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Howard University School of Business Hosts Panel with Black C-Suite Executives in Tech Industry

Howard University School of Business Hosts Panel Discussions

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, March 13, the Center for Digital Business at the Howard University School of Business presented its inaugural Tech Titans Talk.  

The panel, produced in collaboration with Maximus, gathered distinguished Black chief information officers (CIOs) from across the technology industry for a discussion at the Armour J. Blackburn Center. At a time when Black people represent only 3.7% of CIOs in the country, according to cio.com, the panel offered invaluable insights into the experiences, obstacles, and achievements of these trailblazers. 

Moderated by Howard alum and host of “The Black Futurist” podcast Bryndan Moore (B.S., ‘96.), the panel featured Derrick Pledger of Maximus, a global health and human services provider; John Russell of aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman; Venice Goodwine of the U.S. Department of the Air Force; La’Naia Jones of the Central Intelligence Agency; Glasford Hall of QinetiQ, a security and defense consultation company; and Niki Allen of aircraft company Boeing.  

“The technology industry has experienced many changes in innovation and structure, as the position of CIO didn’t exist 15 years ago and opportunities for Black people have also grown,” said Russell. “Through the course of my career, I've seen that we are often reluctant to take a chance on one of our own because of the optics, but I will tell you that over the last 10 years that has started to change.  

“What I tell people is that nobody is ever going to remember the optics when your team is performing and successful. “Pick the right person and forget all the rest. At the end of the day that's what changes culture.” 

The key advice centered the importance of network building and allying with people from diverse backgrounds. The panelists noted that some of the biggest allies they have found are outside of their gender or race, who related to them for other reasons. As a leader in any industry, they said it is essential to develop personal relationships with the people you are leading.  

“What drove my leadership philosophy is having clear self-awareness and understanding of the people that you work with, what they're dealing with, and what their challenges are. the ability to build and maintain relationships with drive the type of leader that you are,” said Goodwine. 

In addition to the panel discussion, students in attendance had the opportunity to connect with recruiters from Maximus and QinetiQ, who were present to mobilize students for their current internship and job openings. 


About Howard University  

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university comprising 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced three Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu