On March 5th, we acknowledged the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where Black non-violent protesters – led by Congressman John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Junior – faced a brutal police attack as they called for their right to vote. I had the privilege of working alongside Congressman Lewis to organize the 50th Anniversary pilgrimage to Selma, which was attended by former President Barack Obama. I hold each anniversary near and dear.
And March 9th, we celebrated International Women’s Day, a moment to uphold the groundbreaking contributions women have made across industries and reflect on where we are headed in continuing to achieve gender equality. I spent the day at the Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi alongside women leaders representing 55 counties. I had the privilege of speaking to a group of Forbes 30 under 30 listers about my leadership journey, and left more inspired learning so much from their courageous spirits. The event drove home the importance of cultural awareness and inclusivity in reaching a common goal: empowering and mentoring the next generation of women leaders across the globe.
The tech industry has an important opportunity to build solutions that uplift historically marginalized communities and create better outcomes for us all. But to do this, we need to re-center the industry beyond more than just profitability. That’s why I’ve joined Beam to design technology that matters. As I begin my new role as Chief Operations Officer, I wanted to share some reflections.
Lived experience is essential to developing products for the public sector. After spending years in financial technology, nonprofit work, and politics, in addition to my everyday lived experience, I saw an opportunity to enter the govtech industry and use technology solutions as an avenue to positively impact the communities around me.
I now have a greater understanding of the importance of the teams behind the products we’re building. As we work to harness tech for good and create meaningful impact, we must build teams diverse in perspective and background that represent a wider swath of users.
When our tech supports every type of person, we can create real impact. Especially with the delivery of public benefits, where products have public policy implications, inclusive teams are vital to generate outcomes tailored to serve our most vulnerable populations.
At Beam, we’re doing just that. We’ve built a platform that quickly and equitably distributes public benefits to communities of all sizes, demographics, and locations. Our mission to make a global impact on benefits distribution will only succeed if we as a company represent those we intend to support. My Beam colleagues bring lived experience and expertise, many who have struggled to apply or administer public benefits firsthand.
At this important moment for the tech industry and beyond, I feel similar to how I did during my pilgrimages to Selma. I’m reminded of the power of collaboration holding true to what’s right, and how these values yield real solutions. The tech industry needs each of our perspectives, and we need each other. Our voices, different but in tandem, are how we create social systems that serve us all.