Meet the new CEO of Girls Who Code: Dr. Tarika Barrett
Founder Reshma Saujani is stepping down after 10 years leading the organization.
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Girls Who Code, the nonprofit organization that works to support and increase the number of women in computer science, has a new Chief Executive Officer.
Reshma Saujani created a global movement that continues to allow young girls and women to shatter glass ceilings and invade the “boy’s club” that is the tech industry. Under her reign, Girls Who Code was responsible for introducing more than 300,000 girls worldwide to careers in the field of computer science.
Saujani also ignited broader cultural change through the advancement of campaigns that reached more than 500 million people, helping to change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does.
But after 10 years of relentless work, it’s time for her to hand over the role to a new leader.
“Nine years ago, I set out to disrupt the tech center, help close the gender cap and create a new vision for what programmers look like when I launched Girls Who Code. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished and now it’s time to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership who will carry our mission into its next decade,” she said.
In a Medium article, the founder wrote that she will be officially stepping down as CEO and that her friend and current Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Tarika Barrett, will take her place.
Saujani will remain a leader within the organization as the new Chair of the Board of Directors.
Before she joined Girls Who Code, Barrett was the COO at iMentor, leading their efforts to foster mentoring relationships that assist students from low-income communities in graduating from high school and succeeding in college.
In addition, she served as Deputy Network Leader of the Brooklyn-Staten Island Network of New Visions for Public Schools, designing and implementing research and program evaluations for New York University’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning.
As CEO of Girls Who Code, Barrett will lead the organization into its second decade, with a focus on equity and workforce development to close the tech industry gender gap by 2030.
Thank you, Reshma! I'm super excited for the next step of this journey and to continue to help close the gender gap in computer science.— Dr. Tarika Barrett (@DrTarikaBarrett) February 11, 2021
Side note: This might be the best game of tag I've ever played. #InternationalDayOfWomenInScience #STEMTag https://t.co/R0tTahyatT
“Now that we’ve taught hundreds of thousands of girls, we need to create clear pathways into careers in tech. Tarika has spent her career creating these kinds of bridges, and she’s the right person to pick up the baton and lead the organization into its next chapter. I’ll be rooting for her at every step of the way,” Saujani said.
Barrett has dedicated much of her career path to addressing inequities in education and serving young women, particularly women of color, in their professional endeavors.
She joined Girls Who Code in 2016 and played a crucial role in its progress, chaperoning the free Summer Immersion Program and after-school Clubs Program, which have reached 300,000 girls around the world, over half of whom are Black, Latinx or from low-income communities.
The incoming CEO feels “honored and excited” to build upon the incredible foundation built by Saujani and to continue generating more opportunities for women to feel supported in pursuing technology careers.
“Reshma’s tireless advocacy and passion for supporting girls has broken down so many barriers. As I pick up the baton, my focus will be to remove those obstacles that continue to stand in the way of young women reaching their full potential,” said Dr. Barret.
The coronavirus pandemic has further intensified the inequities in education for young women, especially women of color. But Barrett, having years of experience tackling these issues, feels confident and prepared to confront these challenges as the new CEO.
“As a fierce advocate for education and gender equity, I am confident that Tarika will carry on this important work as CEO and I look forward to working with her to make it possible,” said Bozoma Saint John, Girls Who Code Board Member & Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix.