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Blog, Women In Tech
Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor, has been awarded the Kevin J Mossier Next Generation Award by StartOut, the LBGTQ Entrepreneur Organization.
Blendoor is a merit-based matching and recruiting app that reduces unconscious bias in the hiring process by hiding applicants’ names, pictures, and dates. Using data-driven metrics, Blendoor helps companies make better hiring decisions. Candidates also have a window into company diversity and inclusion. Stephanie has an engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from MIT. So when she found herself having difficulty finding a software engineering job in Silicon Valley, she had to wonder if being young made a difference? Or being a woman? Or being African-American? Or all three? She began researching diversity in tech hiring. What she found were quantifiable variables in the perception of race, gender, and age, and tech company hiring decisions that reflected these variables.

When she developed Blendoor the unconscious barriers and variables that impact hiring decisions were moved out of the way. Several companies with strong diversity and inclusion programs, such as Intel and Google, signed up to use her app before it was launched. Since that time, she has had a number of high profile companies, such as Facebook and Apple, come on board. Hiding photos and names on resumes allows applicants a safe zone where accomplishments can shine. For traditionally excluded populations, Blendoor can be the first step toward a seat at the table.

There are several other tools tech companies are using to deal with diversity, inclusion, and hiring bias. Psychologists believe that it is difficult to impossible to remove unconscious bias. What they propose are solutions that will mitigate the effects of unconscious bias in the workplace. GapJumpers is a new startup that looks at job skills and performs blind auditions, rather than looking at resumes. For jobs and skills that can be self-taught, like coding, applicants without college or experience have a way to shine. Applicants are given a skills test, or a hands-on task to complete. The audition is based on the results of the work. Textio was developed by looking at unconscious gender bias in the language of job descriptions. They use analytics and a predictive model to assess the language used in job searches and descriptions. Phrases are highlighted and areas of concern addressed, with suggestions for improvement. Companies using the method are meeting their hiring goals of more qualified and diverse candidates.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology has published some “Promising Practices” to help HR departments and hiring managers make decisions that reduce the impact of unconscious bias.SaveSave

Blog, Inspiration
Yep. Still 2016. I still wake up on some days worried about redundancy in app development. I mean, fuck, how many Pomodoro apps do I have to check out before making an informed decision? Pretty sure I tried nine in September of 2015, and that number has more than doubled today.

Also: still weathering a sinking feeling, or a pit maybe, at the center of me, hardening as app developers look more and more like 27 year old white dudes overly interested in profit margins. I mean, I dig profits. And as profits are the fastest route to power in this world we’ve got, I firmly believe women and persons of color need, need, need to seek power shamelessly; I am not here to warn against profits. And yet here I am asking three minutes of your time, in order to introduce you to three apps that are not about profit margins.

These are apps that are world changers, meant to make the world a better, fairer, safer more effective place for women and thereby for everyone. You with me? 

My three favorite, totally ethical and women-focused apps + designers that/who are making qualitative differences in our world while also maintaining my faith in app development.

Ready? Go.

1. Maven: Want women’s health consultations that are efficient and affordable? There’s an app for that. Former reporter for the Economist Katherine Richardson was focused on accessibility when she designed this app, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of space for users to share experiences as well as advice. Think of this as a women’s health clinic for your pocket. And I started my list with health on purpose. Because we aren’t fully chingona (ie badass) when we’re under the weather.

2. W’sHR: And now we also get pocket sized access to the international legal instruments adopted by the UN, those that are relevant to women in particular. Yeah, really. The name is an acronym for Women’s Human Rights, and the app is developed by SCHR/ICGS and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The goal: swifter negotiation for women and for what is right―around the world.

3. Wrike: Okay, okay, this one isn’t really women-focused. This one is for everyone; but for you women heads in search of new management tools, I include this for you. Because with more and more of us at the summit each new day, we really ought to keep updating our camalots along with the rest of our gear. Wrike brings project management to the project manager. Let’s say you manage employees who work at different paces, and while you want to be flexible, you want, too, to be effective. This app allows you to track group performance. Further, it allows you to put Word, Google Drive, Excel, and email in the same place, the assumption being: once integrated, you will become even more efficient.

Collaboration, discussion, document building―it’s all here. Simplifying life for those of you in charge.

*I didn’t include Evernote on this list because everybody and her mom has already written about Evernote as a must download. But know that if you are thinking across multiple projects each day and looking to stay organized, Evernote really is a must. Once again, this is regardless of your gender identity/identities.
*This article was originally posted on

Blog, Inspiration
It’s 2016. On those days, grey and rainy usually, when I wake up thinking apps are getting redundant if not outright overly-fetishized (you know, like tech co’s gone all yep-our-swooshes-make-our-shoes-worth-$500-regardless-of-production-costs), I pinch myself and then try listing the names of the good guys, those ethical apps + designers that/who are going to make qualitative differences in our world.

I admit sometimes my listing becomes chanting, almost as if I am creating my own zenned out religious ideology, one built upon the technological possibilities of today and an unwavering belief in a better future. But who knows? Perhaps some day I will have a follower or two. For now, can I introduce you to my faves? No ritualistic participation required.

1. Ankommen: This app, released by the German government, has been turning heads since it launched in early 2016. Available for download in Arabic, English, Farsi, French, and German, Ankommen (meaning “Arrive”) is designed to facilitate the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into their new countries. On the chance you ignore the news and wonder about the broader implications of such an app, check out Ai Wei Wei’s documentation of Syrian refugees on Instragram this year.

2. Blendoor: Developed by Stephanie Lampkin who is black + female + an engineer who has been coding since the age of 13, this app is the new Tinder of coding. Except your photo is replaced by your resume, making it, thereby, the opposite of Tinder. By creating a platform that matches coders’ resumes to jobs, Lampkin is doing serious damage to the way-too-long history of sexism and racism in tech hiring practices.

3. Q: CEO Eric Cervini created this app with the goal of eradicating the misogyny, racism, and other dehumanizing practices (especially via commentary) plaguing early attempts at creating online LQBTQIA community. Unlike its predecessors, Q is about complicating how the queer community interacts online, decentering the body, and embracing inclusivity as never before.

4. Okay, this one hasn’t happened yet, but last month Google awarded 500,000 USD to Ella Baker Center fellow, Patrisse Cullors, who is working to develop a #BLM app in collaboration with the ACLU. This will be an app for reporting police violence in real time, and I am certain it will rank among my favorites as soon as it launches.