200 of Silicon Valley’s Diverse Executives and Influencers Meet to Highlight Inclusion-Driven Innovation

Culture Shift Labs hosted a weekend in Silicon Valley that featured deal making and discussions about game-changing growth.

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Vasna Wilson for Drew Altizer Photography

Culture Shift Labs, founded by Andrea Hoffman, an authority on inclusion-driven innovation, collaborated with Denmark West, a partner at Connectivity Capital Partners, to bring together 200 senior executives, venture capitalists, innovators and accomplished entrepreneurs of color in California’s Silicon Valley for two days of collaborating, deal making and fostering of game-changing growth. With Google as the lead sponsor, the invite-only Culture Shifting Weekend: Silicon Valley 2016 was held March 19-20 at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park, Calif.

Award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist Hill Harper served as master of ceremonies of the awards ceremony. He kicked off the event with the notion that “the future belongs to the fearless,” using physicist Hadiyah Nicole Green as his example of a change-maker for the future. Green, a guest speaker, and one of only 100 black female physicists in the U.S., recently won a $1.1 million grant to develop a cancer treatment involving lasers and nanoparticles. She says that the weekend “changed her life!”

“Google has been a valuable partner to Culture Shift Labs on this important bicoastal event. There are a vast number of diverse individuals in Silicon Valley and tech who are leaders in innovation, business and social impact and are flying under the radar. Our goal is to paint a more accurate picture of the size and scope of these experts, connect them to each other and to corporations,” said Hoffman, whose Culture Shifting events have been fostering valuable business relationships since 2010.  

The Culture Shifting Weekend began March 19 with a “Social Innovation Think Tank” moderated by a recognized thought leader on the business imperatives of the changing demographics of the U.S. economy, Ed Dandridge, chief marketing officer of Marsh & McLennan, in partnership with Babson Social Innovation Lab. With a focus on education and workforce innovation, the think tank convened 70 of the most provocative thinkers and accomplished executives who collaborated to develop new business models and actionable solutions for change.

The weekend culminated with a Sunday-afternoon awards event. Guests including Ken Coleman, chairman of Saama Technologies; Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream; Walter Delph, managing director of BCG Digital Ventures; Marian Croak, vice president of research and development at Google; Jolen Anderson, senior vice president at Visa; and other execs from Rothenberg Ventures, Samsung, Harpo and Carrick Capital Partners came out to honor leaders and pioneers in technology, innovation and social impact.

The event honored Nichol R. Bradford, CEO of the Willow Group; “Internet of things” expert Marc Jones, CEO of Aeris; Lisa Lambert, vice president and managing director of the Software and Services Group and the Diversity Fund at Intel Capital, and founder of UPWARD; and Dr. Tony Coles, chairman and CEO of Yumanity Therapeutics. Each honoree left guests with an important message, including these:

Bradford: “I want to transform the world by making ‘happy and fearless’ accessible to all.”   

Jones: “I want to accelerate that culture shift that we all know has to happen in our country.”  

Coles: “I drive talent by seeing what may be possible through a different lens. This is really what matters.”

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