Connecting with Hidden Figures

February 23, 2017

Earlier this month Adobe had the pleasure of being part of an event in Oakland, California that was hosted by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). In partnership with Boeing and the film “Hidden Figures”, the night focused on the contributions of the black STEM community. Adobe and other companies such as Salesforce, Cisco and Intel, among others, rooted themselves in the Oakland Impact Hub for a night of networking, thoughtful discussion and some Adobe magic.

The event, which had attendees ranging from university talent to senior leaders from startups, all represented areas of the Bay Area. And what a busy night it was at the Adobe table! Our talent team talked to over 200 attendees and shared with them some free goodies, an Experience-athon of Adobe Spark and a demo of Adobe Character Animator.

A glimpse of the eventful night.

The Experience-athon, held by Eric Ullman, Senior Customer Experience Improvement Leader, was a great way of showing off our creative products to those unfamiliar with Adobe Spark and a great way to get the audience to show off their creative side. Those who stopped by learned how to create a Spark Post, and used the platform to tell what they’re inspired by, what their passion is and what’s important to them.

Our team was also joined by Calvin Wong, Software Engineer and creator of the Virtual Reality Club at Adobe. Calvin used the time to demo Adobe Character Animator for attendees, who watched as he brought 2D characters to life.

While attendees got a feel for our products, others had the chance to talk to our talent team to chat about new opportunities at Adobe, what our culture is like and other diversity initiatives we’re planning.

Toni Vanwinkle (right) sharing her story.

The highlight of the night though was the panel that closed out the event. Of the panelists that took the stage, including “Hidden Figures” cast member Karan Kendrick, Adobe was represented by Toni Vanwinkle, Head of IT, Employee Experience. The agenda of the night included scenes from the film, panelist stories of a time when they felt like a hidden figure, audience stories and a Q&A.

On a time she felt like a hidden figure, Toni actually shared a story about her son, recounting a time when he should have stood up for himself and advocated for himself, especially when he knew something was wrong. Toni then talked about her own background, and the importance of mentorship. Her key takeaway was encouraging the audience to stand up for themselves and show up as their full self.

Although the event only lasted the evening, Adobe is proud and excited to continue our partnership with NSBE and we look forward to finding new ways to connect with talented individuals and hearing new stories. Which is why the Adobe team will actually be in San Francisco from Feb 23 – 26th for the Lesbians in Tech summit so that we can continue connecting with diverse talent to make a better workplace!

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Photos by: JJ Harris