With October being Black History Month, it's essential to highlight all the achievements of Black men and women across all sectors. Thanks to Black and African American individuals, countless innovations within the tech sector have significantly influenced our everyday lives. That's why we wanted to highlight some of the most fantastic Black voices in tech by showcasing their success and efforts.
Dionne Condor-Farrell is an award-winning Senior Developer at Transport for London (TFL). She was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in Tech. Dionne has been working tirelessly for over 15 years to improve and digitally change Greater London. She has extensive expertise producing bespoke services for the UK's public transportation, education, and employment sectors. Not only that, but Dionne is an expert in Android app development, Java, and open source technologies. She is a truly talented individual.
Outside of her everyday role as a part-time Tech Coach, Dionne uses her leadership abilities to support diversity in tech. She is a co-founder of UKBlackTech, which supports, promotes, represents and encourages the continued growth of diverse innovators and tech innovations across the UK. It aims to make the UK the most ethnically diverse digital ecosystem. Dionne is also a member of TFL's Women in Tech Committee, raising awareness of tech as a viable vocation for women.
Tom Ilube is the founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity and the Rugby Football Union chair, making him the first Black chair of a major sport in England! Crossword Cybersecurity is a technology commercialisation company focused on cyber security and risk management. In addition to this Ilube has worked for Goldman Sachs, PwC, and the London Stock Exchange during his career. In the 2017 Powerlist, he was voted Britain's most influential Black person, and in 2018, he was awarded a CBE for services to technology and philanthropy.
Ilube serves as a non-executive director of the BBC and as chair of the African Gifted Foundation. The Africa Gifted Foundation seeks out academically gifted young women with a passion for Maths and Science from across Africa. It provides them with a world-class STEM education - all on full scholarships. In Ghana, Ilube also established Africa's first scientific and technology school for girls.
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Shirley Ann Jackson is a truly talented individual. She is currently the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's president. Jackson is the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate at MIT and the second African-American woman to receive a doctorate in physics in the United States, a monumental achievement!
She is credited with pioneering telecommunications research at AT&T Bell Laboratories, which resulted in the development of the touch-tone phone, portable fax machine, and caller ID. She has also had a successful leadership career, having served on the boards of directors of IBM, Medtronic Inc., Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, and FedEx. These are just a few of the achievements of Jackson; it's no wonder why we celebrate her success!
Technologist and digital governance entrepreneur Nneka Abulokwe has spent more than 25 years delivering large-scale IT projects worldwide. She is one of the first Black professionals to sit on the board of a top-five European IT services organisation. In 2017, Nneka founded MicroMax Consulting to advise on global boards' strategies and help create positive digital cultures. She is also chair of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, where she promotes diversity and inclusivity within the organisation's management.
Nneka has received much recognition for her contributions, including an OBE for services to business in 2019 and ranking fourth in the FT's Top 100 Black Asian Minority Ethnic Tech Leaders. Nneka Abulokwe continues to push the boundaries and open much-needed spaces for Black women and all minorities!
Tony Prophet leads Salesforce's diversity and inclusion efforts as Chief Equality Officer. This includes leading a new Ethical & Humane Use of Technology programme that promotes good social change and enhances people's lives all across the world.
Tony worked at Microsoft as a senior executive in product marketing before joining Salesforce. He was also co-executive sponsor of Blacks at Microsoft and launched BlackLight, an organisation that empowers Black marketers. Tony is a tireless advocate for human rights and social justice. He has aided in protecting young workers' rights, the education of female workers in developing nations on health issues, and the improvement of schools. Tony Prophet continues to be a trailblazer in promoting the rights of Black men and women in tech and improving working conditions within the tech sector.
Debs Durojaiye is the highly talented designer and founder of Afrotech Fest, London's most prominent tech festival by and for Black people of African and Caribbean origin. Debs is well-versed in systems advocacy inside IT, having worked for the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) team, pushing tirelessly to enhance fairness throughout the organisation.
Durojaiye continues to impact and influence the tech sector as a Tech London Advocate. Her event is dedicated to ensuring that Black people in the United Kingdom are no longer underrepresented in tech conferences and that their perspectives are heard in tech debates. This is something that has galvanised many in tech in recent years and continues to attract more and more followers every year.
These are but a few influential Black voices in tech that need to be recognised and supported for their initiatives and efforts. A critical takeaway with Black History Month is not only that we need to celebrate the past but that we need to create an even brighter future. It's essential that we not only champion and support the betterment and empowerment of Black men and women in tech for just October, but every day, all year-round.