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EXCLUSIVE: Kimberly Bryant, CEO and Founder of Black Girls Code, an Oakland-based nonprofit tech organization, denies allegations of wrongdoing

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) – In an exclusive interview with ABC7 News Race and Culture reporter Julian Glover, Kimberly Bryant, CEO and founder of Black Girls Code, an Oakland-based nonprofit tech organization, denies claims of wrongdoing.

“I certainly didn’t expect to be able to have this conversation with you,” Bryant told ABC7 News Race and Culture reporter Julian Glover.

“I don’t know why this action was taken by the board of directors, and I am really disappointed,” she added.

According to an email to ABC7 News, Bryant was made aware of his suspension on December 21, 2021 after the nonprofit’s board of directors was made aware of “serious allegations.”

RELATED: Black Girls CODE Creates ‘Future Tech Bosses’ in Bay Area, Beyond

Shortly after, Bryant tweeted “So it’s 3 days before Christmas and you wake up to find that the organization YOU created and built from scratch has been swept away by a rogue board without notification.”

In his interview with Glover, Bryant called the timing of the suspension “very unfortunate. And somewhat cruel.”

Black Girls Code has mentored and taught tens of thousands of black girls around the world how to code in the decade since its founding, with the goal of closing the gender gap in technology.

ABC7 News featured these accomplishments in March for: ABC’s Our America: Women Forward.

Glover: “Do you think an investigation of the allegations that have surfaced is warranted? “

Bryant: “If there are any issues that have surfaced or raised by any member of the organizing team, including myself, we owe it to our community and to the girls, the little black girls we serve, to investigate. depth on these issues.

The Black Girls Code Special Committee of the Board of Directors sent the following statement to ABC7 News:

“First and foremost, the Special Committee and the full Board of Directors are committed to fulfilling their fiduciary obligations to Black Girls CODE and our amazing community – including our supporters, partners and dedicated staff. year, the board of directors received or became aware of concerns raised by current and former employees about the conduct of Ms. Bryant. On October 5, the board formed a special committee to review and assess the complaints and determine what action, if any, should be taken with respect to these concerns.Fair review process, earlier this week the special committee placed Ms.Bryant on administrative leave with pay. ongoing review and due to our respect for the privacy of Ms. Bryant and all others involved, we do not intend to make any further public comments until the review has been completed. ended.”

Glover: “What do you hope this investigation finds?”

Bryant: “The truth.”

The board declined to expand on the allegations against the CEO, but the Silicon Valley-based tech outlet, “Technology crisis“, reportedly spoke anonymously to several former BGC employees, who describe Bryant’s leadership style as” rooted in fear “and instances where managers have been” publicly reprimanded. “

Anonymous reviews of Glass door describe a “toxic work environment for black women” where the “CEO continues to be the problem”.

Glover: “Is this review true? “

Bryant: “I’m not here to say that our organization is a perfect place. But I am saying that the effort that we have invested in … is what is going to make us a great place to work in the future.”

Bryant said those investments include hiring consultants to work with the leadership team, launching a cultural survey to shed light on high turnover during the pandemic, and setting up an outside company to a compensation review.

“I absolutely support an investigation because I think I will be fully, fully justified, there is nothing that I have done that has been wrong. I do not see how I would not be part of the Black Girls Code one way or another in the future, ”said Bryant.

The commission did not specify the timetable for the investigation.

Bryant, former technical director for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, launched Black Girls CODE in 2011 to bridge the digital divide for girls of color.

She recalls feeling culturally isolated when she entered the tech industry nearly three decades ago, with few classmates and colleagues like her.

Since its founding a decade ago, Black Girls CODE has grown to a number of cities across the country.

Bryant has received numerous awards for his efforts that have reached thousands of young women aged 7 to 17 across the country.

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