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Black History Month 2023: Partners, Vendors Share Stories From The Channel

Wade Tyler Millward, Rachael Espaillat

Black professionals from One View Communications, Real Impact Technology Consulting, Imperva and Nozomi Networks talk about inclusivity and the channel.

Nyasha Tunduwani, CEO of Real Impact Technology Consulting, traces his passion for technology and running a partner business back to the entrepreneurial spirit his parents displayed as business owners in Zimbabwe.

Vanessa Carter, CEO of One View Communications, credits belief in herself, years of building relationships in the channel and a personal mission to better advocate for customers with fueling her own journey to starting a partner business.

And for Micheal McCollough and Roya Gordon, both landed at vendors with partner programs thanks to someone taking a chance on them earlier in their careers despite a lack of experience.

This Black History Month, CRN spoke with Black professionals in the channel about how they entered IT, reached milestones in their careers and industry efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive industry for service providers.

[RELATED: Black History Month 2023: Celebrating Influential Black Americans In Tech]

Black History Month And The Channel

While each of these professionals told CRN that representation in the channel has improved over the years – with newer, diverse faces more prevalent at conferences and in different roles at partner businesses and vendors – much work remains to increase the number of Black people and other underrepresented voices not only in the channel, but in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Signs of disparity are easy to find. A January report from McKinsey estimates that 40 percent of Black American households lack high-speed, fixed broadband compared to 28 percent of white American households. In cities such as Chicago and Baltimore, Black households are twice as likely to lack a high-speed internet subscription compared to white ones.

Thirty-eight percent of Black households in the rural South lack broadband compared to 23 percent of white ones, according to the report. Sixty-nine percent of Black Americans have desktop computers or laptops compared to 80 percent of white Americans.

And about half of Black workers have advanced or proficient digital skills needed for the tech-driven economy compared to 77 percent of white workers. Black Americans are 13 percent of all workers but only 7.4 percent of digital workers.

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