Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latinxs. Code2040 aims to close the achievement, skills, and wealth gaps in the United States. Our goal is to ensure that by the year 2040 – the start of the decade when the US will be majority people of color – we are proportionally represented in America’s innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs.
In summer 2016, Laura joined the Obama Administration for a six month term as a senior advisor to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. At the White House, Laura focused on issues of diversity and inclusion related to ensuring hiring practices, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and the tech products and platforms of the future work for all Americans, particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds.
Most recently before co-founding Code2040, Laura served as head of product at a consumer web startup. Prior to that, she co-founded two organizations in the education space, one nonprofit arts education organization in West Philadelphia that is currently celebrating its 12th year, and one for-profit tutoring company that gave rise to a book.
Laura is a 2016-2017 New America California Fellow. In 2016, Ebony included her on their Power 100 list. In 2015, Fortune named her one of 10 Female Executives on the Rise and San Francisco Magazine saluted her as one of 37 Soldiers of Social Change. From 2014-2016 Laura sat on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). The Root named her one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in 2013 and 2016 and Goldman Sachs named her one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013. She was a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2013 Stanford Social Innovation Fellow. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, NBC, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Inc. NPR, and others.
Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University. Laura and Code2040 are based in San Francisco. You can find her quick thoughts on Twitter (@laurawp) and her longer thoughts on Medium (@laurawp).
Laura is a finalist for the 2017 American Express NGen Leadership Award.