthony Egbuniwe is a Director at Microsoft leading the global public sector ISV partnership business. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology, Anthony started his career with Microsoft where he put down roots and established himself as a data science expert. He then returned to academia at Southern Methodist University where he’s currently earning his Masters of Science in Data Science.
In his current role as Director of Global Partnership, Anthony uses his mastery of the data science industry to support both government and enterprise corporations in building technical vision, solution development, and data-driven and revenue-generating strategy. His focus is on laying down the groundwork for the data-driven technology industry by providing businesses and individuals a clearer understanding of how and why data drives better business strategy.
Anthony is at the forefront of global business strategy, at a time when data is being used by global government agencies to allow for better decisions for citizens. His vast knowledge of business strategy, strong command of the digital marketplace, and boundless passion for data is what he brings to elevate Microsoft’s global partnerships on a daily.
Co-founder and Managing Director, Lockstep Ventures
Marcus Glover is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Lockstep Ventures, a venture capital firm that seeks to address issues that perpetuate racial inequality in the U.S.
Marcus has a mission to reimagine equity for Black America and is dedicated to investing and advising Black and women-led companies that are often overlooked, underfunded and underserved. As a leader of Lockstep Ventures, he has turned his passion into meaningful change while also inspiring and empowering a systematic shift in tandem with delivering investor returns.
In addition to his work with Lockstep Ventures, Marcus serves on the National Board of Directors of Defy Ventures, which advocates for criminal justice reform and lowering recidivism by building on incarcerated men and women’s natural talents through entrepreneurship business ownership. Marcus also serves on the Time 100 Advisory Board.
Corporate Marketer & Youtuber
Nakaiya Turk is a corporate marketer & Youtuber with roots in Knoxville, Tennessee. After graduating from Spelman in 2012 with a Mathematics degree, she began her professional career at Hewlett Packard Enterprise gaining expertise in data analytics and customer experience. In 2018, she enrolled at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School as a member of the MBA Class of 2020 receiving a full-tuition scholarship through the Consortium. Today, Nakaiya is a Marketing Manager at media powerhouse, Comcast, where she works on the strategy team helping to reach today’s cable and internet consumer.
As a passion project, she is also the host of Kandid Kaiya, a YouTube talk show that highlights millennial black women on their different pathways to success; nearly all of her videos feature Spelman graduates and other HBCU graduates. As a career activist, Nakaiya hopes to empower young black women to go after their dreams while providing them with the tips and skills necessary to WIN! Thus, not only is she a young woman trailblazing through corporate America, she is also a blossoming talk show host.
She is a member of National Black MBA-Atlanta, she serves as the Young Alumnae Chair for the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College Atlanta Chapter, and she volunteers at Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta where she helps to further instill confidence and courage into young girls who are already “strong, smart, and bold!”
North America Partnership Lead, Facebook
LaToya started her tech journey by way of Amazon where she worked for the Amazon Fashion org and was a key stakeholder in the launch of the exclusive, invite-only Amazon Luxury Experience. From Amazon she made her way over to FB where she is currently focused on the growth and scale of SMB’s through leading North American partnerships for eCommerce.
While “being black in FAANG” is a competency that LaToya is well versed in, her true passion and purpose is helping women of color elevate their lives and career by empowering them to leverage their super powers to maximize their growth and earning potential. Through her work with Her Tech Unicorn (a career mentorship club for WOC) LaToya uses the insights and learnings that she’s gained from her experiences in FAANG to educate her community on tips, tricks, and practical steps they can take to increase their chances of breaking into tech and securing a high paying job that they love.
President & CEO, Realistic Computing Inc.
Shante has spent most of her career as a data analyst and holds her MBA from NYU Stern and BA in Economics from Spelman College. Prior to WellCapped, she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a consumer markets consultant and has worked with companies such as Amazon, Wayfair, and Progressive Insurance.
Senior Vice President, Local and Cultural Innovation, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Susan Akkad is the Senior Vice President, Local and Cultural Innovation for The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. In her position she collaborates with the ELC’s 25+ brands and across geographies to develop and expand product and commercial innovation relevancy with global skins and cultures color, and Ageless consumers.
Susan began her career in cosmetics at Estée Lauder International in the Public Relations department in 1986. She left the company to work with her husband in his start-up design firm in the fashion industry based in New York and Paris. After spending almost 10 years in fashion, she returned to cosmetics as a Marketing Director at Lancôme. She rejoined The Estée Lauder Companies in 1999 on the Clinique brand. She was Clinique’s Vice President of Global Treatment Marketing, a position she held for six years. Following Clinique, she became Vice President of Global Marketing at Origins. Prior to her current role, Susan was Senior Vice President of Global Communications and Artist Relations at MAC, overseeing communications strategy for MAC Cosmetics and the MAC AIDS Fund.
Susan is a frequent speaker on the subject of Cultural Marketing, Relevancy and Innovation at industry events as well as at universities and business schools including Harvard University, MIT Sloan School of Management, Columbia Business School, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Susan was a keynote speaker at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in 2019.Susan has been profiled in Vogue, Essence,Moreand Jones. She was the 2012 recipient of the Business Achievement Award from the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG)and named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing in 2013 and 2016. In 2015, Susan was recognized by WWD Beauty Inc as one of the 50 Most Influential in the Multicultural Beauty Market. In 2010 and 2017, she was named one of Ebony’s “Power 100”.
Susan is a native Virginian and grew up near Charlottesville. She holds her undergraduate degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. She is on the Board of Governors of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW)and on the Board of Trustees of the East Hampton Library. She lives in East Hampton with her husband and Italian Greyhound.
Investor, Entrepreneur and Business Executive
Oksana Malysheva is an investor, entrepreneur and business executive based in Austin, TX.
She champions the development of innovative, sustainable, world-changing companies. Committed to igniting and fueling social innovation solutions, Dr. Malysheva’s mission is creating positive social change through education, technology and innovation.
Dr. Malysheva previously held top strategic roles at McKinsey and Motorola. Trained as a PhD physicist, Dr. Malysheva brings scientific inquisitiveness, lateral thinking and mastery of insight through data to all of her business endeavors.
Jumoke K. Dada
Technologist and Social Entrepreneur
Jumoke K. Dada is best described as a visionary and techie whose sweet spot lies at the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, goodwill, and girl power.
As an experienced technologist and the principal of Signature RED, she provides technology consulting services to companies and creates tools for women with careers in technology. The Tech Women Network, an online platform for women with technical skills, and the annual HUE Tech Summit for women of color technologists are two of her creations. Presently, she serves as the project manager for the Making Space initiative and CyberBase to ensure that women and minorities are represented in the field of cybersecurity.
As an international speaker, Dada is passionate about empowering women and girls. Her mantra “No More Hidden Figures,” emphasizes her commitment to uplift, spotlight, and inspire those who work behind-the-scenes in STEM fields. She is a contributing writer for ForbesWomen where she covers diversity in tech. Additionally, her forthcoming podcast, Tech is Illmatic, will include music-infused stories about breaking into tech from other industries.
Over the years, she has been recognized in the media for her innovative ideas, leadership skills, and community involvement. Dada holds a B.S. in Computer & Information Sciences, along with real estate and scrum master certifications. She is set to pursue her M.S. in Cybersecurity part-time at Georgia Tech in Fall ‘21.
To learn more about her work, visit her portfolio site dadaverse.org or follow her on Twitter @jumokedada.
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