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Wells Fargo's Michelle Y. Lee Talks Going From A Bank Teller To An Executive Vice President

Michelle Y. Lee has remained faithful to Wells Fargo for 39 years, and now even holds the title of executive vice president of regional banking. Lee oversees over 4,000 branches with more than 42,500 employees across 36 states and the District of Columbia. Prior to these responsibilities, Lee worked her way toward the top of the corporate ladder as a teller. While stepping into her entry-level position, Lee found her footing and knew she wanted to advance her career with the bank giant. At this time, Lee only saw those who looked like her in positions as branch managers. Therefore, she aimed to become one, too. “After a couple of years, I decided to pursue a career in banking. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. At the time, the only person I saw that looked like me was a couple who were branch managers. So, that’s where I saw the possibility for me because that’s where I saw people who looked like me. And that’s what I set out to do to become, a branch manager,” Lee told AfroTech.

Aug 31, 2022

Alexis Nikole Nelson Talks Pulling Up A Chair At The Foraging Table And Building An Online Community Of Millions

Alexis Nikole Nelson has built a following of millions, but how? For her, the recipe is simple — by being authentic and giving users a front-row seat to the world of foraging.

Jun 27, 2022

Black Woman-Owned Brand Afro Unicorn Becomes One Of The First To Join Forces With Walmart For Party Supplies

Founder April Showers started June with a bang as she became one of the first Black female-owned brands to partner with Walmart’s celebrations party category.

Jun 17, 2022

Just Women’s Sports Raises $6M For Greater Representation In Women's Sports Media, Investors Include Allyson Felix

Women athletes deserve more representation in media. Echoing this stance, Just Women’s Sports (JWS) — a media platform dedicated to women’s sports — has raised $6 million. According to a press release, the round was led by Blue Pool Capital. Additional investors include tennis icon Billie Jean King, Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang; Bolt Ventures, SC Holdings, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund; Muse Capital, and Dapper Labs. “The business case for women’s sports has never been clearer, and Just Women’s Sports is positioned to be the leading media platform in the space,” said New York Liberty owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, according to a press release. “We’re thrilled to partner with them as they enter this next phase of growth.”

Jun 10, 2022

Lupe Fiasco Is Now A Visiting Professor At The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

Students attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can expect an inside scoop on the rap game, thanks to Lupe Fiasco. According to Complex, the rapper will soon become a visiting professor at the institution. In excitement, Fiasco took to Twitter to share the news.

May 23, 2022

Vaseline And HUED Partner To Launch Skincare Database For People Of Color

To help people of color find reliable information about skincare, Vaseline and digital health company HUED have joined heads to launch online database See My Skin . According to a press release, See My Skin will be helpful to find quality care from board-certified dermatologists and find skincar e conditions for people of color. The newly established skincare database is timely as research published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed fewer than six percent of image-based results reflected  skin conditions specific to Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

May 3, 2022

Keenan Kelley's For The Culture NFT Project Was Designed Specifically With The African Diaspora In Mind

A Black developer has crafted a project intended for the culture! Keenan Kelley is the founder of For The Culture, created to encourage the Black community to take root in the ever-growing world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and take back ownership of their traditions. Kelley was compelled to release the collection after recognizing there were very few Black pioneers in the Web3 space. “When I came into the space last year, I did not see a lot of representation from us. Not only do we not have as many artists and developers building out these projects, [but I also] noticed that there was a lot of cultural appropriation and undertones of racism in some of these projects that were coming out because there was a lack of Black representation,” Kelley told AfroTech. Kelley is now creating a pathway to diversify the NFT space and the founder encourages more Black creators to control their narratives on the blockchain. For The Culture honors Kelley’s stance through its 2,021 unique profile...

Apr 18, 2022

World’s First-Ever African American Interactive STEM Doll Hopes To Inspire The Future Generation Of Black Computer Scientists

The world’s first-ever African American interactive STEM doll is here to enlighten the youth. As AfroTech previously told you, Bukola Somide is the creator of Somi, an interactive doll designed to break down education barriers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for minority children. The software engineer and inventor boasts nearly two decades of experience of working within the information technology sector. According to a press release, Bukola Somide recalls being the only Black woman or Black person serving on the Software Development team in various occasions. Aiming to create a more diverse future, the Somi doll was birthed to demystify STEM and create representation for underserved children. “Representation matters in tech because it gives hope to under-served children who may otherwise think their dreams are impossible due to lack of accessible role models. A child seeing a doll who looks like them, engaged in Computer Science, helps to shatter a mental...

Feb 8, 2022

Diverse Representation, Southern University Partner For First-Of-Its-Kind Bootcamp For HBCU Students

To combat the racial gap in professional athlete representation, Diverse Representation and Southern University Law Center will host a two-day immersive Sports Agent Bootcamp for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students. The event — which takes place Feb. 4-5, 2022 — and will be hosted at Southern University’s campus in Baton Rouge, LA. Students can look forward to featured panels and sessions hosted by industry leaders and top companies including Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Vanguard Sports Group, Independent Sports & Entertainment, and more who will cover a variety of topics such as “Recruiting and Managing Clients,” “Representing the Peak Professional Athlete,” and “Maintaining Integrity as an Agent.” “Our inaugural Sports Agent Bootcamp will allow students to engage and network with highly trained and experienced sports agents that will offer the inside scoop on the industry and its emerging trends,” said Marla Dickerson, Associate Vice Chancellor of...

Jan 6, 2022

This Engineer Invented A Comb For 'Afro Hair' — Now, She's Working On Getting More Black Women Into Her Field

United Kingdom-based engineer Youmna Mouhamad has created a tool catered specifically for Black women by a Black woman. Mouhamad’s inception of the Nyfasi Deluxe Detangler bloomed when she worked as a nanny while studying to earn her Ph.D. in physics, BBC reports. As she watched a young girl’s hair get washed and conditioned, the child’s eyes began to fill with tears due to the experience. This moment would cause Mouhamad to embrace a new academic journey and switch to studying engineering. “I shifted to engineering because I always had a desire to work on things that I can touch with my hands, and I love the process of taking an idea and actually creating something,” Mouhamad says to BBC. To bring her vision to life, Mouhamad would attend an enterprise fellowship at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Here, she was able to create a focus group to develop an effective product pooling adolescent girls and women to test the prototype, which provided stellar reviews. To hear the positive...

Oct 28, 2021

Baby Boss Esi Orijin Launches Doll Line Promoting Self-Love For Black Girls In Target

As Black girls, the color of our skin and hair is where we learn to find our liberation in a world that has attempted to ostracize its beauty. This harsh reality was true for baby boss, Esi Orijin. As AfroTech previously reported, during her time at private school she felt like a needle in a haystack as the only Black girl in her class. The lack of representation led her to fall into a season where she lacked confidence — subsequently leading her to dislike her features such as her skin tone and hair texture. Her mother, Melissa Orijin — aiming to combat self-confidence issues Black women encounter — launched Orijin Bees (“Our Representation Is Just Inclusion Normalized Beautifully Empowering Every Soul”) alongside her daughter. The doll line aims to validate the beauty of Black girls’ culture and identity while celebrating the variations in skin tones, hair textures and sizes. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Orijin Bees ™️ – Black Dolls (@orijinbees) “A]s a purpose...

Oct 21, 2021

7-Year-Old Morgan Bugg Convinces Educational App To Offer Representation For Black Girls' Hair

A Tennessee first-grader proved that anyone can make a difference and inspire change, no matter how old they are. Earlier last month, seven-year-old Morgan Bugg of Brentwood, TN was using educational app Freckle, a gaming platform that allows students a chance to win coins while completing reading and math enrichment activities. During virtual class, she noticed its online store didn’t have any hairstyle options for Black girls like her to style her avatar. According to Bugg, she told the Tennessean that “I felt kind of sad and jealous that there wasn’t any girl hair for me.” Kelley Anne Joyner — Bugg’s teacher at Edmondson Elementary School — then noticed how visibly frustrated Bugg was and pulled her into a virtual breakout room to chat one-on-one. “She had some heartfelt tears,” Joyner said to the Tennessean. “She then said that it’s not fair that they have one Black boy hair, but they don’t have any Black girl hair.” In an effort to find a solution to her problem, Bugg suggested...

May 5, 2021

Toy Company Healthy Roots Dolls Raises $1M Seed to Represent the Beauty of Diversity and Representation

Toy company Healthy Roots Dolls established itself as a brand creating representation for all children with their line of products. Now it’s raised a $1 million seed round to expand on its offerings and continue to spread the beauty of diversity. The seed funding round was led by Backstage Capital, and accompanied by other investment groups such as Lightship Capital, Broadway Angels, Alpha Bridge, The Community Fund, Sequoia Scout as well as a group of individuals, including Sahil Lavingia. To date, Healthy Roots Dolls has raised a total of $1.5 million, which includes funds from grants, pitch competitions, accelerator programs and crowdfunding, according to founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles. During an interview with Crunchbase News, Brittany Davis — a principal at Backstage Capital — shared that she initially met Jean-Charles during her firm’s Backstage Accelerator program and was one of Healthy Roots Dolls’ first investors. “We’ve seen her since Day One be heads down and focused on the...

Feb 18, 2021

Mother-Daughter Duo Creates the Representation Lacking For Black Girls With New Gaming App

As the gaming community and industry continues to grow, the call for more inclusion of Black/POC/women characters and creators increases as well. According to a study published by Statista , women make up nearly 41 percent of U.S. gamers, while the International Gamers Developers Association reports that only 1 percent of individulas working in the game industry are Black. Even more so, racial representation in games is lacking as well as Black characters only comprised 10.7 percent of those observed in 150 of the most popular titles, according to a 2009 study reported by TechCrunch . In an effort to combat these low statistics, a Black mother decided to introduce her daughter to games that reflected what she looked like to help build up her self-confidence. Yvonne Oatley — founder of mobile gaming app Frobelles — developed the game alongside her daughter Alyssa, who helped design the characters and create elements for the game.   View this post on Instagram   Cute outfit Coco! ?...

Nov 10, 2020

Natural Haircare Startup Secures $1M in Funding Backed by Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital

As a Black woman going to the hair salon is a part of self-care. Whether you go once a week, month or year, it is an experience that has probably been ingrained into your routine since a child. For Natanya Montgomery, the first time she remembers visiting the hair salon was at seven-years-old and according to TechCrunch , she’s been going once a month for 18 years. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Naza Beauty , what Megan Rose Dickey referred to as a “Drybar but for women of color.” The salon — which recently secured $1 million in funding backed by Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital —  offers 25 variations of five different protective styles including crotchet, sew-ins, twists, blowouts, and braids. Although the salon does not offer any coloring services, chemical treatments or hair cuts, they do promise to have you out of the chair in either four hours or less. Naza Beauty “More and more people are seeing that these styles are valid, real and beautiful,” she said. “A lot of...

Feb 19, 2020