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CODE2040 chief exec shatters ‘Leaky Pipeline’ to STEM careers metaphor

Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and CEO of CODE2040

Laura Weidman Powers is an ambitious innovator making waves in Silicon Valley. Her non-profit CODE2040 is one of the most talked about startups addressing the urgent need to create opportunities for minorities in the tech space.

In the four years since she’s been at the helm, Weidman Powers has received an impressive list of accolades, including sought-after recognition on The Root 100‘s most influential African Americans in 2013. December’s been yet another eventful month for the Harvard grad: this week she made it onto the coveted list of the 9th Annual Crunchies Awards finalists.

CODE2040 also received $1.2 million in funding from the Knight Foundation to expand their reach and programming to create access, awareness, and opportunities for African American and Hispanic engineering talent to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy. The San Francisco-based organization, co-founded in 2012 by Tristan Walker and Weidman Powers, is without a doubt one of the hottest organizations tackling diversity right now.

Earlier this year, Weidman Powers caught up with UrbanGeekz founder and CEO Kunbi Tinuoye at Atlanta’s 2015 Platform Summit. During the broadcast interview, she talked candidly about her work and the limitations of the ‘leaky pipeline’ analogy. It was a powerful and persuasive argument that she also articulated during her on-stage presentation at Platform.

Pipeline Metaphor

“I think it’s really useful to think about how we can better educate our students, but also think this idea of a leaky pipeline in a way holds us back from really solving the issue at hand, representation in the industry,” said CODE2040 CEO Weidman Powers, in her interview with UrbanGeekz.

“Because it makes it seem like students are these passive droplets of water kind of flowing along, willy-nilly, with no agency. It makes it seem like the rules are fixed so the pipes are laid and nothing can be done. But in actually it couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s a lot that students can do to improve their chances and there’s a lot the industry can do to become more diverse.”

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti

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    Kunbi Tinuoye
    Kunbi Tinuoye
    Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.