Press Release
February 1, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Attends First Meeting of the Technology Industry Diversity Council

Speaks with Council Members About HisVision for Growth Opportunities for Chicago’s Technology Industry
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Tech Diversity Council

This morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the first formal meeting of the Technology Industry Diversity Council (Tech Diversity Council) and discussed new ways to foster diversity in Chicago's growing tech business community.  The Tech Diversity Council has been appointed by the Mayor for the sole purpose of creating opportunity for minorities and women in Chicago’s technology economy. 

“With the continued boom of Chicago’s technology industry, we must attract and develop the talent that will strengthen our shared economic growth,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am 100 percent committed to partnering with the tech community in the creation of innovative programs and policy to not only build but diversify the economic vibrancy of the Chicago technology industry.” 

The Tech Diversity Council has been tasked with the three main goals: increasing the percentage of minority employees for technology firms; increasing the number of minority-owned and operated technology firms; and helping to create new ways through which Chicago's Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago's students can transition into the technology economy. An initial four-month timeframe has been set for the council to make its first set of recommendations to Mayor Emanuel about specific things that can be undertaken by the Mayor’s administration to foster economic opportunities for minorities in the tech industry. 

The first meeting of the Tech Diversity Council comes within days of Mayor Emanuel announcing a partnership between Chicago's Public Schools (CPS), the City Colleges of Chicago's (CCC) and Chicago's-based startup The Starter League, which will create new web development courses that will reach thousands of Chicago's students at the city’s five Early College STEM high schools, the city’s Technology Magnet Cluster high schools, and the City Colleges.

Earlier this month Mayor Emanuel joined the inaugural meeting of “Women Who Launch”, a series which brings together leading women in Chicago's tech start-up community with leading female City officials. These efforts are part of the Emanuel administration’s continued efforts to build education, opportunity and diversity for Chicago's economy and growing tech industry.

The members of the council are:

Josh Hernandez, Walk.by

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

David Zapata, Zapwater

Roger Martinez, Quantum Crossings

Ian Hood, CGN Blackwell Global Consulting

Neal Sales-Griffin, Starter League

Emile Cambry, Cibola

Talia Mashiach, Eved

Darrell Higueros, Next Generation

Seyi Fabode, Power2Switch

Nancy Joseph-Ridge, Takeda

Daniel Salcedo, Mobcart

Gabrielle Lyon, Project Exploration

Sharon Schneider, Moxiejean

Lokita Pai, Q-It Tech

Yafit Becher, One Big Bow

Mariela Santori, Let’sPlayPlease

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Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel Attends First Meeting of the Technology Industry Diversity Council

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins, City of Chicago

Technology Diversity Council - Bios

Josh Hernandez, Walk.by

Joshua Hernandez joined Lightbank in June 2012 as a Founder-in-Residence and recently founded walk.by, a company that is bringing mobile and social commerce directly to Chicago's retail community. Joshua's career has spanned multiple industries, from real estate and healthcare to mobile games and electronica music. In 2009, Joshua founded Tap.Me, a mobile in-game advertising platform that has raised $4.6 million to date and is currently serving up mobile ads from advertising heavyweights such as U.S. Cellular and Proctor & Gamble. Prior to Tap.Me, Joshua served over 2.5 million users with a gamer identification platform called TripleTags.com, which enabled users to tout gameplaying accomplishments. In 2006, Joshua led a team of developers to create the first instant results real estate search service in Illinois, which has been used by dozens of brokerages in the Chicagoland area, including @properties. Joshua's entrepreneurial streak ultimately began with SectionZ.com, a peer-learning platform that he created for electronica musicians in 1999--this online music community nurtured and launched the budding talent of current superstar DJ Deadmau5.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

Eddie is the CEO and one of the founders of Shiftgig, a LinkedIn-style online community that helps service industry workers connect with each other and with businesses such as restaurants, hotels, nightclubs and retail find workers, for different types of employment.  Prior to that, he was a general partner with OCA Ventures, where he led ten technology investments. Previously, he was the founder of PlanetHVAC, a business-to-business software and service provider to HVAC companies, and started a manufacturing facility in China. He also co-founded and is an executive board member of a non-profit, One Goal Graduation and was recognized in 2010 as one of Crain’s Chicago Business’s "40 Under 40", in 2011 as Chicago United's "Business Leader of Color", and in 2012 as a Forbes "Up and Comers."

David Zapata, Zapwater Communications

David Zapata is the President of Zapwater Communications, Inc., a Chicago-based public relations agency. Throughout his career he has advised high profile clients from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies, global retail brands to Internet startups.  In 2012, Zapata’s agency won 19 major industry awards including Bulldog Reporter’s Consumer Campaign of the Year and a Gold Sabre Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the public relations industry.  He is a graduate of Gettysburg College.

Roger J. Martinez, Quantum Crossings, LLC

Roger J. Martinez is the President and CEO Quantum Crossings, LLC, a technology and telecommunications company. Martinez has also served as the Vice President of Telecommunications for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Roger started his career as an engineer with Southwestern Bell, now AT&T. He also served as the director of network engineering for the Continental Airlines family of carriers.

Ian M. Hood, CGN Blackwell Global Consulting

Ian Hood serves as the Managing Principal at CGN Blackwell Global Consulting. Founded in 1992, CGN Blackwell is a Chicago-based, minority owned business performance and information technology consulting firm developing enterprise solutions by taking a scientific systems approach in helping transform organizations. Hood oversees their Consumer Packaged Goods and Energy vertical and is also an active member of Chicago's entrepreneurial technology community belonging to Built in Chicago, 1871, CEC, and participated in last year’s Lean Startup Challenge.

Neal Sales-Griffin, Starter League

Neal Sales-Griffin is currently the founder and CEO of The Starter League, a beginner web design and development school in Chicago. Neal has worked and consulted with numerous startups and not-for-profits across Chicago. He has also worked with OCA Ventures and Sandbox Industries, two prominent venture firms in Chicago. Neal also serves as a board member of the Chicago chapter of International Game Developers Association.

Emile Cambry, Cibola

Emile Cambry Jr co-launched Cibola, a Chicago Start-Up Technology Incubator catalyzing entrepreneurship for under-represented minorities in tech. Emile Cambry, Jr. received his Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and his MBA on Merit Scholarship from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Emile is a Professor at North Park University and was recognized as one of the Top 50 Business School Professors. Emile has experience in Investment Banking for J.P. Morgan Chase. Emile is the founder of the 21st Century Youth Project and The Chicago International Social Change Film Festival and is a Board member of Depaul University's Social Enterprise Collaborative. Emile is an Ideas Award Fellow as well as a Gold Medal Edison Awards winner.

Talia Mashiach, Eved

Talia Mashiach is the CEO and Founder of Eved, an Event Commerce company that automates the buying and selling for meetings and events. Prior to launching Eved in 2010, Talia's entrepreneurial instincts led her to build several successful technology companies. Talia was inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2009 and named one of The Winning Women by Ernst and Young. Crain's Chicago has listed Talia in their 40 under 40 Class of 2010 and Tech 50 list in 2012. Also, Chicago Techweek named Talia to their 100 Most Innovative Names in Chicago Technology. Talia is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization and a board member for the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. Talia lives in Chicago with her husband and five children.

Darrell Higueros, Next Generation Inc.

Darrell Higueros is the President and CEO of Next Generation Inc., a Technology Management and Consulting firm. Mr. Higueros has previously served as the Co-Chair of the Technology Committee of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Darrell is a currently a member of HITEC (Hispanic IT Executive Council), a premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and IT executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology. HITEC’s premiere network spans the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing, flatter, and information technology centric world.

Seyi Fabode, Power2Switch

Seyi Fabode is the CEO/Co-founder of Power2Switch, a website that enables residential consumers to make responsible decisions about their energy usage and expenses.  Prior to earning his MBA at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Seyi was an operations analyst at EnergyQuote, an energy brokerage and management firm in London and commercial analyst for a Thames Power Services a privately owned power plant in London. He is also a graduate of Warwick University UK where he earned his MSc in Manufacturing Systems Engineering. 

Nancy Joseph-Ridge, Takeda

Nancy Joseph-Ridge, M.D., is general manager of the Pharmaceutical Development Division for Takeda. She is a member of Takeda’s Research & Development Executive Committee and a corporate officer. With the Takeda family of companies since 2002, Dr. Joseph-Ridge was formerly President of Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Inc., U.S. In this capacity, Dr. Joseph-Ridge was responsible for overseeing the organization’s U.S. clinical development activities.  Dr. Joseph-Ridge previously worked at TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Takeda’s then-joint venture with Abbott, where she was Vice President of R&D.Dr. Joseph-Ridge earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Rush Hospital, where she later became chief resident, and completed her fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Chicago.

Daniel Salcedo, Mobcart

Dan Salcedo is the founder and chairman of ecommerce firm Mobcart and fashion-tech firm Everpurse, both of which are housed at 1871. He is also the Marketing Director of prototyping robotics firm, Maxnc. Salcedo was the former Director of Communications at SingleHop, Inc. and previously worked as a consultant for JPMorgan Chase and as the Director of Communications for a Congressional Campaign in IL. He studied Business and Economics at Wheaton College.

 

NEWLY APPOINTED MEMBERS

Gabrielle Lyon, Project Exploration

As Cofounder and Executive Director of Project Exploration, Gabrielle Lyon champions the belief that science can and should be accessible to everyone, especially to those to whom it traditionally has been closed. Gabrielle Lyon spent her childhood in New Mexico and attended high school in New Jersey. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University of Chicago and received her Ph.D. in curriculum studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010. In 1994, Lyon was selected as a Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she worked as a writer and researcher for the education magazine Teaching Tolerance, a national forum for educators to discuss tolerance, diversity, and justice in and beyond the classroom. In 1996, Lyon returned to Chicago to direct the School Change Institute and serve as the Outreach Coordinator at the Small Schools Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Yafit Becher, OneBigBow

OneBigBow.com ties together the invitation process and the giving of gifts. When guests RSVP to a OneBigBow.com party invitation, they get to see the birthday child's gift wishes-- and they get a chance to chip in toward the cost. Yafit earned a degree in computer science from Bar-Ilan University Israel. She has more than a decade of experience in the high-tech industry, working with large corporations as well as mid-sized firms. OneBigBow.com is the direct result of combining her passion for technology and business with the insights of moms like herself.

Sharon Schnieder, Moxijean 

By providing a curated, stylish selection of like-new kids' clothes at consignment sale prices, Moxie Jean makes it easy to keep up with fast-growing little bodies, from Newborn to size 8.Moxie Jean was founded by a modern, busy mom who wanted to save time, save money AND save the planet--and didn't want to sacrifice style to do so.

Lotika Pai, Q-It Tech: Safe Video Viewing for Kids on Mobile Devices 

Who is really watching video on-the-go? Research indicates that a majority of on-demand video viewing on mobile devices (tablets & smart phones) is driven by parents looking to entertain kids – on long boring car rides, while traveling, in restaurants…. There are countless hours of educational and entertaining videos for kids available online, but we don’t want our children running riot in a potentially unsavory playground. Unfiltered and abundant content can often overwhelm the online viewing experience. We put you in the driver’s seat to chart the map of your child's digital viewing journey. Creating and sharing video playlists in a snap saves you valuable time. Knowing the videos your child watches are pre-approved by you or the people you trust gives you peace of mind. With a single click, Q-it makes it instantly available on your mobile devices for viewing via our app. It is your personal digital video library for your child! Visit us at http://www.qitvideo.com/ to find out more. About Lotika. Lotika has a two year old son and understands that there is a small amount of time that parents allow their kids to tinker with technology, and she wants to make this screen time count. She has spent years in investment banking, supply chain consulting and manufacturing. She has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Chicago Booth.

Let’sPlayPlease, Mariela Santori 

Let’sPlayPlease is a virtual playroom that engages kids and their families through video chat interaction. Let’sPlayPlease helps familes and friends connect over distance through online activities such as creating stories, coloring, virtual cooking, traveling together and much more.