Meet The People Vying For The First-Ever Diversity Crunchie Award

In case you haven’t noticed, diversity and inclusion are really important in tech, which is why we’ve stepped up our diversity coverage and have decided to present the first-ever award for diversity, the Include Diversity Award, at the 9th Annual Crunchies Awards on Monday, February 8.

The Include Diversity Award goes to the person who has made the biggest contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Without further ado, here are the finalists.

The 2015 Nominees

Erica Baker

Slack engineer Erica Baker has become a well-known advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Last year, Baker started #RealDiversityNumbers, a Twitter movement to get companies reporting numbers around retention, number of lawsuits settled out of court, etc. Although she started at Slack as a build and release engineer, her role has since evolved to include some work around diversity and inclusion.

Kimberly Bryant 

As founder and CEO of Blacks Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant is on a mission to change the face of technology by introducing girls from underrepresented communities to coding. Black Girls Code does this through a series of workshops, hackathons and summer camps. Now in its third year, Black Girls Code has reached over 3,000 girls. Through Black Girls Code, Bryant hopes to teach 1 million girls across the world how to code by 2040.

Joelle Emerson

Before Emerson started Paradigm last year, she practiced law around gender equality at Equal Rights Advocates, a non-profit organization for women’s rights. Today, she’s the CEO of Paradigm, which works with tech companies like Slack, Airbnb and Pinterest to help formulate strategies around diversity and inclusion.

Laura Weidman Powers

CODE2040, led by Laura Weidman Powers, had a year full of partnerships and money coming in. In January, Google gave CODE2040 $775,000 in grant money and in March, Google backed a CODE2040 pilot program to support minority entrepreneurs with a one-year stipend and free office space in Chicago, Austin and Durham, N.C. Back in August, Apple partnered with the organization to offer three-month paid internships to 10 of the 80 fellows in CODE2040’s 2016 class. Since launching its pilot program in 2012, CODE2040 has helped thousands of black and Latino students get involved in technology through its flagship CODE2040 Fellows Program.

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler is the founder of Trans*H4CK, a nationwide hackathon program for transgender and gender non-conforming people. This year, Ziegler co-founded BlackStarMedia and revamped Trans*H4CK to bring it online and make it more accessible to trans people all over the world. Last June, Trans*H4CK received $85,000 in grant money from VC Marc Andreessen and philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.

Tickets to the show that’s best described as the Oscars of startups and technology are still available. And take note: In past years there have been long lines to get into the Crunchies. We’re fixing that by opening the doors earlier and adding lots more ticket scanners. It is also easier than ever to get a drink with a bar on the lower level next to Best of Startup Alley!

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