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Black Tech Night: Building Community and Advancing Equity in Seattle’s Technology Hub

The Seattle Office of Economic Development in partnership with F5, Zillow, Google, and the Downtown Seattle Association, hosted the second Black Tech Night on April 13, 2023 in downtown at Inside, a recent graduate of the Seattle Restored program. The Black Tech Night series was created through Mayor Harrell’s One Seattle Civic Partnership to bring together the local Black tech community and allies to connect, learn, and celebrate successes.  

“Black Tech Night for me was a place to connect with like-minded people who look like myself, but I got more than that out of the night,” said attendee Olivier Beya, Software Engineer at Microsoft. “Being in a space with a variety of folks at different stages of their career — ranging from CEOs and Senior VPs, to fresh out of college individuals — was the best part. I gained different perspectives while networking. I was able to receive advice from folks that I aspire to be like, as well as share my perspective and advise those early in their career.”    

A crowd of people stand listening to the panel discussion.

The event featured a panel discussion, “Being Black in Tech: Journey to Senior Leadership,” with Black senior leaders in the local tech industry including: Dyana Langley-Robinson, VP of Global Sales Operations at F5; Roz Francuz-Harris, VP of Talent Acquisition at Zillow; Thaiz Chanman, VP of People Experience at Remitly; and moderated by Doyin Sobowale, Sr. Director of Rental Business Operations at Zillow. The event sold out with 178 people in attendance, including notable local Black tech leaders including F5’s CEO Francois Locoh-Donou and Technology Access Foundation’s Executive Director Trish Millines Dziko.  

Black Tech Night aims to empower the Black tech community through creating space for networking, gaining and receiving mentorship, and hearing from Black tech leaders making strides in the industry. The event series intentionally partners with local small businesses in downtown through Seattle Restored.

The One Seattle Civic Partnership, led by the Office of Economic Development and Innovation & Performance, convenes senior tech and innovation leaders who represent major companies, startups, and industry associations in our community. The current focus of the One Seattle Civic Partnership is “Downtown Reboot,” an initiative to increase activity downtown by engaging the innovation and technology community. Black Tech Night is one of the strategies being implemented by this group and the first event series to pilot the concept.  

The next Black Tech Night will celebrate Juneteenth and Pride month with a focus on Black and LGBTQIA+ intersectionality. June date to come. Follow @SeattleEconomy on social media for details! And check out more news on the Office of Economic Development blog.