Tech Me to the Movies addresses lack of diversity in technology through film

The movie Hidden Figures is the true story of three African-American women working at NASA who played integral roles in one of the greatest achievements in history: launching the first American into space.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson broke barriers at NASA—not just for being women but for being African-American in an industry dominated by white men. After all, it was Johnson’s calculations that were key in John Glenn’s successful orbit landing.

Krystal D. Carter knows something about breaking barriers. As an African-American woman in the enterprise software industry, she has felt the unintended effects of being a woman of color in a field where women of color make up of only 3% of employees.

That’s why her Houston-based company, Danny Kay Cloud—a cloud applications consulting firm— along with Salesforce and Skuid, is co-hosting Tech Me to the Movies, which benefits the local non-profit WHYS Girls (Women Helping Youth Succeed).

At this event, a group of 40 minority girls will attend a private screening of Hidden Figures, along with a three-course dinner, followed by a panel discussion led by minority women in the tech industry from all over the country.

Krystal came up with the idea to expose girls to the idea that a career in technology isn’t just achievable, but it’s also highly desired.

Tech me to the movies

“I’ve spent enough time in the world of technology to know that women of color are extremely underrepresented,” Krystal says. “In a field like technology that literally touches millions upon millions of people, varying perspectives are not just nice to have, but critical for the success of any company.”

To be able to attend the event, girls in the Houston area from ages 13 to 18 had to submit a short video essay in response to one of two “Why Tech?” questions posed by Danny Kay Cloud and WHYS Girls. The winners were chosen based on the strength of their messages, which typically leaned toward the lack of education in their respective communities.

The Tech Me to the Movies event on Tuesday, Jan. 17 will be a kick-off for the first Houston based Trailhead4All program, a class for girls to learn how to become a Salesforce administrator and developer.

“Always one to acknowledge the issue, and then look for solutions, I knew that exposing teen girls of color to the endless possibilities of technology would be my mission,” Krystal says. “These 40 teens will have the opportunity to not only choose technology as a career path, but to help shatter the belief that women of color don’t belong in tech. We are excited to help develop the future Dorothy Vaughans, and show these girls that this industry is attainable, and they can do great things.”

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Charlie Moss has written for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Week, Slate, MOJO, VICE and other publications. He has a passion for comic books, Star Wars, and The Beatles.