The Top 10 Black Innovator Awards recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership and made an impact by fostering disruptive innovation in technology-related industries, products and services.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TOP 10 BLACK INNOVATORS OF 2013!
is a Biotechnology/Engineering professional who has spent the last decade in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, and Manufacturing industry in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Merck, Pfizer, and Dupont. Most recently Ms. Bryant spent 5+ years as a Senior Manager with Bay Area biotechnology company Genentech. Ms. Bryant is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and she received her Bachelors of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a major in Electrical Engineering and a minor in CS and math.
Ms. Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode in April 2011 to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the currently exploding field of technology. The program focuses on introducing girls of color between the ages of 7-17 to the field of digital technology and computer programming with a focus on emerging entrepreneurial concepts. Since launching BlackGirlsCode in 2011 in the Bayview Hunter’s Point community the very successful pilot program has experienced incredible growth with workshops now being offered in Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, and various other cities as part of a national expansion effort.
Natalie Madeira Cofield serves as the President & CEO of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce in Austin, TX, a regional entity that focuses on economic development, supplier diversity, business and community relations on behalf of the Greater Austin African American community. Through her role, Cofield travels domestically and internationally promoting Austin for business recruitment and establishing relationships with corporate partners throughout the region.
In 2009, Natalie published the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship: a Guide for African American Entrepreneurs, commissioned by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and was a contributing author for the 2011 National Urban League State of Black America Report. Her work has gained local and national attention being named the Technology Diversity Evangelist of the Year by Google in 2013.
Natalie is a magna cum laude graduate of the Howard University School of Business where she earned a degree in Information Systems. She also obtained her Master of Public Affairs as a Pi Alpha Alpha and magna cum laude graduate of the National Urban Fellows at the Baruch School of Public Affairs in New York.
Stacey Ferguson is an avid blogger, event producer, brand strategist, social media personality, public speaker and freelance writer. The recovering technology lawyer and mother of three began her blogging career in 2006, and today inspires her readers to celebrate the everyday at Life IS the Party on JusticeFergie.com. Her personal media company, Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media was named Best Brand of 2012 by Stiletto Woman Media.
Stacey has been a vlogger personality for SheKnows.com’s Mommalogues, a contributor to Babble’s MomCrunch tech column, was named as a Babble Top 50 Twitter Mom, and has lent her social media expertise to events everywhere from MediaBistro’s Social Media Marketing Bootcamp to the BlogHer and ESSENCE Women’s conferences and beyond.
Barry Givens is the co-founder and CEO of Monsieur, a startup consumer robotics company. He developed the original concept for a robotic bartender is responsible for overall industrial design and mechanical engineering. Along with his co-founders, he raised more than $140,000 in crowdfunding to launch the product.
He co-authored a motivational book titled Plan ‘B’ Sucks: Work on your DREAMS not your Boss’s. This book was a manifestation of his love to motivate others to follow their dreams and work inside of their passions.
Barry graduated from Georgia Tech in 2008 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He was previously a design and manufacturing engineer with John Deere and held roles in project management and sales at Caterpillar.
Garrett Johnson had a turn in public service before becoming an entrepreneur. Before launching his startup, SendHub, at age 27, he already had worked in the Florida governor’s office as a staffer to a special committee on Haiti. As a staff member to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C., he worked on the areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Haiti. His company, which provides a free telephone number in any area code to provide a fast way for professionals to communicate, has since become a member of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class and has raised $2 million in seed funding from Valley investors.
Mary Pryor is a passionate and vocal media expert currently based in New York. Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Mary received exposure to automotive design, electrical engineering, music, digital arts and marketing at an early age. Today she is an accomplished digital specialist who has worked for major brands such as Sony Music Group, Viacom, Attention PR, City Parks Foundation, Mirrorball, Uptown Magazine, Black Enterprise, and MusicWorld.
Having realized there was a pressing need for agencies that catered to culturally rich and niche audiences through digital and social marketing integration, Mary founded digital marketing consulting firms, WeFancy (2008) and UrbanSocialista (2011). Mary’s goal is to provide online branding and digital trend-forecasting for the general market by empowering communities through the utilization of digital tools.
Rodney Sampson is a social innovator, serial entrepreneur, investor, author, and consecrated bishop. As a serial entrepreneur, Sampson co-founded Multicast Media Networks (Streamingfaith.com) in 2000 (sold in 2010), a live and on-demand streaming platform that laid the foundation for companies like YouTube and Ustream.
Rodney is currently building up Opportunity Fund, a U.S.-based super crowd fund and crowdfunding platform designed to provide underserved and under-represented communities access to investment opportunities traditionally reserved for accredited and institutional investors.
Rodney has harnessed his passion for reducing our nation’s poverty and wealth gap as the founder of Kingonomics, the nation’s leading access to capital certification platform for minorities and underserved communities. He is also the co-founder of the Opportunity Hub, an entrepreneurial eco-workspace, knowledge repository and alternative-funding center for startups and growth stage companies located at 200 Peachtree in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Professional Golfer, Master Certified Fitness Professional and Contributor at American Heart Association, Andia Winslow is a Yale alumna and host of The Fit Cycle. She is both a professional golfer and a passionate certified fitness professional. She believes that “the best experiences are those that are shared” and is known for her creation of innovative training programs and fitness movies that encourage healthy consumption, injury prevention and total athletic development.
Her work has been made further popular by features in Shape Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Health Magazine, Weight Watchers, on ESPN.com and on Mashable.com which, with more than 40 million hits per month is the “top news source in social and digital media, technology and web culture.” Her Fit En Route Workout, was selected for inclusion in the American Heart Association’s “National Wear Red Day” 10 Year Anniversary celebration and educational campaign.
As a wellness advocate and ambassador for the Women’s Sports Foundation, Andia is committed to her work that encourages youth and adults to maintain healthy and active lifestyles.