13 Blacks Influencing Technology In a Major Way Today

As the number of Black people working in technology increases, we continue to see more rise to the upper echelons of the tech world. Here is a list of 13 Blacks influencing technology today, according to Business Insider.


Condoleezza Rice, Board of Directors, Dropbox

Earlier this month, online storage startup Dropbox added Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.

As the former secretary of state and an adviser to the National Security Agency, having someone like Rice as a liaison to Washington, D.C., could be very helpful to Dropbox.

At the same time, though, her history as an official in the Bush Administration is stirring up controversy. Protests on social media say she is a controversial figure after revelations of widespread wiretapping on US citizens during her time in office, as reported by BBC News.

Dropbox has raised over $1 billion to date and employs 698 people.


Ade Olonoh, CEO, Formspring

Ade Olonoh is the co-founder and CEO of Formspring, a social network that helped people find out more about each other.

Prior to founding Formspring, Olonoh founded online form building Formstack. Formspring has taken $14.3 million in funding and has about 12 employees. In 2013, Spring.me acquired Formspring’s assets and rebranded it.


Sheldon Gilbert, Founder and CEO, Proclivity

Sheldon Gilbert is the founder and chief executive of Proclivity Media, a company that specializes in digital advertising technologies.

Founded six years ago, Proclivity uses a retailer’s e-commerce data to best predict and match companies with ad placements that will bring in the most sales.

Proclivity has raised $8.82 million in funding and has eight employees.

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Aprille Ericsson

Aerospace Engineer, 

Aprille Ericsson was the first female to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. She was the first African-American female to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, and earned her bachelor’s in aeronautical/astronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Lisa Stevens

Giant Panda Curator, National Zoo

Lisa Stevens became a familiar face, manning the giant panda program in 2005 when panda cub Tai Shan was born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Before joining the zoo’s staff, she held positions as a field research assistant, in pet and aquarium retail, veterinary clinic operations and insect zoo husbandry and interpretation. She has a bachelor’s degree in zoology and pre-veterinary medicine from Michigan State University and attended the AZA School for Professional Management Development for Zoo and Aquarium Personnel.


James West

Acoustician and Inventor

James West was born in 1931 in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and studied physics at Temple University. After graduating, West worked in tech, specializing in microphones, and went on to author 200 patents. In 1962, with Gerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone. West was a research professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. West also founded the Association of Black Laboratory Employees.