Donnell Creech is a black tech professional striving to improve workplace diversity and leadership development among minorities in the field of tech. To do this, Creech founded MVMT50, a coalition of Black thought leaders committed to sustained and systematic improvement in employment diversity, cultural representation and leadership development in the innovation, technology and digital sectors. In an effort to gain traction, Creech is planning on attending the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival where MVMT50 will promote their new campaign – We Are Here. “Someone has to highlight the fact that we are here; it is important. You have to raise the awareness.”

MVMT50 is currently developing a report called “The Diversity 360: Annual State of Diversity in Tech”, which will provide strategies and structure to effectively progress diversity in tech. Although Creech has partnered with Maya Beasley, co-founder of T10 Group, finding support and funding for the project has been difficult. Beasley pointed out that some companies are not forthcoming when it comes to providing diversity numbers. According to Beasley, “While numbers are low for African Americans and Hispanics, 29% of the tech workforce in Silicon Valley are foreign-born nationals. A third of their tech workforce are foreign nationals,”

“Let’s be real, that’s diversity. We cannot say there isn’t already functional diversity. It’s just that the workforce is not made up of diverse Americans.”

In order to move the needle, diverse programming is needed and Creech can help make this happen at the SXSW festival this year.

Here are a few events that have taken place at this year’s festival:

  • The third annual hackathon, a two-day competition where 65 students develop mobile apps to solve problems in education, health and social justice, is taking place separate from MVMT50 programming this year.
  • Panel discussion targeting diversity and black innovation which include “Harlem: The New Tech Frontier” on March 11 and “Diversity in Tech: Readiness and Recruitment” on March 12
  • HBCU Battle of the Brains which is targeted towards undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs. In teams of three to five, they will also work to develop solutions to a complex issue
  • MVMT50 Hackathon will took place on March 10

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