Now, how many people do you know own more than 3,000 comic books? I was beyond thrilled to hear this when I interviewed Samara Lynn, Tech Editor for Black Enterprise Magazine. Samara's adventure into collecting comic books started at the age of 13, while living in the suburbs of Long Island, New York. The neighborhood kids, at that time, were into comic books and Samara took a liking right along with them growing up. While she stopped collecting comic books around the age of 30, she is very clear that her favs were, at that time, The (Avengers), X-Men and Spider-Man.
This year BE's TechConneXt Summit takes place October 10 - 11, 2016 at the Marriott Hotel, Burlingame, CA (SF airport location). Samara has had ample time to prepare for this year's summit, which is very different from last year as it was her third day on the job when she was given the assignment to travel to the West Coast to BE's first TechConneXt. Diving right into the splash, while it was a surprise, was certainly not unfamiliar territory for Samara. She was able to hit the ground running and was pleased the conference went very well. This year, Samara says, "There are a few things that will be different, one of them being that Black Enterprise wants to make the conference much more 'tech engagement' focused by way of expanding the exhibition space to more interactive technology opportunities. Also, when it comes to the student engagement and their hackathon period, it will be around the clock, 24 hrs., which is far different from last year where there were stops and starts throughout the day with workshops, etc. for the students." Samara also says that there will be a stronger relationship with partners where the students will have a connection year-round in addition to what they experience onsite during their tours. The Toyota Research Institute is one major partner that will be further developed this year as will again have an opportunity to tour the facility during TechConneXt and Black Enterprise will build stronger bridges with Toyota to continue the student engagement for months beyond the conference.
I attended TechConneXt last year and was very impressed with the information shared by the panelists and the student presentations were very high level and engaging. This conference is certainly the missing link that is hugely visible in the tech space in Silicon Valley, as it elevates the skills, talents and resources that people of color, particularly African Americans, have to contribute to the technology industry. Also, and more importantly, this summit shows aspiring youth, first hand, who are interested in a STEM education and future, how they can make those dreams a reality.
Samara is excited about what the conference will bring this year and she is confident the outcomes will be favorable. I would tend to agree that this year will be quiet the tech conference, especially when there is a line-up of confirmed speakers that include Ryan Leslie, CEO, MZRT; Tristan Walker, CEO Founder, Walker & Company; Ime Archibong, Director of Global Partnerships, Facebook and many others.
Samara Lynn has over 15 years experience in Information Technology and is the technology editor for Black Enterprise. She was a technology editor for the prestigious CRN Test Center and lead Networking and Business Analyst for PCMag.com (formerly PC Magazine). Lynn has appeared as a technology commentator on Fox Business News, National Business Report (NBR), and Reuters TV. She is the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and received the Small Business Influencer Top 100 Champion award in 2013 under the "Journalists" category.