Brenda Darden Wilkerson is an advocate for access, opportunity, and social justice for underrepresented communities in technology. She serves as the President and CEO of AnitaB.org, an organization that connects, inspires, and strives for greater equality for women technologists in business, academia, and government. AnitaB.org provides resources and programs that help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and advance technical women in computer science and engineering to meet the growing global need for technology workers and increase technological innovation. The organization works with industry partners to make the global technology workplace more welcoming to women. Through its programs, AnitaB.org impacts over 40,000 women technologists each year through programs such as the Grace Hopper Celebrations as well as other programs.
Brenda Wilkerson founded the original Computer Science for All program, building computer science classes into the curriculum for every student in the Chicago Public Schools. The program served as the inspiration for the Obama administration's national CS4All initiatives. Brenda earned a computer science degree from Northwestern University.
Chief Executive Office, AISES
Sarah EchoHawk, an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, has been working on behalf of Native people for over 20 years. She has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) since 2013. A national American Indian nonprofit organization founded in 1977, AISES' mission is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers.
AISES has a rapidly expanding membership to more than 4,700 individuals, two new tribally-chartered chapters, 190 college and university chapters, 20 professional chapters, and 158 affiliated K-12 schools. AISES has awarded over $11.5 million in scholarship support to American Indian STEM students. Through scholarships and internships, workforce development and career resources, national and regional conferences, science fairs, leadership development, and other STEM focused programming, AISES is the leader in STEM opportunity for American Indians.
Sarah EchoHawk earned a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Native American Studies from Metro State University of Denver. She attended law school at the University of Colorado and completed additional graduate coursework in applied communications at the University of Denver.
In addition to her role as Chief Accessibility Office for Microsoft, Jenny Lay-Flurrie is also Chair of the Board of Directors of
, a global nonprofit that enables businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality. Jenny Lay-Flurrie has been a long-standing advocate for disability inclusion in business. In 2018,
named her as an icon to watch during the next quarter century for her inclusive design and accessibility efforts to empower all, and in 2014 she was honored as a
White House Champion of Change
At Microsoft, some of the major initiatives she's led include the creation of a "
Disability Answer Desk
" that now handles ~140,000 contacts a year. Also instrumental in the Ability Hack program which brings together internal Microsoft folk to create and build inclusive accessible products.
Two of those projects
are documented in the book '
The Ability Hacks
' and has been a part of the journey with several now innovations that have been launched to the public such as the '
' app designed for the low vision community and
Xbox Adaptive Controller
which brings gaming for people with limited mobility. She was honored to form and lead the Microsoft Disability Employee Resource Group for over 10 years. Her current team established a program for people with autism at Microsoft and is working on ways to empower people with disabilities both apparent and non-apparent, and believes that
we are at the tip of the iceberg for what's possible with tech
Jenny Lay-Flurrie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music from the University of Sheffield and an MBA from the University of Bradford.
Nayda G. Santiago
As one of the founding members of CAHSI (The Computer Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions), Nayda Santiago has worked to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete undergraduate and advanced degrees in the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering areas. CAHSI has achieved measurable impact with CAHSI institutions graduating Hispanic students at 10 times the national rate of Hispanic baccalaureates in computing and has served as a significant pipeline of new recruits into graduate studies and the professorate throughout this nation. CAHSI has provided deep and broad support to students at all educational stages that fosters deep student engagement and development through CAHSI's proven practices.
Nayda has developed programs such as Development Workshops on Research for Undergraduate and Graduate Level Students to enhance their understanding of the technical and nontechnical aspects of research. Nayda has also been leading efforts such as Femprof, Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing, and ExploreCSR-PR where she assists CS and CEng undergraduate female students to build the skills to go into graduate school and become female professors in computing related areas.
Nayda G. Santiago earned a B.S.E.E. degree from University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, a M.Eng. E.E. degree from Cornell University, and a PhD. degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University. She is currently a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.