Jenna Bond is founder of Imagine 1369, a communications and brand strategy consultancy for creatives. She launched the organization to translate her experience working in Bill Clinton’s chief of staff office (where her accomplishments include launching the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and writing for the former president) to talent who can benefit from the strategies that drive successful brands and individuals. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia Business School. @thejennabond
It’s very likely that if “Family Matters“ was on air today, we would all perceive Steve Urkel as Stephan. This is the era of the Black nerd. From Lebron Jamesto Kanye West, cultural influencers are channeling their inner geek, even if the persona only goes as far as the outfit. But the truth is that the rise of startup culture has made way for a celebration of the black nerd, or as Kat Calvin calls it, the “blerd.”
Her company Blerdology is in the midst of a national #BlerdsNightOut tour which has had successful stops in Orlando, Dallas and Chicago. #BlerdsNightOut has attracted top African-American young professionals from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), adding a needed sense community in places outside of startup hubs like San Francisco and New York.
When not on tour, Blerdologyalso hosts events to attract youth to immersions in technology, but is focused on creating a global celebration of the intellectual talents of black culture. And having attracted the attention of the likes of Cory Booker, Blerdology is doing quite well for an organization that just launched in February. Calvin explains, “We want to show everybody that there are black people who are doing amazing things not in sports or the arts. Being smart is not just a path to success but also the new cool.”
Calvin grew up as an army brat, embracing a love of books as a comfort for being always the new girl in town as her family hopped from city to city. A serial entrepreneur, Calvin decided to embrace her obsession with all things peculiar, brainy, “Star Trek,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, Childish Gambino and Aisha Tyler, and celebrate a movement that is happening everywhere we look.
Check out Blerdology and enjoy these five easy steps from Calvin on how to embrace your inner blerd!
1. Watch a Sci-Fi show featuring a black actor, like J.J. Abrams‘ upcoming “Almost Human” on FOX featuring Michael Ealy. But note that none are as cool as Nichelle Nichols as Uhura on “Star Trek.”