After Rovina Broomfield moved from Chicago to Seattle to start working at a large tech company, she wanted to become part of the local community. As she’d meet people, though, many would start by expressing their surprise at, well, a black woman moving to Seattle and working in tech. One day, at a brunch, she heard another black woman in tech describe herself as a “unicorn,” and decided she’d had enough.
When we see someone who is, as Rovina puts it, “a rare, or an only”, she asks that we realize: they know they’re rare. They pushed through that and decided to act, despite having few role models. But throughout history, many people had to start as an “only.”
Instead of focusing on their uniqueness in our community, we need to focus on making them part of our community. Like a transplant who’s just moved to a new city, people who are rare need to feel welcome and cool, not rare and untouchable. So, you’re black in tech? As Rovina puts it, “let’s go from being transplants to being locals.”
photo by: Brady Harvey
Let’s play a game called “Ocean or Land.” Which one covers more of the Earth’s surface? Where are there more volcanos? Where is there more plant life?
Dana Manalang usually plays this game with elementary school students, but the Ignite audience did a bang-up job answering those questions. While many know the answers, there are many questions about the ocean that no one knows the answer to.
Learn more about these questions, and how to get kids, and adults, excited about the ocean, in Dana’s talk, “Oceans and Robots and Volcanoes, Oh My!”
Many people in Seattle love the outdoors, but who likes eating cold food out of cans, pooing in the woods, or the general idea of wandering around where hungry grizzly bears live?
That’s where Beth Jusino, author of Camino Times Two, has a secret for you: The Camino de Santiago. A series of pilgrimage trails through Western Europe. She walked for a thousand miles and over two mountain ranges, and still got to sleep in warm beds and have delicious meals – all for less than a night out in Capitol Hill.
Do you want to learn the secrets of the Camino de Santiago? Then Jusino’s talk is perfect for you.
photo by: Brady Harvey
The Instant Pot, Amazon’s top-selling product, is a cultural phenomenon and Sumit Basu is here to explain why.
Sumit guides us through what you can and can’t do with the Instant Pot, how to use it, and even how to clean it with humor, hand-drawn slides, and even a catchy musical number.
When Sarah submitted her talk proposal, she never thought she’d be giving it on the eve of the Kavanaugh hearings. One year after the Weinstein story broke, Sarah takes the Ignite stage to talk about her experience with the #MeToo movement.
This talk isn’t about her story though – it’s about what it takes to come forward. In it, she refutes some common misconceptions and discusses support structures, personal safety, and legal considerations.
We don’t need to explain which Juliet Emma Broback is talking about. She’s here to shed some light on some common misconceptions about Juliet’s intelligence.
Sure, she makes her decisions quickly – but since when is decisiveness a character fault? Juliet isn’t dumb – she’s a woman with a plan. And in 5 minutes, Emma will walk you through how Romeo’s intellectual equal asserts her agency to get what she wants.
Rovina Broomfield knows a thing or two about working in tech. She also knows a thing or two about people making assumptions.
So when she found herself at a networking brunch, listening to people describing black techies as though they were mysterious and exceptional, she may not have been surprised. But she was upset. (Upset enough to submit a talk about her feelings to Ignite!)
Rovina will be joining us at Ignite #37 to tell Ignite what being black in tech really means about her and her peers. So, the next time you meet someone else who’s black and in tech, you better understand their identity.