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Meet Visionary Founder Elise Smith, CEO And Co-Founder Of Praxis Labs, An Immersive Practice-Based Platform

Elise Smith is helping to create better outcomes for diverse employees. She is the co-founder and CEO of Praxis Labs, an “immersive practice-based platform that drives inclusive, engaged, and higher-performing teams,” a press release mentioned. The platform offers has assisted companies including Google, Uber, and ServiceNow to help achieve benchmarks that boost engagement and lead to retention, enhance company culture, and increase equity and inclusion. “For me, it’s how do we use technology to help us become even better humans, to help us be able to give feedback across differences, to navigate difficult conversations, to provide performance feedback and expectations with accountability and care in a way that actually serves us all better, that creates more value for everyone, doesn’t cause harm,” she told AFROTECH™. “We’re seeing our workplaces need that more than ever.” To date, Praxis Labs has raised $23 million, per digitalundivided. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, Praxis...

Jul 3, 2024

Vanessa Wyche Leads The Way At NASA, Destigmatizing Firsts And Advancing Diversity In STEM Fields

Vanessa Wyche is leading the way at NASA and made history in the process. Since 1989, the South Carolina native, with a Bachelor of Science in materials engineering and a Master of Science in bioengineering from Clemson University, has worked at the U.S. government agency. Her first role was as a project engineer managing several space shuttle missions, as previously reported by AFROTECH™. Wyche was fueled by her interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and has continued to rise in the ranks with her titles having included director, CX program operations and test integration (2010-2011); director, exploration integration and science (2016-2018); and deputy director, NASA’s Johnson Space Center (2018-2021), according to her LinkedIn profile. “I knew when I got to the Johnson Space Center, there were not a lot of people that looked like me doing the kind of jobs that I was doing,” she told KHOU-11 in Houston, TX. “So, I kind of had to just kind of decide...

Jun 3, 2024

Meet The 2024 AFROTECH™ Future 50 Who Are Actively Shaping A Better Tomorrow

It’s officially time to announce the 2024 AFROTECH™ Future 50! The AFROTECH™ Future 50 is celebrated in our digital hub and social media platforms. During previous years, the individuals have also been honored in person at the annual AFROTECH™ Conference. The categories for the 2024 AFROTECH™ Future 50 are Dynamic Investor, Future Maker, Visionary Founder, Changemaker, and Corporate Catalyst. The criteria for each are as follows, as previously shared by AFROTECH™: Dynamic Investors are venture capitalists who have made significant contributions to advancing underserved tech founders. Future Makers have spearheaded groundbreaking tech innovation. Visionary Founders lead remarkable company growth and promote diversity and inclusion. Changemakers have made a significant social impact in the tech industry. Corporate Catalysts actively promote diversity and redefine and implement initiatives to do so. Established in 2022, the AFROTECH™ Future 50 aims to spotlight contributions Black tech...

May 30, 2024

How Partake Foods Founder Denise Woodard Disrupted The CMG Space And Raised $30.5M In Capital Fueled By A Commitment To Her Daughter's Health

Responding to a fundamental calling, Denise Woodard became a visionary in a $2 billion industry. Her Calling Woodard was looking to find a solution to help her daughter who had various food allergies, as previously reported by AFROTECH™. She was searching for snacks that would help her daughter but ultimately started creating her own recipe for cookies made without wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, sesame and shellfish — launching vegan company Partake Foods in 2016. Woodard saw great promise in her products and believed others would too. She received checks up to $10,000 from family and friends through a Kickstarter campaign to scale the business into Whole Foods and Wegmans, she told Forbes. “I was cobbling together $5,000 and $10,000 checks to keep the lights on, from anyone who would listen,” she told Forbes. “The dribs and drabs were not enough, so I sold my engagement ring. But we were seeing traction, which led us to raise our first institutional round.” A...

May 30, 2024

How Marques Brownlee Stumbled Into Building A Platform Of 16 Million Subscribers After One YouTube Review

Sometimes you unknowingly walk into your purpose, which seemed to be a common theme for some on the main stage of the Samsung Galaxy Creator Collective 2023. The multi-day event took place March 21-22, gathering diverse content creators from all over to support them along their journeys of turning their passion into profit with 40 hours of programming. From #TeamGalaxy’s Jaden Smith and Harry Hudson speaking on maintaining your authenticity as a creator to keynote speaker Marques Brownlee, or MKBHD, sharing insight into his journey, there was something valuable for everyone to take away — whether you were an aspiring creator looking to get in the game or already established your footing. Creators like Brownlee — who happens to be the latter — appear to make it look easy, but people may not be aware of the years he’s put in to build his platform making tech videos.

Apr 7, 2023

Mandy Price Joins Less Than 20 Black Women Founders To Raise Over $10M After Kanarys, Inc.'s $5M Series A

Co-founder and CEO Mandy Price was one of 93 Black women to raise at least $1 million in funding in 2021. Today, she is announcing another substantial raise for Kanarys, Inc.

Feb 15, 2023

Parity Founder Bree Jones Left Six Figures On Wall Street At Age 24 To Rebuild Communities 'Without Gentrification'

Parity founder Bree Jones has learned the value of resilience on multiple occasions. In 2022, she held a TED Talk at TED 2022: A New Era titled “How to revitalize a neighborhood — without gentrification.” But before gracing the stage, the equitable housing developer had been rejected her first time applying to be a TED Fellow after making it to the second round.

Dec 23, 2022

13-Year-Old Alena Wicker Becomes The Youngest Black Person To Be Accepted Into Medical School

What can’t Black youth accomplish? 12 News reports that Alena Wicker has become the youngest Black person to be accepted into medical school.

Jul 11, 2022

Black-Owned Lending App Zirtue Launches Tool To Help With Bills Ahead Of The Holiday Season

For those struggling to make ends meet this holiday season, Zirtue is here to help. As previously reported by AfroTech, the world’s leading relationship-based lending app has always aimed to drive financial inclusion, and today that mission remains the same. With the launch of their Alternative Payment Solution for businesses, companies will be able to utilize the platform as a payment option for customers allowing them to pay bills directly through the platform. Courtesy of Zirtue With a mission to drive financial inclusion, one relationship at a time, our vision at Zirtue is to prove that friends and family are the largest banks in the world,” said Dennis Cail, CEO and Co-founder of Zirtue, in an official email-exclusive with AfroTech. “Ultimately, we aim to be the modern-day solution for people to access needed funds through relationship-based loans, avoiding payment defaults and predatory lenders, while keeping their personal and creditor relationships intact. We believe this...

Dec 8, 2021

These Founders Are Building A Diverse Community For Sneakerheads Through Their Startup Tradeblock

There’s a difference between being for the culture and doing it for the culture and the three visionaries at Tradeblock — a sneaker trading app where kicks are currency — are committed to the latter for the sneaker community. The Austin -based startup officially hit the ground running earlier this year in May, but the initial vision for Tradeblock was birthed in 2009 by co-founder Tony Malveaux. While inspired by ESPN’s Trade Machine, Malveaux connected with his longtime best friend and now fellow co-founder Darren Smith about his idea — but it was a dream deferred until bringing their fellow childhood friend Mbiyimoh Ghogomu — Tradeblock’s CEO — onboard and from that moment they’ve become trailblazers in the sneaker marketplace.

Oct 11, 2021