When we started New York On Tech (NYOT) in 2014, our mission was clear - prepare the next generation of technology leaders by creating pathways for underrepresented students to thrive in technology and innovation. Since then, we have worked with more than 1,000+ students to provide technology skills development training programs and internships. The majority of our students have gone off to major in computer science, computer engineering or information systems at colleges and universities across the country and/or have obtained jobs within the technology sector.
In 2018, our team reflected on the four school years we have been in operation and realized that with all of the work we have accomplished with the young people in our programs, there was still a gap between where they saw themselves and how they perceived their representation within the technology sector. Knowing that people can't be what they can't see, we started asking ourselves questions about how we could leverage the technology community of supporters we have been able to carefully curate over the last couple of years to come together and elevate leaders within the sector that serve as positive role models and represent the diversity of students in our programs.
While we have seen powerful lawyers and doctors represented in popular shows like Law & Order and Grey's Anatomy and tune into the Oscars and the Grammy’s, we have not yet elevated the professions within the technology sector at the same rate, leaving little room for people to see themselves reflected in the sector, let alone know that the sector exists in the first place. At a time where our nation's economy is becoming increasingly digital and the skills required of the workforce of today require technological savvy, we believe that to achieve true equity within the technology sector, we need to think about how we tell the stories and elevate the platforms of the many successful and diverse founders and professionals who are leaving a measurable impact within the industry.
Last fall was our first step in being part of this work. We launched the inaugural Innovators and Disruptors event at the Paley Center for Media and recognized 26 amazing technology professionals, founders and investors. You can meet the 2018 awardees here. They were selected by a panel of judges for their contributions to the industry. You can meet the 2018 judges here.
In 2019, we are taking this work to the next level and invite you to join us. Today we're announcing the launch of InnovatorsAndDisruptors.com and the call for nominations for this year's class of 2019 Innovators and Disruptors. The deadline for this year's nominations is Friday, July 19, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST.
The 2019 Innovators & Disruptors Awards will celebrate the outstanding achievements of leaders in technology. Award winners are diverse founders, professionals and investors from some of the world's most recognized companies and fastest growing startups who are leaving a measurable impact on the industry and in their respective fields of work.
The awards show will be hosted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at Current located at Pier 59 in Chelsea Piers. Approximately 240 people will be in attendance and 25 awards will be conferred. You can purchase tickets to attend here.
For the 2019 awards, 10 categories have been identified. There will be two winners per category. We will also exclusively award the "Ultimate Innovator & Disruptor Award" to 5 tech stand-outs that have left a large impact on the industry to date. They will have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on stage to share their journeys with the audience and talk about the importance of equity and inclusion in innovation. InnovatorsAndDisruptors.com will also become a digital destination this year, as we aim to tell the stories of honorees and judges involved in this initiative.
We look forward to the next couple of months. See you in October!
Jessica Santana & Evin Robinson
Co-founders, New York On Tech
Co-creators, Innovators & Disruptors