Amplifying Black Excellence: A Look Back at BLACC’s Year at Amplitude

Blake Jackson, Founder of BLACC, discusses the ERG's impact in 2022 and upcoming initiatives.

Inside Amplitude
February 1, 2023
Image of Blake Jackson
Blake Jackson
Manager, Global Talent Initiatives, Amplitude
Black History Month at Amplitude

In 2020, Amplitude launched an organized network of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) with the aim to promote connection, inclusivity, and belonging across teams and time zones.

In celebration of Black History Month, we reminisce on the progress made by BLACC, our Black-centered ERG, in 2022 and look forward to their plans for the upcoming year.

As we reflect on the past year, 2022 stands out as a pivotal moment for our employee resource group Black Leaders at Amplitude Creating Change (BLACC). Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our members were able to come together in person for the first time and solidify the bonds and sense of community that we had built virtually. This in-person connection reinvigorated our mission to create an inclusive environment, contribute diverse education, and drive retention of Black technology leaders through awareness, engagement, and opportunity. Looking back on the past year, we are proud of the progress we’ve made and excited about the impact we will continue to have in the years to come.

The world continues to change and evolve, and we find ourselves on an unprecedented path. Now more than ever, we continue to believe in the common thread of humanity that unites us all. In that spirit, we wanted to share what we achieved and what we learned in 2022 in the hope that it is inspiring and helpful to others.

BLACC to reality

2022 was quite the year for us at Amplitude. The macroeconomic climate quickly shifted, and while we continued to prosper, it was in spite of strong headwinds as opposed to the buoyancy of the “post-COVID” recovery from the year before.

Given such turmoil, our theme for Black History Month was “Black Health & Wellness,” and we used the moment to come together and support one another. J. Nicole Dove moderated a panel featuring London-based Ampliteers Catherine Adeniran and Zak Atom-Ra as they shared a global perspective on the Black experience and the implications and importance of mental health for Black employees.

In partnership with the Transparent Collective, Derrick Johnson and Renee Barnes participated in a panel discussion about what’s happening in tech and mental health with an audience of Black business leaders, investors, and founders.

We ran our inaugural “Family Movie Night” and invited Ampliteers to watch the film The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington. In conjunction, we ran a fundraiser through Double Good, raising money for Black Girls Code. The next day, we had a listening circle about the movie to discuss its themes and relevancy at Amplitude.

An amazing result of our Tech for Black Founders initiative is the bond we’ve forged with some of our partner companies, including Branch, Braze, and mParticle. We built on that relationship and ran a joint event called the ExecConnect where several CEOs, Co-Founders, and Executives met with members of our collective Black ERGs to share insight from their professional journeys while holding time for Q&A.

In the week leading up to Juneteenth, Dr. Darrick Smith came to Amplitude HQ for a Lunch & Learn session, where he gave a powerful presentation contextualizing the event’s history and reminding us of the importance of remembering our shared history.

In November, members of the BLACC ERG traveled to Austin, TX to represent Amplitude at the AfroTech conference. Despite the unexpected frigid temperatures, it was an incredible experience that surpassed all expectations. It once again reminded us of the power of community and the energy that comes from being together.

BLACC at AfroTech

Lastly, in support of Black filmmakers, we had some fun and went to the movies as a group twice to see Jordan Peele’s Nope and Ryan Coogler’s Wakanda Forever. The emotional catharsis of Wakanda Forever, along with the general confusion leaving the showing of Nope, were two group experiences that we’ll cherish forever.

BLACC ERG going to the movies

BLACC to the future part III

Heading into 2023, the BLACC ERG is focused on driving initiatives that move the needle on our three pillars:

BLACC ERG's 3 pillars

Our theme for this year’s Black History Month is “Introspective Resilience: Black Leadership and our Experiences in Tech.” We are committed to working together to ensure Amplitude is a place where Black people can thrive and make meaningful contributions to the tech industry. As we celebrate Black History Month, we’re excited to announce some of our upcoming initiatives:

  • Building on our successful partnership with Branch and Braze, we will host a joint panel featuring Black people managers from each respective company. They will discuss their journeys to leadership and share their perspectives on leading in today’s climate.
  • In recognition that we are stronger together, we will embark on a “Blackness as a Mosaic” museum crawl alongside other Amplitude employee resource groups. Our itinerary includes visits to the Asian Art Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the African Diaspora.
  • To foster team bonding and camaraderie, we will host a cocktail-making workshop led by our resident mixologist. We will learn how to make a classic recipe rooted in our culture, all while enjoying each other’s company.
  • We firmly believe that digital products are the future, and we are committed to helping companies bring power to their products. Throughout the month, we will highlight Black leaders in the Product and Growth space and raise funds for ColorStack to support their mission of increasing the number of Black and Latinx computer science graduates who go on to launch rewarding technical careers.

Meaningful change

BLACC is proud to be a part of a data-driven company filled with extraordinary people dedicated to making a difference. As we look back on the past year, we are struck by the power of our collective action and the impact we can make when we come together. We are honored to partner with other groups, organizations, and universities. Together, we will continue to work towards our mission of amplifying Black excellence not only within Amplitude but throughout the entire tech community.

As we move forward, we are reminded of the words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Let us continue to strive towards a more inclusive and equitable world, where all voices are heard and all people have the opportunity to thrive. Together, we can make a meaningful change.

Get Access to the Amplitude Growth Plan with the Tech for Black Founders initiative.

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About the Author
Image of Blake Jackson
Blake Jackson
Manager, Global Talent Initiatives, Amplitude
Blake Jackson is the Manager of Global Talent Initiatives and Early-Career Programs at Amplitude. He is overseeing Amplitude’s employer branding, recruiting operations, talent sourcing, and university recruiting efforts. He is the Founder of the BLACC employee resource group and an Amplitude Star Wars trivia champion.

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