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Illustration of Capital One Blacks in Tech associate from the nose up wearing glasses with a triangular blue background

Empowering Black technologists with Blacks in Tech

Lisa, a director of software engineering, is always looking for new ways to inspire Black students to pursue tech. Through Blacks in Tech (BIT), Capital One’s Business Resource Group (BRG) supporting Black technologists, she’s volunteered to speak at schools—some of which she went to while growing up in Richmond, Virginia.

“We work with Black students, and they are always excited to meet Black technologists. I am able to say to them, ‘I went to that school. I grew up in this neighborhood, and I'm working at Capital One now’,” Lisa said. “I love the fact that BIT allows me to tell my story.”

Through the work of associates like Lisa, Blacks in Tech provides Black technologists the space and resources to further their careers, develop their network and give back to the broader community. 

Advancing careers inside Capital One

Engaging the BIT community can be achieved through various means, including roundtable discussions, town hall meetings and speakers on subjects such as career navigation. BIT provides many avenues for associates to grow their careers, including “Rise Up,” a six-month mentorship program that creates safe spaces for honest, in-depth conversation about associates’ career goals and builds long-lasting relationships with peers and mentors.

“BIT is a safe haven for a lot of associates,” Marissa said. “There are always challenging moments in and outside of your career. BIT provides a community and space for Black technologists to be their authentic selves.”

Creating this community and networking with other associates is a major benefit of BIT and other BRGs. It’s given Lisa the ability to reach out to and meet with leaders, who may not have been in her immediate network.

“I’m able to learn how leaders navigate their success,” Lisa said. “This gives me very real guidance on what I need to do within my career and how I can represent myself.”

In 2023, BIT launched the Patent Generator program, helping to demystify the patent process for associates. The Patent Generator program, along with workshops and skill building classes, help BIT members gain hard tech skills and further their network. 

Associates can benefit from career guidance at BIT’s keystone event, the Blacks in Tech Summit. This two-day career development event attracts more than 600 associates. The summit’s activities include speakers addressing how to make a difference in the workplace and community, discussions and demonstrations of the latest technologies, a hackathon competition and an awards program which recognizes outstanding associates and their contributions.

In 2023, Marissa Horne, a vice president in Tech, helped organize and host the summit. One of the highlights was meeting other BIT leaders, some of whom she had never met in-person before.

“We've been on calls for years together. When they came to the summit, it was like a family reunion,” Marissa said. “BIT has helped me connect to others like me.”

Engaging with local communities

BIT’s local chapters, spread out across the United States, connect with the communities they serve through recruiting engagement, community partnerships and events.

Marissa helps further this mission in her hometown of Dallas. She highlighted an event she participated in for Juneteenth. BIT and VOICES, Capital One’s BRG for Black associates hosted a day of cultural celebrations and activities, including a marching band and local food vendors.

“There was such good energy at the event,” Marissa said. “We were able to spotlight the work that occurs in Dallas and Plano, and why the Plano campus is a great place to work.”

Community outreach is key to the success of representation, according to Rodney, a senior manager of Cyber Tech. He’s gone beyond his local community to speak at universities across the country, encouraging the next generation of Black technologists.

“I'm able to talk about technology to people that are in the field, and to motivate them and encourage them,” Rodney said.

Whether it’s through volunteering in the community, sharing vulnerability in a virtual town hall or learning the latest technology in a summit, members of BIT make connections and deepen their expertise. And in the process, it makes the workplace that much more inclusive for everyone.

“BIT has cultivated this great community,” Rodney said. “It’s communities like BIT that make me proud to work for Capital One.”

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