3 Reasons Why Debra Lee Joining Twitter's Board Of Directors Is A Big Deal


Yesterday, Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey announced that chairwoman and CEO of BET Networks Debra Lee would be joining the company's board of directors:

The newly appointed board member shared her enthusiasm about her new post as well:

For many women who work and thrive in the tech world, this groundbreaking announcement was met with much excitement:

Now, regardless of how you feel about BET Networks and its leadership since Free and A.J. left 106 and Park, this right here is a pretty big deal.


Here are three reasons why Debra Lee's newest seat at the Twitter table is so important:

  1. Smart Business Move. In case you missed it, African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are the largest demographic that use Twitter - that's the same demo that BET has and continues to target with its programming. From watching shows like Game of Thrones (#DemThrones) and Scandal week after week, to elevating necessary conversations on diversity, inclusion and racial equality with #BlackLivesMatter or #OscarsSoWhite, Black Twitter is a living and breathing entity that continues to take the Internet by storm. With Ms. Lee joining the board of directors, she not only brings a wealth of knowledge about an audience that she serves and looks to empower on a daily basis, but she also brings the access she has to the millions of African Americans who drive many of these conversations on the social network. I don't want to jump the gun, but this could be a huge opportunity for both BET and Twitter to collaborate on some necessary projects that highlight the need for more men and women of color in technology. Which brings me to my next point...


2. Diversity. In December 2014, Twitter painted #BlackLivesMatter on the wall in their San Francisco headquarters, which was thoughtful, but not received well -- given the lack of African Americans and other people of color who work in their offices. Twitter (along with a number of other tech companies) have acknowledged this problem, and have made the commitment to work on bringing more talented men and women of color into the technology workforce. But beyond the obvious, Twitter hasn't done the best job at making sure that diverse voices are present on its board of directors. Debra Lee is now the third woman to be added to Twitter's board (Marjorie Scardino and Martha Lane Fox were the first and second, respectively), demonstrating that Twitter is recognizing how important it is to have more than just white men at the table making decisions.

3. #BlackGirlMagic. How many black women CEOs do YOU know currently sitting on the boards of major technology companies? (That's okay, I'll wait.)

Debra Lee being appointed to Twitter's board of directors is nothing short of inspiring. Besides Oprah Winfrey, there aren't that many women leaders with a strong board presence. For many of us emerging women leaders in technology and beyond with dreams of one day dominating board rooms on a global scale, Ms. Lee's appointment is motivating and empowering, and gives us something to look forward to.

What are your thoughts on Debra Lee's new board position? Let me know in the comments below or send me a tweet!


(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Millennial on a Mission: Laurence Bradford

While this week's "Millennial on a Mission" does many things, everything ties back to technology in someway. As a self-taught developer and the founder of LearnToCodeWith.Me, she has put together resources for people teaching themselves how to code. As she likes to say, "Get digital skills, be happy." Ladies and gentlemen, meet Laurence Bradford.


Hailing from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Laurence attended college in Boston at Emmanuel College where she studied history. "Today I am basically doing the opposite as far as disciplines go," she says. Currently, she the Tech Careers Expert for, but also does website strategy consulting. "Essentially, I look at both a site's content (written, images, etc.) and its design/layout," Laurence says. "Because for a great website, both are vital."

CCWhat has inspired you to pursue your choice of career? Who are some individuals you admire in and out of your field of work? What challenges have you faced in building your business/brand, and what have you learned from them?

LB: After college, I decided to teach in Thailand. While there, I began keeping a travel blog. My boyfriend Matt built me a personal website as a Valentine's Day gift, which led me to want to make changes on my own to the site layout and design. Whenever I wanted to make a minor change, I had to ask him and it was driving me crazy! So I began teaching myself basic WordPress skills.

Around that same time, (I was still in Thailand at this point.) I kept reading and hearing about the demand for tech workers in the US. It sort of clicked, “Wow I like this. And there’s a demand for people with these skills!” One thing led to another, and here I am today: the founder of Learn to Code With Me and the Tech Careers Expert for!

There are a number of people that I admire professionally, but the first few that come to mind are Neil Patel, Pat Flynn, Marie Forleo and Danielle Laporte.  I love her quote, "Launch and learn. Everything is progress." It’s one of the quotes I live by.

Right now I struggle with this: Knowing when to do something yourself, or hire someone to do it. I fail everyday. I start things I can't finish. I can't find answers to problems. I freak out because I spent too much money on ___ and now I worry about paying my credit card statement. But if you're not failing, you're not doing something right. If you succeed at everything you do, you're not challenging yourself enough. So I try to view failures as a learning opportunity. And a way to help others learn from my mistakes.

"Some days it's really freaking hard. But when it comes down to it, I know it's better than the alternative: sitting in a lackluster cubicle, working towards another person's dream. (Translation: working for someone else, and not yourself.)"

To Laurence, being a "Millennial on a Mission" means not taking “no” for an answer, and chasing your dream even when it seems like no one is supporting you. "It took me months to get my site (Learn to Code With Me) to 100 email subscribers," Laurence recalls. "It's easy to let the numbers discourage you. But if you're passionate about what you're doing, it's worth it. Don’t let the little things distract you from your larger goal." When it comes to achieving her dream on a daily basis, it's important to know that you can't be 100% daily.

"You need to recharge the batteries, and resting is really, really important. But... I work a lot. I learn from failure. And I always try to turn it into a positive." Her advice to anyone out there who is afraid or hesitant to live their dream? Think of what our ancestors went through to get us here. "The "risks" we take today are typically so small in comparison to what they went through. Today, everything is accessible, and we are so blessed. We are doing a disservice to all of our grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents by not taking risks. The time is now to stop living in our comfort zone and to start following our passions."




#TechTuesday: Apple Announces More Diverse Emoji

EMOJI Let #TeamiPhone rejoice! 

According to a number of reports,  Apple announced yesterday that it is expanding its beloved Emoji offerings to include much more diversity. From an array of skin color options, to more flags representing countries from around the world, Apple users shared their excitement on Twitter at the sight of the new icons that are allegedly to appear in the next version of iOS and OS X.

While there isn't an exact date for the new update's release, rumor has it that the new iOS update is supposed to drop in late 2015.

Personally, I think its great that Apple is showing that they do acknowledge how diverse our society is, but I wonder -- will the lady in the red dress be represented in different shades too? What about the 'Single Ladies' twins? I'm clearly asking for a friend. 

Are you excited about the new emoji? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or send me a Tweet!


#TechTuesday: When Facebook & Instagram Were Down, Twitter Saved The Day


Happy #TechTuesday! If you were up around the 1:20 AM hour like many of us night owls, you found that Facebook and Instagram all experienced an outage worldwide for about 40 minutes. Whenever one social network stops working, it always amuses me how everyone flocks to another, to talk about that social networking site being temporarily out of service.

Facebook released a statement to USA Today saying:

"Earlier today many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone."

Also, because Tinder relies heavily on Facebook connectivity, it experienced a moment of silence too. Once the services were back up and running, everyone's chill returned and many of us went back to sleep.

Below are a few funny reactions to this morning's #SocialMediaMeltdown:

Where were you during #FacebookDown? Sleep? Scrolling through your Tumblr feed? Curled up in the fetal position under your bed? Sound off!