This past weekend I had the great fortune of attending Black Enterprise's Tech Connect conference in San Francisco, California. After being chosen as a TCX fellow among hundreds of applicants, I was eager to connect with top entrepreneurs around the country who are disrupting the industry using technology.

Among the people in attendance, Akon was there to share his vision on how he plans to use cryptocurrency (Akoin) to power Africa; Co-host of The Breakfast Club Angela Yee, Amber Grimes (Spotify) and Aliya Janel (Queens N' Lettos) were there to share their experience as women in the technology industry; as well as, give jewels on starting up. Also in attendance, was Prince EA who won the social influence award, Nancy Douyon (Uber) , Delane Parnell (EA games/Playvs), Phillip Agnew (Dream Defenders), Former NFL star Dr. Cam Colvin, Rashaun Williams (All Star Fund) and Mendela SH Dixon (Founders Gym).

Besides the incredible feeling of empowerment that ran through my veins from seeing so many people of color, and women, bossing up and owning their own companies or leading in significant roles; my favorite part of the conference was the opportunity to meet and greet the all-star panelists, who seemed genuinely interested in helping young entrepreneurs like myself get started. The outpouring of #blackexcellence permeated the room and confirmed to me once more that I belong here. The sight of so many of us impacting our communities and bringing about real change was hopeful and reminded that I am on a divine path of influence; not to be taken lightly.

If there is one thing I could take away, it is the advice of Phillip Agnew. "Differentiate your person-hood from your brand. Every part of you is NOT for sale."

I was pleased to have earned the reputation of "hardest working and most stylish net-worker in the conference." My book, the first ever children's book of Colin Kaepernick, The Hero in the Helmet" caught the attention of Akon, Angela Yee, Aliya Janell, Amber Grimes, Mandela Dixon, Nancy Douyon, Delane Parnell, Prince EA, and Phillip Agnew who hailed it as a "must read for children."

Attending Black Enterprise's Tech Connect conference helped me to establish my feet and moved me into Phase II of entrepreneurship: looking for partners and investors. Listening to Mandela Dixon and Rashaun Williams helped me to create a money-winning pitch and gave me the confidence I need to ask! I would recommend this conference to all entrepreneurs who have a product on the market who has not yet hit scale, is getting ready hit to scale, or looking to expand.

Two thumbs up for Black Enteprise and Tech Connect! I look forward to returning next year. And who knows...I just may end up on the panel.

Joa and Akon pose for a picture at #Techcnxt


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