Lynchburg native and EC Glass High School graduate Kishaw Rogers is now an award-winning technology entrepreneur on a mission to solve the world’s increasingly complex problems through computer science, systems thinking and creative intelligence.
She now lives in Richmond, but visited the Hill City last week to speak at the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance’s quarterly business breakfast as part of Black Business Month.
“We couldn’t be happier to bring Keshawn Rogers home for Black Business Month,” said Christine Kennedy, COO of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. “We know that an EC Glass graduate and the first black woman in the state of Virginia to raise millions in venture capital to grow her tech startup was the perfect speaker to inspire other business owners and entrepreneurs to follow their vision.”
People are also reading…
More than 80 people attended to hear Kennedy Rogers.
Rogers is the founder and CEO of Time Study Inc. Headquartered in Virginia and New York, Time Study provides a platform that uses artificial intelligence to help enterprises understand the impact of how employees spend their time.
A time study is used by many of the top hospitals in the United States. With her commitment to entrepreneurship and diversity in STEM, she serves as a consultant to organizations including Step Up Ventures. University of Florida Center for the Arts, Immigration and Entrepreneurship; Embodiology; and the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a computer science degree from VCU and more than 25 years of technology and entrepreneurial leadership experience.
Rogers says many of her clients use the time tracking platform because they want to identify more profitable activities and billable hours, but also to reduce burnout.
“So for clinical staff, they look at how much time they spend serving patients as opposed to other excessive activities,” she said. “So our platform was really created to make time at work more fun.”
The platform is currently in more than 75 hospitals and growing, she says.
Rogers grew up on Daniel’s Hill across from Point of Glory. She has fond memories of biking, roller-blading and swimming in Miller Park.
She graduated from EC Glass in 1990 and continues to visit the Hill City once a month as her parents and two siblings still live in Lynchburg.
“I’ve always been interested in computers,” she said. “I’ve always been a thinker, an analyst, and I’ve always loved and still love computer science thinking. I’ve always been very good at math, growing up. And back then, math was tightly aligned with the computer science program. My exposure to computer science was in math, and most students choose their high school based on what they tell them they are good at. And a lot of people have told me I’m good at math.”
Ironically, she didn’t get her own computer until her third year at VCU in the mid-1990s.
“It was really interesting back then because the first computers had been around for a while but very few people had personal computers because they were expensive, so it wasn’t common for families to have computers in their homes unless you owned one. A certain amount of income,” she said.
According to Rogers, graphical interface coding began around that time as well.
“It was a really good learning experience because you were really exposed to how things work. So a lot of the time now there’s a lot of point, click, drag and drop, but then we had no choice but to know how things were on the back end, which I think is still an important thing to teach people. She said.
Rogers was one of the only women in her computer science program at the time, with maybe two others, and she and only one other woman graduated. She was the only black woman in the program.
She said things have changed since then and she can see more female students in computer science, but the statistics are much lower compared to male students.
I think some of them happened before college and in grade school. Children are placed on a track and exposure to computer science may not be as prevalent among females. But I think the way we expose kids when we think about computers is that you have to be some kind of programmer to use computers, and I think women interact with computers a little bit differently. ” she said.
It’s not that girls don’t like computers or don’t want to use them—it’s just that the computer-obsessed community tends to be male, she said.
There are groups like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and She Hacks Africa — which Rogers helped — that expose girls and black kids to technology and software engineering.
“When I talk about STEM, I’m always focused on the solution,” she says. “The computer is just a tool and I think we tend to focus on the tool. It’s like teaching everybody to use a hammer because a hammer is a very hot thing, but we have to teach people how to build wonderful houses and hammers are just that. One tool to do that. And we’re like that. If we approach computer science, if we focus on why you use a computer, I think it appeals to all kinds of people.