Digital Diversity Network launched the Innovation & Inclusion Awards in 2016 to recognize the past, present and ongoing achievements of diverse digital media and technology professionals of all ages, nationwide.
Additionally, the objectives of the Innovation & Inclusion Awards are to:
- Inspire the digital media and tech industries to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion
- Facilitate networking among diverse tech professionals, hiring companies and tech investors
- Inspire future generations to pursue STEAM careers, regardless of socio-economic background
Nominees were sourced from an open and public call for nominations that yielded more than 100 entries in five categories: Codebreakers, Change Agents, Culture Catalysts, Social Entrepreneurs and Inventors/Innovators. A total of 14 honorees were selected on the basis of their outstanding achievements; career success; volunteer and civic engagement; and honors and recognitions.
The September 28th awards celebration in New York City also included a special tribute to author Margot Lee Shetterly and the pioneering African American female mathematicians at NASA who helped to lead the US Race to Space. The stories of these unsung heroines are featured in the newly released book and highly anticipated motion picture, Hidden Figures. Scheduled for release in January 2017, the film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst and Kevin Costner.
Set against the backdrop of WWII, the Civil Rights Era, the Space Race and the burgeoning fight for gender equality, Hidden Figures shows us the surprising ways that women and people of color have contributed to American Innovation while pursuing the American Dream. Dr. Christine Darden, one of the “human computers” featured in the book, was also on hand for the celebration, along with family members of some of the other heroines (Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan) who used math to change their lives and our country’s future.
Presenting Sponsor: Northwestern Mutual
Event Supporter: STEMBoard
Official Transportation Partner: Uber