In recent years, the number of black professionals making a significant impact in the technology industry has increased. Despite their underrepresentation, these individuals have defied the odds by developing solutions that have transformed the industry. This article will introduce you to 12 black leaders in technology who are breaking down barriers and making significant progress in their respective fields.
Lisa Gelobter: Pioneer in Interactive Media
Lisa Gelobter is an interactive media pioneer and one of the original designers of Shockwave, a popular web animation technology. She has also held executive positions at BET and Hulu. Gelobter is currently the CEO and founder of tEQuitable, a startup that uses technology to assist businesses in addressing workplace bias and harassment.
Rodney Williams: Disrupting Traditional Retail
Rodney Williams is the CEO and co-founder of LISNR, a company that connects devices and enables seamless transactions through ultrasonic audio technology. Retail, transportation, and hospitality have all made use of technology. Williams has been named one of Ad Age’s Top 40 under 40, one of Upstart100, and Black Enterprise’s Tech Entrepreneur of the Year. Forbes has also featured Rodney in its magazine.
Join our Spotcovery Global Black Community Facebook Group for early access to exclusive content and to share in a lively discussion.
Kimberly Bryant: Empowering Black Girls in Tech
Bryant is the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of black women in technology by teaching them computer programming and technology. Black Girls CODE has had an impact on over 20,000 young women worldwide since its inception. Bryant was named a White House Champion of Change for Technological Inclusion. The Business Insider ranked her as one of the 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology.
Mark Dean: Innovating in Computing and Engineering
Mark Dean is one of the most successful black tech leaders of our time. Mark is a computer engineer and inventor who holds three of IBM’s nine original personal computer patents. He is also credited with creating the first gigahertz chip and has held a variety of executive positions at IBM. Dean is currently an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Tennessee.
He is the John Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Tennessee. His research interests include advanced computer architecture (systems that go beyond Von Neumann), data-centric computing, and computational sciences.
Morgan DeBaun: Leading in Digital Media and Entrepreneurship
Morgan DeBaun is the CEO and co-founder of Blavity, a digital media company focused on black culture and millennials. Blavity has raised over $9 million in funding and is one of the industry’s fastest-growing media companies. DeBaun has been named a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and has been featured in The New York Times and Fast Company.
She is passionate about empowering black entrepreneurs and increasing diversity in the tech industry. She’s one of the most inspiring black leaders in tech and a role model for the younger generation.
Read also: A History of Black Video Game Characters
Tony Prophet: Promoting Equity and Opportunity in Tech
Tony Prophet is a technology executive with over 30 years of industry experience. He has held executive positions at Microsoft, HP, and Salesforce. Prophet was the Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce, where he oversaw efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the company and industry.
He is the director of Dolby Laboratories, Inc., at the moment. He earned a spot on the Black Enterprise 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America, and publications such as The New York Times and USA Today featured him.
Erica Baker: Building Inclusive and Ethical Tech
Baker is a Microsoft senior engineering manager and a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in technology. She has also worked for Slack, Google, and Patreon. Baker is a Project Include co-founder. Erica serves on the Girl Develop It board of directors and as a tech mentor for Black Girls Code. She is also a member of Barbie’s Global Advisory Council. She has appeared in magazines such as Wired and The Atlantic.
Dr Ayanna Howard: Advancing Robotics and AI
Dr Ayanna Howard is a roboticist and AI expert who has worked in academia and industry. She is the Dean of the College of Engineering at Ohio State University, and Forbes named her one of America’s Top 50 Women in Technology in 2018. Howard’s research focuses on developing assistive robots for disabled children as well as advancing AI in diverse and equitable ways. She has appeared in magazines such as USA Today and Time.
Angela Benton: Investing in Underrepresented Founders
Angela Benton is an entrepreneur and investor who co-founded NewME Accelerator and Streamlytics. NewME Accelerator is a startup accelerator that has assisted underrepresented founders in raising more than $47 million in capital. Fast Company Magazine named Benton one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010 and one of Inc. Magazine’s Female Founders 100 for October 2020.
Christina Lewis: Bridging the Digital Divide
Christina Lewis is the founder and CEO of All Star Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the digital divide by teaching young black men about technology and entrepreneurship. Over 1,000 young men have benefited from All Star Code, which has partnered with companies such as Google and Goldman Sachs.
The Obama administration named Lewis a “Champion of Change for STEM Access.” Lewis was also named a National Action Network “Woman of Power” in 2016.
Kaya Thomas: Advocating for Inclusion in Tech
Kaya Thomas is a software engineer and diversity advocate who has worked for companies such as Slack. She is also the creator of We Read Too, a mobile app that promotes children’s and young adult books written by people of color.
Kaya Thomas was selected as a CODE2040 Fellow in 2015. She was later named a role model as part of Google’s “Made with Code” initiative, which provides girls with coding support and training.
Ime Archibong: Empowering Global Connectivity
Archibong is a Nigerian-American entrepreneur and executive at Facebook, where he is in charge of leading the company’s efforts to increase global internet access. He was instrumental in the launch of several initiatives, including Facebook’s Free Basics program, which provides free basic internet access to developing countries.
Archibong is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, having worked with organizations such as CODE2040 and the National Society of Black Engineers to support underrepresented groups.
These 12 black leaders in technology are making significant contributions to the industry and paving the way for future generations. Their work ranges from interactive media to robotics and entrepreneurship. By advocating for diversity and inclusion, developing innovative solutions, and empowering underrepresented communities, these individuals are challenging the status quo and transforming the industry.
As the technology industry grows and evolves, we must continue to celebrate and support diversity and inclusion. By recognizing these leaders’ contributions and promoting diversity in technology, we can help create a more equitable and innovative future for all.
People also read: What It’s Really Like Being Black in Tech
Nearly 80% of consumers turn to directories with reviews to find a local business. List your business for free in our exclusive Spotcovery Black-Owned Business Directory