TechBridge’s Digital Ball Celebrates Innovators & Collaborators Advancing Technology & Community

Aug 23, 2023
Laughing guest seated at table

Our Digital Ball Celebrates Innovators and Collaborators Advancing Technology & Community

Our 23rd annual Digital Ball (held on at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center) brought together technology leaders, professionals, philanthropists, and advocates united in the pursuit of leveraging technology for positive social change, ultimately breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Emceed by Brooks Baptiste (Emmy-Nominated anchor for Atlanta News First) and co-chaired by DeWayne Griffin (chief digital and information officer at Insight Global) and Shannon Johnston (executive vice president and chief digital officer at Global Payments Inc.), this year’s event highlighted “Community Drives TechBridge.” In this collective vision, the Digital Ball showcased the collective power of our community and highlighted the important role of cooperative initiatives in sculpting a technological landscape tailored for the nonprofit sector.

Our thriving community comprises both nonprofit and corporate partners, collectively supporting our mission. Our sponsors’ unwavering support not only fuels the event’s success but catalyzes the transformation of our community initiatives. This year’s event was made possible through the support of both long-term and new sponsors. Accenture returned as the Partner Sponsor for the event and UST joined as a new Titanium Sponsor. Gold sponsors included CDW, Equifax, and Graphic Packaging International. Silver sponsors are 3Ci, Ernst & Young, Insight Enterprises, Microsoft, RAAH Technologies, and Verizon. Bronze sponsors include BakerHostetler, Bitwise, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Capgemini, Converge Technology Solutions, Cox Enterprises, Datum Innovations, Dell Technologies, Elevance Health, ERPICG, ETS Solutions, The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, FPT Software, Global Payments, Google Cloud, Hylaine, IBM, Insight Global, Moveworks, Needling Worldwide, NTT Data, PwC, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Schellman, Smith + Howard, Southern Company, Sparq, and TCS. Additional sponsorships are provided by FastTek Global and Smith + Howard.

A Vibrant Showcase of Community Unity

From lighting up the AGT stage with a show-stopping performance to setting the tone as the opening act of the Digital Ball, the Atlanta Drum Academy truly showed us how Community Drives TechBridge. From every beat to every lesson, the Atlanta Drum Academy embodies the essence of how a strong community shapes and empowers individuals. Their opening act showcased how unity, passion, and shared dreams can create waves of change.

Entertainment continued with a vibrant tapestry woven by Komansé Dance Theater, employing art to explore current social activism issues, and Okorie “OKcello” Johnson, an Atlanta cellist and composer who resonates with the community through his music and commitment.

Celebrating Community and Technology Leaders

A pivotal recognition at the event was the Dream Big for Hunger Relief Grant, which was awarded to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, accentuating the role of data and technology in magnifying community impact. Verizon’s sponsorship underscored the potency of collaboration in reshaping hunger relief.

Our Community Leader Awards celebrated dynamic individuals making waves in community progress and technology. Notable winners included Yonathan Ghebremedhin, Vish Narendra, Charlie Paparelli, Bryan Schroeder, Ricky Steele, and Pat Upshaw-Monteith.

Ann Cramer Volunteer of the Year Award

Acknowledging outstanding dedication to volunteerism and community service, Ricky Steele (chief development officer at Talent 360 Solutions) exemplifies servant leadership with his extensive entrepreneurship, advocacy, and tireless support for numerous nonprofits.

Ed Steinike CIO Award

Vish M. Narendra (chief information officer & senior vice-president at Graphic Packaging International) stands out for his exceptional leadership, passion for mentorship, and philanthropic commitment, furthering digital transformation for global recognition.

Bill Bolling Nonprofit Leader of the Year Award

Bryan Schroeder (executive director at The Giving Kitchen) earns this honor for his relentless commitment to providing emergency assistance to food service workers, exemplifying dedication to community welfare.

Sig Mosley Entrepreneurial Leader Award

Charlie Paparelli, a professional angel investor, receives this award for his remarkable role in shaping Atlanta’s technology landscape through strategic ventures and fostering entrepreneurial growth.

TechBridge Community Leader Award

Pat Upshaw-Monteith (president and CEO of Leadership Atlanta) epitomizes philanthropic leadership, tirelessly steering initiatives to combat generational poverty, offering shelter, justice, and career opportunities for a stronger, more inclusive community.

Vish Narendra TCP Graduate of Excellence Award

Yonathan Ghebremedhin, a resilient graduate from Eritrea, emerges as the embodiment of excellence through his exceptional performance in the Technology Career Program. He not only achieved personal success as a QA Engineer at Rimidi Inc. but also actively contributes to others’ journeys, particularly refugees’ transitions into technology careers.

Powerful Partnerships

Our Executive Ambassadors, a dedicated council of volunteer IT executives, play a pivotal role in championing our outreach to nonprofits, corporations, and individuals. Through the power of networking and connection, these diverse stakeholders synergize their expertise and commitment, sparking collaborations and amplifying our mission’s impact.

Our nonprofit partners, deeply embedded in the heart of societal change, forge alliances merging technological prowess with community empowerment and fostering an ecosystem of innovation. As they converged at the Digital Ball, these instrumental forces converge and amplify the ripple effect of positive change, solidifying our role as a driving force at the intersection of technology, community, and innovation.

As the curtain closed on this year’s Digital Ball, the resounding message remains: a united community propels innovation, driving both technology and societal transformation.

Gallery (The Digital Ball Highlights)

Please enjoy these pictorial highlights from the gala.

To view the rest of the photos from The Digital Ball 2023, visit Shane Michael Photography. You can also download images from the gallery there (email required).

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