Internationally-recognized Vernon entrepreneur, Jill Binder, up for 2020 BraveIT Award. (Jeremy Lim - Contributed)

Vernon tech entrepreneur up for prestigious award

Promoting diversity in tech sector lands Jill Binder nomination for BraveIT Award

A Vernon entrepreneur has been named a finalist for a major technology prize that acknowledges bravery in IT.

Internationally-recognized diversity trainer Jill Binder trains people from underrepresented and marginalized groups to become inspiring speakers and leaders in their company. Binder also helps tech conferences and companies get more speaker diversity on stage and in their leadership.

Binder said the award is a “huge honour” as the final four candidates were peer-nominated. The winner of the 2020 BraveIT Award is selected by online voting which is open until Aug. 28, 2020. The prize: a $10,000 donation made to a non-profit of the winner’s choice.

“I was very excited when I heard the news that I was nominated for the BraveIT Award,” Binder said from her downtown Vernon home. “I am honoured that my hard work empowering people around the world is being recognized and I am just getting started.”

Binder first realized the need to support diverse tech speakers seven years ago in her role as a co-organizer of a conference.

In her first year, the final speaker lineup only had a 14 per cent diversity representation.

“There are many things that caused this, but one reason that kept coming up when binder asked people from marginalized or underrepresented groups to apply to speak was their Imposter Syndrome,” the nomination announcement reads. “They mistakenly felt like they didn’t know enough to be able to give a talk.”

Binder was inspired to help diverse speakers, like herself, “find expertise and their voice,” she said.

“I led a team that created a new workshop that helps people bust through Imposter Syndrome, find a topic to share with our communities and start giving talks,” she said. “The workshop was an immediate success.”

The following year’s conference saw three times the number of diverse applicants and a 50 per cent speaker diversity, Binder said.

In the past two years, Binder and her teams have helped 40 conferences in four communities and more than 350 people from marginalized or underrepresented groups in 35 countries with her training program.

Binder was named one of the top 100 Influencers of WordPress in 2014 by Torque Magazine. She was honoured as a WordPress.org Featured Person in 2019 and listed as one of the Top 10 Women of WordPress by Cloudways.

“I would love to be voted the 2020 BraveIT Award winner, but I need some help,” Binder said.

“I encourage anyone who wants to hear a variety of voices in the world of tech and to encourage diversity in these sectors to please vote for me,” she said. “Plus, I will get to choose a deserving non-profit to be awarded $10,000, which I would love to do as well.”

Voting is open online for the third annual BraveIT Award at web.tierpoint.com/braveit-award-2020-vote.

The winner will be announced at the virtual BraveIT conference in September.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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