Donna Knutt; Web Developer Leading Future Tech Entrepreneurs
Donna Knutt (left) is an amazing and talented “serial entrepreneur,” with a drive for coding and changing the lives of colored girls through Black Girls Code.
Donna had no access to computers as a young girl in Trinidad. But when she came to New York and started junior high, she began taking computer classes and had a connection with it. In High school, she was in a program called Gateway, which consisted of advanced IT classes and from there she took an interest in technology.
While her friend Peta Clarke found Black Girls Code through Facebook, Knutt found advertisements for Black Girls Code meet-ups through Twitter. She saw the significant following the organization had on Twitter and the work it was doing for young African American girls and jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m a black girl: I code, why wouldn’t I join?” she said.
She had already signed up by the time Clarke told her about the event. Founder of BGC Kimberly Bryant presented a documentary of the organization and what its main purpose was.
Knutt is the Technical Leader of BGC, which means she and Clarke are responsible for hosting events and training the programmers, as well as the volunteers. They have training sessions prior to the events to prep the volunteers on their responsibilities of different events. They have even worked with companies like Google to help support the events and give the girls a full experience of the technology field.
Knutt and Clarke have also spoken at a strata conference, to represent the BGC NY Chapter and give a small speech about its purpose, its goal and its accomplishments.
“The goal of BGC is to teach one million girls by 2040 and so far we have taught over 2,000 girls.” Knutt said in the conference.
Knutt is also the founder of Luxie Lab, a marketing and web design studio that specializes in creating professional websites for companies. Knutt has always had an interest in coding and would be home googling information about coding, starting it as a hobby. She started out making websites for friends and family until an old elementary school friend introduced her to a client who owned a tattoo parlor, looking for someone to build a website for them.
“I had no relationship with them, so I was intimidated and almost declined,” she said. “But I took the risk and they were pleased with the work plus they referred me to others.”
Her hobby blossomed into a full business, and Knutt gained a well-standing relationship with all of her clients. She has also offered marketing plans to her customers, giving advice on how to use the site to the fullest and how to attract more customers. Some of the companies that had commissioned her have even gotten celebrity endorsements and media attention from popular networks like BET.
Like Clarke, Knutt will be stepping down from BGC in Sept. or Oct. to make room for another girl to lead the future.