Being a tech innovator does not necessarily mean building hardware or creating an app. Sometimes, innovation comes through spreading awareness.
Thatâ€™s exactly what Greg Greenlee does as Founder of BiT (Blacks in Technology). BiT is a site dedicated to showcasing and connecting people of color in the technology industry.
A Virtual Gathering for People of Color in Tech
BiT has over 2,030 registered members who hail from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Africa. In addition to a lively, active forum, BiT has produced close to 100 podcasts with over 11,000 followers.
Greenlee came up with the idea for BiT while attending the annual Ohio Linux Fest tech conference.
â€œI had attended quite a few tech conferences and meetups up to that point, and I started noticing the underrepresentation of black people at these conferences, either as attendees or as speakers,â€ says Greenlee
â€œI looked at it as a problem to be solved, and I wanted to change this dynamic.â€
He was well-positioned to launch BiT as someone who has a lengthy history as a technology professional. Greenlee began his tech career in a Help Desk, moving onto work as a network technician and then systems administrator.
Currently, he is DevOps engineer for an educational software company.
The BiT forum is an exchange for technology advice and solutions to hardware, coding, and other tech issues. It is also a gathering for minorities in the tech space to discuss social issues pertaining to the industry such as diversity.
On Diversity and Leaning to Love Tech
Greenlee says these discussions are important. â€œI feel there is a need for accountability all across-the-board in tech companies, not just Silicon Valley.â€ He says people are looking for â€œfairness, when it comes to jobs and funding.â€
However, he also says, â€œI am all about us helping each other progress with or without the help of Silicon Valley.â€
As a father, he exposes his children to engineering and tech to stoke their interest in technology the same way he was influenced as a child.
â€œMy momâ€™s boyfriend was big into electronics and he used to take me to work with him at a local city college. He would show me schematics and talk to me like I was a full-fledged engineer.â€ His father gave him a Commodore 64 on Christmas. That and a programming class in BASIC forged his interest in technology.”
You can join the BiT community for free at this link.
Register for Black Enterpriseâ€™s TechConneXt Technology Summit: The Intersection of Innovation and Opportunity being held on October 10-11, 2016 at the San Francisco Marriott Waterfront Hotel!