Shavone Charles got her start in the tech industry as an intern at Google in 2011, before moving to full-time media and partnerships jobs at Twitter and, later, Instagram. She has watched those businesses succeed in part because of their popularity with African Americans. But tech companies have few black executives. Charles, who is black, has long grappled with the disconnect. “We are dominating these platforms in a unique way,” she said. “Why can’t we take up space inside?”
On average, just 2.7% of executives in senior roles at 10 major tech companies are black, according to filings with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The precise number varies widely—from 1% or less at Apple, Microsoft and Salesforce to 6% at Airbnb and Slack.