Microsoft shows up big at AfroTech in San Francisco

About 45 Microsoft employees pose in front of the Microsoft booth at the AfroTech conference in San Francisco

The AfroTech conference in San Francisco bills itself as the “groundbreaking, revolutionary experience for black techies, startups, and entrepreneurs”—and this year Microsoft took notice in a big way. The 2018 event was only the third year of AfroTech, but as a platinum sponsor, Microsoft was one of the largest corporate participants. We had a large booth presence, three Microsoft leaders had top speaking slots, and more than 80 employees attended.

Below are a few highlights of our time at AfroTech:

“Seeing such a big name like Microsoft and how they are trying to reach out to this community is inspiring,”

—Morgan DeBaun, CEO and founder of Blavity, Inc.

  • We See You—This was Microsoft’s theme at AfroTech 2018. Often used colloquially within the African American community, the phrase “we see you” / “I see you” highlighted our commitment to inclusion and recognition of this community.
  • Relationship Building and Networking—Microsoft employees throughout the company attended AfroTech to help us tell our story to the industry and potential candidates. The Northern California chapter of our employee resource group, Blacks@Microsoft (BAM) hosted a networking event for our team to connect with each other and prepare for the days ahead.
  • Contribute to and Build Our Diverse Talent Pipeline —The 4,000 attendees at AfroTech were entrepreneurs, engineers, program managers, nonprofit professionals, and marketers who sought us out to learn about our career opportunities, #MicrosoftLife, partnerships, and our impact in the community. Our great teams from Cloud + AI, Corporate Recruiting, Yammer, Office 365, and many more were there to answer their questions and point them into the right direction. We also hosted an invite-only, engineering-focused event with some of the top tech talent we met at AfroTech.
  • Showcase Our Thought Leadership—When we show up to events like AfroTech, we always want to highlight the great work we do at Microsoft. Special thanks to the following leaders who presented the following topics at AfroTech:
    • Tim Allen, E+D Partner, Design—“Navigating Your Career as a Designer”
    • Rokeya Jones, C + AI Principal, Azure Networking—“Navigating Your Career in Tech”
    • LaSean Smith, GM, Mixed Reality Workplace—“Inside Microsoft’s AI/Mixed Reality”

Some of the people we talked to were impressed by the breadth of our work and were inspired by the people at Microsoft who are on the frontlines of innovation.

A big thank you to all of the Microsoft employees who made AfroTech 2018 a success!