Black History Month

It’s February. Wow where did January go? As you reflect on the first month of 2021, I hope you are as enthusiastic as I am for the year. I’m also very excited to kick off a meaningful February, 2021. For many, you may already know that it’s National African American or Black History Month.

Today we not only commemorate Black History Month but we also show our continued support for Black Lives Matter in our quest for equality, unity, and solidarity.  Just over a week ago, we all witnessed an amazing young lady, Amanda Gormon, the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate, and her beautiful poem, “The Hill We Climb.” It sent goose bumps down my arms as I watched and listened to her. And while so much of the poem touches on what we are experiencing in this present day in our country, one of the verses hit home:

“We are striving to forge a union of purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.  And so we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.”

Her message of unity over division is profound and one we need to continue to strive for in business, human relations and, generally, in life.

Amanda is just one of the many amazing African Americans that has touched our lives and will continue to help shape the world we live.  From Martin Luther King Jr, to the Presidency of Barack Obama, to our Madam Vice President Kamala Harris, to musicians, poets, athletes, doctors, innovators, scientists, no matter the discipline, we thank our Black Community for its impact.  We need to celebrate Black History Month by taking time to learn more about the accomplishments achieved by many notable African Americans in organizations that strive for equality for all.

And, yes, I know you were thinking this already…my company, Conversica, is one of those organizations. My team is proud to be a Conversican. We all paint the picture when there is no single majority but, rather, a collection of powerful (and equal) minorities that power our business.

Black History month reminds us about the importance of black lives and the growing movement around Black Lives Matter and our calling for equality for all.  I encourage each of us to continue to be proactive and support our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and continue paving the way for equality and unity.

[Note: Picture from left to right – Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King Jr., Claudette Colvin and Vice President Kamala Harris.]

Jim Kaskade

Jim Kaskade is a serial entrepreneur & enterprise software executive of over 36 years. He is the CEO of Conversica, a leader in Augmented Workforce solutions that help clients attract, acquire, and grow end-customers. He most recently successfully exited a PE-backed SaaS company, Janrain, in the digital identity security space. Prior to identity, he led a digital application business of over 7,000 people ($1B). Prior to that he led a big data & analytics business of over 1,000 ($250M). He was the CEO of a Big Data Cloud company ($50M); was an EIR at PARC (the Bell Labs of Silicon Valley) which resulted in a spinout of an AML AI company; led two separate private cloud software startups; founded of one of the most advanced digital video SaaS companies delivering online and wireless solutions to over 10,000 enterprises; and was involved with three semiconductor startups (two of which he founded, one of which he sold). He started his career engineering massively parallel processing datacenter applications. Jim has an Electrical and Computer Science Engineering degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in semiconductor design and computer science; and an MBA from the University of San Diego with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and finance.