PALO ALTO, Calif., September 20, 2017: AnitaB.org, a nonprofit organization that advocates for women technologists across multiple dimensions, and the organizations committed to building cultures where women can thrive, today announced Brenda Darden Wilkerson will join the organization as President and CEO starting October 1. Wilkerson succeeds Dr. Telle Whitney, who announced her retirement earlier this year after 15 years of service.
Wilkerson joins AnitaB.org from the Chicago Public Schools, where she most recently served as Director of Computer Science and IT Education. She brings with her 15 years of experience working in education as an advocate for access, opportunity, and social justice for underrepresented communities in technology. She also has 15 years of direct technology experience in IT project management and software development at companies such as Sears, Notis Systems, and Kraft, among others.
“AnitaB.org has been a beacon of hope and opportunity for countless women who seek to add their voice and strength to our world through careers in tech,” said Wilkerson. “I am extremely proud to join an organization that has played such an important role in the advancement of women in technology, and one that is so well positioned to have even greater impact on the tech industry and the lives of others in underrepresented communities.”
Throughout her career, Wilkerson’s experience has centered around creating programs that helped to advance young people and women in tech. Most notably, she spearheaded a movement in the public school system by creating the “Computer Science for All” program, which increases access to computer science education for students at all grade levels, and established computer science education policies and standards in the Chicago Public Schools system. She also played an integral role in various computer science initiatives in coordination with the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she worked alongside Megan Smith, former United States Chief Technology Officer, who nominated Wilkerson for her new role at AnitaB.org.
“Brenda cares passionately about our community. She has lived our challenges,” said Francine Berman, chair of AnitaB.org Board of Trustees. “She has built a successful movement, and she knows what it takes to move the needle. She shares our values and our commitment to creating a future where women are not held back by their gender, organizations, or cultural assumptions.”
“I am thrilled to welcome Brenda as our next leader,” said Dr. Whitney. “As the organization progresses toward our vision of a future—where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies that use it—Brenda is absolutely the right person to lead the AnitaB.org team into our next chapter. She has been a passionate advocate committed to equal representation of women and underrepresented groups in technology and brings the right experience to tackle the challenges presented by our current and future environment.”
AnitaB.org will host its annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, in Orlando, Florida from October 4–6. Wilkerson will appear with Dr. Whitney on the main stage of the event and will also appear as a featured speaker. Members of the AnitaB.org community will join the conversation at this year’s event using #GHC17, and by following GHC on Twitter and Facebook.
AnitaB.org connects, inspires, and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, our reach extends to more than 87 countries. We believe technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. AnitaB.org is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization.