“You can’t be what you can’t see.” I don’t tend to like trite expressions like that (although I do really love rhymes) but my experience founding and running CODE2040, a nonprofit fellows program for black and latino students interested in pursuing careers in technology, has taught me that there is a deep truth to this turn of phrase.
Often, this quip is used to explain to why it is so important for young impressionable minds to be exposed to people in positions of authority and influence who look like them or come from similar backgrounds. That is, public figures who can be “seen” en masse.
The tech industry isn’t a hub of cultural diversity, that much we know. In fact, according to a Human Capital Venture Capital report — the only study ever conducted on VC-backed founders and their race, gender, education and age — 87% of founders are white and 92% of them are male. Those numbers have hit the public sphere, and programs such as CNN’s “Black In America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley” have used the HCVC report to drive home the Valley’s lack of diversity. But few are actively addressing the issue with viable solutions quite like Tristan Walker.
The Tech Mentorship Gap: How Code2040 Is Solving. What You Can Do. And How LinkedIn Can Help
Most anyone successful in technology has benefited from those who came before them – whether it’s indirect such as opensource code or more specific, like the guidance of a CS professor. Even if you’re just starting out in your career, there’s an opportunity to develop a ‘pay it forward’ mentality.
2013 Top Black Influencers
Who defined black America over the last year? Who is redefining their field, from the arts to the academy? Who are the most influential African Americans 45 and under? As we have since 2009, The Root looked back at the most significant moments in black news and culture and asked, “Who made this happen?” For more than 800 nominees, we measured their reach in the world and rated the substance of their contributions. The result: The Root 100 annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders in 2013.
How I Hire: Searching For Mission-Driven Hustlers
I run a startup nonprofit called CODE2040. About a year ago, I was the only employee, reporting to a board of directors. Six months after launch, though, I brought on my first full-time hire, and now, a year later, we’re at six team members. By the end of 2014, I anticipate we’ll be at 12 people.
Solving Silicon Valley's Diversity Problem
Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) – Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder of CODE2040 and Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, discuss solving Silicon Valley’s diversity problem. They speak with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”
LinkedIn Influencer Post: Disrupting Diversity in the Innovation Economy
TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the highlights of the year for CODE2040. We run a Fellows Program for top performing Black and Latino/a computer science students, and each year TechCrunch invites CODE2040 to bring several of our Fellows to the conference. It’s an amazing opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in the buzz and energy of the tech sector. Plus we set them up at our booth and have them practice giving their elevator pitch — an essential skill for any aspiring entrepreneur!
2013 OSCON Keynote Day 2 Recap
Laura Weidman Powers shed light on how big the racial diversity problem is in the tech industry in a way I’ve not quite seen before. Entitled “Diversity in the Innovation Economy: Why it Matters and What You Can Do About It” (full video here & short interview), Laura endeared herself to the crowd by sharing a middle school picture of herself, which softened this super awkward topic, before before citing some extremely sobering statistics. She started with some often repeated statistics regarding the engineering shortfall we’re headed for as an industry as an estimated 1.4 million new jobs will be available by 2020 but forecasts show only 400,000 computer science graduates by that time.
Tavis Smiley Show: Diversifying the Innovation Economy
While Silicon Valley is known for its leading technology, it has fallen behind in its representation of African Americans, Latinos, and women. Hank Williams, founder of the non-profit organization Platform, defines the “innovation economy”. [...] In part two of our conversation, “Diversifying the Innovation Economy”, Laura Weidman Powers, founding executive director of the Silicon Valley-based program Code2040, explains where many Valley companies find their talent, and how women and people of color are being left behind.
Opening Doors for Minorities in Technology
Silicon Valley thinks of itself as the cutting edge of more than just technology; it considers itself a force for social change. But in an era when the United States has elected and re-elected an African American president, only 1 in 18 leaders of technology firms is black or Latino, says Laura Weidman Powers. She is the cofounder, with her 2010 Stanford MBA classmate Tristan Walker, and executive director of Code2040, a nonprofit group that is working to open the doors in Silicon Valley for black and Latino engineers.
In its first year, Code2040 placed 5 fellows into paid internships at Silicon Valley companies, including Jawbone, tumblr, Rockmelt, and Circle, and expects to place 15 this summer. Before they enter the fellowship, applicants need to pass a coding exam, a phone screen, and then a matching process with Code2040’s host companies.
Every summer the fellowship program places high-performing Black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top startups and provides mentorship, leadership training, and network development. Their latest class has been announced and is heading off to some of the Valley’s best known companies. It includes some impressive women of color worth keeping an eye on. What will these women found one day?
Echoing Green Provides Seed Funding to CODE2040
Comprised of both Echoing Green and Black Male Achievement Fellows, this class includes a number of firsts for us: our first Fellow from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; first Fellow working in El Salvador; and our first Fellows working on social impact bonds.
Selected from an initial applicant pool of 2,872, the twenty-eight organizations in this year’s portfolio represent the top one percent and will join Echoing Green’s rich ecosystem of the most successful, innovative social change organizations and entrepreneurs around the world. Over the past twenty-five years, we have seen our Fellows inspire, mentor and partner with one another building upon the impact of Fellows that have come before them. This new class of 2013 Echoing Green and Black Male Achievement Fellows is no exception.
The eleven social entrepreneurs were selected based on their strategies for building lasting and positive improvements in the life outcomes of African-American men and boys [...] Each BMA fellow will receive $70,000 in seed funding, as well as technical training, consulting opportunities, mentoring, and access to the Echoing Green and Open Society alumni networks.
Inside Microsoft’s ‘Geek 2 Chic’ Fashion Show, Where Tech Types Strike A Pose For Charity [TCTV]
The tech-dominated San Francisco Bay Area isn’t exactly known as a hub for high fashion —Facebook’s new James Perse staff hoodies are about as fancy as things get around here — and fashion shows aren’t typically in our purview here at TechCrunch TV…These models weren’t the types you’d see at fashion shows in New York or Milan: Geek 2 Chic took 26 “geeks” from the local tech community and gave them full makeovers to take to the catwalk in front of a live audience. It was a fun opportunity to watch people get a little out of their element and have some fun, and of course it was all for a good cause. Check it all out in the video.
Rebooting the Runway at Geek 2 Chic
Silicon Valley “geeks” were the star of the show at the Geek 2 Chic fashion show benefiting Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) held recently at Bloomingdale’s Westfield SF Centre.
Presented by Microsoft, and set up on the second floor of the store, the opening reception featured a MakerBot Replicator 2 “printing” out party favors (Maker Faire robots) and guests taking a turn on the “dance floor” via Microsoft’s Dance Central 3. There were also passed nibbles of crab cakes and spring rolls as well as champagne and wine, and mixed drinks available at one of two bars. The reception was set to a backdrop of great music from DJ PTR.
Make Room for Tech's Fastest Growing Minority
Silicon Valley has long been lauded as a meritocracy that values achievement and hard work. In many ways, tech has been seen as a place of inclusion, where cool is determined by what you do instead of how you look. But the tech space has a long way to go in creating a truly inclusive environment. And one of tech’s fastest growing minorities–black women–is uniquely positioned to provide an endless pool of talent, innovation, and insight…
Support organizations that contribute to the growing presence of black women in tech. Organizations like Black Girls CODE, NewMe Accelerator, and CODE2040 are providing opportunities for black women (and men, too!) of varying ages to fulfill their potential as future tech leaders. From volunteering your time as a mentor to sponsoring events, there are many ways to contribute. Reach out to their directors with a description of your strengths and offer your support.
10 Valuable Resources for Minority Entrepreneurs
We recognize the single best hope for the nation’s ongoing competitiveness is to create inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, and we understand there are both unique challenges and opportunities facing minority entrepreneurs. We’re encouraged both by the connections that are being made with entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country and the array of resources coming available for minority entrepreneurs, whether they need funding, want to find a mentor or educational opportunities, or are looking for networking and career development…here are 10 valuable organizations dedicated to helping diverse entrepreneurs grow and flourish.
Developing the ‘New Minority Entrepreneur’
While minorities are often deterred from taking the risk of starting a business, this must change…the problem could be resolved if programs and community efforts were made to help raise the visibility of minority entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to youth entering into technology and STEM fields. “Being an entrepreneur is one of the best ways to change the world,” said Powers…hopefully we will see more minorities working to change the world, one startup at a time.”
CODE2040, Out To Diversify Silicon Valley
People of color will become the majority in the United States by the year 2040. Some have noted that the minority achievement gap will not be closed that same year…CODE2040 aims to close the gap…“CODE2040 is a program I wished I had when I was a computer science student!” said Jennifer Arguello, co-founder of Latino Startup Alliance.
New Internship Helps Diversity Workforce
“By the year 2040, Blacks and Latinos, and folks of color in general, will be the majority in this country. We need to start putting folks into positions of leadership, leading this country forward and founding companies that lead this country forward.”
Digitalundivided Tech Talk
#DIDTechTalk with Laura Wiedman Powers, Executive Director of @Code2040. In this weeks tweetchat we talk about the digital divide in Silicon Valley.
Where the World Changes: City of Doers
A video featuring CODE2040 Executive Director Laura Weidman Powers and other Silicon Valley tech leaders.
Bringing Minority Engineering Talent to Silicon Valley, CODE2040 Celebrates One Year Anniversary
At each stage of my work here in helping to build the Fellows Program, with the support of the CODE2040 team and our invaluable allies – rolling out a national recruitment strategy, facilitating the review of hundreds of written applications, working with a plethora of top engineers to grade the coding exams, and now implementing the internship matching process – I think to myself, “this stage is so important – this is what we’ve been working toward all this time.”
I’ve realized as I look forward to the infinite possibilities of what CODE2040 can do and of what our Fellows will become, that I expect that feeling is going to stay with me for a very long time.
Google for Entrepreneurs Programs: CODE2040
Google is a sponsor of the CODE2040 program and offers technology training to the students.
CODE2040: Bringing Minorities Closer To Tech Opportunities in Silicon Valley
Last week, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder of CODE2040. A fellow program, CODE2040 works to bring minorities interested in the technology sector closer to software development, mentorship, and internship opportunities in Silicon Valley. Through our conversation, I was able to understand a bit more about their initiative, their goals, and more about the growing market CODE2040 is targeting.
Latin Americans Surge Into High-Tech Fields
As whole, immigrant-led start-ups in Silicon Valley account for 52.4 percent of all start-ups, according to arecent study by the Kauffman Foundation, which supports entrepreneurial efforts. Historically, Chinese and Indian engineers have had the largest share of high-tech companies in the region, generating new jobs and pumping money into the California economy. Indian immigrants founded 26 percent of these startups—more than the combined total of immigrants from Britain, China, Japan, and Taiwan, according to the foundation’s report…
To increase the number of Latinos and blacks in the hub of the high-tech industry, CODE2040 launched a pilot program to match undergraduate and graduate coders and software engineers with high-tech start-ups for summer internships.
Youth Radio Podcast: Silicon Valley Game Changers
Youth Radio talks with CODE2040 Executive Director Weidman Powers about the effort to mentor talented college students of color and get them on the fast track to top Silicon Valley firms.
Divide Talk: Diversifying the Tech Job Pipeline
CODE2040 founders Tristan Weidman Powers and Tristan Walker chat about their backgrounds and why they started CODE2040.
CODE2040 brings diversity to Silicon Valley
“I’m welcomed in the tech industry. I can go to the White House and hold my own. That’s really cool,” says Amy Quispe, a senior at Carnegie Mellon who interned at Tumblr as a fellow at CODE2040. Quispe attended the Tech Inclusion Round table at the White House in August and was recognized by several faces, thanks to CODE2040. “People are saying I’m a future leader in the industry and they want to work with me,” says Quispe who now has resources and connections in the field. “It’s nice to have a community to go to when I need to graduate. I don’t have to start from scratch.”
The connections and opportunities provided by CODE2040 are designed to combat the low number of people of color in the computer science and engineering community. Only 6.7 percent of Hispanics pursue a computer science degree and only 5 percent of African Americans.
CODE2040 Matches Black & Latino Student Engineers With Internships At Startups
“CODE2040 is a program I wished I had when I was a computer science student!” said Jennifer Arguello, co-founder of Latino Startup Alliance. “I didn’t know about startups until I was about to graduate and I’ve been enamored with them ever since. If the coming generation of minorities can be exposed sooner I want to help that happen and that’s why I am such a huge supporter of the program.”
Silicon Valley Fellowships for Black and Latino Engineering Students
Resumes only take you so far in the hiring process. To be really effective, you have to show what you can do, and meet the right people. To help lure talented minority students into the Silicon Valley culture, the non-profit code2040 launched a summer fellowship program to bring Black and Latino engineering students into the Valley for a summer.
These internships are not about making photocopies. In one case, a startup told their intern to make its Android app. Though he’d never coded in Android before, he picked it up and finished the code by the end of the summer. The students that succeed are the ones who make an impact by the end of their fellowship. They’re the ones who can learn on the fly, are excited about learning and can push out code.
Why is CODE2040 important? Census projections show that people of color will collectively be the majority in the United States in the year 2040. Yet there is no indication that the substantial economic achievement gap is closing at the same rate. CODE2040 aims to make a direct impact on the gap by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities participating in and leading the high value, innovation economy.
CODE2040 Seeking Latino, Black Software Engineers
Although it’s easy to talk about the problem of no Latinos or blacks in technology, CODE2040 is actively working towards addressing this issue. Please share this story with as many people as you can, the applications are here, and check out this video about the program.
Fellowship Backs Minority Computer Science Students
According to a report published by Anita Borg Institute For Women In Technology, Hispanics make up 30 percent of the total U.S. population, yet the Hispanic population accounts for only 6.7 percent of computer science bachelors’ degrees. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, but only 5 percent of graduate degrees in computer science.
That’s a gap CODE2040 wants to help close.
CODE2040 Seeking Latino, Black Software Engineers
CODE2040 is a non-profit organization that works to help black and Latino software engineers gain experience and networking opportunities in Silicon Valley. We wrote about the organization’s mission previously, but now applications are open for students who might want to take advantage of this great opportunity.
Starting today CODE2040 will be accepting applications for 20 spots for the summer of 2013; apps close later this year. Fellows get an internship with a top start-up, as well as mentoring, access to speakers, visits to other tech companies, executive coaching and lots more.
CODE2040 Fellows: Kaleb Ayalew
This past summer, as a CODE2040 fellow, I had the opportunity to listen to and chat with a lot of talented and experienced people in Silicon Valley. I really appreciated the opportunity to hear their thoughts and advice, and here I’d like to share some of the points they made that resonated most strongly with me.
CODE2040 Fellows: Alexandria Cattron
The greatest takeaway from my experience as aCODE2040 Fellow is that I now have direction and clarity in my career path and the confidence to start my own company. While attending Stanford as an undergrad, I was interested in starting a company but most of the people that I knew were on completely different career paths. When I took classes focused on entrepreneurship, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in and that I was behind because I was not as informed about or plugged into tech entrepreneurship in the Valley as everyone else seemed to be. Now I finally feel like I’m part of the Valley’s entrepreneurship culture. Through networking with all the participants in theCODE2040 program, including our speakers and my mentors, and learning from their experiences, I learned so much. Now I’m super excited to cultivate my own ideas for products and link up with others who are just as passionate as I am about fixing a problem in society using technology.
CODE2040 Fellows: Yuri Farias Gomes
This summer was one of the best in my life because it opened me up to a whole new world that I had no idea existed before. It all started when I got an e-mail from Tristan Walker with an invitation to participate in the brand newCODE2040 program. To make a long story short, I passed the exam to participate in the program and I became one of the first few CODE2040fellows.
Startups, by my previous understanding, were companies with 5-10 people, living in a sad office with some old machines, working on something not-that-interesting because, well, if it was interesting the company would not still be so small.
I was totally wrong.
CODE2040 Fellows: Amy Quispe
It was clear that one of the purposes of CODE2040 was to help us (the fellows) get an “in” into Silicon Valley. I’m happy to say that it worked. I recently went to the White House, representing 2040 in a Tech Inclusion Roundtable – and when I got there, I saw people that I already knew thanks to 2040. That was a pretty magical moment.
After having The Best Summer Ever, I’m very inspired about the tech industry. In my own university, I lead a small project to make APIs for school data and it’s been fun to watch it grow bigger into a university group and an intercollegiate project. However, I felt intimidated. Now that I’ve seen some of the startup world, I’m inspired to make something and hope that it grows big.
CODE2040 launched in February 2012, and was founded by Tristan Walker, who saw two main problems contributing to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley: 1) lack of awareness – not enough knowledge about opportunities and about what it’s really like to embark on an entrepreneurial career; and 2) lack of access – specifically access to the networks needed to be successful in an entrepreneurial career.
One thing we find especially compelling about our mission is that this lack of diversity in tech and entrepreneurship is in the context of a massive demographic shift that our country is undergoing – Census projections show that people of color will collectively be the majority in the US in the year 2040. We want those same people of color to be represented in the ranks of the founders and leaders of the most innovative and successful companies in the country.
Kauffman Foundation Grant to Aid CODE2040 in Inspiring Underrepresented Engineering Students to Choose Startup Path
Sept. 10, 2012 – As CODE2040 begins recruiting computer engineering students for its 2013 summer Fellows Program, its efforts will be bolstered by a $330,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The Kauffman Foundation has announced a two-year matching grant to the new San Francisco-based nonprofit organization. CODE2040 matches high-performing computer engineering students from colleges and universities around the country, including those from African-American and Latino populations, with Silicon Valley startups for hands-on summer fellowships. The goal is to inspire and encourage these students, who are underrepresented in high-tech startups, to consider working for a young company upon graduation or even starting their own.
Bringing Black Talent to Silicon Valley
The executive director of CODE2040, Laura Weidman Powers admitted it can be tricky to get plugged into Silicon Valley, where much of the hiring depends heavily on networking and personal referrals. “But CODE2040 is an easy sell to companies that are always looking for top talent,” she told The Root. “They want exceptional engineers, and our students want experience at top startups. It’s a win-win.”
Finding the Big Idea
You’ll need “tenacity, if you’re in sales, because you’re going to be turned down a lot. Patience, because engineers are unquestionably the important folks out here. Everything I do is just support work for them. You need to understand how to support them in the best way possible. Finally, never stop asking questions – that is paramount. Also, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. A big reason for me getting to where I am is because I am willing to ask six questions when other people are only willing to ask five.”
BWest Tech Minute: CODE2040
“Silicon Valley has a long history as a launchpad for innovative companies and entrepreneurs, but for minority engineers, the opportunities have been few and far between. Enter CODE2040…the brainchild of Tristan Walker, a former Foursquare exec turned entrepreneur”
Tristan Walker on Life After Foursquare
Walker is leaving it all behind. Later this month, he’ll take on the new role of entrepreneur-in-residence at the fabled venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has invested in companies the likes of Zynga, Jawbone and Airbnb. He wants to parlay this latest post into his own company.
Doing what exactly is still unknown, but Walker certainly remains someone to watch. For more insight, we talked with Walker about the not-for-profit Code 2040, a program he founded to bring high performing African American and Latino students to startups in the Valley, and his new role as EIR.
Silicon Valley's Diversity Challenge
CNN Money interview with Tristan Walker, CODE2040 founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
NSBE - CODE2040 - GROOMING BUSINESS LEADERS IN SILICON VALLEY
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