This Founder Was a Barrier-Breaking IBM Engineer. She Says Black Women Will Be ‘the Mark Zuckerbergs of the World’

By Kimberly Weisul |

This Black electrical engineering PhD spent 26 years at Big Blue. She says entrepreneurship is a better path for young people of color than corporate America.

“I grew up in a family that preached education for as long as I can remember,” says Sandra Johnson, the founder of Global Mobile Finance, the maker of remittance app geeRemit. All that preaching seems to have worked: Among Johnson’s immediate family and cousins are two electrical engineers, a microbiologist, and a physicist. When Johnson was defending her dissertation for a PhD in electrical engineering, her family sat in the back two rows.

While her family provided tremendous moral support throughout her career, there were few other Black people who could help Johnson technically with her work. Now, Johnson says, Black students pursuing advanced degrees in the sciences have much stronger networks. She’s hopeful that they will pursue entrepreneurship, and thinks the U.S. has a rare window of opportunity to make progress on race. — As told to Kimberly Weisul

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