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Thursday, October 10


The Lens Is Black: Creating Afro-centric Content Platforms
Hear the amazing stories of 3 Black Content Platform Founders and how they are utilizing technology to build their media platforms to positively represent Black women and men across film, news and animation. 

avatar for DeShuna Spencer

DeShuna Spencer

Founder & CEO, kweliTV, Inc.
DeShuna Spencer is the Founder/CEO of kweliTV, a video streaming network that curates undiscovered and award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series and children’s programming of the global black community. She’s the former radio host/producer of emPower Hour, a weekly... Read More →
avatar for Sherrell Dorsey

Sherrell Dorsey

Founder and CEO, ThePLUG
Data-driven strategist, journalist, and entrepreneur building smarter and more inclusive innovation communities.
avatar for Roye Okupe

Roye Okupe

CEO, YouNeek Studios
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is an author, speaker and entrepreneur whose passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him to pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Under that umbrella, Roye wrote, produced... Read More →


Building a Robust Marketing Team in the Service Industry
Effectively telling your story in an industry built on the delivery of B2B and B2C services requires a marketing team rooted in a strong understanding of relationships and client development. Transactional interactions between service providers and clients are simply not enough to develop, retain, and keep the business you seek. You must go beyond traditional marketing methods and think outside the box – knowing your clients and their business, meeting them in the spaces where they operate, and creating value beyond the service itself. This presentation will unpack the pillars and “seats on the bus” of an effective marketing team in the service industry and how to go from building your team to empowering them and creating a well-oiled service marketing machine.

avatar for Moses Ehlers

Moses Ehlers

Marketing and Communications Manager, Robins Kaplan LLP
Moses Ehlers is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Robins Kaplan LLP. His knowledge of the power of marketing is helping attorneys maximize their professional credibility and enabling the firm to define and achieve new brand goals. As a leader with years of experience in the... Read More →

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Robins Kaplan

Robins Kaplan
Robins Kaplan LLP is among the nation’s premier trial law firms, with more than 250 attorneys in eight major cities. Our attorneys litigate, mediate, and arbitrate client disputes, always at-the-ready for an ultimate courtroom battle. When huge forces are at play, major money is at stake, or rig... Read More →


Modern methodologies to build better products
Join us as we provide a brief overview with real-life examples of a handful of impactful modern methodologies in the marketplace that are improving the way we build new products and enhance existing ones. Tools covered include design sprints, pre-mortems, and customer feedback methods.

avatar for Dan Skaggs

Dan Skaggs

VP, Product Management, US Bank
Dan Skaggs is a Vice President, Group Product Manager within the Corporate Payment Systems division of U.S. Bank. Prior to joining U.S. Bank, he spent over a decade in Financial Services rebranding an entire consumer credit card portfolio, designing new mobile payment solutions, launching... Read More →

avatar for US Bank

US Bank

U.S. Bancorp, with 74,000 employees and $482 billion in assets as of June 30, 2019, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. Founded in 1863, the Minneapolis-based bank blends its relationship teams, branches and ATM network with... Read More →


Fueled Collective's Blacks in Tech Happy Hour
Blacks in Technology invites you to attend and network in one of the most historically stunning business spaces that Minneapolis has to offer. Blacks in Tech has partnered with Google for Startups and the Fueled Collective Coworking to host this dazzling event. Come enjoy yummy bites and open bar while listening to the tunes of DJ Icy Ice. Free Headshots provided by Google Pixel. Welcome and opening remarks by BIT Twin Cities Chapter Organizer and Google for Startups Alumn, Mike Jackson.

avatar for Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

Founder and CEO, True Colors Marketing Firm
Jessica Williams is a Speaker, Host and Marketing Professional; who proudly owns True Colors Marketing Firm in Los Angeles. She desires to help small businesses dynamically brand themselves and accomplish their marketing goals in an affordable way. Jessica graduated from the University... Read More →
avatar for Toquon tha MC

Toquon tha MC

Toquon Tha MC is known for being a Hype man, Host and an extremely talented rapper. “GOT LUV” was the first single he released independently in 2005 with he's group Soul Elevation. His album “Luv, Peace & Soul Elevation” created a buzz in the Hip Hop community promoting... Read More →

Michael Jackson

Founder, The Premium Experience
avatar for Simon Okiror

Simon Okiror

Founder, SupraBook
I created SupraBook with my brother, Jesse, who practiced commercial litigation for 6 years. Before SupraBook, I did marketing for companies including Target, FedEx, General Mills, and CBS. I'm a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and University of Denver alumn. When I’m not working... Read More →

Kyle Coolbroth

CEO, Fueled Collective

Friday, October 11


Day 3 Keynote & Plenary Session
As BITCON takes place during October we will commemorate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month with a special breakfast and keynote from the Chief Information Officer and Secretary of Innovation and Technology for the State of Illinois, Ron Guerrier. Blacks in Tech will also spotlight Nina Silva, recognized as one of Forbes most powerful 20 women in Brazil and founder of Movimento Black Money. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a yummy breakfast while gearing up for an intense and interactive day of sessions and competitions focusing on Cybersecurity, IT, AI, Machine Learning, & More! Join us as we set the tone for this amazing day to be held at Metropolitan State University. Early Arrival Suggested.

avatar for Nina Silva

Nina Silva

Founder, Movimento Black Money
Marina Silva (Nina Silva) was born in Jardim Catarina, considered for many years the largest flat slum in Latin America, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro. She reports that she always thought "out of the box" and that "The main goal was to stay alive, then go to college, get a trainee... Read More →
avatar for Ron Guerrier

Ron Guerrier

CIO & Secretary of Innovation & Technology, State of Illinois
Ron Guerrier serves as the State of Illinois Chief Information Officer and Secretary for the Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT). Illinois Governor JB Pritzker selected Guerrier to serve in these roles in March of 2019, based on his extensive background and leadership in... Read More →


Let Me Consul You (Workshop 2 Hrs)
We often hear the terms service discovery, service mesh, and observability and we are told that we need monitor this and monitor that but what do these terms mean and what exactly are we looking for?   In this talk we'll explore Consul, Hashicorps service network solution used to connect and secure services across any runtime platform and public/private talk.

Attendees will leave with an understanding of what Consul is what the benefits are. In this workshop I will explain the following:
1. What is Consul?
  • Basic understanding of Consul
  • Introduce the UI
  • Setup the monitoring agent
2. What can Consul provide you?
  • Monitoring
  • Load Balancing
  • Observability
  • Service Mesh
3. How Consul being used in different architectures?
  • What does Consul do for your VM’s
  • How does consul work in your cloud environment
  • What does it look like in your cluster?


Tameika Reed

Founder, Women In Linux
Tameika Reed founded Women In Linux out of frustration that there were no other women or women of color represented at the workplace or tech events. Tameika is a self-taught Linux administrator who has spent countless hours helping others get started in Linux. In conjunction with... Read More →


Metro State Recruiter Exhibition
Blacks in Technology has invited corporate employers to attend and share career and internship opportunities at their companies. Meet with recruiters and schedule onsite interviews. Resumes and business cards are encouraged. Event will be held in New Main Great Hall at Metropolitan State


Nail the DevOps Interview
This presentation tells job seekers exactly what they need to know to become a viable candidate for DevOps roles. The focus is on three points: Developing the skills needed for a DevOps role; Answering interview questions effectively; and describing solutions to questions using a whiteboard. The course will prepare DevOps interview candidates to answer interview questions accurately and concisely.

The learner should be familiar with at least one major operating system like Linux, Windows, or MacOS. They should have some experience with automation and know why it’s important for system administrators. They should be familiar with some aspects of software development, web services, or mobile applications.

avatar for Michael Jenkins

Michael Jenkins

Sr Systems Reliability Engineer, The Walt Disney Company
I'm the Executive Editor for Blacks In Technology. I'm also a Systems Reliability Engineer at The Walt Disney Company, an author at LinkedIn Learning, and a proud husband, father, and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Machine Learning Fundamentals
As Machine Learning is one of the Building Block applications of artificial intelligence (AI), this session will introduce the basics of machine learning theory, laying down the common concepts and techniques involved. This session is intended for people starting with machine learning, making it easy to follow the core concepts and get comfortable with machine learning basics.

avatar for Ekaba Bisong

Ekaba Bisong

Data Science Lead, T4G
Ekaba is a Data Science Lead at T4G. Also, he is a member of the Intelligent Systems Labs at Carleton University with a research focus on Learning Systems (encompassing learning automata and reinforcement learning), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. Ekaba is a Google Developer... Read More →


Capture the Flag: A Cybersecurity Competition - Powered by McAfee
To commemorate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, BITCON will host a cybersecurity Capture the Flag (CTF) competition powered by McAfee. During CTF, participants will have the opportunity to challenge their technical skills and knowledge of how to defend against cybersecurity threats.  This competition is a great learning tool for everyone that is interested in cyber security and it can help sharpen the tools they have learned during their training. 
  • Online registration platform will be accessible by a link at event for attendees that will participate.
  • 45-60 minutes for the problems.
  • Each question is worth 10 points, the hints cost 2 points (-2), and there is a bonus worth 40 points. The first team that gets the bonus will receive 40 pts, second team gets 30, thirds team get 20 and so on.
Team with the highest points will receive cash prize  of $1000!!!

Questions are easy enough for non-technical people to participate in. A few technical concepts are included, but easy to figure out.

avatar for McAfee


From device to cloud, McAfee provides market-leading cybersecurity solutions for both business and consumers. McAfee helps businesses orchestrate cyber environments that are truly integrated, where protection, detection, and correction of security threats happen simultaneously and... Read More →




3 Things You NEED to Know about Microservices
Microservices has become one of the trendiest topics over the years. It is not a new concept, so why all of the sudden hype? Is it legit? Should you move all of your projects to microservices? Prepare for an eye-opener as we cover the top three things every developer should know BEFORE diving in!

Occasionally in tech, we hear the buzzword “microservices” followed by feel-good stories from organizations about how they abandoned their monolithic code and moved all of their applications to microservices. These stories make us feel warm inside and might prompt the question, “Could my org do that too?” or “Should my org even do that?”. Developer beware, don’t fall for the hype!

Truth is, the microservices pattern is not a one-size-fits-all solution and can be disastrous for development teams when misused. After this talk, you will know: - What microservices are. - How to determine if microservices makes sense for your project. - The pitfalls of using microservices.

avatar for Darius Davis

Darius Davis

Lead Software Engineer, DialogTech
Darius is a highly focused leader in software development, an advocate for diversity in tech, and someone who really loves his work. He specializes in architecting scalable systems and solving hard problems. As a person who thrives on learning new things, he is always experimenting... Read More →

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DialogTech provides the leading AI-driven conversation intelligence platform for marketers at businesses that value inbound phone calls. When consumers call, DialogTech turns those conversations into actionable insights businesses use to improve marketing ROI, increase sales conversions... Read More →


The Legal Risks and Implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Almost every business is exploring how artificial intelligence and machine learning (“AI/ML”) systems can reduce operational costs, increase efficiency, grow revenue, and improve customers’ experiences. However, the implementation and application of AI/ML technology is drastically different than traditional software and systems. It inputs and applies magnitudes more data. It applies algorithms in unforeseen ways, and outputs expressive content, even without human involvement. This creates new, sometimes unknown, legal risks that must be addressed in any intellectual property (IP) legal strategy. Experienced IP attorney Kevin Pasquinelli, well-versed in both the legal and technology industries, and associate attorney François Ecclesiaste of the national law firm of Robins Kaplan LLP address solutions unique to these AI-related issues.

avatar for Kevin M. Pasquinelli

Kevin M. Pasquinelli

Counsel, Robins Kaplan LLP
Kevin M. Pasquinelli, is an intellectual property attorney at Robins Kaplan, LLP with more than 20 years of experience working in the technology industry, before becoming an attorney. His professional background incorporates a wide range of technologies and products, including digital... Read More →
avatar for François O. Ecclesiaste

François O. Ecclesiaste

Associate, Robins Kaplan
François Ecclesiaste is an associate in the Intellectual Property and Technology Litigation group at Robins Kaplan LLP. He has experience in litigating and advising clients in a number of complex and high-stakes matters, including patent, trademark, and copyright infringement, as... Read More →


#BlackGirlMagic: Women in Tech
A panel of women will share their stories as tech employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs

avatar for Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

Snr Director of Experience Research & Accessibility, Express Scripts
I lead a team of psychologists, usability specialists, data scientists, accessibility experts, analytics engineers, and customer experience professionals at a Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Express Scripts.
avatar for Brianna McCullough

Brianna McCullough

Engineer, Target
Brianna McCullough is the authoritative force conquering dynamic duality as a engineer and founder of the lifestyle empowerment brand, Bri Limitless. In her daily mission to diversify the tech industry, the innovation leader and Detroit, Michigan native, resiliently shares her voice... Read More →
avatar for Meghann Oglesby

Meghann Oglesby

Producer, American Public Media
Meghann D. Oglesby is a producer on Performance Today. In her role on PT, Meghann gets to utilize technology to shed light on diverse artistic voices and she creates content that touches lives every day. Meghann chooses the music broadcast on the show, she writes web articles and... Read More →
avatar for Asia Rawls

Asia Rawls

Director of Technology Education and Training
Asia Rawls has currently been managing and directing the technology and delivery team at Trumble Inc. In this position Asia was able to instruct engineers and production line members outlining the internet of things, real-time data and team collaboration. Working with various OEM’s... Read More →


MN Cyber Range
The complexity of systems and proliferation of networked devices demand that organizations must empower everyone, at all levels, to be security savvy and to actively participate in securing the organizations. On the other hand, skills like team dynamics, situational awareness, and adaptive leadership are crucial in sustaining secure operations. But these skills cannot be developed by pure classroom didactics.The team needs to “train as they fight” in order to build proficiency by having lived the experiences and developed the right thought process to deal with the situations they confront.

This presentation explores the advanced capabilities of the MN Cyber Range that provides an immersive, safe, real-life military-grade environment, where the trainees can dispel disbelief and make decisions to understand the consequences of their actions. The presentation will also discuss the training process and the methodology that the MN Cyber has adapted to provide trainees with relevant practice-based approach on training objectives, with associated performance assessment and feedback. The effective use of advanced training ensures proficiency that is required to combat evolving threats​

avatar for Faisal Kaleem

Faisal Kaleem

Executive Director, MN Cyber
Faisal Kaleem received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL. Since 1998 he has served as an educator in different institutions. Currently, he is serving as a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity... Read More →


Let's Hit The Block: The Need for Diversity And Active Inclusion In The Blockchain Ecosystem
In this talk Semirah will share with the audience her insight on applications as it relates in their various industries as well as opportunity and need for diversity and active inclusion in the blockchain ecosystem. A diversity of perspectives will be necessary to create effective and sustainable solutions. Encouraging and engaging the minority community with her experience of the potential blockchain presents in (topics): industry, application, social/ economic reform, and/or settings standards in diversity and inclusion

avatar for Semirah Dolan

Semirah Dolan

System Engineer, Dell Technologies
Semirah Dolan has a background in both mechanical engineering and computer science. She has worked in IT, manufacturing, ecommerce, healthcare devices, aerospace, and entertainment. With a versatile background she has a full 360 degree spectrum view of the tech world. Semirah has... Read More →


Success and Self Care: Managing Mental Health Through the Journey of Entrepreneurship - Library 306
Starting a business can be stressful. You’re creating something which takes a lot of time, dedication, and energy. How do you maintain your responsibilities while devoting most of your time and resources to your business? Starting a business isn’t something you necessarily have to do. How do you consistently find the motivation to persevere and press onward after encountering delays and setbacks? This talk will focus specifically on the typical stressors of starting a business while identifying healthy ways to work through adversity to make your business successful. Audience participation is encouraged.

avatar for Michael Gilliard II - LPC, NCC

Michael Gilliard II - LPC, NCC

Therapist, Coach, and Consultant, Embodied Labs/Ujima Counseling, Consulting and Coaching LLC
I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Nationally Certified Counselor. I've been interested in VR and AR content for a few years. I currently provide subject matter expertise and do contract work for a VR software company. I'm working towards developing my own content... Read More →

Friday October 11, 2019 1:45pm - 2:45pm
Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Campus


Identity and Immersive Tech in Education
Immersive experiences are making their way into learning culture and the education space. Early conversations with educators revealed that “Students are more visually literate than before and we [ Educators ] have to up our game to be able to engage them.” As a former ESL teacher I found myself wondering how AR/VR can bring value, not just novelty, to the physical classroom space. Could MR experiences be used to incorporate visual storytelling or even eventually explore intersectional identities? And ultimately what does this mean for how we teach a diverse population in an increasingly culturally interwoven world? This talk investigates the role of AR/VR to enhance the education experience. I will cover how the team worked together in a 6 week cycle to do research and create content and how we built a useful, engaging experience for both teachers and learners.

avatar for Matsoshi Matsafu

Matsoshi Matsafu

UX Designer, Nerdery
avatar for Stuart Burden

Stuart Burden

Senior Team Manager | Senior Software Engineer, Nerdery
avatar for Hilary Dixon

Hilary Dixon

Experience Researcher, Nerdery
Hilary Dixon is a UX designer at The Nerdery in Minneapolis, MN, where she probably spends too much time thinking about robots. She became interested in the cultural impact of emerging technologies while studying anthropology and cognitive science at Beloit College. As an experience... Read More →

Alex Hofer

Senior Software Engineer, Nerdery

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The Nerdery is a digital business consultancy specializing in strategy, innovation, experience design and software engineering. By focusing on clients’ business outcomes, The Nerdery delivers impactful digital experiences and infrastructures through consulting services that accelerate... Read More →


Azure Dev Ops+ VS Code + Teams = Perfect Match
For anyone getting started with or already working with Azure managing your cloud environments through Infrastructure as Code (IaC) with ARM Templates at some point is guaranteed.

There are many extensions available to optimize VS Code for an enhanced ARM Template authoring experience. Discover how to integrate your Azure DevOps CI/CD pipeline with Teams for enhanced collaboration across your DevOps team. Get updates directly in a Teams channel for commits, pull requests, and learn how to work with an Azure DevOps Kanban board directly from Teams.

Come to this session and see why Azure DevOps + VS Code + Teams = Perfect Match.

avatar for Steve Buchanan

Steve Buchanan

Microsoft MVP, Group Manager - Cloud Transformation/DevOps, Avanade/Accenture
Steve Buchanan is a Group Manager – Cloud Transformation/DevOps with Avanade/Accenture, an 8-time Microsoft MVP, and author of 6 technical books focused on cloud and data center management. In his 19+ years as an IT professional, Steve has held positions ranging from infrastructure... Read More →


Building Machine Learning Products with TensorFlow 2.0
avatar for Ekaba Bisong

Ekaba Bisong

Data Science Lead, T4G
Ekaba is a Data Science Lead at T4G. Also, he is a member of the Intelligent Systems Labs at Carleton University with a research focus on Learning Systems (encompassing learning automata and reinforcement learning), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. Ekaba is a Google Developer... Read More →


A Game Plan For Success in Data Analytics
 Data analytics is the hotness in the world of technology. Companies and organizations depend on being able to ingest data from a number of sources and gain business value from that data. You may ask yourself, how can I get in on the new hotness? I want to show you how to forge a successful career path in Data Analytics.

The audience will leave knowing all about the burgeoning field of Data analytics, data science, ai, e.t.c. And more importantly, they would leave inspired and equipped with a solid game plan they can follow to get in and make a career in data analytics.

avatar for Fru Louis

Fru Louis

Founder | Architect | Author
Fru Louis is a Technology Enthusiast with a keen eye on the future. His interests intersect across the following domains/specialties: Enterprise Architecture, Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning, Advanced Data Analytics, Integration Architecture, SOA, TOGAF, Data Mining, Consultancy... Read More →


How Automation Is Opening Up New Opportunities for Jobs and Career Advancement
Automation is increasingly a key part of almost any career path you can think of today. This growth is fueled by the imperative and urgent need for organizations to digitally transform and innovate. Automation can have a positive impact on both businesses and employees. The field has multiple opportunities that extend in multiple roles and it is a mistake not to embrace it. Learn how you can start leveraging automation to get new opportunities for jobs and career advancements.

avatar for Yannick Miaffo

Yannick Miaffo

Director, Automation Engineering, Entrust Datacard
Yannick leads the digital transformation for the Operations functions at Entrust Datacard. He joined the company in 2008 and has since held multiple roles within the organization. He is mainly responsible for leading operations technology roadmaps for digital manufacturing, digital... Read More →


Scaling workloads and businesses with Kubernetes
This talk will be about using Kubernetes to help scale application workloads from different business market perspectives and what that process looks like. This talk also identifies how different size businesses have different needs in workload platforms and what to pay attention to for reliability.

You as an attendee will get a good sense of how to help companies identify what sorts of processes they need in regards to their software platform is one of those concerns. We will delve into what scaling that platform looks like with common patterns for startups to large corporations look like to make reliable business applications.

There is a lot in the Kubernetes ecosystem to help companies of many different sizes fill common patterns. Attendees will walk away from this talk with a good understanding of what a Kubernetes platform looks like for a:
Start Up
  • Kubernetes platform and choosing the right place to start
  • Neccesary applications for reliability of the cluster and application
  • Compliance
  • Applications for increasing productivity in small organizations
Midsize Company
  • Kubernetes platform choices at a larger scale
  • Possibly reusing existing infrastructure
  • Compliance
  • Necessary applications for reliability of the cluster and application
  • Applications for increasing productivity in small organizations
Large Companies
  • Kubernetes platform choices at a larger scale
  • Reusing existing infrastructure
  • Regulatory concerns and ideas
  • Necessary applications for reliability of the cluster and application
  • Applications for increasing productivity in small organizations

avatar for Ralph Bankston

Ralph Bankston

Customer Reliability Engineer, VMware
Focused on Customer Reliability Engineering, Kubernetes, Modern Application practices


AI & The Black Experience
Rapidly advancing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and algorithmic decision-making have proven to be a force for good.  These technologies can also amplify forms of inequality, discrimination, and bias.  Race and ethnicity are critical factors impacting and impacted by new and emerging technologies.
We will highlight AI challenges and opportunities in Facial Recognition Technology, Predictive Analytics, Bail Algorithms and Smart Devices.  Together we can help revise the understanding of Ethical Tech Design, and address racial and social inequalities to improve AI & The Black Experience.
All professional and technical experience levels will benefit from this session.

avatar for Elizabeth M. Adams

Elizabeth M. Adams

Ethical Tech Design, Thomson Reuters
Bio: Elizabeth has enjoyed a successful career leading large technology teams and programs at Sprint/Nextel, Fannie Mae, Delta Global Services, the Department of Defense and various Intelligence Agencies. Currently, she works at Thomson Reuters in technology integration at the intersection... Read More →


Meda Million Dollar Challenge After Party
Meda provides business consulting, access to capital, and market opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Meda also operates a business development center under cooperative agreement with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center connects Minnesota Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with business opportunities. In 2016, Meda served 676 customers through our combined service offerings and helped minority businesses secure $165 million in contracts. Join Meda as they celebrate and highlight entrepreneurs and founders that have participated in the Million Meda Dollar Challenge Pitch Competition.

This a free event that requires external registration. Please click on the link below to register.


avatar for Sam Ndely

Sam Ndely

Business Consultant, Meda
I am passionate about Entrepreneurship, Technology, and creating spaces where People of Color can strive in both! Let's connect!

Saturday, October 12


Basketball Hack Day
Basketball Hack Day @ BITCON is a one-day coding competition, also known as a hackathon or code fest, where basketball fans and tech enthusiasts come together and create simple basketball related apps, tools, sites, data visualizations, devices, and prototypes. The goal of the day is to bring creative tech minds into one room, and see what they can produce within a limited time.
As an offshoot from our partners at Baseball Hack Day, Basketball Hack Day will debut on Saturday October 12th at the 2019 Annual Blacks in Tech Conference, aslo referred to as BITCON. Taking place on Day 4 at the St. Paul Rivercentre in St. Paul, Minnesota. This event is based on the principal of the original the Hack Day Manifesto and will always be free to attend, thanks to our generous sponsors.

New to Hackdays? Have no fear!!!

There’ll be people of all skill levels and skill sets participating. Teams can be comprised of Basketball fans, high school and college students, front end- back end-full stack engineers, open source aficionados, hardware engineers, UI/UX designers, VR/AR gurus, Videographers, business minds, promoters, data analysts, Test Users, project managers, copywriters, marketing heads and pitch presenters. Come with your laptops, ideas, and open minds.

8:00 am – Team Registration and Sign Up, Networking and Breakfast
9:30am – Host Welcome
10:00am – Hackathon Begins
12:30pm – Lunch
1:30pm – Hackathon Continues
4:00pm – Hackathon End
4:30pm – Hackathon Demo & Pitch Competition
5:30 pm – Winners Announced
6:00pm – Event Concludes

avatar for Jayton Harps

Jayton Harps

N/A, Zero To Necessary
Jayton Harps currently works for Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) in Rancho Bernardo as a Software Integration Engineer II. In his role, he serves as a developer and innovator to assist quality of service performance to meet multiple Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles Concepts of Operations... Read More →



Community Tech Fest & Career Fair
Blacks in Technology will closeout BITCON2019 with a bang at our Community Tech Fest & Career Fair to be held at the St. Paul Rivercentre Saturday, October 12th from 10:00am - 4pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with recruiters from great companies such as Best Buy, McAfee, Travelers Insurance, Cigna, Nerdery, Elastic, Granicus, and more! Be sure to bring your resume as recruiters are looking to interview onsite!

Additionally, attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from some of the brightest minds in tech with cool, innovative, and career development workshops, demos, and panels for opportunity youth (16-24), early career and mid professionals, parents and anyone interested in learning about tech!

Event highlights include
- Your Career in Tech Panel
- Basketball Hack Day- A One Day Coding Competition where Tech & Sports Collide
- Gaming & Esports Lounge powered by Microsoft
- Twin Cities State of the Black Tech Ecosystem powered by Black Tech Mecca

This is a free event! Please visit bitcon.tech/tickets and use promocode: community2019

avatar for Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

Founder and CEO, True Colors Marketing Firm
Jessica Williams is a Speaker, Host and Marketing Professional; who proudly owns True Colors Marketing Firm in Los Angeles. She desires to help small businesses dynamically brand themselves and accomplish their marketing goals in an affordable way. Jessica graduated from the University... Read More →
avatar for Toquon tha MC

Toquon tha MC

Toquon Tha MC is known for being a Hype man, Host and an extremely talented rapper. “GOT LUV” was the first single he released independently in 2005 with he's group Soul Elevation. His album “Luv, Peace & Soul Elevation” created a buzz in the Hip Hop community promoting... Read More →


Your Career in Tech Panel
avatar for Jayton Harps

Jayton Harps

N/A, Zero To Necessary
Jayton Harps currently works for Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) in Rancho Bernardo as a Software Integration Engineer II. In his role, he serves as a developer and innovator to assist quality of service performance to meet multiple Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles Concepts of Operations... Read More →
avatar for Kristol Johnson

Kristol Johnson

Enterprise Sales, McAfee
Kristol Johnson began her career at McAfee over sixteen years ago within the operations department.  Early on in her career, Kristol decided that she wouldn’t stop challenging herself to be a better employee by learning as much as she could about each facet of the business with... Read More →
avatar for Jakeh Clark

Jakeh Clark

Associate Digital Engineer, Best Buy
I love solving difficult problems and working with passionate people. I believe that all of our most challenging problems are solved by working together towards a common good.I value emotional intelligence, human energy, and integrity. I consider myself a thought-leader.My interests... Read More →
avatar for Shanti Sury

Shanti Sury

Sr. Director, Application Development, Travelers
Shanti Sury is an accomplished leader with over 20 years of experience in technology.  She is a Sr Director of IT at Travelers where she leads a multi-year application modernization effort for an Investments system.  This is a key strategic initiative where she leads transformational... Read More →


Lunch (On Your Own Downstairs Cafeteria)
Grab lunch downstairs in the cafeteria and come back to enjoy the rest of BITCon2019!

Saturday October 12, 2019 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Saint Paul RiverCentre 175 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102, USA


Dominating The Job Search And Interview Process
This talk will cover 2 key areas, the job search itself and the interview process. We will talk about applications, working with recruiters and playing the numbers game when conducting your job search. I will give some ideas on how you can better organize your search to yield better success.

In discussing the interview process, we will cover:
  • Interview format
  • Presenting yourself/content
  • Goal setting for interacting with potential employers. 
  • Compensation - Of course no conversation about the interview process would be complete without discussing compensation. Compensation is complex because every company and every candidate are different. That said, there are still some basic principles to keep in mind, that can help you be more successful in this portion of the conversation.

avatar for Ken Hicks

Ken Hicks

Founder, Broadwing
I am a motivated technical recruiter and I partner with extremely talented individuals to help build teams that are capable of shaking up industries. Technology interests me, people interest me more.Honor, Courage, Commitment.Innovate, Implement, Repeat


Creating Music using Python
Have you ever thought about converting code into music and making some really awesome beats? You can do that with jythonMusic! jythonMusic uses Python but it has functionalities like Java. You can create all types of musical genres with this technology and I can show you how to do it through a demo.

In this talk attendees will learn about Jython, an open source implementation of the Python programming language, integrated with the Java platform for music making and creative programming activities .

Attendees will leave this talk with an understanding of Jython libraries for:
  • music making
  • image manipulation
  • building graphical user interfaces (GUIs),
  • connecting to external MIDI and OSC devices
  • music transcription and playback
  • audio looping, computer-aided music composition
  • development of computer-based musical instruments (including hybrid instruments)
  • live performance. 
  • Live demo where I will turn my computer into a musical instrument to play music made by Beethoven, Deep Purple, Tupac Shakur, Mozart, and Deep Purple.

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Herve Aniglo

Herve Viho Aniglo was born in the capital and coastal city, Lome, Togo. Togo is a small country in West Africa located between Ghana and Benin and below Burkina-Faso. He and his family are part of the Togolese ethnic group, Ewe. At a young age, Herve and his family moved to the United... Read More →

Saturday October 12, 2019 12:30pm - 1:30pm
St. Paul Rivercentre - Meeting 4 175 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102


Twin Cities State of the Black Tech Ecosystem
If you are interested in learning more about what is happening in the local Twin Cities Black Tech Ecosystem and how you can get involved then this is the event for you.

The Twin Cities State of the Black Tech Ecosystem event powered by Black Tech Mecca provides an in-depth look into the health of the Twin Cities Black Tech Ecosystem through curated data-driven conversations with dynamic local leaders pursuing racial equity in the tech and innovation ecosystem.

The event will feature dedicated programming spanning  K-12, Higher Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. The conversations will be informed and anchored by a specialized data pull on the local state of affairs across from indicators and metrics belonging to BTM’s proprietary Smart Black Tech Ecosystem framework. 


avatar for Fabian Elliott

Fabian Elliott

President & CEO, Black Tech Mecca
Fabian Elliott is the President & CEO of Black Tech Mecca, a data driven think tank that helps cities assess racial equity in the local tech sector and accelerate measurable growth through research, education, and advocacy. BTM has developed a Smart BTE City Assessment Framework... Read More →

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Black Tech Mecca

Black Tech Mecca
Black Tech Mecca is a Chicago based data driven think tank that helps cities assess racial equity in the local tech sector and accelerate measurable growth through research, education, and advocacy.


Fostering Innovation within Youth: A Parents Guide
Young people are regular consumers of technology but how can you outline a vision to make them drivers of the innovation that is being consumed? In this talk Shantell Thomas shares her path to inspiring her sons to become a software developer, an apple genius and a YouTuber.

Shantell will outline how she did it and how other parents can too through practical tips like:
  • Using Google to search for more than the Kardashians’ latest makeup tips
  • How to use suggestive and challenging language to inspire innovation 
  • Using sporting events as a tool to teach technology
Let’s build drivers of technology for our community - together!

avatar for Shantell Thomas

Shantell Thomas

Partner Marketing Manager, Lenovo
She never met a stranger! You'll agree when meeting her, she instantaneously connects to your sense of humanity. She fervently believes that the tapestry of our lives has interwoven pieces. This innate character is measurably responsible for her success in the field of technology... Read More →


Onboarding Junior Engineers at Remote Companies
Working remotely can be seen as difficult, and onboarding engineers starting their careers doubly so. Drawing from my experience working at Elastic, an all-remote company which is behind Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash, we will discuss the process of onboarding junior engineers in the context of remote companies, and tips for everyone to succeed while working in a distributed model.

● How I got into a technical role with an “alternative” education ( bootcamp ).
● How Elastic started to be distributed by design.
● What our shared values are and what we have learned as we progressed and grew to our current size.
● What the day of a remote worker can look like.
● What we are using in terms of tooling.
● How we hire and onboard new employees.

avatar for Dejon Gill

Dejon Gill

Software Engineer, Elastic


Using Technology as a Tool for Culturally Responsive Engagement for Youth
This session will explore Digital Kinship instructional strategies into engage diverse youth in the technology arena in authentic relevant ways that will create a pathway for 21st Century Technology skills.

  • How can technology and digital applications be used to close the so called “Achievement Gap” in education? 
  • What opportunities exist for finding new and innovative ways to be more culturally responsive to students of color? 
  • How do we help educators, community leaders and policy makers understand the technology and access through and equity lens?
Attend this session to explore the answers to these questions. The participants will discuss how to leverage technology in advocating equity, diversity, and inclusion in education

avatar for Dr. Lanise Block

Dr. Lanise Block

Founder, CEO, Sankore Consulting


Game Development 101 : How to get your game out to the world
Video games are all over the place and video game technology is a driving force in numerous areas of technology including Virtual Reality and Blockchain technology. We have seen how Fortnite has dominated and really interacted with younger generations in a way that more traditional media such as film and television hasn’t . The field of game development is becoming cheaper to get involved in but there is also a lot to navigate as someone plans and creates a game development that they can actually ship and get successful from .
In this talk I will take my years of game development experience and boil them down to some core elements and takeaways that attendees can explore and get to know on their own.

In this session we will cover critical aspects to the development of a game such as the tools needed, the roles needed , core concepts for each team member to embrace and understand , the development cycle, and moe.

Attendees will walk away with a skeletal overview of how you get your game from an idea in your mind to getting it something that the masses can play . This is something that can be applicable for both those who decide to become independent game developers to those interested in working at a studio professionally.

Concepts to be covered
  • Brainstorming and Creating your concept and writing it down in GDD 
  • Determining your visual style and beginning to concept out how your game looks 
  • Beginning development 
  • Setting up milestones 
  • Core features, and iterating your game over time 
  • Testing and polishing this is what differentiates good games from great games how to spend the time to make our game great 
  • Publishing buying your developer certificate, updating your store imagery , determining which platforms you will release on 
  • Getting familiar with developer consoles , and more .

avatar for Jonathan Jennings

Jonathan Jennings

Software Engineer, RelayCars
Hello everyone my name is Jonathan Jennings and I am a software engineer who's worked in the Digital Entertainment ( specifically Videogames, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality) for over the past 8 years . I love Videogames and all the new exciting emerging tech out there ,it's... Read More →