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Reflections from 2023 Black Tech Fest

By Nikki Keresztes | Inclusion & Diversity Global Communities Manager and Head of London’s BEAM Chapter.

For this year’s EMEA Black History Month, BEAM, our Inclusion Business Group (IBG) for Black Employees and Allies, partnered with our Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) and Global Talent Acquisition (GTA) teams to show up at Black Tech Fest, Europe’s largest event focused on Black Culture and its influence on Technology.

Nikki Keresztes, I&D Global Communities Manager

I work on our I&D team as Global Communities Manager looking after our Communities and I also head up BEAM’s London Chapter. I joined Expedia Group (EG) in 2022. Being involved in Black Tech Fest was the perfect synergy between my personal and professional goals and it was my first big external event after returning from parental leave. 

Our presence at Black Tech Fest

EG’s sponsorship of Black Tech Fest shows our commitment to making EG the top choice for attracting Black Tech Talent and was a great career development opportunity for our current Black employees. Everyone from new grads to leadership came, to speak at our booth to potential candidates, to talk with Black owned travel tech businesses, and to share our thought leadership in this space. It was also a great opportunity to showcase our Black and Well-Traveled platform at our booth to the people we met with.

The Black Expedia Allied Movement (BEAM) is an Inclusion Business Group that exists to champion the contributions of Black Expedians, to facilitate professional development and advancement, and to support the well-being of our community.

IBGs are strategic, self-organized, Inclusion & Diversity team sponsored communities focused on advancing inclusion, awareness, development and a sense of belonging for underrepresented identities at EG.

Our established Black and Well-Traveled platform acknowledges and celebrates the joy of being unapologetically Black in all facets of life, including travel. For some, there are barriers to when it comes to travel, and it is crucial that our workforce represents our travellers, to help unlock and solve those barriers. By diversifying the transformative technology we use to build our creative platform across our brands, and the technologists we work with to achieve this, we can make global travel a better experience for everyone.

What we learned from attending the event

Speaking in-person to potential candidates was invaluable as an information gathering opportunity. Some huge opportunities that stuck out for me are: 

  • There is huge appetite from career changers, which was a great way to learn more about boot camp opportunities that we should explore 
  • Showing up at events like Black Tech Fest is a great way for EG to stay front of mind for candidates from the Black community, but a reminder to also continue connecting with folks outside of the more traditional Russell Group Universities, too 
  • The potential candidates we met at Black Tech Fest were really challenging us to practise what we preach regarding the diversity of our leadership team in EMEA. We have some progress to make here and our transparency about this ,and the ways we are trying to address the gap, landed really well with them.

Highlights from the panel session including EG’s Abu Bakarr Bundu Kamara

We had the opportunity also to demonstrate our I&D thought leadership through Senior Director of Global Inclusion, Abu Bakarr Bundu Kamara, participating in a panel discussion on Allyship. Not only did this drive audience members to the EG Booth, but it also gave a platform to share how our internal culture is powered by our I&D communities. One take away I had personally from Abu’s feature was this quote he shared with the audience:

When talking about Corporate Allyship, its important to be lead by the Communities themselves. Its not about calling yourself an ally, the community must give you that name.’ 

Hearing from the team

It takes a team to show up at an event like Black Tech Fest (BTF). We caught up with some colleagues who were there to find out what they enjoyed about being there, and to hear about their learnings:

Bernice Asare | Onboarding & Maintenance Manager & BEAM London Co-Chapter Lead: One of the main learnings I had from BTF was the importance of representation at all levels within a company and the company’s culture. These are the questions that most people coming to our stand were interested in. I really enjoyed the opportunity to share my experience as a BEAM member with future candidates and to represent Expedia Group.

Chinedum Nwaezeigwe | Product Manager & BEAM Member: I had a fantastic time at Black Tech Fest. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our work at EG and the various Early Careers programs we have with prospective graduates. Having gone down a similar path myself, it was particularly rewarding to provide guidance and offer valuable insights to them. It was also really cool that people really liked EG’s merchandise – it practically flew off the shelf! I would love to go again!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Black Tech Fest, and to the teams who set us up for success, and of course to all the great people we met while we were there.

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