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African American history-makers in technology: Janet Emerson Bashen

Nashville, Tennessee (February 13, 2024) - To honor Black History Month, Connected Nation is paying tribute to some of the most influential African American innovators in technology.

Janet Emerson Bashen is a female technologist, entrepreneur, and software inventor who knew from an early age that she wanted to use her voice to help make sure minorities and people of color receive equal rights, especially in the workplace. But this did not happen overnight.

Bashen started her higher education journey at Alabama A&M but later moved to Houston, Texas. She picked up her schooling at the University of Houston, where she received a degree in legal studies and government. She continued her postgraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, and Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration.

After college, Bashen decided to go after her dreams and start her own company. In 1994, she established the Bashen Corp. from her kitchen table with little to no money, but a lot of ambition. The Bashen Corp. became a leading human resources consulting firm that pioneered end-to-end equal employment opportunity (EEO) compliance administration services.

The company struggled during its early years, but Bashen was able to make some major strides as a Black female president and CEO and grow the business. In January 2006, she became the first African American female to hold a patent for software invention. Her software, Nalikah, formerly Linkline, is a web-based application for EEO claims intake and tracking, claims management, document management, and numerous reports. She was issued U.S. patent No. 6,985,922 for a “Method, Apparatus and System for Processing Compliance Actions over a Wide-Area Network.”

The patent is just one of her lifetime accomplishments. In October 2003, Bashen was given the Pinnacle Award by the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Crystal Award, presented by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc., for achievement in business.

Bashen is an amazing role model for anyone wanting to get into the human resource or tech space. She is committed to equal opportunity for all Americans and will not stop until she achieves it.

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