Kimberly Bryant is an articulate, confident woman who founded a company to change people’s views of the technological world and increase the number of women in the field. Let’s take a closer look at 10 things you didn’t know about this visionary world leader.
1. She Founded Black Girls Code
In 2010, Kimberly Bryant was working as an executive for a multinational biotech firm in the corporate economic environment of Silicon Valley. She attended a conference on women and leadership where the panelists claimed that men dominated the technology industry because there were very few women available for the job. Bryant, an electrical engineer with over 20 years of experience per her LinkedIn profile, could not accept this premise. A year later, she took action and established a non-profit organization known as Black Girls Code. The organization’s main objective is to target as many girls as possible between the ages of 7 and 17 from diverse socioeconomic statuses and educate them about computer technology. Black Girls Code started by training young girls to write computer applications, work in robotics, create their own websites, and even design computer games. It inspired these girls from the early stages of their lives to work toward becoming efficient innovators of the future.
2. She Is a Recognized World Leader
Through her non-profit organization, Black Girls Code, Kimberly has been awarded many accolades in recognition of her efforts to increase the opportunities for many young girls and women in the technological industry. She was awarded the White House Champion of Change for her involvement in technology advancement and closing the digital gap among girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Bryant also received the famous Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work in supporting communities in the Bay Area. Her other awards and recognition include:
- Business Insider’s “The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology,” The 100 Ebony Power Women, and “The Root 100.”
- Ingenuity Award in Social Progress by the Smithsonian Institute
- FastCompany’s Most Creative People
3. Her Company’s Name Was Initially Controversial
Kimberly Bryant had worked in the corporate world for a number of years and came to fully understand the importance of diversity in the technology industry. This influenced her to establish her organization- Black Girls Code. After its establishment, the name of the organization brought a lot of controversy in the corporate world, with some critics claiming that it covered a very narrow target audience. There was concern that focusing on minority Black women in tech was narrow branding. Nevertheless, this did not deter Bryant, who grew more confident in her decision after being validated by her peers, particularly other women in the technology industry that had seen the need for representation.
4. She Majored in Electrical Engineering
Kimberly Bryant was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, by a divorced single mother. Young Kimberly’s favorite activity was playing with her dolls, and she later aspired to be a lawyer. In high school, she was outstanding in math and science, and, noticing her intelligence, the guidance counselor at the school persuaded her to pursue an engineering course in college. Kimberly was enrolled in Vanderbilt University in 1985, where she planned on doing a civil engineering course. Later on, however, she was lured by the developments happening in the technological world at that time and switched to an electrical engineering course.
5. Her Daughter Inspired Her to Establish Her Company
Kimberly Bryant has a daughter, Kai, who spent most of her elementary school years absorbed in video games like World of Warcraft. When Kai was 12 years old, her mother took her to a computer science summer camp at Stanford University. Kai soon realized that she was the only black girl at the camp and complained to her mother that the instructors at the camp mainly focused on the boys. In response, Kimberly Bryant decided to pioneer an initiative of inspiring young black women in the technology field.
6. She Was Recently Dismissed as CEO
In December 2021, Kimberly Bryant tweeted,” So, it’s 3 days to Christmas, and you suddenly wake up to find out that the company YOU initiated and developed from the ground up has been snatched away by a rogue board of management with no notice.” This was in response to a message she had received from the board at Black Girls Code dismissing her as CEO. In an email sent to Business Insider, the board said that Bryant would remain a member of the staff, but serious allegations of workplace impropriety involving her were under investigation. According to a statement from Forbes, the notice followed months of conflict between Kimberly Brant and board members. Brant had previously complained in an October memo that one of the members, Heather Hiles, had been appointed interim chair in violation of the governance protocols at Black Girls Code.
7. She Has Had a Positive Impact on the Community
In addition to developing a non-profit organization that mainly focused on girls of color, Kimberly was also a huge advocate for all young boys and girls in the tech world. Bryant says that her main mission is to inspire them to become computer programmers and scientists by equipping them with the basic technological know-how to thrive in the modern world.
8. She Started Her Company Using Her 401(k)
Bryant initiated her organization using her 401(k) to fund its activities. Over the years, the company has mentored more than 30,000 students through community building and encouraged them to participate in the high-tech world.
9. Her Company Is Over 10 Years Old
Kimberly’s non-profit organization was established ten years ago and, since then, has continued to empower young black women who are interested in the technology industry. It has offered educational programs on technology to about 20,000 girls of color.
10. She Was Named Visionary Woman by CNN
Early 2019, Kimberly was ranked among the 10 Visionary Women who are empowering their fellow women by CNN. During an interview with the news network, Kimberly commented that her main goal was to train girls to become the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg of tomorrow.
According to estimates by the US Department of Labor, there will be approximately 1.4 million tech-related jobs in the country by 2020. But while statistics show that Latina, Native American, and African American women are the most prolific users of gaming, social media, and other high-tech products, they will only fill 3 percent of these jobs. Kimberly Bryant is one of the people at the helm of ensuring more women of color enter and dominate the technological world.