Board Retreat in the Bay and Where We Are Going from Here
Late last month, we were thrilled to hold our 2nd Annual Board Retreat in San Francisco, California. In hosting our retreat in the Bay Area, where the tech industry was born and still (largely) resides, we hoped to expose our organization to the innovation that the area offers. The weekend retreat was a crucial time for us to reflect upon All Star Code’s achievements and begin planning for our growth and future.
Since the beginning, the board’s leadership has been crucial in building this organization. Our incredible board is made up of leaders from diverse sectors, hailing from New York to California. The retreat provided an opportunity for our board members to establish relationships, develop team camaraderie and have honest dialogue that is essential for this work. Eight out of our ten board members were able to attend, along with their spouses.
This year, we have seen the growth of our board, and welcomed two new board members at this meeting, Elisabeth Mason and Gavin Leo-Rhynie.
Elisabeth is the Founding Director of the Stanford Poverty and Technology Lab, and a Senior Advisor at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. Previously, she was the Co-Founder and CEO of Single Stop, a national anti-poverty initiative. Elisabeth is an expert on venture philanthropy, children’s rights, start-up organizations, and poverty-fighting programs.
Gavin is the co-head of Platform Technology Division and member of the Firmwide Technology Risk committee at Goldman Sachs. Previously, he was head of Asia Pacific technology until his return to New York in 2017. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 and has enjoyed roles across Foreign Exchange Trading & Sales Technology, Interest Rate Products Technology and Prime Services Technology.
We kicked off the retreat by hearing from our alumni students: Mamadou Sadio Diallo, Kofi Adu and Kevin Calderon. Now at Stanford, these incredible young men shared how their time at All Star Code taught them how to learn, and equipped them for some of their college experiences. It was amazing to hear their stories, and to be reminded of what our work represents.
When I started this organization in 2013, the problem I saw was that there was no connection between young men of color and the tech world. In order to open the door, you need to see the door.
All Star Code was created to show our boys and young men of color what the door looks like and what awaits them if/when they step through it, so that they can see for themselves whether they like it.
It is by accurately showing what tech is like and what computer science offers that we inspire students to successfully pursue computer science. We recruit students who are interested in the idea of learning about tech.
By exposing students in high school, we’re setting them up to successfully pursue their own path into college and the 21st century workforce.
Our board retreat marked the beginning of our strategic planning process that will move All Star Code’s work forward over the next few years. We’re asking ourselves crucial questions about impact, expansion, and measurement of success. The insights we received from the board were invaluable, and we gained great clarity regarding the scope of our core programs.
I have always believed that with the right skills and support system behind them, and just knowing that their success is possible, there is no limit to what our young men can do. I am so grateful for a board that believes this too, and greatly appreciate their time, support and insights.