Nyika Allen, the New Mexico Tech Council’s new director, has catapulted her love of local businesses into a job that aims to improve the state’s innovative economy.
Allen, 25, in October was named executive director of the New Mexico Technology Council, a group working to boost the state’s technology sectors.
“It’s a great job, I get to meet a lot of amazing technology companies in New Mexico. There are people working hard every day to make this state a success and I love that,” Allen said.
Allen, 25, is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Allen graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2013 with a bachelor’s of business administration and a concentration in international management. From there, Allen quickly established her name in the technology scene in New Mexico.
“I haven’t done much outside of the tech startup scene,” Allen said.
Allen says she began working with the Tech Council as the operations manager in June 2014 after the UNM Business Plan Competition introduced her to some NMTC employees. The competition is a high-profile, real-world challenge where student teams pitch business ideas to judges. Students compete for a chance to win prizes such as funding for startup businesses.
“When I found the tech council it stuck [with me],” Allen said.
According to the NMTC website, NMTC consists of businesses, organizations, and tech professionals working together encouraging the success and growth of New Mexico’s technology business sectors. NMTC currently has several member companies helping to grow New Mexico’s business industry. Some of NMTC’s member companies include AT&T, Comcast, Cisco and The University of New Mexico’s Science and Technology Company.
In her line of work, Allen says she looks to create an environment of diversity where community members can feel comfortable finding resources for their businesses.
“There are keystone organizations around the nation who provide that central help where people can come together, talk, make decisions, and communicate information to one another,” Allen said.
Allen says her goal is to make sure NMTC is one of those places.
“This is what grows economies,” Allen said.
Allen and NMTC Chairwoman, Lisa J. Adkins joined together creating a local chapter of the national nonprofit organization called Girl Develop It (GDI). According to the GDI website, GDI offer programs providing inexpensive coding and web development classes to women in a judgment-free environment.
“I picked a perfect partner to help me with Girl Develop It, she has access to many women (and men) who are looking to learn or improve their tech skills,” Adkins said.
The company website says GDI offers over 50 classes to both men and women. The website also states GDI partners with companies like Code for America, AOL, Black Girls Code, and Code Montage which help provide members with laptops, financial support and resources for their success in web and software development.
“Our biggest goal in 2016 is to get enough women and men trained with software development skills to fill some of the tech jobs that are available in Albuquerque,” Adkins said.
“We need to find industries where we can excel in, [which] we can be known for and. . . be the best,” Allen said.
Allen says NMTC looks to expand its contributions to the innovation economy.
“This will be the first year the tech council will have two full time paid staff members. I’m excited to see what we can do with two people,” Allen said.
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Executive director of the New Mexico Technology Council
Started working for the New Mexico Technology Council in June 2014 and was appointed executive director in October 2015.
What do you think is the most interesting part of the innovation economy in ABQ?
“I think the most interesting part is how many people and organizations are committed to what we are doing. Organizations from ABQid to Creative Startups to the Tech Council to people in the city are committed to seeing the innovation economy succeed. The community that we are building here is beautiful.”
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
“In sales or project management at a technology firm.”
Nyika Allen, the New Mexico Tech Council (NMTC) executive director, is eager to see more women join the local tech sector.
The industry is male dominated and she wants to change that, Allen said in a recent audio interview.
“There is definitely not enough women in tech,” Allen said.
Allen says Fat Pipe ABQ and the New Mexico Technology Council worked together on a program called Girl Develop It (GDI).
“[Girl Develop It] is a program that teaches women software development and web development skills at very inexpensive rates,” Allen said.
Allen said she sees New Mexico as a hotbed for cyber security and data centers. She points to the national labs and universities as instrumental in building the local tech industry.
Allen says the market for startups in Albuquerque is rather small so it is vital for local startups to engage clientele in national and global markets as well.[/vc_column_text][vc_tweetmeme][/vc_column][/vc_row]