Twenty influential African Americans in technology


Ursula Burns (Fortune Live Media/ Flickr)

Tarlon Khoubyari
        Staff Writer

Silicon Valley is known for many innovations, technology industry elites and its affluent zip codes that house the world’s top tech companies. Silicon Valley carries a reputation, backed by facts, that it lacks diversity as racial minorities and women are often underrepresented in many high positions at these companies compared to white and Asian men. To celebrate those African Americans who have broken through glass ceilings and earned their way to the top, this is a list of some of the most influential African Americans in the technology sector.

Lisa Lambert, Vice President of Intel Capital and managing director of Intel Capital’s Software and Services

Lambert worked her way from being a software engineer, to a manager, and later earned the position of vice president. She is also the founder and executive director of UPWARD, a professional nonprofit that aims to support women in their pursuit of becoming executives.  Lambert has her MBA from Harvard Business school and a BS in Management Information Systems from Penn State.

2. Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream

A member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and recently on the board of directors of Nordstrom Inc, Archambeau focuses on combining her passions of public policy and international business. In April 2013, Shellye was also named #2 Most Influential African American in Technology by Business Insider.

3. Ursula Burns, CEO and Chairwoman of Xerox Corporation.

Ursula Burns is the first African American woman to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. She is the woman behind helping Xerox become a “global leader in document technology” and lead one of the largest achievements of the company’s history when purchasing Affiliated Computer Services for a whopping $6.4 billion.

4. David Drummond, Senior VP- Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, Google

During his years of being a partner at the Wilson & Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati law firm, he worked with Google’s counsel. Drummond has been with Google since it’s early years. He stood by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when the company was beginning to fundraise and helped them become a corporation. Today, David leads teams for government relations and corporate development.

5.Frank Greene, early technologist

Greene developed a high speed computer system in the 1960s and founded notable companies such as Technology Development Corp and ZeroOne Systems Inc. 

6. Condoleezza Rice,  Dropbox Board Member

While best known for her days as U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice joined forces with the popularly used Cloud Storage service, Dropbox. Controversy over this alliance sparked because of her alleged involvement in wiretapping during her time in office. However, Dropbox wants to expand their international presence and who better to do it than former Secretary of State Rice?

7. Brian Watson, Analyst at Union Square Ventures, Co-founder of The Music Startup Meetup (NYC)

Watson tied his passions of the music industry and fashion to his degree in Engineering Management Systems from Columbia University to join forces with notable names such as VSCO and Union Square. He also worked for JPMorgan Chase & Co, Gilt Groupe, Organizing for America and Trendrr.

8. Laurence (Lo) Toney, Venture Investor, Board Member, Internet Strategist.

Lo was a partner in investing for Comcast Ventures where he led the Catalyst fund and worked with the mobile messaging teams. Currently, he serves as a member of the Google Investing Team and looks at marketplaces, digital media and messaging.

9. Chris Amos, Co-founder & President at Ampush.

Ampush, an advertising firm based in San Francisco, aims to generate revenue from a range of social media platforms. Amos worked for the Carlyle Group in Washington D.C. and Morgan Stanley in New York after receiving his degree from The University of Pennsylvania.

10. Charles Hudson, Venture Partner, SoftTech VC

Hudson is the founder of Bionic Panda Games (an android focused mobile game startup), VP of Business Development for Serious Business and is the founder of the Virtual Goods Summit. He earned his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a BA in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University. 

11. Erin Teague, Director of Product at Yahoo, Former Twitter Employee.

Born and raised in Detroit, Teague earned her degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan and got her MBA from Harvard University. She was one of the only black women in her department and graduating class, and went on to become an engineer for Morgan Stanley.

12.Kimberly Bryant, Founder blackgirlscode

Fueled by her love for technology and degree in electrical engineering, Bryant didn’t see black women in the technology industry so she started Blackgirlscode — a program designed to help young and preteen girls to learn skills in technology. Their mission is “to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.”

13. Malik Ducard, Content Partnerships Director, Youtube @ Google

Ducard is responsible for premium film, TV and partnerships for Youtube. He has worked with media streaming service providers like iTunes, XBox and Netflix. Born in the Bronx and later graduating Columbia University with a degree in Film and African American Studies, Ducard became the senior VP of Paramount Pictures and supervised many mobile device technology partners.

14. Chris Young, Former Cisco Systems Executive, Senior VP of Intel Security

Young is an innovator and internet security strategist. Young focuses on major challenges that threaten the security industry.

15. John Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and chairman of Microsoft, former CEO of Symantec, former VP at IBM

Thompson is one of the most notable men on this list. Thompson shows that you don’t need an Ivy League education to work your way to the top. He earned his undergraduate at Florida A&M. In 2006, Forbes named him #8 on the most highly paid CEOs at $71.84 Million.

16. Denise Young Smith, VP Worldwide Human Resources, Apple Inc.

Smith is one of the few direct reports to CEO Tim Cook. She joined Apple in 1997 where she held several key HR roles. Denise sat on the leadership teams that helped build Apple’s Retail sector which hires over 1 million people everyday.

17. Ty Ahmad Taylor, CEO of THX Ltd, founder and CEO of FanFeedr

Prior to starting FanFeedr, Taylor was the Senior VP at Viacom where he was the product manager for,, and He worked as directors on creative teams and spend over 25 years in information design and 18 years in interactive television platforms.

18. Stacy Brown Philpot, COO of TaskRabbit, Former head of Online Sales and Operations at Google India.

Philpot has a passion for analytical and strategic execution which propelled her to join the TaskRabbit team. Stacy Brown Philpot was the entrepreneur-in-residence at Google Ventures. She also led global operations for Google’s commonly known products such as Search, Chrome and Google Plus. 

19. Sarah Kunst, Investor Board member, Venture for America

One of Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30 most important women, Kunst was on the investment team at Mohr Davidow Ventures. Sarah Kunst was a motivated, ambitious college student that did marketing for Apple and Red Bull.

20. Angela Benton,  NewMe Accelerator Founder and CEO

Entrepreneur, Benton started her career as a fashion designer. After working several jobs as creative director, web designer and front-end web development, she started a platform that accelerated minority and women entrepreneurs in building successful businesses.

Categories: Here & Now, Uncategorized


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