Community Spotlight – PDXWIT Black Futures & Black History

by | Tech Employment

Kilaa Slaughter-Scott

In February, the team at PDX Women in Tech hosted a happy hour focused on themes for the month of February: Black Futures && Black History. The event celebrated the accomplishments of Black women in our local community and those that paved the way. Here’s a quick recap:

Local Leaders

Kilaa Slaughter-Scott spoke about her role at Cambia, the impact of employee resources groups, and her involvement with North by Northeast Community Health Center (NxNE)

Top 3 Takeaways for Women in Tech

  • Join or start an Employee Resources Group. These coalitions ensure that there is a seat at the table for everyone and can help your company solve problems faster.
  • Find alignment between your passions and your day job. For Kilaa, Cambia’s Board Placement Program connected her with NxNE and allows her to lend a helping hand in making health care equitable and accessible for all.
  • Make a daily reminder to be kind. Kilaa’s favorite way to reminder herself:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

― Maya Angelou

O’Nesha Cochran

O’Nesha Cochran shared her work with the Black Resilience Fund here in Portland. The Black Resilience Fund is an emergency fund dedicated to healing and resilience by providing immediate resources to Black Portlanders. 

Under the umbrella of Brown Hope, the Black Resilience Fund and leaders like O’Nesha are helping the Black community here in Portland that continues to be hit hard by the compounding impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the pre-existing inequities that have been amplified since the murder of George Floyd.  

With over 10,000 requests received, most funding awards are capped at $300. O’Nesha hopes to continue to raise funds to support the demand in the Portland community. Want to help? Donate here.

Black History is Now – Names to Know

During the event, PDXWIT highlighted several impactful women in STEM. Here are the names to know:

Kistein Monkhouse wears many hats: she’s the Founder & CEO of Patient Orator, a documentary filmmaker, and an advocate for patients. Her mission is to dismantle systemic inequalities that cause health disparities across the healthcare system.

Latanya Sweeney is a Professor and the Director of the Data Privacy Lab in the Institute of Quantitative Social Science at Harvard. She develops technology to assess & solve societal problems, and has made big contributions to privacy technology.

Dr. Cobb is known for her research in trying to find a cure for melanoma and advocating for equal access to education for women and minorities.

Gladys Mae West is a mathematician known for her contributions to the modeling of the shape of the Earth as well as satellite geodesy models that led to GPS.

Black women continue to shape the STEM community at a global and local scale. Connect with PDXWIT for more events and opportunities focused on advancing inclusion in Portland’s technology industry.

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