Tech Diversity: 40 Under 40 Recap

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More than 350 Diverse Tech Professionals Converge for Inaugural “40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” Reception and Awards Ceremony

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the entire staircase.”

With this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Game Changer honoree and MetricStream CEO Shellye Archambeau captured the inspirational essence of the inaugural “40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” awards program. During her acceptance speech at the celebratory event hosted by Airbnb at their San Francisco headquarters last Wednesday, September 16, Archambeau was awed by the assembly of more than 350 diverse tech professionals and urged them to keep striving for their goals–even when the path is not always clear.

Founded by theREGISTRY Bay Area and Digital Diversity Network (DDN), the “40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” recognition program celebrated the achievements of 40 leaders from diverse backgrounds, under the age of 40 in the Innovation Economy. Two special categories, the Silicon Icon and Game Changer, were awarded to Roy Clay, Sr., Founder and Former CEO, ROD-L Electronics, and Shellye Archambeau, CEO MetricStream, respectively.

With a heightened focus in the tech industry to embed diversity into their companies, services and products, as well as their working practices, “40 under 40: Tech Diversity-Silicon Valley” was designed to highlight the underrepresented role models and achievements of the wide range of people who make the tech industry brilliant. Specific goals of the recognition program include:

  • Acknowledging tech industry progress and promise in advancing diversity
  • Facilitating networking and introductions among diverse tech professionals, hiring companies and tech investors
  • Inspiring future generations to pursue innovation and tech careers, regardless of socio-economic background
  • Inspiring tech companies and the industry at-large, to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Tracy L. Lawrence, Founder, Digital Diversity Network & Managing Director, Tracy L. Lawrence Associates stated: “Reward and recognition are integral to increasing diversity in the tech industry, as they help to increase employee retention and reduce the need to continually backfill the talent pipeline. Having a major tech company like Airbnb on board cements the importance of programs like “40 Under 40” and reinforces their commitment to diversity.”

Jonathan Mildenhall, Chief Marketing Officer of Airbnb and executive sponsor of the Black Employee AIRfinity (ERG) group at Airbnb (Black@) commented, “Belonging is at the core of Airbnb, and as we strive to increase diversity and inclusion in our offices and our industry, it’s important for us to celebrate individuals like our honorees and groups like the Digital Diversity Network who continuously inspire us and advance this critical work.”

Michael DeFlorimonte, Managing Editor, theREGISTRYbayarea.com, and DDN’s partner for “40 Under 40” added, “theREGISTRY is proud to launch this unprecedented recognition of underrepresented Blacks and Latinos in the tech industry. Through this inter-generational celebration, we acknowledge the contributions, both past and present, as well as the future promise of diverse tech professionals.”

A public call for nominations was issued March 26 through May 22, 2015 by theREGISTRY Bay Area, Digital Diversity Network and more than 25 outreach partners, including tech diversity organizations and tech company employee resource groups (ERGS). The response was robust and yielded a list of young professionals from Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area corporations, start-ups, accelerators, venture capital firms, non-profits and pro-social enterprises—all of whom are influencers in the industry.

Honorees were evaluated on the basis of their outstanding achievements; career success; volunteer and civic engagement; influence and impact; and honors and recognitions by a selection committee comprising 12 highly respected tech professionals.
The inaugural “40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” Class of 2015 includes: Chris Amos, Co-founder & President, Ampush; Ime Archibong, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Facebook; Angela Benton, Founder & CEO, NewMe Accelerator; Aisha Bowe, Co-founder & CEO, STEMBoard; Marla Britt, Technical Project/Program Manager, Applied Materials; Edwin Broni-Mensah, Founder & CEO, Give Me Tap; Stacy Brown-Philpot, COO, TaskRabbit; Kendra Desrosiers, Digital Strategy & Partnerships, Google; Brian Dixon, Principal, Kapor Capital; Nancy Douyon, User Experience Research Program Manager, Google; Jotaka Eaddy, Consultant, PayNearMe, Inc. & Kapor; Pablo Fuentes, CEO & Co-founder, Proven; Martin Gilliard, GM, AdTruth, Experian Marketing Services; Ricardo Garcia-Amaya, CEO & Founder, VOIQ; Zakiya Harris, Chief Education Officer, Hack the Hood; Charles Hudson, Partner, SoftTech VC; Nicole Isaac, Head of Economic Graph Policy Partnerships, LinkedIn; Ibi Krukrubo, Assurance Partner, Ernst & Young; Chris Lyons, Chief of Staff, Andreessen Horowitz; Vanessa Mason, CEO & Founder, Riveted Partners & Founder, WISE Health; Isaac Matthews, Aerospace Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center; Aston Motes, Founder, Assorted Bits; Matthew Mugo Fields, Co-founder, Rocket Group & President, Red Bird Advanced Learning; Marlon Nichols, Director/Founding Partner, Intel Capital/Cross Vulture VC; Mekka Okereke, Senior Manager, Software Engineering, Google; Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO, African Technology Foundation; Devin Pauley, Engineering Program Manager, Apple; Kalimah Priforce, Headmaster CEO, Qeyno Labs; Erika D. Rodriguez, Materials Research Scientist, ERC Inc. at NASA; Merline Sainthil, Head of Operations, Office of the CTO, Intuit; Nuria Santamaria Wolfe, Head of Multicultural Strategy, Twitter; Michael Seibel, Partner, Y Combinator; Ayori Selassie, Senior Solutions Engineer/President, Boldforce at Salesforce; Wayne Sutton, Founder, BUILDUP.vc; Erin Teague, Director of Product Management, Yahoo; Christina Trampota, Senior Director, Global Marketing Innovation, VISA; Laura Weidman Powers, Co-founder & CEO, Code2040; Bari Williams, Counsel, Facebook; Glenn Williamson, Senior Software Engineering Manager, Intel Corporation; and Jason Young, Co-founder & CEO, Mindblown Labs/Hidden Genius Project.

In one of the evening’s more poignant moments, Roy Clay, Sr., a Silicon Valley pioneer; a key figure in the development of Hewlett Packard’s computer division; and, coincidentally, Ms. Archambeau’s mentor, was conferred with the Silicon Icon award. Often lauded as the “Black Godfather of Silicon Valley,” the 86-year-old Mr. Clay admonished attendees to follow the advice given to him by his own mother when he was wrongfully apprehended as a teen in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, “Never let racism be an excuse for failure.”

The link, below, contains a video tribute that captures Mr. Clay’s significant achievements, including his journey from Ferguson, Missouri; to being one of the first Black persons to be admitted to St. Louis University; to being denied opportunity at as “a professional Negro”; to his nearly 50-year career in Silicon Valley, including the eventual founding of his own company, ROD-L Electronics.

https://comcast.box.com/Roy-Clay-Bio

Shellye Archambeau received the Game Changer award in recognition of her outstanding leadership in advancing diversity in the tech sector through personal career achievements; helping to advance the careers of others in the industry; and fostering a culture of inclusion. Ms. Archambeau is a leader both in business and in the community, demonstrated through decades of involvement on several Boards of Directors and committees.

She currently serves on the board of directors of Verizon Communications Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. In April 2013, Ms. Archambeau was named the “#2 Most Influential African American in Technology” by Business Insider.

Event sponsors, in addition to Airbnb, included Intel, The Kapor Foundation for Social Impact, Comcast NBCUniversal, Google, Twitter, Allied Materials and Mosaic Coaching Solutions.