Good Byte Ventures' Tech Forward podcast invites our listeners and guests to examine the role of diversity and inclusion in the technology and media industries in the US and beyond. Tune in each week to hear minority and female entrepreneurs, industry executives, venture capitalists, and diversity champions share their personal and professional stories. Tech Forward's interactive platform encourages participants to assess existing barriers and examine potential solutions needed to improve gender and racial/ethnic diversity within the sector.

Recent Episodes

Episode 55: Creating Audio-Based Stories For Female Sexual Empowerment

Hello, listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Gina Gutierrez, co-founder and CEO of Dipsea. Through Dipsea, Gina is focused on helping women feel sexually, mentally, and emotionally empowered. Currently available on IOS (with Android coming soon), the Dipsea app features hundreds of audio stories that help women tap into their sexuality on their own terms, unlock confidence, and develop a more holistic sense of wellbeing. Today on the show, Gina will share her story of launching the business, how she raised over $5 million from investors, and the motivation behind creating this new category of audio-based sexual empowerment for women.

Episode 54: Sharing Lessons In Entrepreneurial Resilience While Expanding Access To Cash For The Underserved

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I spoke with D’ontra Hughes, serial entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of fintech platform SPARE. By turning any cash register into an ATM, SPARE helps merchants increase foot traffic and underbanked consumers avoid costly fees. If that sounds familiar, you may have caught his appearance on Shark Tank earlier this year. D’ontra is also a motivational speaker who shares valuable lessons for entrepreneurs about resilience, team building, and finding the right business partners. Today on the show, he’ll share the story of how he built several businesses from the ground up, as well as his advice for other entrepreneurs.

Episode 53: Mapping Internet Access Across the US to Support Offline Tech

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Oklahoma City-based software developer Carmen Bourlon. As her career as a developer progressed, Carmen began to explore her passion for offline technology, which allows people without Internet access to utilize resources that are generally only available online. Using US census data, she created Margiemap, which plots income against library access. She’s also in the process of finishing her first book, Let’s Take This Offline. Today we’ll be discussing her career journey as a developer, what inspired her interest in offline technology, and how she is using her wealth of knowledge about the Internet access disparity affecting millions of Americans.

Episode 52: Building and Scaling a Tech Startup Through Continuous Iteration

Hello listeners! Welcome back to a new episode of Tech Forward. This week, I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Fatima Dicko, Founder and CEO of the on demand delivery service, Jetpack. Prior to starting the company, while completing her MBA at Stanford, Fatima served as the youngest senior engineer on an upstream technology innovation team at Procter & Gamble. Today on the show, we’ll discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, some of the challenges she has faced building her business as a young woman of color, and advice she would give to other founders looking to follow in her footsteps.

Episode 51: Building Mental Fortitude for Career Success

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I spoke with CEO and Founder of The Zone Lab LLC, Sheryl Kline. Sheryl is a Mental Toughness and Certified High Performance Coach™ who works with business professionals, world-class athletes, and students. She is also a speaker and best-selling author, and her newest book, ZONED IN: The Mental Toughness Required for a World-Class YOU, came out in February of this year. Today on the show, we’ll be talking about her personal journey to becoming a high performance coach and entrepreneur, and her incredible advice for achieving success.

Episode 50: Making Her Mark in Austin Tech Through Innovation in Digital Marketing and Search

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! My guest today is Upasna Gautam, the Manager of SEO at Ziff Davis, where she architects and executes the organic search strategies for Mashable and PCMag. Upasna (or Pas, as she is more commonly known) has unique experience in mathematics, science and search that allowed her to bring a truly logical and analytical approach to digital marketing. An avid proponent of community, nature, and wellness, she’s also a Fitness and Zumba instructor, aspiring yogi, and hiker. Today we’ll be talking about her work in search, the things she loves about the Austin tech community, and some of the inspiring work she’s been doing to encourage more women and girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Episode 49: Using Artificial Intelligence and Comedy to Open Hearts and Minds

Hello listeners, and welcome to another exciting episode of Tech Forward! On today’s episode, I spoke with award-winning comedian Ana-Marija Stojic. Over the last several years, she’s participated in numerous comedy competitions, and been featured in the NBC Showcase at the Women in Comedy Festival Boston 2018. She was also a recipient of Netflix’s 2018 Diversity of Voices fellowship at the Banff World Media Festival. On her latest project, “Artificial, the Podcast,” Ana-Marija will be joined by a unique co-host: a functioning AI chatbot. Today, we’ll be talking about her plans for the show, what it’s like to co-host with a chat bot, and some of the important topics they plan to tackle together.

Episode 48: Supporting Underrepresented Talent Through Technology-Based Mentorship

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On today’s episode, I spoke with CEO and Founder of The Mentor Method, Janice Omadeke. The Mentor Method is a DC-based company devoted to creating inclusive workplace cultures by mentoring diverse talent. The company has been featured in The Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur, was a 2016 Tech.Co Startup of the Year nominee, and a 2017 Startup Grind Global Exhibition selection. During our conversation, Janice and I will discuss her path to becoming an entrepreneur, her aspirations for the business, and her advice for other founders looking to follow in her footsteps.

Episode 47: Using Technology to Mobilize Capital for a Diverse Group of Funds

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On today’s episode, I spoke with Leslie Jump, founder and CEO at DifferentFunds, which is the first platform designed and built for investing in venture funds. Leslie has spent the bulk of her career building, advising, and investing in new companies, both in the US and worldwide. Most recently, she served as a Partner in Sawari Ventures, LLC, a Cairo-based early stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs across the Middle East and North Africa. Today, Leslie will share her inspiration for launching DifferentFunds, and how she’s helping a diverse network of more than 800 funds access the resources they need to support entrepreneurs globally.

Episode 46: Helping Black Women Navigate Transitions, Setbacks and Entrepreneurship To Build Epic Careers

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Kanika Tolver, IT professional and founder and CEO of Career Rehab. Through her career coaching business, Kanika helps students, professionals, and retirees transform their careers via 1-on-1 services as well as events, webinars, and digital resources. She’s also the author of Life Rehab: Don’t Overdose on Pain, People, and Power. Kanika and I will be discussing different strategies for Black women and other underrepresented groups to set themselves up for career success, how to navigate career setbacks, and so much more.

Episode 45: Spurring Economic Development With Blockchain

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On this week’s episode, I spoke with the co-founders of Public Bloc, Ali Akil and Hamzah El Amin. Public Bloc is a blockchain platform that provides low cost universal access to financial services for global development projects. Ali brings to Public Bloc years of experience as an Account Executive for the IBM Watson Cloud Platform. He’s also a U.S. Army veteran, and was an analyst for the U.S. Treasury Department where he was part of a team that crafted the first U.S. Crypto-Regulation. Having previously held various positions in both the private and public sectors as a management analyst, Hamzah focuses on business development, customer acquisition strategy, and partnerships for Public Bloc. Today we’ll be discussing their entrepreneurial journey, and how they aim to use their platform to spur economic development both in the US and overseas.

Episode 44: Sparking Dialogue about Race and Racism Through Storytelling and Interaction

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Catherine Wigginton Greene, Executive Director of content and engagement at Point Made Learning. She directed the feature documentary I’m Not Racist… Am I? (INRAI) which followed a diverse group of teens through a yearlong exploration of race and racism. From there, she led the development of Point Made’s newest offering – INRAI Digital – which uses the documentary as the foundation for a 3.5-hour online antiracism course. She also travels the U.S. leading workshops and facilitating dialogue about race and racism. Today we’ll be talking about some of the insights she has uncovered about race relations through her work, and how companies can improve their diversity training initiatives.

Episode 43: Building Tech Solutions for Social Impact Using Blockchain Technology

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Aishwarya Balaji, Founder and CEO of Impact Chain Lab. By using blockchain technology, Impact Chain Lab is focused on building equitable communities around the globe. Aishwarya became interested in the disruptive power of blockchain in her previous roles as a consultant and leader at Build Academy, and now identifies ways to apply this technology to create solutions in the global development landscape. On this episode, we discussed her entrepreneurial journey, and the various ways Impact Chain Lab uses blockchain technology to drive positive social impact.

Episode 42: Providing Culturally Sensitive Teletherapy to Increase the Life Expectancy of Black Men

Hello listeners! Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward. This week, I spoke with Kevin Dedner, Founder and CEO of Henry Health. Henry Health’s mobile app provides self-care and mental health support through culturally sensitive teletherapy, serving the population with the lowest life expectancy in the U.S. — black men. Kevin is an experienced public health leader, and through Henry Health, he is committed to leveraging the power of technology to add 10 years to the life expectancy of black men in the next 25 years by focusing on their emotional and mental health. Today on the show, Kevin will be sharing with us some of the challenges black men face when receiving mental health support, and how his product helps address that need.

Episode 41: Navigating the Barriers to Diversity in the Evolving World of Public Relations and Digital Marketing

Happy new year, listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I’ll be speaking with Nesh Pillay, the founder of Press Pillay. With a focus on empathy, equality, and sustainability, Press Pillay is a digital communications agency on a social mission. As a former journalist, Nesh covered international advertising and marketing as a founding reporter of The Drum’s New York team. At Press Pillay, she leverages her knowledge of marketing, PR, and branding from “the other side” as the secret weapon to making her clients successful. Today, she’ll be sharing her experience returning to the workforce after becoming a mother, as well as the lessons she has learned working with tech startups through her agency.

Episode 40: Creating a Platform for Music Discovery While Ridesharing

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! For this week’s episode, I’m excited to share my conversation with Sean McKenzie, Co-Founder and Director of Driver Engagement at Steereo. By combining the power of music streaming with the popularity of ridesharing, Steereo is a music discovery app that gives emerging artists exposure and valuable data, while compensating rideshare drivers. Sean is an award-winning entrepreneur and a 3-time founder with a strong background in brand strategy, consumer insights, and market forecasting. He also serves as an advisory council member at Fund for Public Housing. Today on the show we’ll be discussing his career path, his approach to hiring at Steereo, and some of the ways he uses his experience to give back to his community.

Episode 39: Using Technology to Simplify the Immigration Process for International Talent and Their Employers

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I’m speaking with Mahi Inampudi, Vice President of Product and Technology at Envoy. Envoy creates and manages technology that aims to make the immigration process seamless and efficient for both immigrants and their employers. Having experienced the immigration process firsthand as an employee, employer, and a family member, Mahi’s decision to join Envoy was a very personal once. On today’s episode he’ll be sharing his story, as well as discussing some of the ways Envoy helps companies support international talent.

Episode 38: Confronting Bias and Unequal Treatment From All Levels in the Workplace

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to Tech Forward. On this week’s episode, I’m speaking with Wes Kao, a marketing strategy and product launch expert who works as a consultant and advisor to multiple consumer brands and tech startups. She serves as a mentor to entrepreneurs through her roles with WeWork Labs and Backstage Capital. Previously, Wes was the founding Executive Director of Seth Godin’s altMBA. Today on the show, we’ll be talking about the leadership lessons she’s learned during her career, and her advice to other managers on how to adequately encourage and support women in the workplace.

Episode 37: Navigating the Job Search Process in Tech as a Woman of Color

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! Today, for the final episode of our job seekers series, I spoke with Shondra McCray. A web developer and user experience strategist, Shondra recently moved from Texas to the San Francisco Bay Area to explore opportunities in tech. During our conversation, Shondra shares her journey navigating the job search process in Silicon Valley, as well as her advice for others looking to get their foot in the door in tech.

Episode 36: Helping Women of Color Identify Inclusive Work Environments in STEM

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! For the second episode of our November job seeker series, I spoke with Michele Heyward, founder of PositiveHire. PositiveHire is a tech company engineered to bridge the gap between employers and women of color STEM professionals. Michele’s vision is to not only help experienced women of color find inclusive workplaces, but to help enterprises recruit them. PositiveHire does this via matching experienced women of color STEM professionals to relevant management positions within organizations. In this episode, we discussed Michele’s plans and aspirations for her business, as well as her advice for women and companies on how to begin to narrow the gender pay gap.

Episode 35: Building a Career Network to Create Opportunities for LatinX Talent

Hello listeners! Welcome back to Tech Forward.  Today’s guest is Andrea Guendelman, founder and CEO of BeVisible. BeVisible is a social media career network that connects Latinos and Latinas across the country with companies searching for new talent. For recruiters, BeVisible makes it easy to access a talented pool of individuals whom they already know self-identify as Latinx — something no other platform can do. Together we discussed Andrea’s journey as a tech startup founder, and some of the many initiatives she’s led throughout her career to expand access to opportunities for the Latinx community in technology.

Episode 34: Using Five Core Skills To Help Women Advance Their Careers

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! My guest today is Alli Young, Founder and CEO of The Forem. The Forem is a professional training organization that develops the next generation of leaders while promoting gender equity. Through her work with The Forem, Alli focuses on helping women advance their careers and building healthy organizations as a key lever in driving innovation and revenue. Today, we’ll be talking about how she came to found the Forem, and the critical skills she believes all professionals — but especially women — need to successfully progress in their careers.

Episode 33: Leveraging a Framework and Platform to Build Inclusive Cultures

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to Tech Forward. On this week’s episode, I spoke with Betty Ng, tech entrepreneur, author, and founder and CEO of Inspiring Diversity, LLC (“iD”). In order to build more inclusive and collaborative communities, iD works with organizations to drive profitability and sustainability through increased employee inclusion, engagement, and performance. Betty has co-authored “PO-LING POWER™: Propelling Yourself and Others to Success” with her mother (Po-Ling Ng) and regularly speaks on PO-LING POWER™ and other empowering topics. Today, we’ll be talking about the inspiration behind iD, and how this framework helps companies break down barriers to diversity and inclusion.

Episode 32: Leveling The Playing Field For Female Entrepreneurs

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, for the first time, I’m interviewing two guests: Gerri Kahnweiler and Cayla Weisberg, co-founders of Chicago-based InvestHER Ventures. InvestHER is an early stage investment firm that partners with and invests in female entrepreneurs. As a strong leader in philanthropy and civic engagement, Geri has a track record for empowering women and girls to reach their full potential.  Cayla brings a background in sales and a focus on people over products, and offers hands-on thought leadership on startup scaling, pivoting, and operation excellence for InvestHER’s portfolio companies. We’ll be digging into the catalyst behind launching InvestHER, and how they’re working to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs across the country.

Episode 31: Funding the Next Wave of Disruptors in Retail and Consumer Goods Tech

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! My guest this week is Rima Reddy, a Principal at XRC Labs, an early stage accelerator dedicated to investing in the next wave of disruptors in the consumer and retail goods industries. At XRC, Rima leads the startup sourcing and diligence process, and participates on the Selection Committee. She was recognized by Business Insider as “22 Female Angel Investors Every Startup Founder Should Know,” and speaks extensively on the topics of early-stage investing and women in entrepreneurship. Today on the show, we’ll be talking about the support she provides to female founders, as well as her transition to becoming an investor herself.

Episode 30: Building an Effective Engineering Team Through Inclusive Leadership

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Julie Pitt, director of Machine Learning Infrastructure at Netflix. Her team’s goal is to scale Data Science while increasing innovation. Prior to that role, she built the streaming infrastructure behind the “play” button while Netflix was transitioning from domestic DVD-by-mail service to international streaming service. Julie also co-founded Order of Magnitude Labs, with a mission to build AI capable of doing things like exploration, communication, and accomplishing long-range goals — in other words, tasks that humans find easy, but today’s machines find hard. Today, we’ll talk about Netflix’s unique culture and how Julie supports the other female engineers on her team.

Episode 29: Championing Diversity and Making Waves in Interior Design at Wayfair

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! My guest this week is Angela Belt, Senior 3D Visual Stylist at Wayfair. Having graduated from Howard University with a degree in Fine Arts, Angela has over ten years of interior design experience including extensive experience styling for print, online publications, and video.  With a keen eye for what is on trend and a passion for interior design, she has styled shoots for ElleDecor, HGTV, AphroChic, and Maison et Objet in Paris. We discussed her transition into the world of tech through her role at Wayfair, and the initiatives she has championed to support the company’s diversity recruiting efforts.

Episode 28: Expanding Access To Early Childhood Education With Technology

Hello listeners! Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward. This week, I spoke with Chris Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Wonderschool. Combining high quality educational standards with the warmth of in-home programs, Wonderschool is a network of boutique early childhood education programs. With the Wonderschool platform, it’s easy for teachers to start and operate these programs — and for families to find them. Chris and I discussed his journey as an entrepreneur, as well as his passion for providing families with more affordable, high-quality options for early childhood education.

Episode 27: Helping Low-Income Women Establish Careers in Tech

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Michelle Glauser, founder and CEO of Techtonica. Based in San Francisco, Techtonica is a nonprofit that offers free tech training, plus living and childcare stipends, to local women and non-binary adults with low incomes. Michelle is also a software engineer and the lead organizer for PyLadiesSF — the world’s largest chapter of women who code in Python. In 2015, she spearheaded the #ILookLikeAnEngineer ad campaign. We discussed her motivation behind founding Techtonica, what makes it different from other boot camps, as well as her journey into tech and entrepreneurship.

Episode 26: Using Artificial Intelligence to Solve Global Environmental Challenges

Hello and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Jennifer Marsman, the Principal Software Engineer of Microsoft’s “AI for Earth” group. Working with the group, she uses data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to aid with clean water, agriculture, biodiversity, and climate change. Jennifer has been recognized as one of the “top 100 most influential individuals in artificial intelligence and machine learning” by Onalytica, reaching the #2 slot in 2018. We discussed the work she has led with AI for Earth, the issue of bias, and her insights about building a welcoming culture in the tech sector.

Episode 25: Helping Tech Companies Develop a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I’m excited to share my conversation with Paria Rajai, Founder and CEO of ModelExpand. Using the best practices that Paria and her team have observed over the years, ModelExpand partners with companies who want to attract and retain employees from diverse backgrounds. Paria began her work in diversity in 2008, designing global women in tech events with Yahoo’s Business and Human Rights division. She was recently profiled in Forbes for being a leader and advocate in the world of tech, marketing and diversity. We discussed her history of work around diversity and inclusion, as well as her recommendations to companies who know they want to change, but aren’t quite sure where to start.

Episode 24: Driving Financial Inclusion With a Mobile Conversation Platform

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Katie Macc, Chief Commercial Officer and Cofounder of Juntos Global. At a time when customers have low trust in their financial institutions, Juntos provides those institutions with a mobile-based conversation platform that increases consumer confidence. Prior to working at Juntos, Katie worked in microfinance, both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and, later, in the US. On today’s episode, we discussed her journey as an entrepreneur, and how Juntos is breaking down barriers to financial inclusion for many people around the world.

Episode 23: Leveraging a National Network to Advance the Careers of Women in Communications

Hello listeners! Welcome back to Tech Forward. On this week’s episode, I’m speaking with Lauren Wesley Wilson, President and CEO of ColorComm, Inc. From its humble beginnings as a luncheon in 2011 for women of color in the communications industry, ColorComm has grown into a professional community of over 40 thousand women. Lauren is also a Contributor to Forbes and has a column which covers women of color in business. Today on the show, we’ll be talking about her journey launching and growing ColorComm, and the state of affairs for women in communication and tech.

Episode 22: Presenting a More Inclusive Narrative for DC Tech

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward! For this week’s episode, I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Jessica Bell. Jessica works as a web developer for The Washington Post, primarily on front end and Javascript projects. She is also highly active in the DC tech community: she’s the Chair of DC ACM, as well as an active member of  DCFemTech and Women Who Code DC. Throughout the year, she helps people learn the basics of coding in web development by teaching at General Assembly. As if all that weren’t enough, she also hosts and produces a podcast, DC Tech Stories, which features local tech workers. We’ll discuss her unique journey into the world of tech, her experience at the Post — which has been recognized for its inclusive engineering team — and how she’s making her mark in the DC tech scene.

Episode 21: Inspiring the Next Wave of Female Tech Leaders and Angel Investors

Welcome back to another great episode of Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I’m excited to share my conversation with educator and entrepreneur, Angela Lee. Angela is both Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Dean at Columbia Business School, and the founder of angel investment network, 37 Angels. With her commitment to education, it’s no surprise that she is a sought-after expert for many news networks, and has been invited to advise decision-makers at the highest levels, including Prime Minister Trudeau. We discussed her work fostering teaching excellence at Columbia Business School, how she launched 37 Angels, and her mission to activate female investors.

Episode 20: Bootstrapping a Tech Startup While Paving the Way for the Next Generation

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Omari Edwards. In addition to serving as a board member at leading technology proficiency non-profit Mouse and founding K-12 STEM enrichment program Technology for {You}th, Omari is also the founder of image-based analytics platform Beak. We discussed his different experiences as a Black man at both Morehouse College and the University of Pennsylvania,  and the unconventional journey of Beak from inception to present day.

Episode 19: Looking Back – Tech Forward Highlights

Hello and welcome back to Tech Forward! For those of you in the US, Happy 4th of July! Today, in light of the holiday, we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of bringing on a special guest, I’m going to go over some of the highlights and common themes from the first 15 exciting episodes of the show.  I’d like to thank all my guests so far for coming onto the show to share their stories, advice, and insights, as well as all of you who tune in every week.

Episode 18: Expanding Diversity and Inclusion Through Partnerships

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Damion Wright, Head of Talent Acceleration at Intuit, Inc. In this position, Damion works with his team to build out the strategy and delivery for Intuit’s internship, new college graduate, and diversity programs for US Inside Sales.  Damion and I discussed the strategies Intuit uses to attract and retain a diverse workforce, and how they’ve become leaders in inclusivity among the major tech companies.  Tune in to hear how Intuit strategically leverages partnerships with like-minded organizations to follow through on their commitment to diversity.

Episode 17: Finding The Right Environment In Tech To Be Your Authentic Self

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Lidiane Jones, the VP of SW Product Management at Sonos, a leading smart sound system company. For over 15 years, Lidiane has worked in product management for a wide variety of products related to consumer productivity, machine learning, and much more. Over the course of her career, she has gained a reputation for building diverse, dynamic, and high-performing teams. In her current role at Sonos, Lidiane leads her team as they work to improve customers’ lives through great listening experiences. We discussed her career trajectory, and her advice to women looking for mentors and sponsors.  

Episode 16: Eradicating Illiteracy With Hip Hop and Education Technology

Hello listeners! Welcome back to another exciting episode of Tech Forward.  This week, I spoke with Sage Salvo, artist, scholar, social entrepreneur, and founder of Words Liive, LLC. Named among the top 3 EdTech startups at the 2016 South by Southwest Education Conference, Words Liive is a 21st century education technology firm dedicated to eradicating illiteracy across the world.  The Words Liive app, currently in beta, is a “platform as a service” (PaaS) technology which allows for the instantaneous development, discovery, and sharing of literacy-based lesson plans that integrate popular music, particularly hip hop.  Tune in to hear more about their product and Sage’s incredible journey to build this business!

Episode 15: Investing in 1,000 Underrepresented Founders in 20 Years

Welcome back to Tech Forward! This week I spoke with Jarrid Tingle, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Harlem Capital. An early-stage investment firm, Harlem Capital is on a mission to diversify the landscape of entrepreneurs receiving venture funding by supporting women and people of color. As stated in the Forbes feature, the ultimate goal is to fund 1,000 founders from diverse backgrounds over the next 20 years. Jarrid and I discussed how they aim to attain that goal, the impetus behind Harlem Capital, and his advice for minority entrepreneurs seeking venture funding. Tune in to hear more about their incredible mission!

Episode 14: How LGBTQ and Black Women in Tech Can Be Their Best Advocate

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Angelica Coleman, tech aficionado and Director of Community at Lesbians Who Tech. A global community of over 35,000 queer technologists, Lesbians Who Tech connects talent with existing companies by hosting summits nationally as well as globally. They partner with hundreds of companies every year, and offer coding scholarships to queer and gender nonconforming women. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Angie is always finding new ways to use tech to build communities and bring people together.  We talked about her experience as a Black female in the sector and how companies can build more diverse and inclusive environments for women of color, queer and gender nonconforming professionals.

Episode 13: Getting People Involved In Their Local Communities With Technology

Welcome to another exciting episode of Tech Forward. On this week’s episode, I spoke with Andreas Freund, co-founder of DiveIn, a platform where people can easily get involved with causes they care about at the local level. As a proud son of immigrants and a San Francisco native, Andreas was inspired to create DiveIn after witnessing the effects of the refugee crisis in Germany in 2015.  DiveIn helps its users connect on two levels: location, and causes. Whether your passion is the environment, animal welfare, or social justice, DiveIn allows you to access relevant content and discussions, and find opportunities to get involved in those causes with like-minded people at the local level.

Episode 12: Diversifying Tech By Teaching Mothers How To Code

This week, I spoke with Tina Lee, Founder and CEO of MotherCoders. Based in San Francisco, MotherCoders is a non-profit that’s expanding the tech talent pool by helping women with kids gain the skills, knowledge, and connections they need to thrive in today’s digital economy. Tina’s career journey has taken her from management consulting and recruiting roles in the private sector, to philanthropy and nonprofit roles in the public sector. She’s passionate and prolific about the digital economy, especially the changing needs of women and families in a digital, globalized world. We discussed how MotherCoders came to be, and how Tina is helping moms of all types launch their tech careers.

Episode 11: Closing the Wealth Gap For Underrepresented Founders

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward. This week I spoke with Allie Burns, Managing Director at Village Capital. This global venture capital firm wants to build bridges for entrepreneurs looking to create an inclusive and sustainable world.  Having worked with Revolution, the Case Foundation, AOL, Atlas Venture and more, Allie honed over the years a passion for working with young and emerging technologies. We discussed Village Capital’s unique model and goal to broaden access to capital worldwide, and to close the wealth gap for founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Tune in to hear more about how they are reinventing the venture capital system!

Episode 10: Using Technology to Eliminate Hiring Bias

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week I spoke with Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor, technology that mitigates unconscious bias in hiring through artificial intelligence and people analytics. During Stephanie’s 14-year career in the tech industry, she has founded two startups and held technical roles at Lockheed, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor.  In this episode, I speak with Stephanie about the inspiration and story behind her founding of Blendoor and how she’s using data to increase transparency about diversity across the sector.  Tune in to hear her story!

Episode 9: Creating a Community to Support Women in Tech

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week I spoke with Hayley Leibson, founder of the award-winning technology and lifestyle blog, Lady in Tech. Through Lady in Tech, Hayley is dedicated to inspiring women to become technologists and entrepreneurs, and to create a life that they love. Hear Hayley share how, from its first iteration as a Medium blog, Lady in Tech grew rapidly, gaining over 25 thousand followers in a year. As an empathetic technologist and inclusion advocate, Hayley also contributes to Forbes; her column moves millennial women to enter the tech industry and build important products at scale to improve the world.  

Episode 8: Democratizing Startup Investment Through Equity Crowdfunding

Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward, listeners! This week I spoke with Caroline Hofmann, COO and Co-Founder of equity crowdfunding platform Republic. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Caroline manages the company’s multi-faceted operation and its fast-growing team.  We spent our time talking about how Republic is opening up startup investing to a wider range of investors and how they’ve brought on a diverse set of founders onto their platform.  During our conversation, Caroline also spoke about the transition from consulting to the world of tech, the rewarding balancing act of life as a working mother, and navigating the regulations involved in equity crowdfunding.  Listen in to hear more!

Episode 7: Opening Doors in Tech for the Autistic Community

Hello listeners! This week, I spoke with Oliver Thornton, CEO of Coding Autism. At Coding Autism, an autism-specialized coding bootcamp, autistic adults learn the necessary skills to obtain employment within the tech industry.  For Oliver, this is a very personal endeavor. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of two, Oliver worked hard to overcome many of the challenges associated with life on the spectrum.  The major goal of Coding Autism is to reduce the high unemployment rate within the autism community. Autistic adults have an 80% unemployment and underemployment rate, regardless of academic credentials, intellectual capabilities, and skill sets. Learning about these trends was Oliver’s primary motivation to develop the startup concept behind Coding Autism.  Tune into the episode to hear more!

Episode 6: Creating a Sustainable Fashion Business With a Diverse Team Right From the Start

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Janet Wu, co-founder and CEO of SilkRoll, about sustainability in the fashion industry as well as the importance of building diverse teams from day one.  An avid traveler, Janet was born in China, grew up in the UK, and currently lives in the Bay Area. During her 10 years as an investment banker, she helped over 50 publicly listed companies raise over $30B in financing. She then went on to serve as the CFO of clean tech startup One Earth Designs before founding SilkRoll.  Though her team is presently still small, Janet made a point to hire people with different employment backgrounds and perspectives.  Listen in to hear her story!

Episode 5: Funding Immigrant Founders and Investing in Innovation

Hello listeners, and welcome back to the Tech Forward podcast! This week, I spoke with Maria Salamanca, a venture capitalist at Unshackled Ventures. She was named 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital. Unshackled Ventures fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by funding teams with immigrant founders.  Maria’s own journey — she immigrated from Colombia at age 7 and became a citizen at 18 — has motivated her to uplift others by eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship. Listen in as we discuss these challenges and how Unshackled Ventures helps immigrant founders overcome them.

Episode 4: Can Coding Bootcamps Help Solve Tech’s Diversity Problem?

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to the Tech Forward podcast. This week, I’m sharing my conversation with Dr. Herman Pryor, Jr. He currently serves as a District Lead within the Career Services Division for Coding Dojo’s Washington, DC campus. There, he enjoys the process of developing others through solution-focused coaching methods.  In this episode, Herman shares Coding Dojo’s approach to attracting a diverse student body and how they prepare students for tech careers post graduation.  

Episode 3: How a Network Model of Venture Capital Can Allow For More Inclusive Investing

Hear from Lisa Cuesta, Principal at NextGen Venture Partners.  An early-stage venture capital firm, NextGen’s goal is to bring a service mentality to venture.  NextGen is made up of a core group of seasoned VCs along with a network of hundreds of part-time Venture Partners that drive the growth of portfolio companies.  Our conversation focused on the barriers that female and minority founders face when fundraising, as well as different methods to make VC funding more widely accessible. Lisa had a lot of great insights to share about how to open the doors to more diverse groups of founders.  Listen in to find out more!

Episode 2: Overcoming Barriers to Funding through Passion and Perseverance

This episode of Tech Forward features Martha Hernandez, founder and CEO of madeBos.  From a long career in talent acquisition and talent management, Martha is passionate about adding transparency in the talent selection and promotion process, access to opportunity, diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.  MadeBOS grew from Martha’s passion for shaping people’s professional growth and development, no matter their starting point or current trajectory.  In this episode, we discuss the barriers that Latina and other women of color entrepreneurs face in getting access to funding and other support for their businesses. What specific challenges and fears did Martha face along the way, and how did she overcome them? Listen along and find out!

Episode 1: Why Has Diversity Progress Been Slow at the Tech Giants?

The inaugural episode of Tech Forward features Courtney Bass, an HR Business Partner at Google, who coaches and advises leaders on team management and motivation.  As an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, Courtney has spent her career developing and implementing strategies that both individuals and teams can leverage for meaningful collaboration and growth.  In this episode, we examine why diversity progress has been so slow at many of the larger tech companies. At Google, diversity numbers are still well below representative, though they have improved over the years. Why has it been challenging for Google and other tech giants to establish a more diverse employee base?

Episode 0: Announcing Tech Forward

The discussion about diversity and unequal opportunity in the tech world has been going on for a long time now.  But, clearly this conversation needs to continue.  That’s why we decided to start the Tech Forward podcast.  Every week, our host, Cheryl Chotrani, will interview entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, media and tech leaders, and diversity advocates.  Save the date and subscribe to the podcast when we launch on March 14.