Welcome to the Forty Over 40 blog. Every week we spotlight one of our honorees and their thoughts on reinvention, mentorship and momentum…plus a peek into what makes them tick.
1. What was a pivotal momentum of reinvention for you?
The pivotal moment of reinvention for me occurred in March 2011 while attending a Berkeley Women Entrepreneurs Conference. During a session with some of the top female founders of Indiegogo, BlogHer and others a discussion question arose from the attendees around the lack of women in the technology field. Many of the observations from the attendees revolved around the lack of available women in the resource pool and the dwindling pipeline of women and women of color in STEM fields such as technology. I realized at this moment if this problem were to be solved I must personally do something about it.
2. Who has been a valuable mentor or sponsor?
I’ve had many informal mentors throughout my career both before I started on my non-profit organization. I would say more so than anything there are certainly some very inspiring role models that I look up to for inspiration as I build my business, some of whom I’ve received advice from along my journey. These include women such Kathryn Finney of Digital Undivided, Telle Whitney of Anita Borg Institute, and Kelly Hoey of Women Innovate Mobile.
3. What is your biggest goal right now?
My biggest goal is to create a sustainable business model for my non-profit organization, Black Girls CODE, which will allow us to continue to grow and reach girls around the world. Our goal is to reach 1 million girls by the year 2040 and to see our program teach girls around the world to code.
4. What time do you typically wake up? What do you do every morning.
I am NOT a morning person. I tend to wake up between 8-9am if I don’t have early meetings or calls on the east coast. I tend to start my morning with meditation or prayer and a review of my goals for the day. If I’m feeling cheeky I try to catch one of the morning shows with a cup of coffee, then I’m ready to go conquer the world!
5. How do you unplug? How often do you unplug?
My release is music. I played three instruments as a kid, drums, piano, and saxophone and I love jazz, r&b, and classical music. When I really want to relax or when I’m in deep concentration mode on a major project I put on my headphones and listen to a favorite playlist.
6. What challenge / achievement are you most proud of?
20+ years later I’m most proud of graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering with my BS in Electrical Engineering. The four years I spent in undergrad as one of only a handful of women in the school of engineering were some of the most difficult and challenging years of my life. It took an incredible amount of grit and determination and a healthy dose of prayer to navigate the difficult waters of being a female in a non-diverse field dominated by men. I still remember walking across the stage to receive my diploma vividly and it was truly a euphoric experience for me.
7. What was the last business book you read?
The last “business” book I read was David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Many of the scenarios in the book resonated with me as a small startup founder building a global business against sometimes much greater odds. It’s shown me that with skill and strategy, even David’s can conquer a giant.
8. What cause do you most want to advance?
I am most passionate about increasing the number of women and girls of color in the field of technology. I am dedicated to “changing the face of technology” and seeding the tech pipeline with the girls from the younger generation who will be come to tech leaders and creators of the future.
9. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Follow your passion. Do what you love and love what you do.
10. What is your secret indulgence?
A good pair of pumps (preferably Jimmy Choos). I’m a recovering shoe-holic. I truly love to buy shoes and love a good quality pair of heels any day over a pair of sneakers.
Check out Kimberly Bryant’s full 40 Over 40 profile here!