The Inaugural Blacks in Technology Conference, instantly tagged as BITCON2018, is a 3-day interactive platform for professionals, entrepreneurs, influencers, subject matter experts, students, and thought leaders who share a common goal... increasing the visibility and representation of black men and women in the tech industry.  As we seek to further our mission of establishing a practice of world class excellence, BIT has crafted a stimulating and engaging program that intertwines and encompasses the Twin Cities educational, business, political and tech communities. Utilizing forums such as tech exhibits, career fairs, pitch competitions, networking parties, city innovation tours, lightning talks, and panel discussions, BIT invites you to redefine your career in tech…

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Your Career In Tech [clear filter]
Friday, October 12


A CIO Fireside Chat: A Public and Private Perspective
Join us for a invigorating Fireside chat with CIO's from both the public and private sector. Ron Guerrier (CIO of Express Scripts) and Sharon Vickers (CIO of the city of St. Paul, MN) will share their challenges and experiences as well as what they have learned along the way as one of the few black CIO's in their respective sectors. 

avatar for Ron Guerrier

Ron Guerrier

CIO, Express Scripts
Ron Guerrier joined Express Scripts in April 2018 as senior vice president & chief information officer. In this senior leadership position, Ron is responsible for leading all aspects of Express Scripts’ technology organization. He manages overall information technology strategy... Read More →
avatar for Sharon Vickers

Sharon Vickers

CIO City of Saint Paul, City of Saint Paul

Friday October 12, 2018 10:00am - 11:00am
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 3 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55101


BIT Tech Fest: Exhibit & Career Fair
BITCON Tech Fest: Tech Exhibit & Career Fair
Blacks in Tech will be host a tech exhibit and career fair at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul, MN. We have partnered with over 50 companies and organizations that are looking to recruit amazing talent. Be sure to bring your resume. Recruiters will also host key workshops and panels to help navigate your career in tech.

Sessions include:
  • Technology Trends You Should Know
  • Crushing A Technical Interview
  • Reaching Destination Success in Your Career
  • Teach the Geek to Speak
  • Build Your Career Brand

As October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, BIT also invites you to learn more about cybersecurity opportunities and meet with cybersecurity executives, influencers, and subject matter experts.

Sessions Include:
  • The Current State of Cybersecurity
  • Building A Cybersecurity Strategy for your business
  • Building Secure-by-Default NodeJS Applications
  • A Matter of National Cybersecurity

Featured Companies:
Best Buy
Express Scripts
Minnesota Public Radio
State of MN , Dept of Employment & Economic Development
Hennepin County
Data Recognition Corporation
St. Cloud State University
General Mills
Entrust Datacard
Thomson Reuters
Make It MSP
When I Work
Xcel Energy
Travelers Insurance
Atomic Data
Jet Fuel Tech
Health Partners

To get tickets, please visit Bitcon2018.com/tickets
Event Details
Date: Friday October 12, 2018
Location: Intercontinental Hotel – 11 East Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55101
Time: 10:00am – 3pm
Cost: Free to Attend
This event requires RSVP. Please visit bitcon2018.com/tickets to redeem free ticket.

Friday October 12, 2018 10:00am - 3:00pm
Intercontinental Hotel 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101, USA


Crushing a Technical Interview
In this session, a panel of techniclal recruiters will provide insight on how to conquer a technical interview. Gain insight on what recruiters look for in candidates. Also an exclusive opportunity to network with some individuals who can kickstart or enhance your career! 

avatar for Carlos Rymer

Carlos Rymer

Engineering Manager, The New York Times
I'm an Engineering Manager at The New York Times, where I focus on creating a strong team culture for high performance and building platform capabilities that enable the delivery of engaging journalism via messaging channels. I've worked across various tech stacks and work environments... Read More →


Afroza Ahmed

IT Director, Enterprise Data Services, Thrivent
avatar for Nayshawn Danner

Nayshawn Danner

Principal Software Engineer, Nerdery
As a Principal Software Engineer at The Nerdery, Nayshawn Danner leads the digital business consultancy’s Java practice – setting development standards for the company and mentoring other Java engineers. Nayshawn excels at implementing innovative enterprise solutions; he draws... Read More →
avatar for Mimi Li

Mimi Li

Head of Twitch Prime Business Intelligence, Amazon
Mimi Li specializes in leading teams of data ninjas to design innovative data products that address complex business challenges. Her strategic perspective and depth of knowledge in multiple disciplines allows her to be very effective in managing complexity. She has over 18 years of... Read More →
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 →

Friday October 12, 2018 11:15am - 12:15pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 4 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101


Technology Trends for Fortune 500 Companies -YOU SHOULD KNOW!
Technology Trends for Fortune 500 Companies-7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW! Learn about current technology trends and career opportunities in the following categories:
  • Cloud ERP/SaaS Solutions
  • Social Media
  • Big Data
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • IoT (Internet-of-Things)
  • Block Chain & Digital Currency
  • Next Level Mobile
Trends that will increase your salary by 25%-40%. Hottest Tech Trends to guide your career for next 10 years. Talk will review hot jobs that correlate to these trends.

avatar for Derris Boomer

Derris Boomer

CEO, BoomerTechnologyGroup.com
Derris Boomer has worked for Fortune 500 companies since he was 16. Each has taught him perseverance, leadership and a drive for success. His tenure at companies such as IBM, Tiffany & Company, Polo Ralph Lauren and Accenture has afforded 20+ years of corporate experience. He has... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 11:15am - 12:15pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 3 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55101


Whiteboarding with Granicus: Part I
Want to beef up your whiteboarding skills? If you don't know interviewing with tech companies may require a whiteboard test. This session will help you develop those skills which can benefit you throughout you career.

We'll discuss some of the critical skills needed for a whiteboard challenge in an interview as well as the various things you may be asked to do. We'll also take a look at what employers are looking for and how you can develop these skills. We'll also be doing some practice exercises to put these skills to the test.

avatar for Tracie Karsjens

Tracie Karsjens

Software Engineering Manager, Granicus
In my career I've worked both as a consultant and an full-time employee. I've worked for several startups all the way up to large companies. I've been a developer, an architect, a manager, and a team lead. I have a wide breadth of experience and I'm excited to share it with BITCON... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 11:15am - 12:15pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 1 11 E Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN, USA


Learning To Get To Destination Success in Your Career
Opportunity is a bald man with a front facing pony tail. Here is your opportunity to find out how ‘being a learn it all and not a know it all’ is key to a successful career in Technology. All technology dies, evolves or is replaced. In this session Sam Erskine shares his journey to destination tech career success. This session starts with why, moves into sharing how to create your own learning to success path and an interactive opportunity to unpack Sam’s success so far. Finally this is a unique opportunity to get practical answers that you will never find in a book or social media to help with your own career path. Born in England, educated in Africa and the UK, Sam’s career spans multiple international destinations and industry sectors. He has over 25 years’ experience in IT which includes being a published author and an international speaker at tech events all over the world.

avatar for Sam Erskine

Sam Erskine

Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft MVP, Large Global Organization
Samuel Erskine has over 25 years' experience in the IT industry and is currently a Cloud Solutions Architect (Senior Manager) and author , focused on Cloud technologies with a core competency in Microsoft Azure. Samuel is the content designer and lead author of 4 Microsoft System... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 4 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101


Teach the Geek to Speak
Techies are more comfortable in front of a computer screen than in front of people. But not being able to communicate to decision makers can be the difference between having a job and being laid off. And nobody wants to be on the layoff list! With my talk, Teach the Geek to Speak, I will unveil my 6 step process to prepare and deliver any speech. No more starting from scratch for every speech. No more crushing nervousness before you hit the podium. By using the 6 step process, you’ll have a game plan to build up your confidence and become an effective public speaker - someone people will put down their phones to listen to.

avatar for Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson

Founder, Teach the Geek
I'm an engineer who had to present in front of senior management every month. I was terrible at it. The other engineers who had to present were terrible at it, too. After a lot of feedback and self-reflection, I got better at public speaking. In fact, I turned what I learned into... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 3 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55101


Build Your Career Brand
Not everyone enters tech with an expensive college degree to jumpstart their career. In fact, many employers want to see fresh staff with diverse backgrounds. But how can you build your career so that employers will notice you regardless of the non-traditional route you may have taken?

Everyone says you need experience to get the job you want, but how do you get the experience? How do you make employers recognize the experience you might have in other industries or personal pursuits to help build your personal career brand? In this session, learn from career mentor and life coach Bill Roddy, co-founder and executive director, Osiris Organization, on how to maximize your experience from non-traditional career paths. Plus hear real-life lessons from two new tech industry professionals, who entered tech through the IT-Ready career program, a non-traditional tech training program, and are now making their way up the tech career ladder.

avatar for William Roddy

William Roddy

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Osiris Organization
Bill Roddy is well known in Minneapolis/St. Paul as the co-founder of Osiris Organization, a non-profit organization working with youth and adults in areas of life skills building, IT workforce development and employment, post-secondary scholarship support and entrepreneurial development.Born... Read More →

avatar for Robert Jones

Robert Jones

Associate Technical User Support Analyst, Medtronic
I am an IT professional with a passion for learning, solving various problems and serving my community. I have worked a variety of jobs, from a cashier at Taco Bell to data entry for local manufacturing companies, each one building my skills and experiences in various ways. Currently... Read More →

avatar for CompTIA


Founded in 1998 by CompTIA, Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Its signature... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Intercontinental Hotel - Governors Room 3 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55101
Saturday, October 13


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

avatar for Kanika Tolver

Kanika Tolver

Founder & CEO, Career Rehab
Kanika Tolver is no ordinary “social-preneur.” This former highly decorated government employee turned rebel entrepreneur and Certified Professional Coach is a serial innovator who’s fueled by an extraordinary commitment to social change and to helping others create their own... Read More →

avatar for Kim Crayton

Kim Crayton

Entrepreneur, Kim Crayton LLC
Kim Crayton is the founder of the #causeascene movement and a proud multipotentialite and advocate for diversity, inclusion, and safe spaces in tech, who is committed to facilitating honest conversations and intentional actions for positive change. Kim has years of experience working... Read More →
avatar for Ayori Selassie

Ayori Selassie

Product Marketing Manager, Founder of Selfpreneur, Salesforce Einstein
Ayori Selassie is an expert in the field of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for CRM and a leader of Product Marketing for Salesforce Einstein. Selassie is also the creator of Life Model®, AI for Life and applied design thinking. As the inventor of Life Model Canvas® (the framework... Read More →
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 Saron Yitbarek

Saron Yitbarek

Founder, CodeNewbie
Saron Yitbarek is a developer and the founder of CodeNewbie, the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code.Ms. Yitbarek interviews incredible people in tech on the CodeNewbie Podcast (new episodes every Monday. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 10:00am - 10:50am
Best Buy HQ - Theater 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423


Turn Your Personal Brand From A Tech Employee To A Tech Influencer
Do you get excited at the idea of becoming a thought leader, industry leader, influencer? Are you an expert in your field and wonder how you can turn that into a brand? What makes someone a tech influencer? You may follow technical experts on social media, see them speak at conferences, buy their books and watch their training and wonder how did they get there. Influencers are made, not born. There is a formula to launching yourself from a tech employee into a full out brand. And in our current times becoming a brand in tech can catapult your career to new levels.
In this session, 7-time Microsoft MVP and 5-time author Steve Buchanan will take you through his journey on how he went from internal IT guy to writing books, established blogger and speaker at tech conferences. You will also walk away with 5 strategies that you can use to build your tech brand.

avatar for Steve Buchanan

Steve Buchanan

Microsoft MVP, Director, & Midwest Containers Services Lead, Accenture/Avanade
Steve Buchanan is a Director, & Midwest Containers Services Lead on the Cloud Transformation/DevOps team with Avanade, the Microsoft arm of Accenture. He is an eight-time Microsoft MVP, and the author of six technical books. He has presented at tech events, including Midwest Management... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 11:50am
Best Buy HQ - Alaska 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423


Lunch w/ Best Buy Executive Members
Best Buy will provide a yummy buffet lunch followed by an exclusive panel featuring top execs from Best Buy leadership team.


Jason Bruce

Senior Diversity Recruiter, Best Buy
Jason is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota and started his career in sales with several Consumer Packaged Goods companies such as Procter & Gamble, Pillsbury and Coca-Cola. He then worked in analytical roles with SC Johnson, Callaway Golf and Mars. After several years in Sales and... Read More →

avatar for Sampson Abrahams

Sampson Abrahams

IT Manager, Infrastructure Collaboration Services, Best Buy
I’m an IT professional with over 11 years of experience in working across various industries. As an IT Manager at Best Buy, I’m focused delivering excellent technology and business transformation technologies and solutions with Infrastructure Collaboration Services to improve... Read More →
avatar for Mandy French

Mandy French

Sr. Manager of Technology Operations, Best Buy
From managing major incident response teams and the technology service desk to building and leading  production support teams.   A Service Management expert and ServiceNow Guru.   Mandy has a career defined by working for Fortune 250 companies in technology operations.    Continuous... Read More →

Alecia Hodges

Associate Digital Engineer, Best Buy
Alecia enjoys understanding how things work so she studied Computer Networking in college. After working in IT for several years, she decided to travel to Nigeria with a friend. The experience was more than she could've imagined. The following year she quit her job and traveled around... Read More →

Adam Sand

VP, Digital Product Management and Engineering, Best Buy
avatar for Todd Soller

Todd Soller

SVP/Chief Information Officer, Best Buy
Todd Soller is the chief information officer for Best Buy Co. Inc. In this role, he is responsible for thedevelopment, delivery and operations of enterprise technology.Mr. Soller joined Best Buy in 2000 and has held a variety of leadership roles within the technology organization... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Best Buy HQ - Convention Center 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423


ERGs: The Key to Retention, Community Connection, & Upward Mobility
Ever wonder how Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can help propel your career in the tech industry? Join a panel of ERG leaders and members who will share how becoming involved in their ERG has not only helped their career but also paved the way for other employees to excel in their career.

avatar for Odest Riley Jr.

Odest Riley Jr.

CEO, WLM Financial

avatar for Gilliane Arens

Gilliane Arens

Senior Communications Specialist, Travelers Insurance
Gilliane has a diverse range of experience working with global corporations and local technology companies on various forms of communications and recruiting. As a Field Representative for Travelers Black/African-American Diversity Network, she is passionate about creating spaces that... Read More →
avatar for Jordan Curry

Jordan Curry

Diversity Specialist, Google
Jordan Curry is a Diversity Specialist on the Talent Programs & Events team at Google. Her focus in this role is on partnerships with external organizations that reach communities traditionally underrepresented in tech in an effort to find future Google Employees. She's been at Google... Read More →
avatar for Katie McGonigal

Katie McGonigal

Head of Talent, Scribd
Katie McGonigal is Head of Talent at Scribd, a site on a mission to help the world read more. Katie has 20+ years of experience as an HR and Talent Leader in Tech, Professional Services, and Healthcare. She has enjoyed a particular emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion in her work... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
Best Buy HQ - Alaska 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423


Building a Stong Project Team
In a world where tech leadership is simply portrayed by popular media as visionary and innovative, what does it actually take to lead tech teams? In this talk, I will share what are some of the qualities and focus areas of good tech leaders who drive organizations to produce positive outcomes.

In this talk, I will highlight the complexity of leadership in today’s demanding and competitive tech landscape, the importance of lifelong learning to leadership, and what you can do as a leader to enable teams to perform and drive outcomes in brand perception, revenue, innovation, customer loyalty, and other KPIs.

Listeners will leave with an appreciation of the difficulty of managing in tech organizations, some key insights on how to become a better leader, and the importance of team alignment, culture, and norms to building great organizations.

avatar for Carlos Rymer

Carlos Rymer

Engineering Manager, The New York Times
I'm an Engineering Manager at The New York Times, where I focus on creating a strong team culture for high performance and building platform capabilities that enable the delivery of engaging journalism via messaging channels. I've worked across various tech stacks and work environments... Read More →

avatar for Alex Bernardin

Alex Bernardin

Head of Project Management, Scribd
Alex Bernardin was a Black in Technology before it was cool ! Coming out of school in the mid nineties when American Online was still mailing CDs, Alex jumped on the dot com wave at CNET in San Francisco. Through busts and booms, Alex has transitioned from managing code, to managing... Read More →
avatar for Matthew Laud

Matthew Laud

Enterprise Sourcing & Procurement IT Director, UnitedHealth Group
avatar for Kwame Sarpong

Kwame Sarpong

IT Product Director, Best Buy
Kwame has been at Best Buy since 2012. He leads technology delivery supporting the Mobile Business Unit with a unique value proposition of being able to serve Best Buy customer needs for mobile services irrespective of wireless carrier. He also manages other platforms critical for... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Best Buy HQ - Alaska 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423


How to Navigate Corporate America as a Minority
This is a topic that every minority who has been in corporate America can relate to and is very necessary to push our attendees to success. Many leave their companies after a short period of time because they don’t feel like they fit into the corporate mold. But I want to teach attendees that they don’t have to fit in; they can stand out and use their diversity as a strength and as motivation to be successful.
I want to break my workshop into several areas.
  • My background story (5 minutes) 
  • Why it is important to make great connections early on in your career (10 minutes)
  • The importance of continuing education/certification (5 minutes)
  • 5 ways to be successful as a young minority professional in corporate America (20 minutes)
  • How to use your “diverse” background as an asset (5 minutes)
  • Ways to self-assess and course correct your mistakes (5 minutes)
  • Open dialogue for questions and feedback with attendees (10-15 minutes) 
  • Wrap up (5 minutes)

avatar for Nikki Kemp

Nikki Kemp

Program Manager, Walmart
Nikki Kemp is originally from South Holland, IL and graduated with a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Chicago State University. She is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt & Professional Scrum Master, and also holds a Master’s Certificate in Business Analysis from George... Read More →

Saturday October 13, 2018 4:00pm - 4:50pm
Best Buy HQ - Proverb/Edison 7601 Penn Avenue South Richfield, MN 55423