Janaye Ingram is the director of national partnerships at Airbnb. She also happens to be the secretary and a logistical coordinator for the Women’s March. Those might not sound like natural matches, but Ingram believes that tech and activism have a synergic relationship.
“I’ve been really fortunate and blessed to work for a company like Airbnb that embraces women’s leadership and has embraced my activism,” she says. “I haven’t been forced to choose. I can work hard in my field and fight for change.”
The New Jersey native is a veteran of civic engagement, formerly the national executive director of the Civil Rights organization National Action Network and a consultant in Washington. And she’s gotten some pretty high praise for it: During a 2015 Women of the Civil Rights Movement panel, First Lady Michelle Obama referred to Ingram as “an impressive leader who plays an important role in our progress toward the mountaintop.”
But among all of her activism, Ingram still manages to kill it at her day job at Airbnb — and consider what needs to change in the tech world.
“Being a Black woman in tech, oftentimes you’re the only one in the room, and with that comes a responsibility to ensure you’re not the only one for long,” she says. “You’re representing your race, you’re representing women...it’s a lot of responsibility. But as Black women, we always do it, because we are overcomers, leaders, and creators. We know that no matter what field we’re in, it’s about telling our story.”
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of 20 Black women who kicked down doors in their fields this past year. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.