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African American history maker in Technology – Lisa Gelobter

Nashville, Tennessee (February 21, 2023) - Making an impact in today’s technology world can be hard, but it can be even harder if you are a minority.

That did not stop Lisa Gelobter. As a Black female technology innovator who started her career in the early days of the internet, she has broken down barriers for many others like her.

Gelobter found that she had a knack for tech at Brown University. When she graduated with a computer science degree in 1991, she decided to pursue her passion despite the hurdles she was likely to face in an industry that was then dominated by white men.

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Lisa Gelobter

But that did not stop her from going after what she wanted. Over the past 25 years, Gelobter has become a leader in the tech industry. One of her most notable jobs was an engineer for the earliest interactive multimedia platform, Shockwave. She helped develop the software behind the very first online videos.

Shockwave supports raster graphics, basic vector graphics, 3D graphics, audio, and more. Without Gelobter’s contribution, streaming and other digital privileges may not exist as we know them today. While working for Shockwave, she also was one of the computer scientists who helped develop the animation behind GIFs (Graphic Interchange Formats). Not only have GIFs changed the internet in a major way, but they are one of the most popular features on social media.

After Shockwave, Gelobter held multiple other roles, including Chief Digital Officer at BET (Black Entertainment Television) and a pivotal role in the development of Hulu. She was a member of the senior management team that helped launch the streaming platform. Most recently, she served as Chief Digital Service Officer for the U.S. Department of Education at the White House during the Obama Administration.

Today, Gelobter holds the role of CEO and Co-Founder of tEQuitable, a technology platform designed to promote safety, inclusivity and fairness. She launched tEQuitable in 2017 to help make workplaces more equitable while using technology. She knew how transformative tech could be and wanted to use it for good — as a solution that could help improve our society. 

According to its website, tEQuitable is a “modern, tech-enabled ombuds practice.” What is an ombuds practice? It’s an independent, confidential, impartial, and off-the-record resource to help employees explore options for resolving conflicts, problems, or concerns in the workplace. Gelobter says tEQuitable has given her a purpose, and she is grateful to be able to help others who feel like they might be “stuck” in a bad situation.

Gelobter is a role model for many — for minorities, women, and anyone who is working, or aspires to work, in the tech industry. While she has already left her mark, the future holds more great opportunities for her. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

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