Lexi Butler, founder of Sista Circle Black Women in Tech, Speaks About Creating a Path for Others to Follow
Technology is ruling our world, it seems. We carry our phones everywhere, there is an app for everything, and our data is everywhere. For some, technology is a blessing and or a curse. One of the many challenges with technology is finding ourselves behind the bits and bytes. Our community makes up a small percentage of tech workers, and for African-American women, the number hovers around 2%. One force increasing the numbers is a young woman, Lexi Butler, who reached out to a few Black women in Silicon Valley to join her brunch. What started with thirty or so women has become a juggernaut community with thousands of women worldwide. Sista Circle Black Women in Tech is now a force to reckon with in the industry.
I asked Butler how she came to invite colleagues to brunch and if she ever thought she’d be leading a group of this many women. She shared that her mentor at work, a white man encouraged her to find Black women who could share with her their tactics and strategies for navigating the tech arena. Butler put out a call for Black women in Silicon Valley to join her for lunch. Approximately 30 women showed up that was in April of 2017. The online community began to grow primarily through word of mouth. She shares that 98% organic growth is a beautiful symptom of being a marginalized group.
Butler speaks about the moment they reached the first 500 women. I ask Butler why she thinks Black women must have their very own space. She says about the Sista Circle being a modern-day Underground Railroad for Black Women to Get to Safety.
I mention that the group is exceptionally positive. She has watched the “magic” happen in the room. She speaks about the Sista Circle as a place for authenticity and information. Butler shares an anecdote about the first challenge with negativity and facing the fire.
Butler also shares her opinion on the certifications offered for advancement in technology. She explains that companies pay for their employees to obtain those certifications. She has never personally paid for certificates. She shares that being educated is part of being liberated. Our community should understand transferable skills. Technology firms need accountants, legal advisors, marketing professionals, and administrators.
I ask Butler about the future of the Sista Circle. She shares that they are launching a new website at www:sistacircle.BWIT.com. You can also follow the group across social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.