Meet Some of the Most Inspiring African-American Women in Tech
With Black History Month in full swing, we’re not just reflecting on the past, but also looking to the future for amazing figures in the African-American community today. When it comes to entrepreneurs, black women are the fastest growing demographic out there. And while this is a statistic we love, unfortunately many minorities in tech are still lacking the resources and recognition to get their startups off the ground. These must-follow ladies are closing this minority gap and inspiring new generations of women (and men) of color to pursue a successful life in tech. Talk about major #GirlBoss inspiration.
2. Stacy Brown-Philpot: If you’re not using TaskRabbit yet, we’re here to tell you: It’s the best way to get help fast to do those things you don’t have time to do. Ms. Brown-Philpot is one of the people you have to thank for this super helpful idea. She’s the Chief Operating Officer at TaskRabbit, and she’s helped the company grow and function with A+ strategy. Before that, she was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Google Ventures. (Photo via The Searchlights Project)
3. Angela Benton: She’s founder and CEO at NewMe Accelerator, which is helping underrepresented entrepreneurs get the exposure and resources they need to be super successful. Since they launched in 2011, Benton’s company has helped entrepreneurs raise $17MM without even having to fly out to Silicon Valley. They conduct calls with coaches and complete guides to get you where you need to go with your business. Gotta love an entrepreneur helping entrepreneurs, right? (Photo via Twitter)
4. Kelechi Anyadiegwu: This fabulous woman is using tech to bring African textiles to people around the world with Zuvaa. These fabrics are not only stunning, but they make a major statement. Anyadiegwu and her team are connecting a global network of designers by creating and empowering a passionate fashion community, online and off. (Photo via Zuvaa)
5. Kimberly Bryant: We’re all about ladies learning how to become ace coders, so we’re definitely on board with the mission of Black Girls Code. Kimberly Bryant was in school for Electrical Engineering and found that there weren’t a lot of black women in her industry, simply due to a lack of resources. She founded Black Girls Code to give young women of color the tools they need to learn about and love the inner workings of tech. (Photo via Black Girls Code)
6. Mary Farrow: Heads up: Gramsly is about to be your new favorite tech startups On this website, you can curate a box of goodies to send to your favorite seniors along with a picture and a personalized message. You can even make it a subscription that sends every three months. Farrow tapped into the needs of the growing population of seniors to share some love with them in a really special, unique way, just like grandma would. (Photo via LinkedIn)
7. India Aleah Hayes: This designer believes that designing for charitable organizations and nonprofits shouldn’t cost a ton of cash. Through her design company The Duty of Design, Hayes and her team create work that’s making the world a better place with human-centered design and stunning campaigns. (Photo via Twitter)
8. Laura Weidman Powers: She’s the CEO and Co-founder of Code 2040, which is looking to close the race gap in the tech industry by ensuring that Black and Latino people are equally represented in the country’s innovation economy. Through summer programs and internships, Powers and her team are helping young students start working their way toward innovation and leadership. (Photo via Code 2040)
9. Christina Lewis Halpern: Founder and Executive Director of All Star Code, Halpern is making some serious waves for young men of color in tech. Her nonprofit organization teaches them computer science, entrepreneurship and interpersonal skills so they can start a successful tech career early on. (Photo via Christina Lewis)
10. Riana Lynn: She’s on a mission to change up how we eat and what we eat, and she’s doing it with tech over at FoodTrace. Coming from a tech/science background, Lynn set out to learn all she could about how we distribute food so that she could create a whole new set of tools for everyone from farmers to agricultural leaders. With the FoodTrace system, you can know exactly where your food is coming from. (Photo via Riana Lynn)
11. Nichelle McCall: This CEO and entrepreneur teaches others how to build a successful company in 14 months, because that’s what she did. McCall’s company is BOLD Guidance. The program helps students find their way through one of the most difficult parts of college: the application process. Even better, they can do it all with their phones and their counselors can keep tabs on their progress. McCall took her experiences as a first-generation college student and is helping a new generation work out the kinks of getting a college education. (Photo via Nichelle McCall)
Which women in tech inspire you most? Let us know in the comments!
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.