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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Tic Toc Tech: Listen to these tech leaders

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A lot is going on at the Innopower conference! With more than 12 panel discussions, five fireside chats, four keynote speakers, pitch competitions and power slam talks — everyone will find sessions that will speak to him or her and get at least a couple of actionable takeaways.  

Being the event chair, I had the privilege to meet some of the outstanding leaders who will be part of our conference, and I am beyond inspired by their vision and actions on they are uplifting minorities in tech and reshaping the eco-system. I am not biased about any of the sessions, but if you are from the tech industry or want to pivot your career in tech careers or have the itch to start a new business or want to serve the community, I would suggest you attend these sessions.  

Start your Friday morning with a power slam session by Eli Lilly’s IT manager Decatur Webster. You will be inspired and energized by her leadership lessons.  

During our planning meeting for “Unifying the Indy’s Minority Communities,” Josh Driver of Selfless.ly and Arwa Ghalawan of Infosys shared with me the initiatives they are driving to support our community to bring social justice and create more opportunities for the minorities in tech. The theme for that session is we are more similar than different, and we are in this together. Whereas, in the “Minorities in Workplace” session, National Black Data Processor Association’s President Terry Morris will share with us his vision of “Classroom to Boardroom” by educating high school students, mentoring college students, providing job opportunities to young professionals and propelling the careers to the next levels for mid-career professionals across the U.S.A. in 45 chapters.  

You have joined the C-Suite, so what is next? Tatiana Holifield, vice president of Pacers Sports and Entertainment, will challenge you to be bold and confident. She brought to my attention that this week is “Equal Pay Week,” and Black women earn $0.61 compared to their peers. In the same session, along with Tatiana, CISO of Eli Lilly and Co. Meredith Harper and vice president of BCForward, Andrea Bartlett, will coach young women on elevating the game and winning it.  

On Saturday, Angela Freeman, past president of Women and Hi Tech and patent attorney of Barnes and Thornburg, will graciously welcome you as the emcee. Being a leader of one of the largest women tech groups of Indiana, Angela has a deep understanding of girls’ challenges in STEM education and women in a tech career. She will lead one of the most intriguing fireside chats with serial entrepreneur Derek Andersen.   

If you have ever thought of being an entrepreneur but afraid of grit and uncertainty, listen to Denzil “Val” Crooke’s journey and get expert advice on raising funding from Elevate Venture’s Amna Sohail in “Building an Equitable Startup Culture.” TechPoint’s University Activation senior manager Al Carroll will moderate the session with other panelists. He passionately talks about TechPoint’s extern program, for which they received 1,900 applications from 210 universities and 45 home states. Al said, “with the extern program, they are providing opportunities to students to work alongside industry leaders at Indy’s fastest-growing tech companies, live and make friends with more than 100 other externs from around. Before the extern program, 36% of students felt prepared for the job, and after the program, 91% felt confident to take up a position in tech.”  

But this is not all. There are opportunities to learn about social entrepreneurship and innovation. Taylor Simpson’s The Halo App eliminates struggles faced by people using banks and cash advance storefronts by creating a platform where peer-to-peer transactions can take place safely. 

Please visit www.innopowerindy.com to see the full schedule, speakers and attend the event on Aug. 28-29.  

Rupal Thanawala is managing director at Trident Systems leading business and technology consulting practice, and tech editor for Indianapolis Recorder. Contact her at rupalt@indyrecorder.com















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