For many, Black History Month is a time to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments of black Americans who have contributed to our nation — back in the day.
But the real opportunity to realize this ongoing impact lies in the extraordinary work being done today by the African American community in every academic discipline and industry. The list of modern-day pioneers is endless but we’ve highlighted five who are making tremendous strides in marketing, communications and technology.
A Forbes Social Media Power Influencer, A.I. specialist, digital marketer, keynote speaker, author, and world traveler, Sean Gardner shares a variety of valuable insights for an aspiring entrepreneur.
Having worked with big brands like Apple, Microsoft, Marriott Hotels, Ford Motor Company, Ogilvy & Mather, World Vision and The Huffington Post, Gardner’s social media profiles are jam-packed with business knowledge, reflections on current events, and travel photos that will keep you thinking and engaged.
As a graduate student and systems administrator at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Alan Emtage created and implemented the Archie search engine — a program that automated the (previously) time-consuming process of finding specific pieces of software. In other words, the world’s first search engine.
In 2011, Kimberly Bryant launched Black Girls Code, an organization devoted to teaching young girls of color computer coding and programming languages, such as Scratch and Ruby on Rails. Through classes and programs, Bryant and the rest of the Black Girls Code team hope to grow the number of black women in technology and give underprivileged girls better opportunities.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown was the inventor of the first home security system. She is also credited with the invention of the first closed-circuit television. Brown’s invention laid the foundation for later security systems that make use of its features such as video monitoring, remote-controlled door locks, push-button alarm triggers, and instant messaging to security providers and police, as well as two-way voice communication.
Her invention is still used by small businesses, small offices, single-family homes, and multi-unit dwellings such as apartments and condominiums. Brown’s patent was later referenced by thirteen other inventors, including some as recently as 2013.
Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John is an American businesswoman and marketing executive who is the current Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Netflix. Previously, she served as CMO at Endeavor, and chief brand officer (CBO) at Uber until June 2018. Saint John also was a marketing executive at Apple Music until June 2017, after joining the company in its acquisition of Beats Music.
She is a trailblazer who has helped break the proverbial glass ceiling as both an African American and a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Room to grow
Workplace diversity and inclusion efforts have led to increased awareness of inequalities and a push for better representation, and global movements like Black Lives Matter have shed light on how far we’ve come and how far we have left to go.