Diversity & Inclusion
DEI / Events / Women in tech

3 takeaways from the State of Black Women in Tech

The panel discussion featured leaders from some of Baltimore's growing startups and organizations.

The State of Black Women in Tech panel at Ida B's Table. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The August 2018 topic is Technologists of Color. These stories highlight the contributions of technologists and entrepreneurs of color across Technical.ly’s five markets.

Five black women playing leading roles in Baltimore startups and tech organizations gathered at Ida B’s Table this week to discuss their experiences, and how to create more access for a group that remains underrepresented in tech.
Organized by Sabrina Dépestre, the State of Black Women in Tech event set out to amplify the voices of women in tech and tech-adjacent roles. It was backed by a Baltimore Women in Tech Micro Grant and Conscious Venture Lab.
Panelists included:

Here are a few takeaways from the discussion:

1. Representation matters.

As head of HR, Crystal Coache sees herself as Allovue’s gatekeeper. As an instructor with B-360, Jessica Sackey sees the inspiration students can take from learning about STEM education. Both talked about the power that comes from seeing people who look like them in leadership roles, and the impact it can make. During dissertation research, Danyelle Ireland talked about getting essay-length responses when asking black women in tech about their experiences. Now she works at a UMBC center to increase underrepresented groups in STEM fields. “Representation is so key,” Sackey said.

2. Focus outreach around access.

When it comes to the process of bringing new people into an organization, Coache talked about the importance of “granting access to people who had historically been locked out.” When Coache arrived, Allovue integrated that ideal into the hiring process. Making an effort to look outside normal networks is key, said Charlotte James. “If you do all your outreach the same way to the same networks to the same people, you’re going the same companies coming to you, you’re going to get the same new hires coming to you, you’re going to get the same students coming to you,” James said.

3. Baltimore’s network is growing.

It’s clear the younger generation is sparking change. Asked about highlights in the city, panelists named organizations working on education such as Code in the Schools and Dent Education. Ireland pointed to Baltimore Young Professionals as a place to link with the community. In moving to the area, Sackey was struck by the city’s civic-mindedness. “I’m really hopeful that Baltimore will be a center of innovating how we help our city, and how it helps people as people, and not just points in a database,” she said.

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, Technical.ly has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

The Trump rally shooter perched on a building owned by American Glass Research. Here’s everything we know about it.

Quantum computing could be the next hot tech — if only that breakthrough would come

Here’s how the global tech outage impacted many of the vital systems across the mid-Atlantic region

Despite EDA decision, the Baltimore Tech Hub is still possible: Kory Bailey

Technically Media