When’s the last time you went to a costume party?

On Friday, February 16th, we’re hosting a Black Panther costume party and networking event. The festivities begin at 7pm at WeWork’s gorgeous new City Center (downtown Oakland) location. Bay Area native DJ Red Corvette will be meticulously curating auditory sensations, drinks and light refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited to step out in their best “Wakanda Glam” costumes.

Check out the details and let us know if you’re coming.

Can’t make it? We’re in the Bay Area and NYC markets now and will be producing events like this regularly, so you’ll have more opportunities to catch up with us if you can’t make this one.

Photo credit: Kwaku Alston • 2017 MVLFFLLC™ & 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.


You might be wondering — why a costume party?

My vision is to create a series of culturally relevant events that shift how relationships are cultivated in tech. For my entire professional life, I’ve attended events where black folks put on their stockings and oxfords, speak the Queen’s English, and nervously qualify themselves to recruiters and hiring managers in hopes of vanquishing their student loans. This works for a lot of folks, but misses the mark for many others.

Tech companies have a really hard time attracting and retaining diverse talent, and working with these folks as an independent consultant over the past few years on their processes and strategies has illuminated why: the lived experiences, cultures, and concerns of the folks they’re looking to reach are rarely centered. Their offices are in prohibitively expensive places to live, bias traps abound in their approach (e.g., placing a focus on underrepresented folks is tantamount to “lowering the bar”), and trust is rarely cultivated between the organizations and communities of color in particular.

This gap won’t be closed by throwing monthly events, but I see events like these being a part of the solution. What if black professionals, instead of being some of the only brown faces at recruiting events, were the majority? And what if recruiters and hiring managers were invited into spaces where we swag surf, millie rock, and connect with our peers? What if instead of “bringing your whole self to work” you could get on with the business of living your best life, and accelerate your career in the process?

I think we can make that happen.

Next week I’ll be back with some fun updates and what we’re planning in the Bay Area. In the meantime, get your costume ready and have a great week.

RSVP to the Black Panther Party and networking event on Friday, February 16th in Oakland, California here.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.