Intentional Impact: A Recap of Udemy at AfroTech

This past November, we sponsored AfroTech’s first live conference in the past two years. AfroTech is the largest Black tech conference, with a global community of over 20,000 Black professionals working in or seeking to work in tech. Attendees participated in curated events and programming focused on culture, entrepreneurship, networking, and recruitment. Udemy’s goal was to have a meaningful impact with a community that reflects the diversity of our global learners and employees. 

One of our core values is “individually humble, collectively proud.” People from various teams across our organization came together to collaborate on our participation at AfroTech. For us, this looked like:

  • Offering inclusive swag items
  • Giving away free Udemy course codes
  • Promoting our job opportunities
  • Sponsoring networking mixers with Black-owned organizations
  • Subsidizing conference tickets for 25% of our Black Employee Network to attend
  • And having our senior leadership team members conduct onsite interviews

These contributions made us collectively proud of what we were able to accomplish for our teammates and the community.

Supporting our Black Employee Network

Overall, the success of our sponsorship felt tangible. In addition to that, members from our Black Employee Network (BEN) – one of Udemy’s global employee resource groups – were able to build connections and community among themselves and other Black techies that celebrated and held space for them to do so.

“The cross-functional exposure internally was incredible,” Leticia Reid, a marketing operations specialist at Udemy, shared. “It’s hard to get that kind of exposure in our normal day-to-day. I think it represents the value that can come forward when you get such diverse roles represented within the same space at a very impactful event like AfroTech.”

Gabriel King, a recruitment sourcer at Udemy, agreed. “I have to echo Leticia’s sentiments about exposure – both internally and externally. I spent the morning going to sessions, making connections, and just basking in the incredible ecosystem AfroTech had allowed to thrive – born simply out of ideas and hard work, at that. Not with a handout. Not with favoritism. Not by being in control of the rules at large and bending them to our will, but despite all of that.”

Connecting Community with Opportunity

Another highlight was the number of learners and instructors that stopped by our booth to share how Udemy impacted their lives. Trey Briggs, a senior engineering manager at Udemy, reflects on those special moments. 

“One thing I really appreciated was the number of people who came up to our booth to say thank you for the product we’re building,” he said. “It’s helped them advance in many different stages in their careers. We had college students who use it to help complete a course they’re taking at their university, people learning a skill for a new career, or late-stage career folks who use it to keep learning and improving. I was just blown away with the reception we had.”

Keeping our value of “always learning” in mind, we hoped to amplify that impact by offering free course codes for some of our top courses in areas like business, software engineering, marketing, and sales as a thank-you to attendees who stopped by our booth.

Creating Intentional Moments

One of my proudest moments preparing for AfroTech was brainstorming how to be intentional in the ways we showed up, including things like our swag choices. Although swag is such a small piece, we thoughtfully chose bonnets as one of our offerings. It not only showed how we’re inclusive, but also made attendees feel seen, represented, and respected.

“AfroTech was a moment of coming home,” Cyndia Chambers, an enterprise customer success manager at Udemy, said. “It was being surrounded by people who you don’t have to explain yourself to. They understand your culture, and you just have a sense of acceptance. No, you don’t know half the people who are on the floor, but the shared experience of living in this world with our culture is what makes us so appreciative of AfroTech’s existence.”

These stories are a driving force for us as we continue to strive toward our belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion (BEDI) mission. Our attendance and the collective efforts of so many teammates across the company to make AfroTech a successful event left us with an experience we can be extremely proud of. We’re excited for what’s to come and, most importantly, we seek to learn, grow, and build upon opportunities like this to partner, support, and show up for the communities and employees we serve.

Let’s revolutionize learning. Check out our open roles worldwide here and apply today!