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Highlights from the ITSMF Q3 2018 Symposium

September 6, 2018 |

Our corporate partner, Oracle, hosted ITSMF’s 3rd Quarter Symposium at their state-of-the-art technology center August 16th-18th. Cool breezes from the bay embraced attendees as they arrived at the hotel, and Pepper the Robot welcomed everyone to Oracle’s Headquarters with a little air guitar and tai chi.

Viola Thompson, ITSMF President and CEO, with leaders from Oracle, ITSMF corporate partner and Q3-18 Symposium host

The Global Institute for Professional Development continues to provide thought-leadership to its various constituencies that influence a diverse workforce. The 2019 EMERGE Academy cohort began with a day and a half of sessions focused on the SEEK, STUDY, SOAR curriculum. This included the highly anticipated EMERGE Forum where female attendees came together for leadership content, deep connections, and empowerment.

The 2019 Management Academy cohort, our largest ever cohort of 48 professionals, kicked off their programming on Thursday with immersive professional studies, leadership coaching, and featured speakers. The IGNITE Forum featured ITSMF Members Gene Waddy and Valarie Mackey who shared their entrepreneurial journeys and insights with the group. During the Symposium, Valarie was presented with the first ever ITSMF Pathfinder Award for her achievements as an entrepreneur.

Last but not least, we introduced a new pilot forum for men of color, ELEVATE. With standing room only, the men of ITSMF and guest attendees substantiated that there was definitely something to be said about who they are and how they can influence the next generation of leaders. We will be analyzing the data and exploring additional opportunities for continued engagement with this group.


The Symposium covered topics such as architecture as a service, entrepreneurship, blockchain and AI, talent challenges, digital and social platforms for business, and how younger generations are shaping workplace dynamics. Sessions included industry experts and influencers from BNY Mellon, IBM, Cox Enterprises, Boeing, Wells Fargo, Accenture, Google and Microsoft, to name a few.

Oracle’s featured speaker Evan Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Development, Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit, began the morning by sharing insights on the 3 big technology trends and how proper execution of these technologies will help us to “do good better”. He and Traci Wade, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, also reaffirmed Oracle’s commitment to nurturing inclusive workplaces while attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce.

Young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and CEOs Jason Mayden, Marlon Evans, and Danny McLane each shared how they trail-blazed their way to success in an environment where opportunity can seem unreachable.


Panelists Melonie Parker, Tia Buckham-White and Tiffany Shumate provided perspective about the ongoing challenges with the lack of diversity in the workplace. They also discussed the systematic issues with poor representation at c-level positions, pointing out that search results for CEO still predominantly display images of White males. This is why ITSMF and 450 other companies are signors of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The voice of the next generation rang clearly as a panel of students and young professionals, ages 15 to 22, candidly discussed their dissent towards traditional means of communication and work environments. Gabriel Cervantes, Research Assistant for the Institute for the Future, combined his findings with the students’ outlooks to highlight breaks in patterns of change and imminent disruptions in the technology industry and in business as a whole.

David Hopkins, ITSMF Member and Vice President of IT at CSAA Insurance Group, shared his professional journey, with glimpses of his personal influences, and talked about how his decision to create a “Saturday Reflections” blog helped to cultivate a new culture within his workplace, served as a personal outlet, and allowed him to connect with his team in unexpected ways.


As a part of our community outreach, we partnered with the Ile Omode African-centered school in Oakland, CA, founded by Worse Community of the Sacred African Way. ITSMF set a goal to raise $1,000 to help provide school supplies for the preschool through 8th grade students. In less than 30 minutes, attendees contributed to a real-time collection of over $2,500. On behalf of the Ile Omode administration, staff and students, we extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported this effort. It’s truly amazing what we can do when we work together. #ITSMFgives

Thank you to our partner and host, Oracle, for allowing us to gather in your “home” for the Symposium and for continuing to support our mission. Thank you to each of our speakers for sharing your knowledge and expertise with our audience. Thank you to all of our attendees for engaging with us in meaningful dialogue to inspire transformational actions.

Be sure to mark your calendar for our 4th Quarter Symposium which will be held October 25-27, 2018 in Orlando, FL. There, we’ll wrap up our year-long conversations around “Charting a Digital Path to Reinvention”, and as we look towards 2019, initiate strategies for continuing our efforts to change the narrative around diversity and inclusion in technology leadership.

Click here to view photos from the 3rd Quarter 2018 Symposium

Click here for highlights from the 2nd Quarter 2018 Symposium and Leadership Academy Graduation Ceremony

Click here for highlights from the 1st Quarter 2018 Symposium and annual Technology Achievement Awards

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