Birmingham Black Techies’ Founder, Niesha White

Birmingham Black Techies is a networking and social group for Black tech lovers. In less than a year, they have gained a significant following and arranged monthly virtual events for their 270+ members on Meetup. 

Next week, they are preparing to host their first virtual conference called Black Tech Takeover from February 3rd-5th where they will have expert speakers, engaging panels, networking & community, and culturally relevant content. You can view the lineup and register for the free event here. Niesha White, Kellie Clark, and Jaclynn Hudson Maxwell are the co-organizers of the event.

We spoke with Birmingham Black Techies’ Founder, Niesha White to hear more about Birmingham Black Techies and how the group got started.

1. Why did you create Birmingham Black Techies? 

In college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I kept switching my majors and was a graphic design major at one point which helped me stumble into computer science. I ultimately majored in computer science, and I found my way to UX/UI design which ended up being the perfect fit for being creative and using technology to create a product.

As a professional, I was often the only Black woman in the room and I wanted to find more people like me working in tech. I tried searching online and I couldn’t find the type of group I was looking for. I kept checking and hoping that I would see a group that would pop up that fit my needs, but I realized I had to create the group myself! I decided if I was going to create the group, I would do it well and make it feel like a real community. 

2. When did Birmingham Black Techies get started?

I created an in-person event on Meetup in January 2020 and didn’t know what to expect, but 22 people showed up and I was so surprised! People were really excited about what we were doing. We were only able to meet up one more time in-person before COVID, but the momentum has been building and we’ve gained a lot of interest over this last year. 

The first Birmingham Black Techies meetup in January 2020.

3. How can someone become a member?

Right now, anyone who is interested can join! The majority of our members are already employed and work in technology, but we want to grow the number of people who are seeking to work in tech. We want to recruit them so we can continue to build up the Black tech community in Birmingham. 

4. What are the goals of Birmingham Black Techies?

So many goals! For this year, we want to build out our social network. Right now we are split between Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, so we want to have one true space for our community online. We also want to have joint events and collaborate with other Birmingham organizations and companies. We want to have FUN with technology and have more group gaming nights and connect with more gamers online. We want to continue doing Black Tech Takeover and make it bigger and better every year!

A big goal for Birmingham Black Techies is for people to recognize that Birmingham is a great place to be Black and to work in tech. Everyone always talks about Atlanta as being a hub for Black tech, but there is so much going on in Birmingham and we want our reputation to grow!

5. What are you most excited about for the Takeover event?

I am really excited to hear all the speakers, we have so many great panels lined up! I am also excited to hear what attendees think. I am looking forward to hearing reactions from people on social media and to hopefully see them appreciate all of the hard work that went into it.

Don’t miss this event! Register at https://www.blacktechtakeover.com/