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Serena Williams Teams Up with Karat Helping Black Engineers

Serena Williams

Tennis superstar Serena Williams has used her platform out of the court to pursue other avenues of entrepreneurship, community givebacks and more.

Her latest venture is with Karat which is the world’s largest interviewing company. On April 19, the company announced their partnership with the 40 year old for the Brilliant Black Minds program.

The initiative will be used to refine inclusion and access for those in the tech world. It will also serve as a gateway tool for all Black software engineers to gain confidence in their skill set prior to seeking careers.

With Williams on board as the “Champion of Brilliance,” Karat will add more than 100,000 new Black engineers to their network during the next decade.

The visibility will give current and aspiring engineers opportunities as opposed to other networks that have entry barriers.

Though Black developers have been heavily underrepresented, they have been instrumental and responsible for some of today’s historical moments.

People like Mary Jackson, NASA’s first Black female engineer, helped propel astronauts into space. Another hidden gem is Roy Clay Sr. who was hired by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett Packard, to become a software pioneer for the intel company.

Accomplishments aside, Black software engineers face more challenges for job entry into the industry. They are less likely to have a broad network for professional use and less opportunities when undergoing technical evaluations.

The U.S. only accounts for 5 percent of software engineers of color, according to Business Wire. Based on a survey, conducted by Karat and Howard University, 50 percent of Black engineers were limited to only one technical interview before seeking employment.

That same research concluded that if engineers were given three or more practice interviews, their chances of landing a job increased. Karat looks to close the gap discrepancies and racial inequities while creating a space for higher employment rates and quality internships.

Karat’s Black Brilliant Minds program will help build confidence in the Interviewing Cloud. It’s designed to provide free interview practice, performative feedback, and improvement tuning to help engineers become successful in their field.

The Interview Cloud will also create a more personalized setting for candidates to obtain careers at a higher rate in contrast to traditional hiring methods that have overlooked other software engineers.

Williams said, “The technology industry is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. My focus is ensuring the solutions to those challenges are developed by all of us.”

She added, “There has never been a shortage of brilliance in Black America; only limits to the access and opportunities extended to our community. That is why I am proud to team up with companies like Karat who are taking actionable steps to bring more diversity and equity to the industry, as well as call on others to be part of the change.”

Mohit Bhende, Karat’s co-founder and CEO, says the program will help resolve engineers’ inability to be sought after for work all while “giving organizations access to a deeper, interview-ready talent pool.”

“We’re living in a world where engineering time grows more valuable every day, yet organizations are grappling with a multi-decade shortage of software engineers,” Bhende explained.

She added, “The current approach is to source talent from the same talent pool over and over again, which reinforces the industry’s lack of diversity and makes it harder to find technical talent.”

Brilliant Black Minds has more information on their website for all prospective software engineers.


Photo credit: Vinod Divakaran, Flickr

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Emil Flemmon
Emil Flemmon
Èmil Flemmon is an Atlanta-based editor, red carpet interviewer, writer, and photographer, with a career spanning over a decade in the editorial industry. His work has been featured in Kontrol Magazine, The Atlanta Voice, Blavity, Aspire TV, REVOLT, The Jasmine Brand, and Where Y'at Magazine in New Orleans.
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