Being the Only with Deldelp Medina of Code2040
Deldelp Medina has a resume full of rich experiences. From previously co-founding Avion Ventures to presiding over the Latino Startup Alliance, Deldelp has developed a career centered around diversifying technology founders. “I come from a long line of hard workers who are lifelong learners,” Deldelp shared, “They taught me to look for opportunities to learn and grow. At every point in my career that is what I have looked for.” Today, Deldelp serves as the Director of the Residency Program at Code2040, a nonprofit that creates pathways to success in technology for underrepresented minorities.
“At first I had had no interest in what my title or credit would be.” The Code2040 Director commented. Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, Deldelp has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since the age of eight. “I have learned that was a misguided notion and that either/or paradigms are unhealthy. You can find work that is meaningful and give you the perks you have worked for.”
Of her childhood, Deldelp recalls, “I was a very geeky girl. I loved comic books, computers, science and many of the nerd arts. I was often the only in a group of geeks. The only girl, the only Latina person, the only multilingual person so and so forth.” This experience greatly shaped the direction of her work. She explained, “All of my interests and culture gave me a unique perspective that was often dismissed, diminished, or discounted.”
The dismissal of Deldelp’s interests continued as she grew older. The Code2040 Director said, “Early in my career, I was told that women didn’t like computers, that diverse people weren’t on the internet and that English was going to be the language of the internet.” Despite these challenges, Deldelp pushed forward.
“All of those statements have been proven false time and time again,” Deldelp shared, “One racial and social economic group doesn’t have an exclusivity on geek culture the product it creates. The demographic shift is the biggest economic opportunity we have in the twenty first century.”
Being Heard and Promoting Diversity
Deldelp in a Latin Post Feature
Deldelp’s past experiences provide so much meaning to what she does now. She related, “Working with Code2040 will allow me to add my “granito de arena” my piece to make sure we take advantage of this opportunity.”
The Code2040 Director is doing just that. She currently trains and advises diverse founded startups for her organization. In fact, her work has been recognized by international publications from TechCrunch to NPR. Code2040’s recent summit was sponsored by Twitter and was attended by over 100 of the organization’s alumni and fellows.
“I work directly with seven Entrepreneurs in Residence in seven cities across the United States,” Deldelp described, “Helping them have coaching, curriculum and access to the Code2040 network.” Her work helps entrepreneurs find their place in the tech industry and flourish with helpful resources. From a childhood of no’s, Deldelp has risen to help others get their yes’s.
While inspiring and meaningful, this work doesn’t come easily. “All of this requires traveling, and rigorous planning,” Deldelp related, “Thank goodness for Google Calendar.”
Learn, Learn, Learn
Deldelp moderating a Latino Policy Technology Forum
Learn, learn and learn some more is Deldelp’s personal mission. “I have not always looked for the easiest job,” She said, “I have looked for the opportunity to grow.” The Code2040 Director has certainly found these growing opportunities, some of which have come in the form of failure.
“My path to Code2040 is filled with failure.” Deldelp recalled. That has done nothing to stop her drive. She advised entrepreneurs who encounter failure along the way, “Don’t fear failure any more than you fear success. Both are opportunities. Failure is an opportunity to learn and success to be profitable.”
Deldelp has gleaned everything she could from previous failures. She even took to Medium to share her experience. From learning to ask for help to spending more time on meetings that matter, the Code2040 Director has grown immensely in her understanding of what it takes to succeed and now works with tech talent to help them move past failure and find their own success. From her own experience, The Code2040 Director shared, “As much as we want to believe in the do-it-yourself ideal, you can only get so far without drawing on your community.”
To entrepreneurs ready to launch their own startups, Deldelp advised, “Know your worth. Expand your network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Concentrate on profit.” Succinctly covering the aspects of startups that are sometimes forgotten.
Throughout her career, the mission of motivating those who so often get turned down has stuck with Deldelp. She remembers what it was like for her to be ‘the only’ and strives to create a world where being the only doesn’t exist. With Code2040, Deldelp celebrates the only and helps them become one with the tech world in a way that honors their unique qualities.
When have you felt like ‘the only’? What was your response to feeling so separate? What can we do to facilitate more inclusion in the tech world? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.