Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Arrives

For pushing Silicon Valley to embrace inclusion

If Leanne Pittsford has anything to say about it, the future of tech will be female. And nonbinary. And gender nonconforming.

Pittsford founded Lesbians Who Tech in 2012 in a quest to make the notoriously white, male Silicon Valley more inclusive. Today, the group boasts more than 50,000 members in 40 cities around the globe, has built a mentorship program and hosts a conference series with a slew of big-name sponsors ranging from Spotify to BlackRock. 

Yet there is still much work to be done: While women make up close to 50 percent of the labor force, they’re estimated to comprise only a quarter of STEM roles. Though current hard data is difficult to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests the numbers are even more bleak for lesbians.

To attack the problem from multiple angles, Pittsford also launched Include.io, a recruitment platform that uses AI to suggest direct referrals between tech leaders and talent. Recruitment based on objective talent and organizational fit, impervious to implicit bias? How very 2020—and beyond.