Black Professionals In Tech Network (BPTN) is hosting BFUTR 2021, one of the largest virtual gatherings of Black Tech Professionals globally, October 28 - October 29.
BFUTR 2021 is expecting over 20,000 and more attendees, over 100 speakers and has over 60 partners. The virtual summit has an array of speakers that come from diverse backgrounds in many fields. Also, attendees will get the chance to listen to Daymond John, the star of ABC's Shark Tank and the founder of 90s urban clothing line FUBU. To add some comic relief, attendees will be able to get a kick from comedian, actor and radio host DL Hughley.
BPTN offers programs to their members to ensure they receive exposure in their fields of choice. They host various masterclasses where attendees have a chance of networking with various CEO's in the technology and business sector. Also, they offer mentorship programs allowing professionals to meet executives and grow their network.
"We provide a community where Black professionals can grow their network, meet, talk and discuss job opportunities or any projects they have. It's a place where you feel whole. This is a way for Black professionals to be seen," said Duane Brown, Senior Partner Success Lead at BPTN.
Brown was once on the outside looking in trying to navigate his space in the technology and business industry. Through networking, Brown was able to navigate his way through and now has helped many members in receiving mentorship programs and putting together different networking events. We had a chance to speak with Duane and discuss some tips and tricks when it comes to networking and breaking into the tech industry.
When you walk into some of these networking events and spaces, sometimes as a Black professional you may feel you're the only person in the room. How has BPTN created a space for Black professionals to feel more included?
One of the things that I've learned from being at BPTN is just where the world is in terms of diversity, and how much work needs to be done. I could play devil's advocate, a hiring manager wants to hire diverse, they want to hire Black, right? But at the same time, they need to hire this role yesterday. So what do they do? I go to my network and there's no diversity in my network, then I'm not going to hire. Right? If my first interaction with someone Black is in an interview, then really what are the unconscious biases that I'm bringing to the table that I may not even realize. With all the companies that partner with us, we help them, show them that when you're diverse, it means you're also more profitable. We give them opportunities to see the excellence that is Black tech talent and when I say Black tech talent, you could be a technologist in a non-tech company. You could also be in a non-tech role in a tech company, you still fall within that realm of the tech ecosystem.
How do you become a BPTN member and what kind of benefits are there?
In terms of membership, it's free to become a member. There's no charge, you just go on our website, complete the form, just so we know who you are. We want to identify those that identify as Black, as well as allies. We are inclusive and there are areas where everyone can come together. In terms of being a member, you get access to our private Slack channel and that's where our community talks virtually and where they look for job opportunities. You get a monthly newsletter with blogs and you're kept up to date on all the events and all the latest projets that we're involved with. We also have weekly masterclasses.
What can members expect during the two-day BFUTR event and who are some of the guest appearances?
You get to come to a summit from the comfort of your home. What's interesting about our summit is we're arguably the largest virtual Tech Summit globally, it just so happens that it's Black. Over the two days, we have tech talks, with our partner companies, we have various topics that we will be discussing, anything from what it's like to be a Black woman in tech, to cryptocurrency to diversity, to you know, showing up for success, sales, you name it. We have topics about tech that someone would want to learn and help grow their career. We also have a virtual career fair, where each of our partners involved have their own virtual booth and the attendees can come in and talk to recruiters. They can have one on one conversations and if there's a match, you can even have a video interview right then in there.
We have 100 plus high-level speakers coming to engage and Daymond John from Shark Tank. He's also gonna have a keynote on success. You know how he controls the stage to inspire folks. We have comedy relief. Yes, there's a lot of business and a lot of seriousness, but we want to have fun too. We have comedy relief from DL Hughley as well as a virtual party.
What are some tips to get the most out of the conference?
Have your resume. Have that ready, take a good picture of yourself, so we can see your face. When you come on, you can fill in your profile. You can have your headshot, information about yourself and your area of expertise. Let the world know who you are, so that it's easier for sharing. Also, play around with the platform, go to as many talks as you can. Go to as many exhibits as you can get into and go on a chat and meet somebody. It's virtual, there's no need to be shy. Network with as many people as possible, share your LinkedIn profile and let everyone know what you are interested in and what you would like to learn. It's not like you have to be there for all two days. Look at the agenda and see what touches you and get engaged.
Check out the BFUTR event from October 28 -29.