One of the keynote speakers at the inaugural Liberty VUKA Knowledge Summit is trailblazer Kimberly Bryant.
Bryant is the founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organisation dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing young girls of colour to the fields of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts.
Bryant tells 702 anchor Azania Mosaka that she has had a professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. She has worked as an engineering manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.
During her presentation on Wednesday, Bryant relayed her experience of growing up in a neighbourhood without visible role models.
Luckily I ended up studying engineering and it was very difficult. It was difficult with the rubrics I had to learn but it was also difficult being not only one of the women but also one of the only black women along this path.— Kimberly Bryant, Founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE
Bryant tells Mosaka that she really felt isolated in most environments while she was a student and was made to feel incapable and unworthy of occupying such spaces. She adds this was extremely hard and has led to her doing the work she does today.
I hope my work will encourage more girls to get into tech and follow this pathway into college so that they can create their own communities and support each other.— Kimberly Bryant, Founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE
Bryant says she created Black Girls CODE for her daughter who suffered the same discrimination when she also learned coding.
Since 2011, Bryant has assisted Black Girls CODE grow into an international organisation with seven chapters across the US and in Johannesburg, South Africa.
To hear more of Kimberly Bryant, listen to the clip below: