Founder & CEO of Black Girls CODE and Aspen Institute Fellow
- Social innovator working to increase opportunities for women and girls in the technology industry
- Recognized as one of “The 25 Most Influential African Americans in Technology” by Business Insider and named to/ recognized on both The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists in 2013
- Speaks about how minorities have helped shape our technological culture and the importance of amplifying their innovations for the future
Coming from humble beginnings, Kimberly Bryant is no stranger to hard work. As a young girl, she developed an uncommon passion for math and science which eventually lead her to the prestigious Vanderbilt University where she majored in Electrical Engineering and minored in Math. Often being the only minority in her classes, she entered the work force in the same predicament. This disconnect continued into her professional life and eventually broached her personal life. Kimberly’s daughter, Kai, inherited the same interest in math and science and the same lack of access to opportunities in the tech space as young girl of color. So, in 2011, Kimberly founded Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages seven to seventeen) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. As Oprah describes, Black Girls CODE is “the first organization of its kind.”
Prior to starting Black Girls CODE, Kimberly enjoyed a successful 25+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Since 2011, Kimberly has helped Black Girls CODE grow from a local grassroots initiative serving only the Bay Area, to an international organization with fourteen chapters across the US and in Johannesburg, South Africa. Black Girls CODE has currently reached over 7,000 students and continues to grow and thrive.
Kimberly has been nationally recognized as a social innovator and thought leader for her work to increase opportunities for women and girls in the technology industry and has received numerous awards for her work with Black Girls CODE. Kimberly has been awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area, named by Business Insider on its list of “The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology”, and named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists in 2013.
A highlight of 2013 for Kimberly was receiving an invitation to the White House as a Champion of Change for her work in tech inclusion and for her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls of color. In 2014, Kimberly received an American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress from the Smithsonian Institute along with the Inaugural Women Who Rule Award in Technology via Politico. She has been identified as a thought leader in the area of tech inclusion and has spoken on the topic at events all over the world, including at the Personal Democracy Forum, TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), and many others. In 2015, Black Girls Code has nearly doubled in size.
Additionally, Kimberly became the recipient of the prestigious Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, a two-year program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, facilitates their growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to improve public schools for low-income children and communities. Kimberly was also asked to join the 2015 APEC Women and the Economy US Delegation by the US Department of State and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.
Reclaiming Our Space: Exploring The Contributions Of People Of Color In Technology Past & Future. Have you ever heard of James West? How about Mark Dean? Probably not. Without James West, your phone wouldn’t have its own microphone. And Mark Dean helped to develop the IBM PC computer, and holds one third of IBM’s original patents. When we talk about the development of technology, it’s rare that we discuss the past contributions from minorities or explore what it means for organizations such as Black Girls Code and other advocates who seek to create a more inclusive innovation space.
In this brand new talk, Kimberly Bryant, the founder and CEO of social movement, Black Girls CODE, traces the history of how minorities have shaped our technological culture and the importance of amplifying their innovations of the future.
Claiming our History to Own and Shape Our Future. In this keynote talk, Kimberly Bryant, the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE and Aspen Institute Fellow, will share her journey as what she calls an “accidental social entrepreneur” and the lessons learned along the way in shaping a new paradigm for women and girls of color in the technology industry.
Kimberly explores how recognizing our innate power to become change agents in our own lives and the lives of others by pushing through traditional boundaries and perceived limitations can help us drive change in our world.