Business adviser and growth strategist  Andrea Hoffman, CEO of management consulting firm Culture Shift
Labs, knows there’s some science
 behind making relationships
 work as she promotes growth and 
innovation through inclusion.
“I jokingly tell people I have 
a Ph.D. in chemistry for the
 way we curate rooms,” she says.
”I’m really good at putting the
 right people together to achieve
 a certain kind of spark. Friend-ships are made, business deals are
 done, collaborations are forged 
with people who look like them
 that are also influencers. My job 
is to just facilitate the magic.”
Those skills were on display
 in April at the third-annual
 “Culture Shifting: A Weekend of 
Innovation, Technology & Social 
Impact” held in venues through-
out Silicon Valley. Hoffman, a
 20-year veteran of the diversity 
and inclusion space, invited more
 than 300 innovators, leaders and 
senior executives of color who
 share the same vision.
Under the theme of “Building 
Bridges, Not Walls,” the week
end highlighted executives and speakers from various industries
 joined for a common mission.
”We’re really trying to perfect the
art and science of deal-making
and collaboration,” Hoffman
 says. “People had a renewed 
sense of inspiration – that was 
the common theme – and a 
renewed sense of focus.”
Events such as this are em-
powering for executives of color 
to meet each other, network and
 have fun, and they provide “a safe
 space for that right connection.”
“A lot of times, they’re the only
 ones in the room or at the table 
in senior leadership roles,” Hoff-
man says, adding, “Even people 
that are sometimes the only ones in the room, they forget there’s a 
wider ecosystem like them.”
Of particular success was a
 Social Innovation Think/Action Tank. “It was electric. It was 
absolutely electric,” she says.
”The minute we called a break
 they couldn’t wait to meet other
 people and talk.”
Also of note was a breakfast 
with millennial tech entrepre
neurs and influencers designed to 
introduce rising stars to respect
ed industry leaders. “I wanted 
to create a scenario where we’re
putting those next-generation
 problem solvers in the room with 
senior leaders as a way to expand
 the work we’re doing to a younger 
demographic but still include the
 senior leaders.”
The weekend’s agenda featured 
interviews with world-class innovators, panel discussions with
 cutting-edge inventors, think
tank sessions and a VIP dinner 
highlighted by a discussion on
tech and West Africa.
Friday’s Breakfast with Mil
lennial Tech Entrepreneurs 
and Influencers, sponsored by SAP and Vista Equity Partners,
 gathered 25 Latina and African-
American company founders and tech influencers to accelerate
 collaborations between Millenni
als and corporate America. Lloyd 
Carney made a surprise visit 
and Maci Peterson explained the
 source code for her app, On Sec
ond Thought, which allows users
 to recall text and email messages.
She has raised more than $1.4
million to-date.
At Friday’s Fireside Chat on
the Future of Black Hollywood
 and Tech, held at SAP, Luke Cage 
showrunner Cheo Coker, and
The Virtual Reality Company
CEO Guy Primus, delved into the 
ways business leaders and artists 
impact global media, reach new audiences and develop fresh revenue streams. Primus, a Georgia
Tech alum and former COO of
 Will Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment,
 has raised $25 million to date,
 while Luke Cage has crushed 
Netflix records.
Saturday’s Social Innovation
Think/Action Tank, produced in
partnership with Babson College
 Social Innovation Lab, included 
a curated group of C-suite execu-tives, entrepreneurs, innovators,
 investors and influencers of
 color, such as renowned CEEK 
CEO Mary Spio; neurosurgeon
 and Talamus Health CEO Dr.
Murisiku Raifu; and serial entrepreneur Clarence Wooten, who
 demonstrated his new role model
 app, STEAMroIe. Panelists and
 attendees executed the theme of
 Inclusive Entrepreneurship &
Innovation by transacting deals 
in real-time.
Sunday’s Culture Shifting
 Awards recognized African-
American leaders and pioneers
 who broke barriers within their
 fields and contributed to progress 
for people of color in business
 and society: Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade Communications Sys
tems; Pamela Joyner, business-
woman and art collector; Issac
 Vaughn, CEO of Ooyala; and
 Robin Washington, EVP/CFO of
 Gilead Sciences, Inc. The honor
ees shared intimate stories about
 their personal journeys and their 
efforts to advance diversity and 
Best-selling author and “CSI:
New York” actor Hill Harper 
humorously hosted the awards
 ceremony, stating afterward, “I
 was proud to host the ceremony 
for the second-consecutive year
because I share Culture Shifting’s
 commitment to a diverse workforce and its mission to promote
 an inclusive economy.”
Harper’s Manifest Your Des
tiny Foundation is dedicated to 
empowering underserved youth
 through mentorship, scholar
ship and grant programs. At
 Saturday’s VIP dinner, Harper
 forged a partnership between his
 new skincare line and one of Mr.
Oyebode’s Nigerian companies.
Romanieo Golphin Jr., the 
adorable 7-year-old physics
 genius featured on “The Tonight
Show” for being both a CERN
 and NASA ambassador, was one
 of eight “Culture Shifters” who
 spoke on stage.
Sponsors included Ford, 
Salesforce, Vista Equity Partners,
 Brocade, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Honeywell, Infor, Intel,
 The Joyner/Guiffrida Collection,
 Mercedes Benz, Ooyala, RBC
Royal Bank, Visa, The Williams
 Capital Group, Apple, Donnel
ley Financial Solutions, Google, 
eBay, Oracle, Ernst & Young, 
HBO, SAP, Mot Hennessy USA,
Twilio and Uber. M