Welcome Dr. Tarika Barrett, the new CEO of Girls Who Code

On April 2, 2021 I will be stepping down as the CEO of Girls Who Code — remaining on as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. My great friend and current Chief Operating Officer of Girls Who Code Dr. Tarika Barrett will take my place as CEO.

Dr. Tarika Barrett (left) and Reshma Saujani (right)

I don’t know what’s next for me. And I want to admit that at times, it’s felt scary to leave the organization I’ve poured so much of my life into without an immediate next step. But this organization has never been about me or any one person. It is about transforming tech and helping girls achieve their dreams.

And I’ve learned, over the years, that transforming tech, creating a more equitable world, isn’t just about teaching girls to code. It’s also about brave, transformational leadership.

So I hope my own leadership over the past 10 years, and our decision to appoint Dr. Barrett as the CEO, sends a powerful message to our girls — that women of color belong in positions of power, that leaders can and should speak truth to power, that being a leader means being brave not perfect.

Tarika and I have worked together for 5 years. I’ve known since the moment I met Dr. Barrett that she would be the best person to lead this organization into its next chapter. She has dedicated her career to fighting for equity, to lifting up our most marginalized students, as a classroom teacher, a leader at the Department of Education in New York City, and in organizations like iMentor and Girls Who Code.

So I couldn’t be more excited about Dr. Barrett taking on this role. Especially now. Because while we’ve made progress on diversity in tech, the road ahead is still long.

In the last ten years, Girls Who Code has reached 300,000 girls around the world — our cohort of college-aged alumni is 80,000 young women strong. We are on track to close the gender gap by 2030. But still, the COVID-19 pandemic has set countless girls back academically and professionally; and we’re still up against a culture that says girls do not belong in tech; and up against an industry that needs to be held accountable for hiring, retaining, and promoting women and people of color.

As CEO, Dr. Barrett will harness every ounce of her being — every bit of her personal and professional experience — and bring it to bear on behalf of our girls. With her leadership, I’m confident we’ll achieve our goal of closing the gender gap in tech, and spur the creation of a more fair and equitable workforce. Because passionate, ambitious, and diverse young women are the key to transforming our economy and our society. Tarika, you are amazing and I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.