Render ATL 2024 Opening Day Featured a Drone Show, a Rooftop Party, and A Panel of Black Women CEOs

Atlanta Tech Week is Here

Atlanta is the hotbed for Black culture, Black excellence, and Black generational wealth, and in recent years, it’s a growing industry for techies with the help of things like Atlanta Tech Week. The eventful week started on June 9, 2024 and will continue through the 15th. One of the major events happening during the week is Render ATL 2024 from June 12, 2024 to June 14, 2024.

Founded by Justin Samuels, the three-day tech conference is expected to have over 5,000 attendees and feature keynote speaker American former football tight end and host of “Club Shay Shay” Shannon Sharpe, along with over 100 speakers. The conference also has an expo hall that features major tech companies including Google and Microsoft.

According to a WABE article, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says platforms like Render ATL are needed to help build and support the next generation of Black and Brown techies.

“These are things that people 20 years ago didn’t see much of, didn’t see much of African Americans being able to lead in the technology space,” Dickens said to WABE reporter Marlon Hyde.

Fireside Chat Presented by Zillow

Render ATL 2024 started with a bang on day one with a rooftop party that featured a drone show, live music, and a fireside chat with Black women who left their corporate jobs to pursue other endeavors.

The Sounds Of Home R&B Rooftop Concert and Fireside Chat presented by Zillow featured a chat with moderator Essence Magazine Senior Lifestyle Editor Victoria Uwumaragie and panelists CEO of CultureCon and The Creative Collective Imani Ellis, and Zillow VP of Brand and Product Marketing Beverly Jackson.

(L-R) Victoria Uwumaragie, Imani Ellis, and Beverly Jackson at Render ATL 2024.
(L-R) Victoria Uwumaragie, Imani Ellis, and Beverly Jackson at Render ATL 2024. (Picture by Breon Thomas)

The hour-long panel walked the audience through how Ellis and Jackson moved on from big-name brands to create change in their own ways.

Imani Ellis of TheCCnyc and CultureCon

Let’s start with Ellis. Ellis spent 10 years as a publicist working for NBCUniversal where she eventually worked her way up to VP of Communications, Unscripted Entertainment Publicity. Yet, even with all of her success, she was lacking community. To fill that void she invited 10 friends to her house who then each brought one person with them. That one meet-up turned into The Creative Collective NYC (TheCCnyc). According to Forbes, it is “the fastest-growing community devoted to creatives of color in NYC who are looking to cultivate relationships that go beyond the business card.”

Through TheCCnyc, CultureCon was born. CultureCon is a community conference for Black and Brown creative professionals and entrepreneurs to connect. The conference has featured big stars including Issa Rae, Spike Lee, and Tracie Ellis-Ross.

“CulureCon is our love to letter to Black spaces,” said Ellis. She added that it’s important to create the spaces that we don’t see ourselves in.

Ellis didn’t plan for TheCCnyc to get any bigger because she was focused on becoming VP by 30 yet people kept asking when the next meet-up would be. She soon realized that this was calling her name and she could no longer ignore it.

“It’s my purpose I can’t shake it,” she said.

In the beginning stages of CultureCon, 800 people attended and Ellis decided to go big the next year and plan a convention for 3,000 attendees. She went scouting for venues and before vetting the venue she signed the contract, which she said she would never do again. Ellis soon discovered that the venue had no bathrooms, no installation, and no electricity. Those around her told her that she got in way over her head, but she proved them all wrong.

That year in 2019, CultureCon sold out with 4,000 attendees and over 45 sponsors.

“I don’t care what percentage of businesses fail, we won’t.”

– Imani Ellis

Atlanta native Ellis is now gearing up for the CutureCon 2024 on October 5-6, 2024. For more information click here.

Beverly Jackson of Zillow

Jackson is a marketing executive with over 20 years of global experience in building and managing high-performing teams, launching high-impact campaigns and products, and driving revenue and value for leading brands and organizations. She’s held positions at X (Twitter), Yahoo, and many others.

“Lots of people don’t know my name but they know my work,” said Jackson.

Jackson shared with the crowd that through her positions she’s held a lot of power, and still does, but that doesn’t mean that came with the pay. While working for the Grammy Awards, Jackson was handling $13 million in sponsorship but was only making $60,000 a year. She played a pivotal role in the delivery of consistent double-digit growth for the Grammy Awards from 2008 to 2012. Jackson took the position because of the notary but eventually realized she deserved more.

After telling the company she was leaving, they immediately doubled her pay. Jackson stayed for one year and then left and that’s when she began receiving the pay she deserved. Jackson’s story is one of many that Black women, and Black individuals, experience.

“Go where people treasure you and respect you.”

– Beverly Jackson

Moving on to Zillow. At first, Jackson denied Zillow’s offer because she was tired of having the same title, and didn’t want to keep doing the same work. Before totally giving up on the position, she did some research on the company and loved its purpose of helping more people become homeowners.

Now that Jackson has accepted the role, she said she is doing the most fulfilling work she’s ever done before but it’s also one of the most challenging things she’s done.

“It’s hard because it matters,” she said.

As Jackson continues to grow in her career, she said it’s important to bring people along with her.

“You gotta put people in a position where they can be successful,” said Jackson.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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