Sista Circle: Celebrating Black Women in Tech - Featuring Leaders from Meta, Google, and Bank of America
Amplifying Black Excellence
PowerToFly is proud to partner with Sista Circle: Black Women In Tech to celebrate, learn from and be inspired by some amazing Black women tech leaders. Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech is a solidarity group dedicated to supporting the work of Black Women in the technology (BWiT) industry from across the Diaspora. Established in April 2017, Sista Circle: BWiT is rooted in the deep history of fellowship groups of Black women in the United States. These groups are a part of the foundation of Black American culture, especially during the Civil Rights Movement, and provided safe spaces for Black women to discuss and organize around issues facing their communities. Sista Circle: BWiT draws inspiration from these groups using technology and social media to create connections with Black women on a global scale. Moderated by Lexi B, Founder of Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, the panel will include Michelle Mitchell, Strategic Communities Program Manager, Media Partnerships at Meta; Dr. Chyna Hill, Sr. User Experience Researcher at Google; Yan Lawrence, Quantitative Analyst at Bank of America; and Isabel Cespedes, Creative Director of Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech. This talk was made possible by Pickens Creative.
Alexandria Noel Butler, affectionately known as Lexi B, is considered one of Silicon Valley’s candid and prominent voices. Her thought provoking advice and opinions on how to create a more equitable work environment stem from her own experiences working in some of the most popular tech companies. In April 2017, Lexi B founded Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, a community that supports Black women in tech companies and tech related professions. This 10,000+ international community has partnered with organizations such as Phenomenally, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin and Slack. Lexi’s main mission is to inspire people to create their desired life journey by understanding their purpose and life goals. She is a former Stanford Black Alumni Association Board Member and National Leadership Council Fellow.
Isabel “Isa” Céspedes is an experienced producer with a passion for utilizing sense memory to transform environments that spark cross-cultural connection and foster continued conversation. Originally from Oakland California Isa strives to preserve the rich tradition of the Black arts movement bringing socio-political dialogue to her work. In 2017 Isa became the Creative Director for Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech an international solidarity organization focused on providing safe spaces and professional development for Black women in technology. An artist and maker by nature Isa is passionate about the art of fabrication utilizing multiple techniques to create pieces centered around the transformation of materials and environmental sustainability. Isa has produced events with such companies as Airbnb, Instagram, Slack, Pinterest, Refinery 29, Square, and Ubisoft.
Dr. Hill is a native of Yulee, Florida and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Hill has a PhD in Social Work from the University of Southern California, a MSW from the University of Southern California, an MA in Africana Women’s Studies, and a BA in Women and Gender Studies from the University of South Florida. Dr. Hill is passionate about conducting inclusive research, designing equitable processes, and driving organizational strategy. Dr. Hill brings a range of experiences and expertise to Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech. Most notably, Dr. Hill is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Scrum Master (CSM). Dr. Hill is also an Associate Clinical Social Worker equipped with a diverse skill set in case management, advocacy, and cultural humility. Lastly but certainly of note, Dr. Hill is currently a Senior User Experience Research at Google where she spearheads product inclusion research. As a researcher, project manager, and social worker, Dr. Hill has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to minoritized communities. Dr. Hill's other roles include: Director of Partnerships, Strategy, and Organizational Effectiveness with Oakland Natives Gives Back, Associate Clinical Social Worker with Thrive Psychology Group, and a Postdoctoral Scholar and Research Associate at the University of Southern California.
Yan is a data driven strategist who formerly worked at the NBA and now Bank of America, specializing in data science to develop, implement and recommend best practices for business needs. In 2019 she co-founded RTC Black Wings, a non-profit for Black college women breaking into the tech industry. She delights in advocating for the advancement of Women in technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of The Regime, a beauty e-commerce platform using machine learning to connect users to the right brands.
Michelle Mitchell works at the vibrant intersection of media, racial justice, social impact, law and policy -- amplifying diverse, underrepresented voices and creating partnerships that elevate and nourish communities of color. She is an artist, an attorney, a social change seeker and a storyteller. After years of leading high-impact projects at Meta (formerly Facebook, Inc.), Michelle was tapped to launch an initiative focused on achieving equity in media representation and building deeper support for diverse, underrepresented creators, media partners and audiences on Meta’s platforms. Today, Michelle leads media equity programs and marquee diverse content investments, including Facebook’s $25M+ investment in Black creators, We The Culture, which she founded and led to a successful renewal. She also leads partnerships that leverage the power of media on behalf of racial and social justice and moments that celebrate culture. Prior to her career in Media, Michelle spent ten years as an attorney-advisor to executives across the Fortune 500, including as Associate General Counsel for Facebook, Inc. and Counsel at Akin Gump. Michelle was voted 2020 Lawyer of the Year by the National Bar Association (NBA)’s Young Lawyer Division, and has received 40 Under 40 awards from the NBA and Trending 40. She received the “Washington Woman of Genius Award” for “outstanding leadership in international law and pro bono legal services” from Trinity Washington University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics. Michelle earned her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where her education was funded by a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship.