Insights and Perspectives

Insights and Perspectives


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Black History Month: Influencing Tech for the Greater Good

For Black History Month, we’re featuring three African Americans who have advanced tech for the greater good. From creating images that have been the source of joy for many, to helping humans reach space, these influencers shaped the tech industry. 

Lisa GelobterLisa Gelobter: If you’ve heard of animations known as GIFs and remember the early internet video technology called Shockwave, then you may already be familiar with Lisa’s work. Her parents were immigrants, and she knew growing up that she would have to work harder, longer, better, and faster than everyone else to rise above. Lisa paid for college by herself, working while attending Brown University and earning a computer science degree. Today, Lisa is the co-founder and CEO of tEQuitable, a platform designed to make workspaces more equitable. 

Roy L. Clay, Sr.Roy L. Clay, Sr.: Known as the Godfather of Silicon Valley, Roy’s consultation work with venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers helped many well-known computer companies get their start. Perhaps his greatest success was his role in the invention of Hewlett Packard’s first computer in 1966. In 1973, he became the first African-American elected to the Palo Alto City Council where he served until 1979. Roy graduated with an engineering degree from St. Louis University. Today, Roy is focused on using his experience to influence hiring based on skills, not degrees.

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson: A former engineer at NASA, Katherine’s work in mathematics enabled humans to reach outer space. In 1961, she performed trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission. In 1962, she was responsible for the final code review that would launch John Glenn from Cape Canaveral. And in 2015, at the age of 97, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. 2016’s theatrical Release, Hidden Figures, featured Katherine and her colleagues work in great detail.

Check back later this month for more articles in this series. On February 20th, we're featuring African American influencers in media. And on February 27th, we're highlighting a new way to support black-owned businesses throughout the country and abroad.

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