Reflections from Marqeta’s 6th Year Attending AfroTech

Headshots of the four Marqetans why attended AfroTech on a purple gemoetric background with the words "AfroTech 2022" in green and then the Marqeta logo and the AfroTech logo in white.

Here at Marqeta, one of our guiding principles is to empower career advancement for communities where we do business. This principle is what inspired us to begin sending Marqeta representatives to AfroTech in 2017, right here in our own backyard in Oakland, CA. Over the years, AfroTech has grown into the premier tech, investing, and wealth-building platform for the Black community.

We were so pleased to be back in person this year at the AfroTech 2022 Conference which took place November 13-17 in Austin, TX. We had a strong delegation of Marqetans attend the event including our two co-leads for Marqeta’s BlackCard Employee Resource Group, Patrick Pierre-Victor and Emmanuel Mawutor, as well as two members of our Recruiting team, Lexi McKenzie and JJ Crowley. 

While each Marqetan had a unique experience attending the conference, we caught up with Lexi, Patrick, and Emmanuel to learn more about their time at AfroTech.

Emmanuel shared his initial impressions, “AfroTech was pretty cool to witness. It was rejuvenating to see thriving black professionals excel at being leaders in their respective fields. It was also nice seeing the MQ team and sharing some laughs with them.”

Lexi agreed, saying, “I truly enjoyed AfroTech 2022 and meeting so many talented and driven attendees. Sometimes being Black in Tech can feel very isolating because you look around and feel like you are one of few in the industry. AfroTech was extremely refreshing because it brought together thousands of Black professionals and gave us a platform to connect, make new friendships, and to strategize on bringing more folks that look like us into Tech. It was extremely motivating!”

Patrick, Lexi, and JJ posed in front of a topical looking yellow and blue background.
Patrick Pierre-Victor, Lexi McKenzie, and JJ Crowley at AfroTech 2022

For Patrick, AfroTech was like no other conference he had attended before and “was probably one of the best professional experiences of my life.” Patrick spent much of the conference meeting with and hearing from leaders in his field. He shared that after meeting so many successful Black professionals, he was able to deeply think about growing his own career and how to find mentorship along the way:

“I got a chance to talk to so many successful people and really understand, how do people stack their careers? I think that, especially in non-technical roles, there’s a lot of questions as to where to go next. You kind of have to carve it out yourself. So it’s helpful to have those conversations with people to really understand, how did they piece their knowledge together? What kind of roles and experiences do they have? And then what experiences really catapulted them to where they are now? 

It seemed like mentorship was huge, so that became my go to question. I went to as many people as possible and asked them 1) do they have a mentor? And 2) how did they find their mentor? Because I think those are two very important questions along with how they are leveraging that relationship. Having this conversation with people really helped me understand that it’s not just going to happen organically, you really need to put yourself in those right situations so that you can benefit from a relationship with somebody who’s a little bit more experienced and has insight into how to build a career.”

After 5 days at AfroTech, we’re so glad to hear that each of our Marqetan attendees had a memorable and positive experience. We can’t wait to return with an even stronger contingent of Black tech talent in 2023. If you’re interested in learning more about open roles at Marqeta and maybe joining us next year at AfroTech, share your information with us.