Our Mission

The mission of Hack the Gap is to amplify the voices and cultivate the talents of under-served, under-represented, and under-estimated people in the tech community.

WHAT IS HACK THE GAP?

We host hackathons for women and non-binary individuals. After a weekend of hacking, we invite the community to see the projects built at the event. In this work, we showcase the work of women and non-binary individuals demonstrating that pipeline is an excuse.

 
 

Who we are

Hack the Gap was started by Kristen Womack and Jenna Pederson to demonstrate that the women-in-tech problem isn’t exclusively a pipeline problem. We were leading the Twin Cities Geekettes and saw a strong community of technical women ready to work, build, collaborate and shine. Hack the Gap was a natural next step for elevating the amazing local community of technical women in Minnesota.

Instead of being on a team where there is only one or two women--or maybe where you are the only woman on the team--we envisioned a weekend where all of the women in the community could come together and hack together. We wanted to create a space where they would come to build, connect, inspire and be inspired by each other.

But we have bigger ambitions than just closing the gender gap. We see a lot of gaps where privilege exists. We focus on breaking down barriers to amplify the voices and talents of people in under-served minority communities.

The Team

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Caroline Karanja

CEO & Owner

Caroline Karanja is the founder and CEO of 26 Letters technology enabled equity and inclusion company. Using data, insight and learning opportunities, 26 Letters helps address equity in education and helps organizations understand and incorporate, diversity, equity and inclusion in their attraction, recruiting and advancement efforts. Caroline is also active in the local entrepreneurial and technology ecosystem. She is on the board of the U-YMCA and Minne* and participates in the community to encourage more people to explore their entrepreneurial ventures.

event organizers

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Becky Shaw, 2019

Safrat Shonibare, 2019

Casie Siekman
Meg VanWagner
Kira Taylor

casie Siekman, 2018

Meg VanWagner, 2018

KIRA Taylor, 2017


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Kristen Womack

Co-founder Emeritus and Advisor to Hack the Gap

Kristen is an award-winning product leader, team builder, and technology consultant in Minneapolis. She is co-founder of Hello Mom, maker of Mina, co-founder of Hack the Gap, an advisor to the Everyday Miracles board of directors. She is a sought-after writer and speaker on issues ranging from API development to team management, and is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech world. 

@kristen_womack

Jenna Pederson

Co-founder Emeritus

Jenna Pederson is an engineer, a leader, and a catalyst. She has built and led local and international technical teams. She wears many hats and has experience in a range of technologies and business domains. Co-founder Emeritus of Hack the Gap, founder of 612 Software Foundry, and minne✱ Board Member, Jenna is passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive tech community for everyone. She was previously Co-ambassador of the Twin Cities Geekettes.

@jennapederson