Tech Sassy Girlz
Dr. Laine Powell is the founder and executive director of Tech Sassy Girlz, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring underrepresented girls in middle and high school to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She firmly believes that leveraging technology is an opportunity for girls to be content creators, makers and entrepreneurs.
In 2016, Powell was invited by the White House to present STEM Access for Marginalized Girls and has received a host of community and professional awards including the 2021 WTS International Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership award.
Powell received her bachelor of arts from the University of Florida and her doctorate in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University, and is married to her college sweetheart, Courtney.
What is your WHY?
Representation matters. Women currently represent only 27% of the STEM workforce in the United States. I founded Tech Sassy Girlz in 2012 to address the critical shortage of women and minorities being represented in high-tech STEM careers.
Tech Sassy Girlz is committed to fostering programs, mentoring and education that will cultivate the next generation of technology leaders to be more diverse and inclusive. I am passionate about addressing the gender and diversity gap in tech. I’m driven by a need to find solutions to help solve the lack of representation of diverse women in STEM. Part of the solution is providing middle and high school girls with access and exposure to diverse women in STEM fields. Tech Sassy Girlz helps in filling that gap.
What are you most proud of?
There are many great moments for Tech Sassy Girlz but if I had to narrow it down to one, it would be growing our signature annual Tech Sassy Girlz Day Conference from 40 students in 2012 to 500 in 2019. The daylong conference introduces middle and high school girls to various STEM careers. Hosting this annual conference is not only critical for us to continue to introduce STEM to young girls, but also for the girls to have access to women who look like them that are making a difference in the world.
Since 2012, we have introduced STEM to over 2,500 girls through our afterschool programs, annual conference and workforce development program for high school students, Pearls in Tech. Our programs, offered at no cost, equip students to become the next generation of coders, computer scientists, application designers and developers. We are changing the trajectory of the girls by unlocking new career opportunities and helping to prepare them for high paying STEM-focused jobs.
What is the one word that perfectly explains who you are?
Would you change anything about how you have handled challenges or successes thus far in your life?
I have an amazing team who is passionate about the lives we are changing. The pandemic forced us all to slow down and focus on what matters. The pandemic taught me to celebrate the wins no matter how small!
In partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we are recognizing a woman in our community each month who is selflessly giving to others while raising families, supporting their loved ones and/or building their careers. Whether they know it or not, their stories inspire other women near and far.