BUILDUP Cohost Silicon Bayou Town Hall in New Orleans

BUILDUP Cohost Silicon Bayou Town Hall in New Orleans

At BUILDUP we believe partnerships, community and innovation are key to achieving our goals. With that being said we’re excited to cohost a town hall in New Orleans during the Essence Musical Festival on July 2nd. The title of the event is “Silicon Bayou Town Hall” and will be held at PROPELLER cowering office..

The town hall is a conversation starter and networking event for the community leading up the the YESWECODE hackathon, starting on July 3. BUILDUP is excited to partner with YESWECODE, Qeyno Labs and the Alliance Insitute to host an exciting conversation on how can New Orleans continue to grow it technology community and supper their growing startup and entrepreneurship community.

Opening remakes and welcome will be given by civil rights activist, Van Jones. General Partner at Wayne Sutton will join the panelist which include:
Kalimah Priforce, co-founder of Qeyno Labs
Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, Co-founder & CEO of
Calvin Mackie, Owner, Channel ZerO Group LLC
Zachary Dorcinville, teenage student programmer
Carolina G. Hernández, Executive Director of Puentes New Orleans, Inc
Steve Bradberry, Executive Director at Alliance Institute.
Rob Lalka, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Village Capital

New Orleans: Silicon Bayou Town Hall

We believe in equality and amplifying a community’s voice.

As New Orleans continues to grow its technology sector we want to hear from the community on these changes. We have organized a tech panel of national tech pioneers like Calvin Mackie (Owner, Channel ZerO Group LLC) and Kalimah Priforce (founder of Qeyno Labs), local entrepreneur Uchechi Kalu Jacobson (co-founder of wedOcracy), Carolina G. Hernández (Executive Director of Puentes New Orleans), Incand future coder Zachary Dorcinville to help drive a conversation moderated by veteran community organizer, Stephen Bradberry and General Partner at Wayne Sutton.



Opening remarks and welcome will be given by civil rights activist, Van Jones.

Van Jones is a visionary leader at the forefront of the social, economic, environmental and racial justice movements of the last 20 years. He is the founder of #YesWeCode, a national initiative to help train 100,000 low-opportunity youth code to become high-level computer coders. 

He is currently a co-host of Crossfire on CNN.



Come and share your voice. Ask questions and share your opinion on how the technology industry is impacting your community.



Kalimah Priforce, co-founder of Qeyno Labs,


Kalimah Priforce is the co-founder of Qeyno Labs, a hackathon incubator that harnesses the interests of high potential youth from low-opportunity settings into STEM career pathways. Qeyno launched the first hackathon for Black Male Achievement and the first Startup Weekend in Oakland (California). In partnership with Yes We Code and Essence, Qeyno is launching YesWeCode Hack at the 2014 Essence Festival (July 3-6).

He has been featured on Essence Magazine, Jet, KQED, NPR’s “Tell Me More”, PBS Newshour, Black Enterprise, San Francisco Magazine, and has been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in increasing STEM diversity and access.

Kalimah is a 2013 Echoing Green fellow and one of the driving forces behind The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based program that trains black male youth in entrepreneurial thinking, software development, and user experience design.

Twitter: @priforce


Uchechi Kalu Jacobson
Uchechi Kalu Jacobson,  Co-founder & CEO of

Uchechi Kalu Jacobson is a Nigerian American Tech Entrepreneur, User Experience Designer and Poet. She is the Co-founder & CEO of, the social wedding planning startup based in New Orleans, LA. Her second book of poetry, Resembling the Sea, will be published later this year. You can find her on Twitter

Twitter: @uchechi_writes



Calvin Mackie, Owner, Channel ZerO Group LLC

Dr. Calvin Mackie is an award winning mentor, an internationally renowned motivational speaker, and a successful entrepreneur. His message as a mentor, speaker, and entrepreneur continues to transcend race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and time.. After starting college in remedial reading because of weak SAT scores, Calvin Mackie earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in Mathematics from Morehouse College in 1990, a M.S. in 1992 and the Ph.D. in 1996 in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. He served on the Tulane University faculty from 1996-2007, where he received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2002. Mackie’s eleven year academic career ended in June 2007, when Tulane University disbanded the engineering school in response to financial hardship induced by Hurricane Katrina. 

Twitter:  @calvinmackie

Zachary Dorcinville

Zachary Dorcinville, teenage student programmer

Zachary Dorcinville is a teenage high school student with a strong interest in computer programming and entrepreneurship. Recently Zachary created a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe to fund for his travel to participate in the #YesWeCode Hackathon taking place July 3-6th in New Orleans during the Essence Festival. Zachary wants to go to college and is inspired to use technology to create equality in the world.

wayne sutton

Wayne Sutton, General Partner,

Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and general partner at BUILDUP. Wayne has over 14 years experience in technology, design and business development. Wayne was recently recognized as one of the Silicon Valley 100 coolest people in tech, one of the 52 hottest new stars in Silicon Valley, one of the 46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology by Business Insider and one of the Top 100 most influential black people on social media in 2014.

Twitter: @WayneSutton


Carolina Hernandez

Carolina G. Hernández, Executive Director of Puentes New Orleans, Inc



Ms. Carolina Hernandez is a former board member and the current Executive Director of Puentes New Orleans, Inc. Puentes New Orleans was established in 2007 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit Latino community development organization in the Greater New Orleans area to support the inclusion of Latinos in public, political, and socio‐economic life. Puentes’ mission is to build assets and create access for and with Latinos of the Greater New Orleans area through civic engagement, leadership development, economic asset building, policy and advocacy. Ms. Carolina Hernandez has over (15) years professional experience in business development, strategic leadership, architectural/interior design, customer/client service, community advocacy and program management.


Rob Lalka

Rob Lalka, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Village Capital

village capital

Rob Lalka is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Village Capital. Previously, he was the Senior Advisor for Global Partnerships at the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and before that, he served in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Office of Global Partnerships and was a member of her Policy Planning Staff. He has co-authored partnership strategies for the United Nations and the World Bank and has been a Presidential Management Fellow, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and a Truman National Security Project Fellow. He graduated from Yale University and holds his master’s degree in global public policy from Duke University.


Panel ModeratorStephen Bradberry

Steve Bradberry, Executive Director at Alliance Institute



Chicago native Stephen Bradberry is a veteran community organizer who has worked with low- and moderate-income families and individuals for 20 years. His work has centered on organizing public interest campaigns to actively involve low-income families in addressing the social problems they face everyday. He has led campaigns promoting a living wage, preventing predatory lending, lead poisoning prevention in children, and increasing voter participation. Bradberry currently leads Alliance Institute, increasing access to health care across the Gulf Coast of the United States. Bradberry also mentors younger community organizers and was the first American to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Twitter: @stevebradberry








7:00pm Networking 
7:15pm Panel
8:30pm Networking












4035 Washington Ave
Suite 105
New Orleans, Louisiana 70125


You can RSVP for the event below.

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