Clayton Banks is the Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem. The mission of Silicon Harlem is to transform Harlem and other urban markets into Innovation and Technology Hubs. Under his leadership, Silicon Harlem has been able to partner with the Department of Education for New York City to establish an after school STEM based startup accelerator, collaborate with the NYC Mayor’s office to assess wireless broadband in upper Manhattan and coordinate a virtual startup incubator for tech based entrepreneurs. Banks has established and produces the only comprehensive technology conference in Harlem, the Silicon Harlem tech conference is focused on next generation internet and its impact on urban markets economic development.
Prior to Silicon Harlem, Banks has been a pioneer in the cable and communications industry for over two decades. He set the vision for Ember Media, a development group that builds digital solutions and interactive applications for top brands and non-profit organizations, across multiple platforms. Known as a pragmatic visionary, Banks has developed and deployed leading edge technology and applications for network cloud, gaming consoles, social media, augmented reality, interactive TV, tablets, mobile apps and over 400 interactive properties. Banks has implemented multi-platform strategies for MTV, ESPN, Budweiser, Essence Music Festival, Urban Latino, Prudential, New York Institute of Technology, United Technologies, National Urban League, Denny’s, Scholastic, and other top brands. He has produced multimedia and broadband content for Discovery Networks, HBO, Pepsi, Bloomberg TV, Showtime Networks, Bermuda Tourism, British Tourist Authority, Monaco Tourism, and countless other companies and organizations around the world. Banks has worked with former President of the United States Bill Clinton to publish a first-of-its-kind interactive college guide series called “The Key”, that targets underserved communities and features Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. The Key was featured on CNN, NY1, Univision, and several other media outlets around the country.
Banks served as Vice President of Affiliate Relations for Comedy Central. While at Comedy Central, he was part of the launch of South Park, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the Upright Citizens Brigade. Banks established the New York and Chicago Affiliate Relations offices, recruited, hired, and managed a senior affiliate relations team.
Prior to Comedy Central, Banks served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing to launch Sega Channel. Sega Channel was the first interactive cable service available to US subscribers. In his capacity at Sega Channel, Banks collaborated with all aspects of the product including technical infrastructure, product content, and distribution. Banks negotiated affiliation agreements for distribution of the service with the top cable companies in the US. Including Comcast, Cablevision Systems, Time Warner, and Charter Communications. Sega Channel has been credited by many media experts for moving the cable industry toward interactivity.
Prior to Sega Channel, Banks served as Regional Director at Showtime Networks, where he was responsible for launching The Movie Channel in New York City and overseeing overall growth of Showtime Networks among assigned multiple system operators.
Banks currently serves on the Commission on Public Information and Communication for the city of New York, appointed by and representing the 5 Borough Presidents. He serves as a Board of Director for the Armory Track and Field Foundation, a Board member for the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and is an active participant in the Principal for a Day program in New York City. He has published several white papers on the interactive experience and participates as a moderator and speaker at several industry events. Banks served as the President of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) from 1996-1998 and was instrumental in working with the FCC to include Minority owned business incentives in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. As NAMIC’s President he championed programs to increase the number of minorities in senior management in the Cable and network television business.
Banks has received many awards for outstanding creative and corporate awards including an I.D. Magazine Award, a Davey Award, Promax, @dtech award, Creativity Award, Astrid Award, Ten Awards, the Communicator Award, a Boli Award, the Harlem Business Alliance Business Person of the Year, inducted as a History Maker in the United States Library of Congress, the recipient of the Trailblazer award from Rainbow Push and most recently received a proclamation from New York City as a Technology Leader.
Banks attended California State University at Fullerton, where he received degrees in Business Administration and Communications. Banks also completed a Cable Industry sponsored Executive Management program at Harvard Business School.