Felecia Hatcher, the CEO of Black Ambition, was a guest speaker at BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Women of Power Tech Summit and had an informative discussion with Black Enterprise CEO and President Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. about Black women in the technology industry.
Black Ambition is a nonprofit initiative started by musician and producer Pharrell Williams to provide a bridge to success for entrepreneurs of color working in tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products/services startups. Hatcher is working with Williams to create inclusive and diverse tech startup ecosystems that will transform communities into hubs for attracting talent and resources and creating opportunities to thrive.
During the discussion, Hatcher, a self-proclaimed C student who taught herself coding, told Graves about the importance of everyone embracing technology because it’s not going away and it has the potential to benefit everyone.
“We’re all using technology whether we feel like we’re techies or not, and you’re either going to consume it or it’s going to consume you if you’re not careful,” Hatcher told Graves.
“But I think more than anything when we talk about silver linings coming out of the pandemic, those were some of the lessons that we learned, we weren’t as far along in the access as we thought we were from an educational standpoint until the pandemic hit and we realized most of our homes didn’t have the infrastructure or the computers to get online but then we also saw the connectivity of our parents and our grandparents being able to choose providers that look like them through telehealth, and so we’re using it and will continue to use it.”
The pair also discussed Hatcher’s work with Black Ambition and how she joined the nonprofit after being an entrepreneur for a dozen years, working with her husband.
“The opportunity for Black Ambition really started with a conversation with Pharrell’s chief of staff and one of the directors of the Lennar Foundation,” said Hatcher. “It was literally a conversation about launching a program turned into ‘do you want to come run this thing because you’re telling us how we should run it and that was the beginning of a four-month process of some hard decisions of leaving my baby and something I co-founded with my husband, so it wasn’t an easy decision going from being an entrepreneur for 12 years to working for someone.”
Hatcher has a wealth of experience building technological movements from the ground up. The Black Tech Week co-founder also helped build the Center for Black Innovation. Her work has received numerous awards and acknowledgments, including being named a Harvard Young American Leader in 2017 and a Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar.
Hatcher is also an author of five books, a consultant, and a public speaker who has conducted speeches at Google, Ernst & Young, Walmart, Door Dash, and many other companies.
Hatcher and Graves also discussed how technology has the potential to be transformational for the Black and Latinx communities, especially women.
“When we start looking at how we can yield power, how we can mobilize and organize, tech is truly transformational for our community, and the women that are in these companies and these C-suites know that we have their back, so they can affect real change in our community from a wealth standpoint,” Hatcher told Graves. “We know that money screams and wealth whispers and we need more wealth to be louder about how we access it and it definitely starts with Black women in the tech industry.”
For more conversations with women of color who are making an impact in the tech space, go to the Women Of Power Tech homepage, where you can still register for the event for free and gain access to all of the sessions on demand for 30 days.