Laura Weidman Powers
White + African-American
Co-founder + CEO, Code 2040
Growing up in Manhattan’s upper west side in New York, Laura Weidman Powers is the daughter of an African-American mother and White father. This mixed household, in addition to attending a diverse public school, afforded Laura the opportunity to have a multicultural upbringing.
Initially dreaming of being a pediatrician, this would change when she fell in love with the non-profit world while attending Harvard University. By 2014, Laura graduated with degrees in psychology and Spanish, and would continue working in the non-profit for a few years before venturing out to the West Coast to attend Stanford University in 2007. Enrolling in a dual JD and a MBA program, Laura became fascinated with the tech scene and was eager to utilize her dual degrees in the startup world after graduating in 2010. Just a year later, and after leaving her product development position at a tech startup in Los Angeles, Laura found herself talking over coffee with a former classmate about an issue that they were noticing – a lack of diversity in tech. From this conversation, Laura made the decision to join him and co-found Code2040 in 2012. Their non-profit creates access, awareness and opportunities in tech for college-age, African-American and Latino talent through summer internships at top tech companies.
Laura is currently serving a 6-month appointment as a senior policy advisor to the U.S. chief technology officer, Megan Smith at the White House, and will be focusing on diversity and inclusion in tech hiring and entrepreneurship.
Laura’s accolades include: being named a Stanford Social Innovation Fellow (2013), one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root (2013), one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs (2013) and one of Fortune’s 10 Female Executives On The Rise (2015).
Interesting fact: the year 2040 within the code2040 name, refers to the decade in which the U.S. will have a non-white majority.