*NEW YORK, NY – In late October, 150 African American executives in private equity, technology, venture capital, banking, media and business as well as Silicon Valley influencers attended Culture Shift Labs‘ annual Culture Shifting Weekend in New York City to discuss the way forward for workforce inclusion and education in America, and to honor four prominent African-American executives for their contributions to technology and innovation.
The two-day event included a Social Innovation Think Tank hosted at Ernst & Young LLP’s new Union Square Innovation & Acceleration Lab, and Awards Brunch taking place at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel in New York Downtown. Google was the lead sponsor followed by Verizon, Yahoo!, Infor, Robert F. Smith, Mercedes Benz, Moet Hennessy USA, eBay, BCG Digital Ventures and RR Donnelley.
“I’m proud of our mission disguised as an event. This gathering raises the profiles of accomplished leaders. We amplify their stories to help make them household names. Also, because of the way we curate the guest list and make introductions, the conversations that take place and partnerships forged have the ability to change the course of your life,” says Andrea Hoffman, Founder and CEO of Culture Shift Labs and Culture Shifting Weekends. “For example, last year an attendee received $3MM in funding as a result of being at our event. Kwame Anku who briefly worked with Prince as well as Van Jones YesWeCode flew in from Silicon Valley. He came all that way because, as he said “Andrea’s Culture Shifting Weekends provide a quantum leap for professional development unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Her two-day experiences propel you to two years into the future!”
Guests included Topper Carew of MIT Media Labs, Colin Gillespie, President of LEGO Education North America, Jenn Ok, CMO of BCG Digital Ventures, and former Booz Allen Partner Reggie Van Lee.
Ernst & Young helped kickoff the weekend at their edgy new Union Square Innovation & Acceleration Lab with “The Social Innovation Think Tank: Inclusion Driven Workforce & Education Innovation”, which was facilitated, by Ed Dandridge, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Marsh & McLennan Companies. More than 70 guests attended the invite-only think tank sponsored by Ernst & Young and Brightwood Capital Advisors to exchange ideas and collaborate with a panel of industry experts to find solutions to challenges around inclusive education, workforce development, economic growth, and access to capital for minority-owned businesses.
- Cami Anderson, Former Superintendent Newark Public Schools
- Gerrard Bushell, President & CEO of DASNY – Dormitory Authority State of NY
- Rose Kirk, President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon
- Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College
- Lance R. Collins, Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering at Cornell University
- Damien Dwin, Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Brightwood Capital Advisors
- Errol King, Program Manager for Code Next, Google
The Weekend culminated with a Sunday afternoon 7th annual Awards brunch held at the brand-new Four Seasons Hotel to honor four African-American executives who have made a major impact in the fields of technology, innovation and social impact. Award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist Hill Harper served as the master of ceremonies for the event, who described the present day as “the best time to be alive in America with all of the technological advances we have within our grasp.”
Special remarks from New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer highlighted his commitment to level the playing field for minority owned businesses and advance equity on corporate boards by saying “Diversity is a strategic priority for my office. NYC spends $14 billion a year on procurement. We are committed to being deliberate about investing in small businesses, African American and Latino/a owned firms as well. Furthermore, corporate boards today are too male, too pale and too stale and we are doing something about that too. “
Each of the honorees shared intimate stories about their journey and personal efforts to increase inclusion in STEM Education, Innovation and at the most senior ranks of corporations. Dr. Lonnie Johnson participated in a fireside chat with Culture Shift Labs Founder, and the executive producer of the event Andrea Hoffman.
ABOUT THE HONOREES
Dr. Lonnie Johnson, Bonafide rocket scientist and inventor with more than 100 patents, including the Nerf Gun and Super Soaker.
Dr. Patricia Era Bath, Physician, Scientist, Inventor and Ophthalmology Pioneer was the first to invent and demonstrate laserphaco cataract surgery.
Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Pfizer. Dr. Hall leads the division of the company responsible for the safe, effective and appropriate use of Pfizer medicines and vaccines around the world.
John Rice, Founder & CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow; a national non-profit equipping underrepresented minorities with the skills, coaching and relationships required to become high-impact leaders.
ABOUT CULTURE SHIFTING WEEKENDS
Andrea Hoffman’s bio-coastal Culture Shifting: A Weekend of Innovation, Technology & Social Impact is an annual invite only two-day event that takes place in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley. It includes a Saturday Social Innovation Think/Action Tank in partnership with Babson Social Innovation Lab and Sunday Culture Shift Awards.
It’s the only convening in the United States that gathers a curated group of accomplished African and African American C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs, tech trailblazers, business influencers and thought leaders who attend to celebrate, collaborate, deal make and tap into the social currency, intellectual and financial capital among leaders of the old and new economies.
ABOUT CULTURE SHIFT LABS
Culture Shift Labs (CSL) is an advisory firm providing seasoned intelligence, business opportunities and collaborative technology to executives and corporations seeking growth. They also provide proprietary access to their world-class network of over 4,000 innovators, inventors, investors and subject matters experts of color and women (the “diverse elite”). CSL advises senior leaders, cities and philanthropists on growth and innovation through inclusion.
ABOUT ANDREA HOFFMAN
For over two decades, early adopters in corporate America have been turning to Andrea for her business growth and new markets expertise. As a strategist, business development expert and dealmaker, Andrea also helps companies access overlooked business opportunities and provides access to circles of influence, innovators and “arbiters of the new economy”. She has the largest database in the nation with African American subject matter experts in it. Her second book, $50 BILLION Dollar Boss: Stories from African American Women Entrepreneurs on Leadership and Success, (Palgrave Macmillan) was nominated for a 2015 NAACP Image Award. Andrea is also the co-founder of a SaaS technology called Katapult.