2023 Letter From the CEO

February 17, 2023

Dear ColorStack Family & Friends,

There was a lot of uncertainty when we started 2022, but I went into the new year hopeful. We had a whole new team, we discontinued three programs, and we changed our entire model of providing value to our members.I just kept thinking “I hope this works.”

In 2022 we:

  • More than doubled our membership to 3,750+ members from over  700 schools across the country.
  • Welcomed 40+ new sponsor companies to a total of 70+ sponsors
  • Raised over $1.4 million in grants, corporate sponsorships, and donations.
  • Added 4 new people to our core team.
  • Attended and hosted booths at the Tapia Conference and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ national convention.
  • Held 7 IRL events with our members across the country.
  • Launched new programs and initiatives like our Family Fund, the Career Insights Program with Meta, and a new Spring Stacked Up Summit.

…and so much more. Reflecting back on it, I can proudly say that everything worked out better than I could have imagined. We’ve never been this confident in ourselves.

Instead of running intimate programs that grow marginally over time, we shifted to a scalable membership model that welcomes students from our target demographic and offers them a toolkit of resources that they can leverage as they see fit. And it works. Our members are happier, and we are too. Before the change, we were wasting time trying to get program participants to attend all events, complete all surveys, and meet with their mentors. Now, we offer events, Slack, a wiki, scholarships, mentorship, and more, with the expectation that members are taking advantage of the resources relevant to them as they progress through their degree.

Now that we’ve figured out the model, the biggest thing on my mind for 2023 is maturing our organization in order to scale our impact. We were positioned to do this naturally, but the market has also given us no choice. This year we will bring on more senior leadership, invest in the collection and reporting of impact metrics, and diversifying our revenue streams.

On the program side of things, nothing excites me more than reprioritizing our campus chapter network again this year. ColorStack was born out of the concept of building community on campus. In my heart, that’s what I know best and what I always wanted to start with. This is how we grow from thousands of members to tens of thousands.

We run the strongest community of Black and Latinx Computer Science students, but nothing beats building community in person. Chapters will localize our impact by enabling students to go deeper with each other and make the most of their campus resources. We are committed to maintaining a hybrid model that takes the benefits of the scalability and accessibility of virtual communities and combines it with the benefits of building relationships IRL. 

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Thank you to our current and former employees, our students, all of our donors and partners, my personal mentors, and the broader community of people rooting for us. Hopefully we continue to make you all proud.

In Community,

Jehron Petty // Founder and CEO