In this episode, we talk about how to build tech for social justice, with Alex Qin, co-founder and CEO of Emergent Works. Alex talks about the challenges she had to face being a woman in tech, how shaving her head caused people to treat her with more respect and launched her on a path toward social justice, and her company’s first in-house app, Not 911.
Alex Qin is the founder of Emergent Works, a nonprofit software company that trains and employs formerly incarcerated coders. She is a reformed software engineer who has been working in the space of prison reentry and criminal justice reform since 2018. She spent most of her career before that writing code and advocating for a more diverse and equitable tech industry. She is also an international public speaker and some of you may have seen her talk about how shaving her head made her a better programmer. And she is a performance and visual artist. Her first solo show, Losing Things, premiered in New York in December 2019.