July 14, 2022

Inspiring the future through mixed reality

By Sherlaender “Lani” Phillips

In June we celebrated the freedom for our partners to build, dream, and grow. I’m always inspired by the individuals who collectively leverage their passion to create remarkable solutions for our customers. The passion and experiences of our partners have a profound impact on the diverse solutions that we all create to transform our customers’ perception of what’s possible.   

As we near Microsoft Inspire 2022, we look ahead to the programs and opportunities that will help fuel our partners’ growth.  We also celebrate the stories of those who have moved us to dream bigger, innovate more, and solve the world’s greatest challenges through technology. The partners within the Microsoft Black Partner Growth Initiative are delivering a vast diversity of thought, solutions, and services underscoring the influence that this empowered community has had on the Microsoft ecosystem.  

Partners like Jacqueline Beauchamp, Founder, CEO and Chairwoman of The Engaged Media Company, a Mixed Reality firm, is leveraging her lived experience to develop best-in-class solutions for her customers. Meshing diversity of thought and technology, Engaged Media has positioned itself as a leading African American video game developer and publisher, with a focus on immersive content. The organization has brought to life immersive experiences for customers like the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Black College Football Hall of Fame, Texas A&M University, and more. Engaged Media has also collaborated with Microsoft to become the first African American company to receive a Mixed Reality Capture Studio license.  

As the Executive Sponsor of the Microsoft Black Partner Growth Initiative, I’ve had the unique opportunity to not only work with my team to invest in the enablement of a community, but I’ve also been able to bear witness to how our partners make more possible for our customers.   

We recently met with Jacqueline to discuss what inspires her to dream bigger, innovate smarter, and set the stage for the next generation of partners.  

 

You’ve been dreaming of this work since you were young. Do you have a moment in time that you can pinpoint?  

The moment in time was when I was around 10. My father was a chemistry teacher. He would bring new things home from radios to calculators to spur my imagination. I always wanted to know how these things functioned. He was also a businessperson, so his influence helped guide me as I pursued my dreams.  

 

What inspires you today? 

I draw inspiration from realizing that kids don’t always see hopes and dreams materialize. In the era that I grew up in there were tons and tons of people pushing the envelope through the civil rights movement. From that, I learned that you can’t let anything stop you. Young people keep me driven every day. 

 

What do you envision as the future of Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality? 

I see this as the endless possibility of telling different and unique stories that people can gravitate to in a different sphere. You can envision, create, and see yourself in there. The only thing that limits you is your own imagination. I like to say there are endless possibilities of the seemingly impossible.  

 

As a participant of the Black Partner Growth Initiative, you also were connected to the Microsoft Partner Capital Fund. How did that help support your business?  

It helped lift us into a growth position. Our industrial education practice is growing from a servicing standpoint. We’re now able to focus on technological and business development. Furthermore, it’s led to hiring. We have between 35-50 people that we’re planning to hire within the next 12 months.  

 

You and your team are bringing the Black experience to the gaming industry. Why is that important?  

Our experiences need to be told. We as African Americans are not necessarily represented in the gaming space. If we’re represented, unless it’s a sports title, the representation is typically negative – we want to change this.  

 

Engaged Media isn’t limited to gaming. Where else do you see your business going because of hiring and expanding your business? 

We see ourselves going after Department of Defense contracts. There’s a need to provide immersive experiences for the department. We feel confident in the value that we’ll add, and what’s exciting is that you don’t typically see a woman-led or African American- led organizations in this space.  

 

You mentioned that the next generation inspires you. How do you intend to invest in their future? 

As we expand into new opportunities, we want to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create talent pipelines. The talent is there, we just need to cultivate it.  

Partners like Engaged Media are embedded throughout the ecosystem. Throughout this fiscal year, we look forward to sharing more stories of impact that are being uncovered through the Microsoft Black Partner Growth Initiative.  

 

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