Celebrating Pioneers: Trailblazers in Technology for Black History Month


As Black History Month unfolds, it’s a fitting time to honour the remarkable contributions of our Africa-originating pioneers in the realm of technology and innovation. From groundbreaking researchers and educators to influential entrepreneurs, these individuals have blazed trails in their respective fields, breaking barriers and setting new benchmarks for excellence. This year, we spotlight Clarence “Skip” Ellis, Felecia Hatcher, Marques Brownlee and Krislin Goulbourne-Harry — four visionaries whose achievements have not only advanced technology, but also inspired countless others to follow in their footsteps.

Clarence “Skip” Ellis: A Pioneer of Collaborative Computing

Clarence Ellis’s contributions to collaborative computing have left a lasting legacy in the tech industry. As the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in computer science, his work has been foundational for the collaborative tools we use today, such as Google Docs. His dedication to diversity in computing and education has inspired future generations to pursue careers in technology, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity.

Ellis’s technical innovations and commitment to mentorship have paved the way for advancements in technology that emphasize collaboration and diversity, underscoring his enduring impact on the field.

Felecia Hatcher: From C Student to White House Award-Winning CEO

Felecia Hatcher’s journey from overcoming personal and societal challenges to becoming a leading advocate for diversity in technology is nothing short of inspirational. Growing up, Hatcher refused to let her circumstances define her future. She transformed her early experiences of adversity into a powerful drive for success, which has fueled her career and passion for creating opportunities for others. As the co-founder of Code Fever, Black Tech Week and The Center for Black Innovation, Hatcher has been a formidable force in the tech ecosystem, dedicating her career to bridging the racial gap in technology. These initiatives provide underrepresented minorities with the tools, resources, and support needed to thrive in the tech industry. Her work emphasizes the importance of creating equitable opportunities in innovation, making her a true inspiration for aspiring tech professionals.

Hatcher’s commitment to empowering the next generation of tech leaders is evident in her dynamic approach to mentorship and education. As a sought-after speaker and author, she leverages her platform to advocate for increased access to technology and entrepreneurship education, particularly for African-American communities.

Marques Brownlee: Redefining Tech Media

Marques Brownlee, known widely as MKBHD, has become a leading voice in tech media. Starting his YouTube channel from his parents’ house in New Jersey as a teenager, Brownlee has grown to become one of the most influential tech reviewers on the internet. His ability to demystify complex technology and present it in an accessible manner has made him a trusted source for millions.

Beyond his YouTube success, Brownlee’s collaborations and media appearances have significantly influenced the tech industry, bridging the gap between tech enthusiasts and the broader public. His journey serves as an inspiration for those looking to make a significant impact in the digital world.

Krislin Goulbourne-Harry: Engineering Digital Solutions

Krislin Goulbourne-Harry, hailing from Jamaica, embodies black excellence in technology. The founder of EKAPPS, she has not only demonstrated her prowess in software engineering and web development, but has also carved a niche for her company in delivering customized digital solutions. Her journey from an academically gifted student to a visionary entrepreneur highlights her dedication to innovation and her role as a trailblazer in the tech industry.

Her commitment extends beyond her entrepreneurial endeavours to education and mentorship, inspiring the next generation of tech enthusiasts, particularly women and minorities, to pursue careers in STEM. Goulbourne-Harry showcases the transformative power of diversity in technology.

A Legacy of Innovation and Inclusion

The stories of Clarence “Skip” Ellis, Felecia Hatcher, Marques Brownlee and Krislin Goulbourne-Harry highlight the critical role of diversity in driving innovation within the technology sector. Their achievements demonstrate the importance of equitable representation in STEM fields and inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams with courage and perseverance. As we celebrate Black History Month, we honour these trailblazers for their contributions and their commitment to creating a more inclusive and innovative future.