The Top 10 Black Innovator Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership and made an impact by fostering disruptive innovation in technology-related industries, products and services.
BiT will present the Top 10 Black Innovators of 2012 as a component of the SXSW Interactive Festival on Friday, March 8, 2013 during the BiT Welcome Reception being held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Carver Museum.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TOP 10 BLACK INNOVATORS OF 2012 AWARD WINNERS
is one of the fastest rising socio-political comics in the United States. This summer he will star in his own weekly half-hour series on FX, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, executive produced by Chris Rock and premiering August 9th at 11:00 PM.
A founding member of the stand-up comedy collective “Laughter Against the Machine,” Kamau is also co-host of The Field Negro Guide to Arts & Culture podcast with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid. Praised by Punchline Magazine as “one of our nation’s most adept racial commentators with a blistering wit,” Kamau has been voted San Francisco’s best comedian by the SF Weekly, the SF Bay Guardian, and 7×7 Magazine.
is the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, the largest city in the State of New Jersey. Mayor Booker is presently serving in his second term.
Elected with a clear mandate for change, Mayor Booker began work on realizing a bold vision for the City. Newark’s mission is to set a national standard for urban transformation by marshalling its resources to achieve security, economic abundance and an environment that is nurturing and empowering for individuals and families.
Mayor Booker and his Administration, together with the City’s residents, have made meaningful strides towards achieving the City’s mission by tackling significant challenges with innovation, new coalitions, creative public private partnerships and building on the already existing great foundation in New Jersey’s most historic city.
is a Biotechnology/Engineering professional who has spent the last decade in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, and Manufacturing industry in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Merck, Pfizer, and Dupont. Most recently Ms. Bryant spent 5+ years as a Senior Manager with Bay Area biotechnology company Genentech. Ms. Bryant is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and she received her Bachelors of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a major in Electrical Engineering and a minor in CS and math.
Ms. Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode in April 2011 to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the currently exploding field of technology. The program focuses on introducing girls of color between the ages of 7-17 to the field of digital technology and computer programming with a focus on emerging entrepreneurial concepts. Since launching BlackGirlsCode in 2011 in the Bayview Hunter’s Point community the very successful pilot program has experienced incredible growth with workshops now being offered in Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, and various other cities as part of a national expansion effort.
In 2003, when Yale grad Kathryn Finney founded one of the first fashion blogs, The Budget Fashionista, she had no idea that she was starting a movement. Kathryn grew the TBF brand to be one of the most popular and influential fashion blogs, reaching a global audience of more than 15 million+ unique visitors a year and became the first style blogger to receive a book deal from a major publisher, the first to be on network television (TODAY Show, Good Morning America, CNN), and the first to be profiled in the New York Times.
Kathryn currently serves as an advisor to several companies in the digital space, including the role of Editor-At-Large at BlogHer. She is considered an expert in building branded, women-centered online properties and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences such as 92nd St Y, Decoded Fashion, South by Southwest (SXSW), New York Women in Communications, Women’s Funding Network, and numerous colleges and universities.
Kathryn has won numerous awards and honors including, AOL’s Top 10 Women in Money, Black Enterprise’s 40 Stars Under 40, and Silicon Alley 100.
In 2012, Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided, a social enterprise that builds forward thinking initiatives that change the digital space. In less than six months, DID has had a signficant, quanitifiable impact on increasing the number of successful digital entrepreneurs of color. DID’s FOCUS100 event, held every October in New York City, reaches over 3 million people/47 million impressions and draws in major players in the digital space such as Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Andreesen Horowitz, Oglivy, and Techstars. DID’s GROW meetups, held in four cities (New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Bay Area), has created entry points into the digital space for new urban digital entrepreneurs. DID’s START symposiums in Altanta and Detroit, developed in partnership with American Express Open, brings the “Valley to the Hood”, to teach urban entrepreneurs the tools to create and growth successful digital companies.
is the CEO and Founder of Pathbrite. Her leadership experience spans over 15 years, during which she has founded and led several private and public sector organizations.
Her roster of leadership roles includes being the former Commissioner of San Francisco Unified School District, Executive Director of Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2), CEO of Hiles Group (a philanthropy consultancy firm), Co-Founder of EARN (Individual Development Accounts program), CEO – SFWorks (NGO to place women from welfare into careers) and COO – Break the Cycle (K-3rd grade tutorial program). Heather currently serves on the board of Leadership Public Schools; Social Venture Network; and three startup companies.
When Heather is not involved with Pathbrite (which doesn’t happen very often) she likes to spend time with her family and three dogs in Oakland, gardening and playing basketball. Heather received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her MBA from Yale University.
is host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry.” The show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to Noon ET. Harris-Perry is professor of political science at Tulane University,
where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. Harris-Perry is author of the well received new book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale 2011) and the award winning text Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (Princeton 2004). Professor Harris-Perry is a columnist for The Nation magazine where she also writes a monthly column also titled Sister Citizen.
She lives in New Orleans with her husband, James Perry, and is the mother of a terrific daughter, Parker.
in 1992, was the first African-American woman to go into space. She’s become a crusader for science education — and for a new vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.
In 1994, Jemison founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which runs an internationally-known science camp called The Earth We Share. She also founded BioSentient Corp. to explore bringing NASA biofeedback technology to public market. Jemison is also the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek.
at the ripe old age of 11, has come up with a clever mobile app that discourages people from texting while driving. The app, called ‘Rode Dog’, received the help from David Grau, the creative director and designer at the interactive agency WLDG.
Rode Dog allows users to invite friends and family members into groups referred to as ‘packs’ and the GPS coordinate of each member is shared at all times. Once the app detects that a user is driving and texting at the same time, an alert would be sent to the other members. Others in the same pack can send ‘barking’ sounds to the driver to remind him/her to stop texting.
The app was created as part of AT&T’s ‘It Can Wait’ hackathon and has already received $20,000 in funding to help develop the app further.
is a co-founder and Co-CEO of bLife, Inc. and also a co-founder and Chairman of MoviePass, Inc. Previously, Hamet was an entrepreneur-in-residence with True Ventures. As an entrepreneur and company-builder focused on solving large problems. Hamet has brought several successful innovations to market—and frequently advises businesses on their own innovations.
A leader in the Los Angeles entrepreneurial community, Hamet sits on the board of the LA Venture Association and is active with other entrepreneur organizations. He’s frequently been noted in the national press for innovation in media and entrepreneurship, and has been featured in such publications such as Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and Forbes. Hamet also advises several technology and media companies on marketing ROI and media innovation.
is the Chief Technology Officer of Interactive One, a digital media company focusing on the African-American and urban market. Mr. Wright has emerged as one of the distinctive and insightful voices in America and a premier expert on how the convergence of technology, the Internet, mass media and social media can change lives, businesses and society.
Previously, Wright founded Maximum Leverage Solutions, a firm that delivers Internet, social media and technology strategy consulting. Prior to launching Maximum Leverage, he joined Russell Simmons in co-founding Global Grind.com, a social media site that caters to the hip-hop perspective and gives creative entrepreneurs a place to monetize and showcase their content. Other cutting edge roles for Wright were SVP of Technology for Medical Broadcasting Company, a division Digitas and CTO of Viacom’s BET Interactive. Wright recently launched the “Close the divide for Me” project, an initiative to build awareness among underserved communities about the opportunities that technology can provide in key areas such as education, healthcare, career growth and entrepreneurship.
Wright’s accolades include appearing on the CNN Black in America series, being named “40 Under forty” professionals to watch by Network Journal Magazine, being selected by Black Enterprise Magazine for their “Next Steve Jobs list: The 10 people to watch in Technology” and being named a GenerationNEXT and Information Technology leader.