This past month in Austin, Texas, the Black Employee Alliance ERG represented Rakuten at AFROTECH™ Conference. AFROTECH is the largest Black tech conference that brought together 20,000+ Black tech innovators during a series of digital and in-person events from November 13th through the 17th. The conference was filled with dynamic programming on emerging trends, networking opportunities with industry leaders, and conversations with the industry’s top tech recruiters.
The Black Employee Alliance ERG strives to help create an environment within Rakuten that actively attracts and champions Black employees; providing equitable opportunities for professional growth, emerging partnerships and integrating diverse perspectives at all levels of business and management. AFROTECH was an opportunity to expand this program throughout the industry.
AFROTECH attendees included Brooke Ray, VP of the Black Employee Alliance, Tamisa Covington, Community Outreach & Media Pillar Leader, and Ta’Rikah Jones, Recruitment & Retention Pillar Lead. We asked them what attending AFROTECH meant to them, and this is what they had to say:
The conference was nothing short of remarkable! Increasing our recruiting pool of diverse talent is one of the goals within the organization. We have several openings for software engineers, developers, analysts, and more, and I’m confident we will be able to fill some roles with talented individuals that attended AFROTECH.
There was no better way a company could show they are serious about justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion than to be proactive at AFROTECH to demonstrate we want you and we see you! There were large corporations hiring on the spot. Udemy gave away hair bonnets, Nordstrom gave out large bottles of hair products, and Indeed offered free headshots! We laughed, cried, danced, went to church, and fellowshipped without feeling judged.
From hearing speakers talk about diversity in the workplace to well-seasoned tech figures sharing their best-in-class tips for product strategies, AFROTECH 2022 embedded so many gems into my core memory. Networking with passionate and purpose-oriented individuals daily to bring awareness to Rakuten and our open roles was amazing. I left this conference feeling incredibly inspired and rejuvenated.
AFROTECH was an exciting time! Someone described the event as a “corporate homecoming” for Black professionals and I completely agree. It was refreshing to meet new people from all over the country and in different areas of the tech space. One of the most exciting things was running into old friends I hadn’t seen in years and making new friends to create new memories for years to come. Mostly, I was proud to speak about how Rakuten is #1 in Affiliate Marketing across the board and how it’s a great place to work and grow.
Thank you to Brooke, Tamisa, and Ta’Rikah for sharing their experiences at AFROTECH and to the Black Employee Alliance Officers, Pillar Leads, and Members.
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