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“We know that there is a tomorrow and we want to be able to prepare our girls and our community for what that tomorrow looks like. Not only prepare them for it, but make sure that they have a hand in building it. ” - Isis Miller
Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was often the only black female in the room. Kimberly’s experience wasn’t rare. In fact, it’s the norm. Black women make up less than 0.5% of the leadership roles in tech.
As Kimberly watched her young daughter Kai grow a budding interest in gaming and coding, but with no spaces to explore or develop those interests alongside people that looked like her, Kimberly decided to take charge.
Kimberly and her colleagues at Genentech put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011, conducting the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters supported by volunteers under the name Black Girls CODE.
Today we interview Isis Miller, who joined the organization earlier this year just before COVID-19 struck.
We’ll talk to Isis about how Black Girls CODE has gone virtual with online workshops and career panels that reach out to 1,000 students per week and what a meaningful partnership with Black Girls CODE means.
Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:
- Defining a holistic “why.” Learning to code is only part of the Black Girls CODE experience. People engage because it’s a space for girls to be inspired, motivated, and build confidence in addition to coding skills.
- Developing a community ecosystem. Programming engages not only girls who want to learn to code but also guardians, those that support them.
- Going digital. Zoom tricks that have kept Black Girls CODE true to their “why.”
- Honoring the moment. How Isis has created space to honor joy and trauma in grieving.
- Partnerships. Entering into a partnership is about building with–creating value that is not possible in one organization on their own.
This podcast was created by the team at People & Company.
We published GET TOGETHER📙, a handbook on community-building.
And we help organizations like Nike, Porsche, Substack and Surfrider make smart bets with their community-building investments.