On Saturday, July 25th, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual All Star Code Summer Benefit in East Hampton at a private oceanside estate. It was a perfect evening all around. The weather was incredible, the location unforgettable and everyone looked beautiful coming out to raise over $600,000 to continue the growth of this worthy initiative.
The night began with a cocktail reception and interactive, student-designed game stations. The stations were comprised of games created and run by ASC students and alums and were enjoyed by a number of high profile attendees. Dinner followed provided by Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and awards ceremony with Master of Ceremonies, Maurice DuBois, award winning anchor of ‘CBS 2 This Morning.’ I went to Wellesley College with Andrea DuBois so it was a delight to see her and her husband along with many other friends such as Leon Henderson, Kyle Donovan and Willard Alonzo Stanbeck.
Event Co-Chair Loida Nicolas Lewis presented Frank A. Baker, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Siris Capital Group with the Visionary Award. Co-Chair Troy Carter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Atom Factory, presented Goldman Sachs Gives with the Corporate Leadership Award. Co-Chair Valentino D. Carlotti accepted the award on behalf of Goldman Sachs Gives. Val, who is a dear friend and Harvard Business School classmate, thankfully got me involved in the ASC Benefit Committee. He gave a rousing motivational charge to the young men that brought the crowd to their feet. Current All Star Code student Cameron King presented Marcus Mitchell with the Community Award. Mitchell is a Senior Engineering Director at Google.
“What we’re doing at All Star Code is giving young men of color the tools to ride the wave,” said Lewis Halpern at the event. “It’s my belief that the indignities and injustices and inequalities that people of color in this country still endure can only be corrected once people of color have a fairer shot at a seat at the table. Until they have a fairer shot at chairing the table. A fairer shot at running the table.”The evening closed with an exciting live auction presided over by auctioneer Alex Berggruen of Christie’s, complete with bidding wars and a high bid of $34,000, followed by a dance party with MICK. Among the 320 guests were countless notable celebrities and personalities including: Miss USA Olivia Jordan, Co-Anchor of CBS’ This Morning and Editor-At-Large of O Magazine Gayle King, Model Chris Collins, Real Housewives of New York star Kristen Taekman & her husband, Sherry Bronfman, David Buckner Orr, ASC Board Vice Chair Britt Morgan-Saks, Former Mayor of New York City and ASC Board Member David Dinkins, Alma Rangel, and Philippine Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. and his wife Eleanor. You can still bid on exciting auction items included in All Star Code’s CharityBuzz online auction or donate today.
I spent a good part of my early career in media and technology as the founder of VH1 Interactive and the VH1@Work Radio network, and then VP of Business Development and Operations for MTV Networks Interactive. With the increase of bandwidth, acceptance of e-commerce and the advent of social media, the industry has certainly transformed since the 1990s. However, one thing that has not changed much is the lack of access to prime tech jobs for people of color–particularly young men. ASC is tackling this important issue, as well as providing critical confidence-building opportunities.
Learn more about All Star Code and get involved. All Star Code’s 2nd Annual Demo Day will be hosted by Google’s offices in New York on Thursday, August 13th. If you’re interested in attending, please e-mail Director of External Affairs Christina Licata at Licata@allstarcode.org.
Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy of www.IAmPowerLiving.com and www.PowerLivingMedia.com. Check out our latest Power Living book, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master.