The #TechRecap

September | 2017

Hot off the press! Here is your monthly dose of the ImBlackinTech #TechRecap, your one stop shop for the latest on all things involving Tech, Entrepreneurship, and Community Outreach in the Midwest and beyond! Thank you all for your continued support!

Click HERE to answer a 1 question microsurvey and give us your thoughts on what you loved and what you would’ve liked to see different about September’s #TechRecap, and what you’d like to see us add/include in our October edition.

Techies, Founders and Orgs to Follow (Instagram)


An innovation consulting firm helping companies create, validate and launch new ideas, digital products and services |


Brian Brackeen founded Kairos in 2012, and serves as the company’s CEO. His leadership saw Kairos selected by Wall Street Journal as one of 2013’s top 25 startups in the country


Founder of Black Box Creative. Digital Marketing Expert. Community Builder Youth advocate & speaker


Chicago Black Women In Tech (CBWIT) An Organization Empowering Black Women In Chicago’s Tech Industry


CodeNow is a non-profit teaching high school students how to solve meaningful problems through coding. Their programs introduce web design, coding, and how to come up with your own app ideas


Founder of the Moon Rose Agency, a soul-based design agency that takes an inside out approach to marketing, identity and business building


A Technology Advocacy Organization, Think Tank, & Mentoring Program headquartered in Grand Rapids Michigan


Black Girls Code receives $255,000 from General Motors to launch in Detroit Could Chicago be Amazon’s second headquarters?

On the heels of turning down $125,000 from Uber and then quickly raising over $150,000 through crowdfunding, Black Girls Code has announced a partnership with General Motors, which includes a $255,000 donation. Read more…

Could Chicago Be Amazon’s Second Headquarters?

Amazon put North America’s major cities into competition for its second headquarters Thursday with the surprise announcement that the retail giant was taking offers for a second home. Read more…

State’s Top Techie is Leaving for Amazon

Hardik Bhatt, the state’s chief information officer for the past two years, is going back to the private sector, taking a job at Amazon. Read more…

Black Founders From 7 U.S. Cities Head to Durham for Access to Funders & Mentors

American Underground announces 10 companies to participate in its second Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders, coming October 8-13 to Durham. Read more…

Starbucks Names Rosalind Brewer Group President and Chief Operating Officer

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced the appointment of Rosalind Brewer as group president and chief operating officer, effective Oct. 2. Read more…

These Entrepreneurs Are Done Waiting For Silicon Valley To Close The Racial Wealth Gap

With Silicon Valley embroiled in the culture wars, some are looking beyond it for new–and faster–means of narrowing the racial wealth disparity. Read more…

How OnceLogix Found A Niche In Online Mental-Health Records Software

When Trinity Manning, Roderick Brown and Ty McLaughlin founded OnceLogix, an electronic health-records system used by mental-health providers, a dozen years ago, the idea of doing such record-keeping online by subscription was anathema. Read more…

‘Disruptive Moments Will Win’: Thompson, Horowitz Share Insights at Chicago Venture Summit 2017

The second day of the Chicago Venture Summit featured big names in Chicago and national tech, including Don Thompson, the former CEO of McDonald’s and the founder of startup incubator Cleveland Avenue, and Ben Horowitz, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in Silicon Valley. Read more…


Future City Middle School Engineering Competition

Youth Scholarships & Opportunities

Future City is an engaging engineering competition for middle school students (grades 6, 7, 8). It’s one of the more affordable STEM team competitions around and has a low barrier to entry. This year’s Future City  competition encourages students to solve the challenges related to an aging urban population. Team members will design a city that enables seniors to remain active, independent, and engaged while taking into account what it means to keep things safe and accessible for a senior population.

15th Annual College Scholarship Fair

The 15th Annual College Scholarship Fair will take place Saturday, October 7th, 2017 at the University of Illinois – Pavilion from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Find out more here!

Since 2003, the 100BMC has hosted an annual College Scholarship Fair with up to 200 Colleges and Universities interacting with nearly 5000 students, parents and educational partners.

Build a Website in a Day – A Coding & Web Development Boot Camp

This is an exciting introduction to Programming and Software Development. In this course, your kids will experience all the possibilities HTML, CSS, and Javascript programming has to offer. Your kids will be introduced to development through real code. Register here!



You know what time it is! Confessions of a Panel-holic! Here is an inside look on some great panel discussions I had the pleasure of attending this past month! If you missed these don’t worry! I’ve recapped them for your convenience! 🙂

Reality Revolution: The Future of Tech and Entertainment

This panel started off pretty deep! How will our reality shift? Is technology shifting our everyday reality? How will the immersive human-to-machine interface evolve? These are just a few questions from a pointed discussion surrounding the future of technology and entertainment last week. Out of all the panels I’ve attended this one certainly had a very different tone. Some discussions leave you feeling super charged and motivated, others offer more of a supportive environment but this one left you staring off into space wondering what the future might hold 5 to 50 years from now. Luckily for us,  Elina Vanyukhina of ChiVR, Nitya Noronha of Isobar, Keisha Howard of  Sugar Gamers and Sarah Sexton of Voxelles were ready to discuss the future of our reality.

According to these ladies, we can expect to see the emergence of sophisticated artificial intelligence, computers will soon be programmed to empathize with human emotions. Is this the true nature of empathy? Self driving cars and planes will become more emergent; how soon will your everyday consumer have access to technology like this? 3D printers will soon be a household item, we may be able to print almost everything on demand with no need of driving to a store.

The panelists also offered ways to stay in tune with ever-changing technological innovations!

Here are a few:

  1. Self Study, Self Study, Self Study!
  2. Hone your skills and personal brand
  3. Be open to new things, evolve with or ahead of technology  
  4. Don’t forget to stalk Reddit for the latest trends that may be secretly gaining momentum in the shadows!

What do you think is next? Tell us here!

FWD Collective Summit Chicago ‘17

True to its name FWD Collective, For Women and Diversity, was a sight to see and a joy to experience in person. This year’s summit showcased Chicago’s most diverse and emerging leaders, entrepreneurs and business professionals all in one location for one purpose, diversity and inclusion.  I’m not ashamed to say I came down with a major case of the  “warm and fuzzies”, the energy in the room was filled with purpose, receptiveness and determination to create change.

Attendees were treated to a day full of workshops and highly interactive conversations around breaking barriers and clearing hurdles in every industry.  The midday award ceremony honored Chicago’s movemakers, community leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals, all from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities. Topics ranged from the power of influence to the impact of technology or lack there of in the 2016 presidential election.

One of the major highlights was a powerful presentation from our Founder of ImBlackInTech, Thomas K.R. Stovall. This wasn’t just your ordinary presentation, this segment was an inspirational and literal call to action. All of the attendees we asked to abandon their chairs and form groups to brainstorm actual solutions to combat diversity issues. At the end of the interactive exercise, Thomas asked each attendee in the room one simple question, “What are you going to do tomorrow to bring actionable and measurable impact right here in Chicago?”. We pose this same question to our members and readers, tell us on Twitter!


ABI.Chicago is currently seeking additional Community Leaders and Planning Committee Members to expand its core team. If you are interested in learning more about the Anita Borg Institute, the chapter, responsibilities, time commitment, etc., schedule a call with La’Shon Anthony at To learn more about ABI, go to Additional information is available at

Do you have information about breaking news, relevant upcoming events, youth and volunteer opportunities, or a nomination for a techie we should know about and feature in the #TechRecap? Looking for a developer, designer or co-founder?

Help us highlight the people, news, initiatives and upcoming events that make Chicago’s tech ecosystem tick, and get connected to the help that you need to grow your startup.

Jamila Parham, “The Tech Unicorn”

Jamila Parham traded her dolls for game controllers and she instantly fell in love with technology. She went on to study Computer Graphics and Technology at DePaul University. Affectionately known as The Tech Unicorn, Jamila is an IT Leader, speaker, and a champion for diversity and inclusion. She advocates on behalf of under-represented communities in order to address the lack of diversity in STEM. Jamila is excited to join the ImBlackInTech team as the voice behind the #TechRecap.

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