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These Black Pittsburgh technologists deserve your social follow

A series of Twitter takeovers on the Black Tech Nation account highlights some local voices in tech and community building.

Black Tech Nation's Kelauni Jasmyn.

(Courtesy photo)

In a remote world, social media engagement has become more important than ever for building community.

Earlier this month, Black Tech Nation launched a series of Twitter takeovers featuring some of the best and brightest Black technologists from Pittsburgh and beyond. The organization — which builds community for local Black tech workers to help them grow business ideas or find new career pathways — has upped its social media presence this summer, from the recent takeovers to Instagram Lives to short Q&A threads with local developers and entrepreneurs.

As we head into the fall, give a follow to the main Black Tech Nation Twitter account, as well as the tech leaders it’s featured this summer. Here’s a look at the local and faraway voices featured in the recent takeovers, with a focus on what it’s like to do the work they do:

Tara Matthews is an application specialist for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, where she manages software apps, including the development of an alert notification system using Azure DevOps. (She also used to work for the City of Pittsburgh’s Innovation and Performance team.) In her takeover, she shared some sage advice for those looking to break into tech for the first time — just go for it and bet on yourself! — as well as a very cute video of her cat.

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New York’s Aminata Sow recently started a job as the director of cultural strategy at creative agency dentsu mcgarrybowen, after years spent working at marketing firms, Apple and Deloitte. She also shared some insight about her career transition in a Black Tech Nation Instagram Live in June. During her Twitter takeover, she offered an inspirational quote from Muhammad Ali — “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was” — and some advice to her younger self: It’s OK to pivot.

Jim Gibbs is a longtime Pittsburgh-based software developer and entrepreneur, currently working as the CEO of the parking payment company he cofounded, Meter Feeder. During his takeover, he tweeted some insight on the advantages of running a startup, as well as as some quick notes of encouragement: “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s OK to be smart.”

Hayes (no last name or employer listed) works as a developer for a consulting firm with work days that consist of “a lot of coding, a lot of meetings, and a nap or 2 if there’s time.” During the Twitter takeover, Hayes shared some teamwork lessons about reaching out for help from coworkers: “Asking for help means problem solved! OR validation. Can’t lose.”

Kam Branson works as a youth tech director and advocate for Black Tech Nation, as well as a program facilitator for Paradigm Global Innovations, learning technology and education program company. His 10 years of experience in youth services has made him realize advice he would’ve given to his younger self: “Be open to opportunities, even if your friends aren’t!”

Kelauni Jasmyn is the founder and CEO of Black Tech Nation, and a general partner in its recently launched venture capital arm. In her takeover, she shared insight on building a community, as well as future hiring plans for the company.

Deonna Johnson works as a technical support representative for Sacramento-based dental software company Tab32, and has hopes of eventually becoming a cloud security engineer. In her takeover, she shared tips on how to achieve a work-life balance that helps you advance your professional goals in the long-term.


Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments. -30-
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