Latinas in Tech: Empowering Change and Making Waves in the Industry
Remember when sci-fi shows and movies from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s showed us technology we never thought possible? This new food oven is basically a “Jetsons” food cooker, well, close to it anyway. National Technology Day (January 6th) recognizes all the ways technology has changed the world so far, from the invention of the wheel to artificial intelligence. It also looks to the future, highlighting new technological advances that will eventually change our lives.
And what’s cooler than the advent of new technology? We’d argue it’s the recent significant growth in the number of Latinas working in the technology industry.
They’re still underrepresented in comparison to their male colleagues but progress is progress. Latinas in technology face several hurdles and barriers, including discrimination and prejudices based on gender, race, and ethnicity.
Despite these obstacles, many Latinas have achieved success and made substantial contributions. Check out these 5 inspiring Latina tech entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place
Ariel Lopez is an Afro-Latina entrepreneur, career coach, and speaker in tech. She is the founder and CEO of Knac, formerly 2020Shift, a talent management platform that promises to transform the job application process for professionals and businesses by reducing bias and improving the candidate experience while also making the hiring process much more efficient.
Passionate about the future of work, diversity, and inclusion, Ariel aims to create impactful solutions through technology and by coaching marketing, advertising, and tech professionals on ways to grow their businesses and careers.
Marcela Torres, a researcher in social sciences, founded Hola Code in 2017 after identifying an urgent need for qualified personnel in the software development sector within her home country of Mexico, and tying that in with a growing migration crisis. Wanting to enact social change, she created a company that transforms forced migrants (returnees, deportees, and refugees) into skilled software developers, tapping into Mexico’s growing tech sector as well as the global demand for bilingual and bicultural developers, and helping them gain access to more, better jobs and opportunities.
Currently, Hola Code receives more than 400 applications each month from Mexicans and Central Americans seeking asylum. While they celebrate the accomplishments of their alumni, who quickly ascend into well-paid tech jobs across Mexico, the coding bootcamp is never short of work.
Dr. Maria Artunduaga
The Business Journals
Dr. Maria Artunduaga, a Colombian-born physician-scientist turned entrepreneur, graduated first in her class from Colombia's prestigious Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, which is ranked sixth among Latin American medical institutions. She moved to the United States for her postdoctoral studies, first at Harvard's Department of Genetics and subsequently at the universities of Washington and California in Berkeley-San Francisco, where she earned master's degrees in Public Health and Translational Medicine.
Inspired by her abuela Sylvia after years of witnessing her struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Maria went on to found Samay, formerly known as Respira Labs, a startup focused on enhancing the quality of life for people living with COPD through connected health and machine learning.
Laura I. Gomez
Laura I. Gomez is a Latina entrepreneur and technology executive. She is the co-founder and CEO of Atipica, a company that provides technology solutions for businesses to help improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She received her degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has worked in diverse leadership roles in the tech industry, including Google, YouTube, Jawbone, and Twitter, where she led the company’s product expansion into 50 languages and dozens of countries.
Laura has been recognized for her work as an entrepreneur and tech executive, having been named to Forbes' list of "Latin America's Most Powerful Women" in 2017. In addition to her work at Atipica, Gomez is also a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) board of directors. She is currently working on Proyecto Solace, described as “a community focused on building safe spaces for Latinx peoples focused on collective healing and mental wellness.”
Dr. Graciela Chichilnisky
Dr. Graciela is an Argentine-American economist and environmental scientist known for her work on climate change and creating innovative technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She is the co-founder and former CEO of Global Thermostat, a company that developed a technology that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities. The technology is designed to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Dr. Chichilnisky has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from the National Science Foundation, the Chaire d'Excellence from the French Government, and the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement. She is also a professor at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on environmental economics and the management of global environmental risks.