Tech Spotlight: Clayton Banks

What is your current role and where do you work?
Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem. Silicon Harlem is focused on broadband infrastructure and digital literacy. We focus on building a strong pipeline of talent by collaborating with the education ecosystem and instantiating our various tech oriented curricula. There are still too many households falling behind with a lack of broadband and the company believes “everyone deserves a connection”, so we provide broadband solutions to get the unconnected connected.

How did you get into tech?
I took computer science classes in college and after graduation went to work for Xerox. In the history of Xerox, the company invented the personal computer, the mouse and many other world changing technologies. I was on the team to expose the computer to business owners and I quickly understood the power of the device. Xerox is responsible for the graphical interface, laser printer, text editor, Ethernet cables and more. I have been working in tech ever since.

What’s your favorite technology to work with and why?
Currently focused Holography as a way to improve general day to day service for urban markets. Also, I enjoy Augmented Reality as a way to spread education.

What project are you most proud to have worked on and why?
On a personal note, I did a multimedia campaign called “The Key” in conjunction with former President Bill Clinton. The project focused on improving graduation rates for African American and Latino students and we were able to get digital tools to help the transition to college for over 500,000 students.

Through Silicon Harlem we have a summer STEM academy that has had a 100% success rate in getting students into college.

What do you see as the most interesting technology on the horizon?
Smart Technology is the next industry wide technology and is very interesting. Data is truly the currency of the 21st century and smart technology will generate the most data. Smart Tech includes wearables, civic data, medical devices, homes, cars, the infrastructure of entire cities, and much more.

If you weren’t working in tech, what would you be doing?
I would be a policymaker or a College professor.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your tech career?
Technology is always evolving. The key lesson is to not get dependent on any single methodology but instead keep pushing to improve on what I have learned.

What can companies do to create more inclusive environments?
The key to inclusion is to recognize it as not a problem but rather an opportunity. That paradigm shift will not only invite everyone to participate but in addition will guide companies to rapid success as more diverse points of view create profitable outcomes.

What keeps you busy when you’re not being a technologist?
Community organizing keeps me busy. My commitment is to move urban markets towards sustainable economic prosperity. I serve as a Commissioner for NYC focused on ensuring public data is shared with the communities we serve. This will help communities get the information needed to improve their opportunities.

The Abernathy Tech Spotlight series highlights black professionals working in tech, from freelance developers to non-technical founders. Complete this form to submit your profile.