All Talk: Diversity in Technology Panel

......... November 13th 2018
In partnership with DeskHub

About the Program

The innovation economy is creating more jobs and capital than any other sector in the world. Unfortunately a majority of those jobs and capital are not always inclusive of our diverse population. This panel will explore how community organizations are working together in San Diego to increase diversity in technology and what the best practices are from around the region and country. From recruiting and training diverse investors, to hiring and promoting more diverse employees in a corporate setting, or fostering diversity in the startup stage of businesses, it is going to take a multidimensional approach to helping bridge the diversity gap in innovation.


About the Experts


Elyse Burden of Real World Scholars

Elyse is the co-founder of Real World Scholars, a nonprofit that infuses entrepreneurship into everyday classrooms, and was recently placed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.  


Ashok Kamal of Tech Coast Angels

Ashok Kamal is Executive Director of Tech Coast Angels - San Diego, which is the largest and most active angel investor group in the country. As an angel investor, Ashok has invested in a diverse portfolio of companies, including, which is a global network of co-living & co-working properties in beautiful places, and Backstage Studio, Grove Collaborative, Echo Labs, Winnie, First Access and Fabric8 Labs. Ashok's latest venture, the School of Rap, is an online & offline program to empower youth through inspiring new media applications. 

Lolita Taub of Backstage Capital

Lolita is Backstage Capital’s Principal for the “It’s About Damn Time Fund,” a fund focused on investing in Black women-founded tech startups. Her prior early-stage tech investing experience includes Portfolia and K Fund. Before joining the VC world, Lolita spent nearly a decade in B2B enterprise tech, consulting and selling solutions to Fortune 500 companies at IBM, Cisco Systems, and Silicon Valley and NYC startups.

Lolita holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. She’s living the dream, working alongside and investing in the next generation of diversity-led tech unicorns.

Carrie Sawyer of Qualcomm

Carrie Sawyer works at Qualcomm as a Manager of Inclusion and Diversity. She comes to diversity from the field of User Experience where she worked for 13 years to understand the needs, expectations, and behaviors of people to better inform the design process. Carrie earned her master’s in Human Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s in New Media Arts and Science from Indiana University. 

Carrie is now applying her people-centered perspective to developing and implementing a diversity and inclusion road-map for the company. She is working to improve representation in tech and is focused on building teams where each person can feel valued, contribute fully, and achieve their career goals. 

H. Puentes of CONNECT ALL

H. serves as both the Director of Outreach at CONNECT, and is currently serving as the Director of CONNECT ALL, where he leads and organizes government, business, community, and innovation leaders to help bring entrepreneurial resources to traditionally undeserved communities of San Diego.


In partnership with


All Talk is an evening program highlighting expertise and insights on current trends in the innovation economy. This event features a flexible format and has taken shape as a moderated panel discussion among industry experts or a single-speaker event. A casual networking reception rounds out the evening and provides an opportunity for introductions and discussion around the topic.


Do you have a breakthrough energy technology? Check out the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Cluster for more programs for startups that are developing solutions to help California meet its energy goals.