CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community asked members to profile notable black technologists who have inspired and motivated them throughout their careers. They chose to profile some of today’s most influential tech leaders, as well as NASA pioneers. Initiatives to support tech businesses to be more diverse, equal and inclusive (DEI), are making inroads to allow traditionally underrepresented groups to find greater opportunity within the IT industry.
According to a CompTIA survey, 2021, many companies believe that DEI programs are the right thing and/or are beneficial for business. However, there is still much work to be done. Recognizing Black tech pioneers who have blazed new trails and opened doors for others is one way to increase awareness about DEI benefits. CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community members were asked to nominate famous black technologists who have inspired and motivated them throughout their careers. Here’s who they nominated:
Dr. Tarika Barrett CEO, Girls Who Code
“Dr. Tarika Barrett is currently the CEO of Girls Who Code. This non-profit aims to close the gender gap within technology and has served over 450,000 students around the world. A quick glance at Dr. Barrett’s professional history will reveal that she is a servant leader who is committed to addressing inequalities faced by underrepresented groups in education, and in the workforce.
“Dr. Barrett’s time at Girls Who Code has been a catalyst for the non-profit’s global expansion. She has also led the After-School Clubs and Summer Immersion programs, which have reached hundreds of thousands of girls around the world, more than half of them being Black, Latinx, or from low-income families.
She is a leader and a mentor to young girls, helping them realize that programming and technology careers are possible.
“Dr. Barrett inspires me to be committed to community and the power mentorship.” She reminds us to be brave and challenge the status quo.” – Ashley Martinez, digital experience supervisor at TD SYNNEX
Tia Hopkins, founder and CEO of Empow(H)er Cybersecurity
“Tia Hopkins has vision. She was a mentor to me as I was trying to learn more about cybersecurity. It was hard to find Black women in the field of cybersecurity thought leaders. A mutual colleague shared her profile. She stood out immediately to me. Tia is the founder of Empow(H)er Cybersecurity. This “organization focuses on providing a safe place for women of color interested or currently working in cybersecurity.” I have attended many training sessions with the group and found the environment to be motivating, supportive, and kind. These are rare qualities in the entry-level cybersecurity industry. Tia is warm and funny and down-to earth, which makes her a great mentor and coach.
“Tia also leads in both the classroom and the boardroom. She is a Cybersecurity executive at eSentire, and adjunct professor at Yeshiva University. She is helping junior technologists get into cybersecurity, upskill and pursue positions that will launch their careers. Her unwavering dedication to the community and her belief in women’s potential is evident in the many motivational messages and job leads that she shares with Empower(H).er members. She has shared her successes and her moments of clarity and encourages neurodiverse women in tech to find their niche. This is creating ripples of success for women of color in tech.
“Tia has taught me that perseverance, hard work, and a love for what you do are key to success. But what is even more important is the way she continues to reach out to other women in the field. Her example has inspired and pushed me to do my best, and to make sure that my personal vision is one of service.
Tia writes on the Empower(H).er site that she wants others to feel empowered by my successes and failures as well as my lessons learned. Young girls and women of color will hear my story and see the things I’ve accomplished. I want them to be able to see me today and feel confident that they can achieve it.
“Mission Accomplished Tia, well done.” – Kassandra Pierre, Senior Associate, Regulatory Compliance, PwC
Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls Code
“I would like to highlight Kimberly Bryant (founder of Black Girls Code). Ms. Bryant created BGC in 2011 in order to make technology education more accessible to young Black women who were historically underrepresented in STEM careers. Her work has been meaningful