A versatile leader and problem-solver, Aminka Belvitt is simultaneously a tech founder, advocate, mentor, and strategist. With a passion for innovation and advancement, both on the technical side and human side of the technology and inclusion sectors, Aminka is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible when we take a human-centred approach to planning and design. She is the founder of Wofemtech Solutions, an online virtual collective empowering professionals and businesses through video conferencing and online course creation services. Aminka is also the founder of ForUsGirls Foundation, An international community organization provides skills-based, leadership, and mentorship programs for marginalized girls in Canada, the United States & the Caribbean.
My first job ever was… a dishwasher at St.Jerome’s College at the University of Waterloo. I was 14 and wanted to be able to buy my own things and not ask my parents for money.
I became an Innovation Equity & Inclusion specialist because… I was working in the tech industry while becoming an advocate for community development, youth programs and women and girl’s empowerment. I recognized that it was necessary to innovate and create equity-focused outcomes across these industries. I was experiencing challenges as a Black woman working in corporate tech and noticed the systemic lack of work and future readiness among members of the Black, Indigenous, and people of colour; and I wanted to ensure that these communities don’t experience further marginalization, as our society progresses toward even more digitization and automation. That is what defines the work I do with my corporate, academic, and not for profit clients. There are gaps that schools do not recognize they are not filling, for example, the fact that they have a low number of girls — especially girls of colour — in their STEM programs. I unveil the bias and provide tangible solutions to solve and fill these gaps with solutions.
The best thing about what I do is… seeing that ‘aha!’ moment. Seeing a young person realize that they can do better, and have their teacher or employee recognize that as well. It’s an eye-level connection to the incredible things we can do — when we are given that extra spotlight. It’s incredible!
The most challenging thing about what I do is… working around systemic barriers. As much as corporations and governments are changing and doing the work to create more inclusive opportunities for BIPOC, it is still a long road. When you’re introducing new technology there is a push back.
My proudest accomplishment is… the ability to award young Black women from my hometown with scholarships to support their university and college education.
My boldest move to date was… creating and launching a social tech enterprise in New York City.
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m the Founder of my own tech company with a video conferencing platform.
The once marginalized, underrepresented and forgotten are inventing and creating solutions to the world’s most challenging issues and offering ourselves as the solutions we need for ourselves, community and the world.
My best advice from a mentor was… to always be ready. Be ready to pitch at anytime and kindness will open doors where your resume will not.
I would tell my 25-year old self… start sooner than later. Eliminate launch delays. Launch, build, improve, pivot and grow.
My biggest setback was… being overwhelmed at the beginning of creating and launching Wofemtech. I took a pause to focus on my two not-for-profits, my full-time marketing job, and side consulting contracts.
I overcame it by… taking a break. Creating a newer version with a stronger server with increased functions, sleeker design and during a world pandemic which provided us an added business opportunity. I believe the market was not as ready for a start-up video conferencing platform led by a Black woman in 2017, as it is now in 2020 post the uprising for racial equity and justice.
While social distancing, I’m spending my time… on morning coffee & talks with my mom and yoga on our family deck.
One piece of advice that I often give but find it difficult to follow is… prioritize yourself.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I’m a homebody. I like intimate settings, deep conversations and local initiatives, being outside in nature or on the beach.
I stay inspired by… listening to podcasts, reading interviews of other entrepreneurs and talking to my generation Z mentees. They also push me to do and be more.
The future excites me because… we are creating it! The once marginalized, underrepresented and forgotten are inventing and creating solutions to the world’s most challenging issues and offering ourselves as the solutions we need for ourselves, community and the world. This is what’s most interesting. Beyond the continual advancement of technology the human development aspect is what’s really exciting me. It’s truly going to be the best of times.