As the founder of FlyTechnista—an online platform seeking to “bridge the gap between women and girls and access to education, resources, and career and entrepreneurship opportunities in technology”—TeLisa Daughtry breathes life into the phrase, “Don’t complain; contribute.”
The self-taught developer combined her experiences in tech with her passion for creating economic opportunities for women to build a platform that now has connections with over 800 partners in the global tech ecosystem.
BLACK ENTERPRISE sat down with Daughtry to find out more about what inspired her to start this initiative. Daughtry also discussed what changes need to happen within the tech industry, and how she is working toward making these changes happen via her company, FlyTechnista.
“When I started to build, I knew that I would not be able to solve every problem in tech with just one product. So, I started with the issues that affected me the most—specifically, being a woman in tech,” Daughtry explains.
“I spent the last eight years mentoring women, youth, and people of color. I knew equipping them with technical skills, but not providing them with access to career opportunities, was a problem. So, I started to connect people within my circle to education and career opportunities,” she continues.
“I also recognized women that wanted to begin their journey in tech, but they had no idea how to do so, or where to look. There was an overwhelming amount of information and resources online, but there wasn’t a centralized place [for this information] to exist,” Daughtry says.
“I realized that more women and companies seeking to be more gender-diverse or inclusive could benefit [from a centralized informational resource], if there was an actual product [that could offer this]. So—I built it! I also knew that female founders receive significantly less VC funding, compared to our male counterparts. So, I vetted and built relationships with funders, [who were] committed to investing in women-led ventures,” she says.
“Considering the lack of engagement with women and girls in STEM, I created STEEAMnista; an initiative of FlyTechnista that helps increase the participation, visibility, and leadership of women across S.T.E.A.M. [science, technology, engineering, arts, and math],” she explains. “In September 2016, we were invited to participate in former President Barack Obama’s #CSforAll initiative, where we committed to engaging 5,000 students across five U.S. cities: New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, CA. The following November, we kicked off our first STEEAMnista Summit, with the support of Samsung, and plan to do it again. Our next STEEAMnista Summit will be held on November 11, 2017.”
“Complaining doesn’t change things,” Daughtry says,”[but], actionable plans with solutions do!”