Stephanie Lampkin - BBBSBA Gala Keynote Speaker - champions for diversity in Silicon Valley
When looking for “Everyday Superheroes,” one needs to look no further than our Gala Keynote Speaker, Stephanie Lampkin. In a true hero’s journey, she has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and now champions diversity and inclusion with her award-winning startup Blendoor.
Before she was a successful founder and entrepreneur, a Fortune 500 employee, and a graduate of MIT and Stanford, Lampkin was a 13-year-old learning to code, raised by a once-homeless single mother. A regular at her high-school guidance counselor's office, Lampkin sought out all the opportunities she could. Despite naysayers, she persisted, spending summers at free SAT tutoring workshops and Saturday mornings in one of her seven Advanced Placement classes. She participated in national computer competitions. In her senior year, she was class president. Her fight was only beginning.
People of color—women in particular—have been vastly underrepresented right here in Silicon Valley, and in Tech as a whole. According to the most recent diversity stats, African-Americans represent 4% of the workforce in the Bay Area’s top 10 companies, and Latino employees are only slightly ahead at 6%. Women represent a third of the tech workforce, with that number shrinking when you limit the pool to engineers. All these numbers get significantly smaller when you look at senior positions, held predominantly by those both white and male.
Stephanie Lampkin did not need to wait for these stats to be released—she experienced them firsthand during her rise through the tech world. She sought to combat the bias, unconscious or otherwise, with which she had often been confronted. Blendoor was born.
By eliminating candidates’ names and photos, Blendoor offers a way for applicants to be judged solely on merit, a way for companies to be held accountable for their hiring practices, and a way to help potential employees discover diversity-fostering resources and programs that workplaces may offer. Silicon Valley has responded, and recruiters from the largest tech companies are among Blendoor’s rapidly growing user base.
“By founding Blendoor,” Lampkin said, “I am personally invested in changing the face of the tech industry here in the U.S. The industry is one of the best, most creative sectors in today’s knowledge economy, and I want everyone — women, minorities, veterans, disabled citizens, and the LGBTQ community — to have a chance to work in it.” Words of an everyday superhero, indeed.