Kimberly Bryant is an icon and advocate for diversity in the tech community. She is the founder of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing technology education for girls of color. She originally worked as an electrical engineer, focusing on biotechnology for more than twenty years. Her passion for diversity in tech emerged in her childhood, but she became even more dedicated when she had her daughter. She wanted her to have the same opportunities as her peers interested in STEM because she never got to experience that herself. Now Kimberly’s work is empowering girls everywhere to pursue careers in technology and expand their creativity!

Early Inspiration

Kimberly grew up in Tennessee during the civil rights era and was raised by a single mother. She had a passion for math and science at an early age, and her mother taught her that her future lies in her education. She became dedicated to her schoolwork and was fueled by her desire to be her own boss one day. Kimberly’s work in school paid off, and she received a scholarship to Vanderbilt University. She settled on becoming an electrical engineer due to her interest in new technology and minored in computer science and math. 

Kimberly Bryant had been living comfortably as an electrical engineer, but when she had her daughter, everything changed. Kimberly’s daughter shared that same love for math and science, and Kimberly knew she had to fight to give her daughter the best education she could get. After searching for computer science courses, she realized none of them suited her daughter, and the majority of the time she was the only minority there. This is when Kimberly came up with the idea for Black Girls CODE. Black Girls CODE focuses on educating computer programming to girls ages 7-17 in after-school and summer programs. The program has already taught over 3000 girls in 15 different chapters and has a goal to teach 1 million black girls to code by 2040.

Entrepreneurship is not easy, but it is Rewarding

Founding Black Girls CODE was not an easy feat, especially considering how Kimberly was new to entrepreneurship. In the early stages, she experienced many roadblocks, such as financial difficulties and app development issues. She received feedback urging her to launch the project early, but she stuck to her plan and waited to release it once it had been perfected. Another problem that plagued Kimberly was her experience with what she calls “imposter syndrome”, she had doubts about whether she was qualified for the role, but in the end she took that chance and was rewarded greatly. In 2012, she received the prestigious Jefferson Award for community service and was invited to the White House the following year as a champion of change. Although Kimberly faced difficulties along the way, her work has opened doors to girls everywhere interested in coding. 

Kimberly has now taken a step back from Black Girls Code and works for the National Girls Collaborative Project. She also travels and speaks about her creative journey and advice for young girls at various events. She encourages girls everywhere to “be what you can’t see” because it’s what disruptors and innovators do. Furthermore, she has emphasized the fact that gender is not central to coding, and anyone can be what they dream of. She teaches the importance of failure and how it has impacted not only her life but many other successful people. Kimberly’s legacy will continue through her work of creating opportunities for girls of color in STEM.

So, What’s Next?

As an advocate for diversity in the tech industry, Kimberly Bryant continues to inspire and lead through her work with Black Girls CODE. Her dedication to empowering the next generation of female leaders has not only broken barriers but also paved the way for inclusivity and equal opportunities within the tech industry. Through tireless efforts, she is creating a future that will allow young women of color to innovate, excel, and make revolutionary contributions to the world of tech for generations to come. Her impact is a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of education and representation in shaping the future.

Listen to Kimberly Bryant talk about her experiences with failure.

Food for Thought

Do you believe that your future lies in your education? Have you ever experienced “imposter syndrome”? Can failure be positive?