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Monday, December 19th 2022

Vercel at AfroTech 2022: An immersive experience

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Mayokia Fowler

Head of Global Recruiting

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Last month, Vercel had the privilege of sponsoring AfroTech Conference 2022the place for all things Black in tech and Web3. Our team was joined by the likes of Google, Meta, and Tesla in the expo hallso we knew that we needed to find ways to stand out, engage with the community, and attract top talent. 

This was our approach. 

An immersive experience with _OFCOLOR

Vercel’s mission is to give every developer the power to create at the moment of inspiration. From creatives to technologists, we envision a world where everyone can contribute to the web development process. And you’ve probably noticed that art and design plays a major role in everything that we do.

Because of this mission, we brought leaders from Black At Vercel, our new Employee Resource Group (ERG) to partner with local Austin arts alliance _OFCOLOR. We produced an immersive experience called All Kinds of Black In Tech, featuring a photo exhibit of Black tech workers, interactive product demos, and a live DJ. It wasn’t your average networking event. 

Dan Carter, Vercel Director of Engineering and B-boy
Dan Carter, Vercel Director of Engineering and B-boy

_OFCOLOR's partnership with Vercel creates a collaborative model for companies invested in their DEI commitments. This activation realized a long-held vision of using artistic platforms to empower diverse tech professionals to tell their stories, build community, and lean into their own creative energy.

Steven Hatchett_OFCOLOR Co-Founder

One voice, all roles, same team

Representation mattersacross our whole business. “When I joined Vercel last year, I was amazed to see how many people of color there were on the All Hands company call. It absolutely blew me away. From software engineers to product directors, there were people of color all over Vercel,” said Jeremy Jefferson, Black at Vercel Founder and Leader. 

With this in mind, we ensured that our AfroTech crew on the ground included folks from all areas of the business, including sales, data, engineering, marketing, and product. 

The Vercel team at AfroTech 2022
The Vercel team at AfroTech 2022

This was also the perfect opportunity for Black At Vercel to meet and strategize. “While we strive to never be siloed, it’s not every day that you get to work face-to-face with folks from all areas of the business. Our number one goal is to help build our diversity network across the organization. Networking is vital for people of color, especially for those of us working remotely,” says Jeremy. 

Kevin Van Gundy, Vercel's Chief Revenue Officer speaking at All Kinds of Black In Tech
Kevin Van Gundy, Vercel's Chief Revenue Officer speaking at All Kinds of Black In Tech

Telling our story, attracting top talent

At the end of the day, we went to AfroTech to connect with top talent. We spent three days showcasing product demos, reviewing resumes, and performing interviews. We talked to over 1,500 attendees at our booth, conducted interviews, and led a workshop with computer science and MBA students at Huston-Tillotson University, a local historically Black college (HBCU). 

But most critically, we got to tell the Vercel story to an important audience. 

Maybe someday soon, one of our future engineers or data scientists will come up with an algorithm on how to measure those seemingly intangible metrics. For now, we can say with assurance that we aim to be a place where anyone, inclusive of identity, can contribute to our mission of making the Web faster.