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Sherrell Dorsey grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood and started interning at Microsoft at 14 years old, leveraging a connection forged through her participation in the non-profit Technology Access Foundation (TAF), a training program started by former Microsoft engineer Trish Millines Dziko.

Building on a foundation started by her tech-savvy grandpa, Dorsey’s experience at TAF and Microsoft put her on a path to a career as data journalist and entrepreneur. Her story is a testament to the potential of people in overlooked communities, and to the possibilities that emerge when their paths are cleared.

After working in the tech industry, graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and getting her master’s in data journalism from Columbia University, Dorsey became founder and CEO of The Plug, a venture-backed news and insights platform covering Black startups and ecosystems.

Her new book, Upper Hand: The Future of Work for the Rest of Us, is part memoir and part how-to guide, aiming to help others in underrepresented communities unlock their own potential in the tech industry.

“I never felt like I didn’t belong, quite frankly, and I think too many times the language we use, the way that we pattern-match and pick and choose our networks from people that look like us … is very devoid of what else exists and how communities can be spaces for innovation,” she says. “We just have to change our lens and how we actually look for that innovation.”

Dorsey joins us on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, sharing insights from her journey, and talking about key takeaways from her work in entrepreneurial journalism, her experiences in the tech industry, and her upbringing in Seattle.

Listen above, or subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast wherever you listen.

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