For HYPE founder and recent finalist for the Women in Tech’s Woman of the Year in STEAM Education award Kristina Newton, it’s personal.

“Despite all my potential and capabilities I had in the tech workforce, I felt alone. I didn’t see myself represented in leadership anywhere,” said Newton. “But my experiences as a Black woman in tech and the corporate workforce weren’t unique.”

With only 3 percent of computing-related jobs held by Black women, Newton experienced firsthand the challenges that so many minority women continue to face. “There really is not a reason why I shouldn’t be an executive or like a senior leader in a tech company today,” said Newton as she reflected on her trajectory through middle school, high school, college, and even into her seven-year career in technology.

Due to that lack of opportunity and representation, Newton left her role as consultant for Accenture in 2013 to find her place of belonging, which led to her launching HYPE in 2017.

Read More

The HYPE Project partners with schools, school districts and other youth-serving nonprofit organizations to provide access to 21st century skills-building education and exposure to technology careers for and from individuals who are currently underrepresented in tech. During the COVID pandemic, they’ve been engaging Black and brown girls in middle and high school in community-driven and culturally relevant computer science education through a virtual after-school coding program. Their efforts not only help them to connect students during this time, but teaches them a critical skill in a subject that is missing in over 50% of our high schools, and helps them develop as leaders and problem solvers. HYPE’s Founder and CEO Kristina Smith-Newton states, “Women empowerment is important in and of itself, and we’ve seen on numerous occasions that to empower women means empowering generations and ultimately changing the world. However, women empowering women is not only important, it’s special and powerful. When a woman uses her influence and position to empower and uplift other women, it is an intentional act, it carries a special meaning, and it reverses years of dangerous and incorrect thinking that women should be in competition with one another. When we choose to celebrate instead of compete, everyone wins – and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.”

Read More