Francesca (Check) Warner – Co-Founder & CEO @ Diversity VC
Check was very passionate, and her focus to improve diversity in the tech industry was inspiring. The company is built around Venture Capital, which they claim is funding the future. It was illuminating to hear Check talk about how her company is working with entrepreneurs, investors, and universities to help create industries free from bias.
Suki Fuller – Co-Founder & CEO @ Salaam Ventures
Suki had a wonderful sense of humor, bold and open about her journey and her thoughts and visions for DE&I. Her Company, Salaam Ventures, is a launchpad that accelerates and incubates early stage ethical startups.
Marissa Ellis – Founder & CEO @ Diversily
Marissa started Diversily in order to accelerate progress toward a more diverse and inclusive tech sector. They created The Change Canvas to inject focus and direction, and to unite people to take action. The Change Canvas is being used for all kinds of change, across various industries. In addition to having a great company name, she also presented some of the best slides, a few of which I captured below.
Marissa and her team at Diversily point out several barriers that we may not even think about until or unless it directly affects us––such as soap dispensers that only recognize white skin, satellite navigation systems (sat navs) that only recognize a man’s voice, or male-only crash test dummies with no consideration of how an impact or crash scenario would affect a woman.
Amy Chao – Creative & Tech Connector @ VR Diversity Initiative
I was impressed with Amy’s rather cool demeanor. Her company, VR Diversity Initiative, is young, having only started up in 2017. But that hasn’t impeded their ambition. They aim to make XR technologies such as VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) more inclusive by introducing the technology to people from underrepresented groups, such as people from the LGBTQ community, people who are African, Asian, and other ethnic minorities, as well as individuals with disabilities and those of lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Anisah Osman Britton – CEO @ 23 Code Street
Anisha was probably my favorite speaker of the day––funny, engaging and incredibly passionate. 23 Code Street is a coding school for women, with a simple yet highly impactful philosophy: For every paying student, they teach a woman in India how to code. They run web development courses that are inclusive and supportive to inspire a healthier, sustainable tech culture.