Friday, May 1, 2015

Latinas In Tech

We are currently in the midst of a digital revolution. The past couple of years have been characterized by remarkable growth and development in the fields of technology. A time in which there’s an app for everything and young college dropouts can become self-made millionaires from scratch. Everything about this age screams innovation. Everything but perhaps, the diversity of its workforce.

Diversity data released by some of the most popular tech companies, reported that most of Silicon Valley is significantly white, and more significantly so, male. Technology giant Apple, for example, is 70% male, 55% white, and only 11% Latino. At Yahoo and Facebook Latinos account for only 4% and at Google, for 3% of the general workforce.

Taking these numbers into consideration, it’s hard to imagine any Latinas making their mark in technology. But, Latinas are not just consumers of technology; they are technology innovators as well. Below are five of our favorite Latinas in tech:

1. Laura I. Gomez

“[What] does the face of entrepreneurship look like? It most likely doesn't look like me…”- Gomez to the Huffington Post, 8/2014.

From Google to Jawbone to Twitter, Gomez has worked in some of the best technology companies. At Twitter, she was the social network’s first Latina employee, eventually spearheading Twitter en Español for over three years. She is now founder and CEO of Atipica, a startup that aims to solve the problem of diversity in technology.

2. Monica Vila

“We all bear a responsibility for raising healthy kids, and regulating the amount of media they consume is an increasingly important part of that equation.” Vila, in her article for the Huffington Post, 8/2011

An active advocate of parents embracing technology, Vila founded, The Online Mom, a multifaceted tool to help parents protect their kids and encourage responsible behavior online

3. Judy Tomlinson

“I saw that we cannot live without our smart phones…so I began to design smart jewelry.” Tomlinson to Mas Wired 5/2014

Initially an electrical engineer, Tomlinson’s latest venture is founder and CEO of FashionTEQ, a company that makes technology wearable. FashionTEQ offers an extensive line of jewelry and accessories that marry fashion and technology by allowing the wearer to seamlessly keep tabs on their phone calls, texts and emails without ever having to check their phone.

4. Noramay Cadena, Diana Albarrán Chicas, Luz Rivas, Jazlyn Carvajal & Veronica Garcia.
“We want to spread awareness about STEM and to encourage Latinas…especially within underserved communities, to strongly consider pursuing a STEM career.” Albarrán Chicas to ScientificAmerican, 10/ 2014.

Ok, so this is technically more than one Latina…These five MIT alumna, founded the STEM Foundation in the summer of 2013. The goal of the organization is to increase the number of Latinas in STEM careers, that is, the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

5. Cassandra Baquero, Grecia Cano, Caitlyn Gonzalez, Kayleen Gonzalez, Janessa Leija and Jacqueline Garcia Torres
“This makes me feel so excited and happy and very proud,” Cano to the Brownsville Herald in February, 2014

When six middle school girls noticed that their visually impaired friend, Andres, struggled to get around, they decided to help. They created Hello Navi, a mobile application that relies on voice commands and pre-loaded paths to help guide visually impaired students. The app won the 2013-2014 Verizon Innovative App Challenge, a $20,000 award for the school, a trip to Washington, D.C. for the girls, bust most importantly provided a great deal of assistance to Andres and others like him… did I mention these girls are only 13 years old?

Originally Published in LatinTrends Magazine, Mar 2015

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