Diversity in tech is the new black, and these creatives and entrepreneurs are spreading the word. Here at Black Love, we’ve compiled a list of Black bosses in the tech industry who are using their influence to tell Black stories, build Black products, and empower the next generation of tech leaders. Read on to learn how they’ve brought inclusion to the forefront of their careers while overcoming their own challenges as pioneers in the tech community.
Serena Williams, @serenawilliams
The name Serena Williams is one you know well, but this tennis legend is also making power moves in the tech industry. Serena has long invested in companies, such as Alica and Translator, that serve and support underrepresented groups. Most recently, Serena has partnered with the female-first dating app Bumble as an investor in Bumble Fund, a venture that invests in startups founded and led by women of color and other minority groups. But she hasn’t stopped there. Serena’s eponymous clothing line is available online and uses the hashtag #BeSeenBeHeard to champion for women. Recognizing that her fashion business lives in the online space, she’s also begun learning to code and expanded her influence to other brands like Poshmark and SurveyMonkey.
Everette Taylor, @everette
Everette Taylor has more than a few reasons for being recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30, not excepting multiple business and philanthropic ventures. ET Company, the company he founded and chairs, boasts a number of digital marketing and advertising brands — PopSocial, ArtX, GrowthHackers, and MilliSense to name a few. It’s no wonder his IG page reaches more than 326K followers. A little over a decade ago, he was homeless. But now, at 29 years old, he chairs multi-million dollar brands, shares his story internationally and advocates for mental health, drug prevention, and diversity in tech.
Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, @valeisha
Valeisha takes boss to new levels by creating space for young, diverse professionals in tech, politics, and entertainment. Right now, she helps create inclusion at Google as the global head of community. While at Google she’s supported initiatives such as Howard West, an engineering training program for Howard University students, and the talk series Decoding Race, for sparking open conversations around race. But, you may have heard of her work driving the youth vote for Obama’s 2012 campaign or with the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, a nonprofit known as WEEN. She has numerous recognitions, including Ebony Magazine’s Power 100.
Maverick Carter, @mavcarter
Maverick’s name is often seen alongside LeBron James’, but that’s by design. Since 2006, they’ve partnered to use the basketball star’s wealth and notoriety to create platforms for empowering others. They started with LRMR Ventures, a sports marketing company that they co-founded to manage LeBron’s early career. Since then, Maverick has grown into the CEO role at SpringHill Entertainment, a production company with a multi-cultural focus, and at UNINTERRUPTED, a platform for athletes to be more than leaders in their sports. He, alongside LeBron, Drake, and others – has also invested in Mars Reel, a digital media startup aimed at promoting the stories of amateur and high school athletes. Through these ventures and productions such as The Shop, they’ve given a voice to pro-athletes by using encouraging them to tell their own stories through digital media.
Morgan DeBaun, @morgandebaun
While studying at Washington University, a predominately white institution, Morgan observed how Black students came together in a campus cafeteria to host their own discussions. In 2014, Morgan founded Blavity to meet this need at a larger scale. Blavity.com is the home for news by and for Black millennials, but that’s just one of Blavity’s five brands. In the few years since its founding, Blavity has raised $9.4 million dollars in funding, launched two brands, and acquired two more. Blavity is responsible for the Black lifestyle platform 21Ninety and an annual conference for Black tech entrepreneurs and innovators called AfroTech. Its acquisitions include Shadow and Act, a news source for Blacks in entertainment, and Travel Noire, a Black travel platform.
Wayne Sutton, @waynesutton
Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur with a consistent mission: developing inclusion in tech. Business Insider recognized him as one of the 46 Most Important African-Americans in Technology for his work leading PitchTo and NewMe, companies helping investors and startups grow their businesses. More recently, he’s served as the director of Backstage Capital, an accelerator for underrepresented founders, and as the co-founder of Change Catalysts, the engine behind the Tech Inclusion conference and related programs. When he’s not advising diverse entrepreneurs, you can find him riding his Ducati Scrambler.
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❤️❤️❤️ #Repost @changecatalysts ・・・ In February of 2014 I met this woman . Our second date was on Valentines Day 😆. My life has not been the same since. So much laughter and love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ . . . . . #grateful #love #happiness #valentinesday #sanfrancisco @rentnema Photo by @shephotographyexperience
Kimberly Bryant, @blackgirlscode
Kimberly Bryant discovered computer programming through an Electrical Engineering course at Vanderbilt University. Thank goodness, because she later became the founder of Black Girls CODE, an organization aimed at helping other young African-American women get exposure to coding. She doesn’t deem the lack of Black female representation in technology-related fields as a symptom of a lack of interest, just a lack of opportunity. Through Black Girls CODE, she seeks to train one million Black girls to code by 2040. For this, and for being a social and STEM pioneer, she’s been recognized by Business Insider as one of the 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology.
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I began my college career at the peak moment for women receiving degrees in computer science. When I graduated from Vanderbilt in the late 1980s with a degree in electrical engineering, women earned about 30 percent of computer science degrees. Since that time, the number has plummeted—it’s currently only 18 percent. But for women of color, that number falls off a cliff—black women receive only about 3 percent of computer science degrees. These statistics were a wake-up call for me and my reason for doing the work I do every day to create a better, more ideal, and perhaps easier pathway for my daughter and girls like her who love #STEM. I’m thankful to partner with @acer_america on their #MakeYourMark campaign and look forward to a brighter tomorrow powered by a new and diverse generation of technologists and innovators. Windows Hello: You are the password. #Windows10 #Swift7 #partner https://bit.ly/2Wogkbd
Tristan Walker, @tristanwalker
In 2013, Tristan founded Walker & Company to serve the hair care needs of people of color. Through Bevel, Walker & Co. provides above-par grooming solutions for men; through Form, the company offers products designed for naturally curly or coiled hair. In 2018, he expanded his reach by joining the Procter & Gamble family while retaining his role as CEO. But his tech impact is just as large. As founder and chairman of Code2040, he actively works to dismantle the barriers that keep minorities from participating in the digital economy to their full potential.
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I launched code2040, a nonprofit that aims to address racial gaps in the tech industry, as an effort to better serve the specific needs of my community. Find other TECH💻 journeys like mine in the @googleearth #BlackHistoryMonth #TheJourneyOfUs collection: g.co/blackjourneys.
Shavone Charles, @shavonec
Shavone’s is another name you’ll find on the list of Forbes 30 Under 30. As the founder of Magic In Her Melanin, she stands apart for conquering the biggest companies in tech without compromising her unique identity. After serving in musical and cultural roles at Google, BET, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, she gained loads of experience marketing artistry and brands. But she’s since left her role as head of global music & youth culture communications at Instagram to focus on her own music. Look out for the electro-flautist and lyricist on a stage near you.
Dave Salvant, @davesalvant
Dave’s brainchild, Squire Technologies, is in its early stages but poised for a big impact. Today, the Squire app makes it easy for you to find, book, and pay for a barbershop appointment online. He’s brought tech to a traditionally offline space, but he has room to do much more. Through Squire’s new Instagram integration, the app is now ready to reach millions of social media users and give small businesses the opportunity to grow beyond the confines of their physical community.