This Black mother-daughter team is being recognized for their contributions to tech

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton and Nwanneka Baraka are hoping to inspire a new generation of Black women in tech.

Duo receive WEtech Alliance Tech Awards

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton, right, and Nwanneka Baraka, left, are the first mother-daughter duo to take home awards in the same year at the WEtech Alliance Tech Awards. (Photo courtesy of Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton)

Two recipients of local awards have made history in Windsor.

They are the first mother-daughter duo to take home awards in the same year at the WEtech Alliance Tech Awards, being held virtually from March 21 to 27.

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton won in the Women in Tech category — making her the first Black winner nab the title.

"Being the first Black woman to ever win is huge and it makes a bit of a statement," she said. "Black women in tech exist. We are here."

Her daughter, Nwanneka Baraka, also broke a record by being the youngest recipient of an award at 17-years-old. She won in the first round of the youth category.

Ebegbuzie-Shelton is hoping their achievements will inspire a new generation of Black women in tech.

"To me, it's something that I have to carry knowing that I am now an example of some sort. I know I have to take that seriously. It's definitely an honour to be that person who's shattered a barrier and become the first. Because I know there will be a second and a third and a fourth as well," said Ebegbouzie-Shelton.

WATCH | Winning mother-daughter duo talk about having careers in tech:

This mom and daughter duo is hoping to inspire more Black women in tech

3 months ago
Duration 1:39
Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton and Nwanneka Baraka are the first mother-daughter duo to take home awards in the same year at the WEtech Alliance Tech Awards.

Together, Ebegbuzie-Shelton and Baraka run their tech company, Max Mobile Solutions, a digital marketing agency.

Baraka said being the youngest winner has inspired her to brainstorm bigger tech projects at their company.

"We are expanding. We're growing quickly. I want to kind of dip my toes into different parts of the tech world. I am looking at the NFT cryptospace, artificial intelligence — just different things as I get some experience."

She said she was pleasantly surprised to hear she'd won the youth category.

"I was just going from my day to day and then suddenly I was nominated and all this awards stuff's happening... I got the email a little late, so I thought I'd lost. It makes me so happy and I feel so much more connected to my community because all the people who voted, I didn't even realize they would support me like that."

Calls for diversity in tech

Ebegbuzie-Shelton said hiring diversely in tech companies is about more than just checking a box.

"You need us in tech," she said.

"For example, typical male figure is what they used to test accidents and how to make car safe. And as a result, I can't even count how many women have died as a result of the cars not being suitable for women, because the people in tech were all predominately men that were doing the processing and the of the development.

"So they need us. They need women. But not only that, they also need people of color."

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.



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