Celebrating Black Women on Elpha

Meet the amazing leaders, creators, and innovators that are creating an impact in their communities.

This Black History Month, we’re celebrating Black women on Elpha who are excelling at what they do. 

We asked the Elpha community to nominate the Black women they admire for the value they add, their character and career journey, and the innovation they are driving in their fields today.

Meet the brilliant women who are leaders, creators, executives, investors, doers, and innovators that are breaking barriers and creating an impact in their communities! 

Lisa Gelobter

Lisa is the CEO and founder at tEQuitable, a company that serves as an independent, confidential platform for addressing issues of bias, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace. 

She has over 25 years of experience in tech and has worked at top companies and organizations including Macromedia (acquired by Adobe), NBC Universal, and the White House.

Lisa acted as the Chief Digital Officer for BET Networks and was on the Senior Management Team for the launch of Hulu. She actively works to make the world a better, more inclusive place and serves on the Board/Steering Committees of: Obama Foundation’s Digital Council, Times Up, /dev/color, and The Education Trust.

Cadran Cowansage , Elpha’s founder and CEO, said, 

“Lisa has been extremely supportive of Elpha and me. She's one of those people that goes above and beyond to support others, and is someone I know I can always count on.”

👉 Learn more about Lisa in her Elpha Office Hours

Gina ‘Gigi’ Rodgers 

Gigi , as she prefers to be called, is the Director of Doodling at Puck’n Khaos and the Content Marketing “Chop Shop” Chief at The Puck’n Studio. She specializes in content creation and repurposing. Her area of expertise is content marketing, scriptwriting, directing, video editing, as well as how to develop a Zoom protocol over the pandemic . On top of that, she has a background in mechanical engineering and is “a badass sneaker artist”.

Alysa Turner adds, 

“She's become a great project accountability partner because she's so willing to keep it real and remind you to just get started. If you're looking for someone to add color to your life, both literally and metaphorically, Gigi is that squirrel.” 🐿 

Teisha McRae

Teisha is the QA Specialist at Written Word Media, an agency that offers book promotion and advertising services to empower authors and publishers. Teisha thrives on using her coding skills to add creative enhancements to marketing emails and web pages. 

Here’s what Kelsey Worsham had to say about Teisha:

“I've always admired Teisha's curiosity, tenacity, and grace. Not only is she brilliant at what she does, but she's quick to pick up new skills and never stops learning. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and has gone on to build a career spanning social media marketing, operations, and, now, development. *Plus* she was working a full-time job while getting through a coding boot camp last year. And she's also just the funniest, most caring friend.” 🌟

Erna Alfred Liousas

Erna is a caregiving advocate, researcher, and founder of CG360, a platform that helps caregivers find valuable resources and information. She is a founding member of Tech Ladies and the founder and CEO of U*Realized, where she helps small businesses bring humanity to their customer experience and marketing strategy.

Sheila Collins , who was introduced to Elpha by Erna, adds,

“Erna is a dynamic speaker who helps employers recognize and acknowledge the tremendous burden that caregivers (primarily women) carry. She helps employers implement solutions to help their employees reduce burnout. This is especially valuable during this pandemic to address the great resignation. She works tirelessly to mentor and champions the importance of self-care.” ✨

Kedasha Kerr

Kedasha is a software engineer and developer advocate at Lacework, a data-driven security platform for the cloud. 

She is a strong advocate for minorities who want to break into tech and regularly posts valuable career tips and resources on Tiktok and Instagram – where she has 15K+ followers!

Kedasha has a non-traditional trajectory into the industry – from social worker to software engineer – and aims to help others in non-linear paths learn the skills needed to make the switch into tech. 👩🏻‍💻

Domonique Fines 

Domonique was previously Director of Events at Y Combinator and the former Director or Engagement at AllRaise. Currently, she is an Associate Board Member at Alameda Health System Foundation.

Domonique was also one of Elpha’s first members! ✨

Cadran adds, 

“Dom is super generous with her time, and is always thinking about how to support founders and investors. She's worked on many initiatives to support underrepresented founders, including an annual event she co-created called When Founder Met Funder. When Founder Met Funder connects Black female founders to investors and fellow founders. Last I checked she was also actively investing in early-stage startups, so if you're looking to raise $$, definitely check her out.”

👉 Learn more about Domonique’s work in her Elpha Office Hours .

Sheila Collins

Sheila is the Senior Advisor for Startup Programming at AARP Innovation Labs where she engages with top HealthTech and FinTech startups that are committed to helping people age well. 

She has over 15 years of experience in marketing and eCommerce, and has been listed on Money 20/20 Amplify “Ones to Watch”, The Network Journal 40 Under 40, and received the Ben and Jerry’s “Citizen Cool” Award. She is also an investor and advocates for FemTech solutions and wealth-building opportunities for BIPOC founders. 

Erna Alfred Liousas said, “Sheila is a leader in the startup world! She elevates startups that support health and wealth improvements. And, as an advocate for women entrepreneurs, she proactively connects people with the aim of increasing impact. She tirelessly gives to the community serving on nonprofit boards promoting youth and literacy. And, she does all that while being an amazing mother and caregiver. Her light shines so bright, you can't help but be moved to succeed.” 🌟

Alysa Turner

Alysa is a Community Manager and Content Creator at Simplr, where she uses her love of storytelling to develop content that excites and engages community members. 

Her recent post about her lessons learned from job-hopping during the pandemic was one of our most-read featured posts in our Elpha Spotlights program.

Gigi adds,

“I wish I had half of the knowledge, guts, and skill this superstar has at her age. And the way she writes... We flooded her post & her DMs (I'm sure) when she published her last article on Elpha. [..] The ‘corporate & cultural reset’ is nigh, and we all got plush front row seats with M&Ms and popcorn, watching it all unfold in front of us - and she's going to be part of the squad leading the charge. She's writing all the things we want to say, with a lot less f-bombs being dropped. Take notice. She's one to watch.” 👀

Amina Gass

Amina is the Manager, People Operations at Netlify. With over 5 years of experience in the field, she’s found her calling in people, processes, problem-solving, DEI, and technology that positively impacts the world. 

Elpha’s Head of Talent, Mary Jantsch , said,

“I've been really impressed by Amina’s approach to People Ops and culture building. By balancing a product mindset for People Ops with a deeply empathetic approach, she creates really special workplaces and communities. Amina has such a gracious and warm presence that always makes me feel safe and validated!”

Iynna Halilou

Iynna is an early-stage investor at Moxxie Ventures and an MBA Candidate at the Wharton School. Before business school, she served as the Global Programs Manager at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) — New York’s first and largest early-stage startup accelerator and seed VC fund. She has worked with 150+ companies, signed partnerships with 50+ governments, and led 16 acceleration programs.

She is passionate about bridging the socioeconomic gap in Africa through early-stage tech investing and recently published a step-by-step guide on Elpha about how to break into venture capital . 🌱

Iynna is also a Community Manager at Elpha where she continuously supports other women on their paths to success at work. Here’s what Elpha members had to say about Iynna:

“I had the honor of being Iynna's intern a few years back and as I look back on this time I just can't help but think ‘wow, this woman really is top tier’. She took a chance on me when I had barely any experience and when I was coming from another country with a big dream to work in NYC. She continuously advocates for underrepresented groups. Her voice is so powerful and so needed! Very grateful for her.” - Ines Gaiech

“I think she is a phenomenal and passionate woman. She is always ready to help and finds time to reply to posts. She might not know this but she has inspired me a lot and I also discovered Elpha through her.” - Fridah Kanini

“She is just an all-around powerhouse. She is doing amazing, brilliant work and has also been such a huge help connecting people to co-elevate/support each other here on Elpha.” - Wenlin Tan

👉 Learn more about Iynna and her story in her Elpha Office Hours .

We hope you’ve been inspired by these amazing women who are thriving in their fields and making an impact through their work. We want to close this off by sharing Kayla Harley ’s sentiment in acknowledging and nominating all of the Black women on Elpha, 

“Your efforts don't go unseen, heard or felt. Even when you don't have that extra time to contribute, your impact is huge. You inspire your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. Your presence adds more than D&I data-driven numbers. I affirm that it adds value to the very places and spaces that you inhabit. Historically Black Women have always been galvanizers, leaders, supporters, and the like in their own right... behind the scenes or out of the limelight but nevertheless there. I affirm you. May you be celebrated, always.” 🖤

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