Editor’s note: Startland News features five Kansas City changemakers from five local organizations as part of its second annual Community Builders to Watch series. The following highlights one of the 2022 winners, selected from over 100 initial applicants. Click on here to see the full list of Community Builders to watch — brought to you by Ingenious design.
Technology not only defines Tammy BucknerKansas City’s hobbies and career choice — that could very well be the word used to categorize her life’s purpose, she said, reflecting on her career in tech and her steadfast advocacy of communities technology and entrepreneurship in Kansas City.
Such a call is the reason why she founded WeCode KC — an effort that gives young people the opportunity to learn technology concepts and leadership skills and creates a pipeline of future-ready professionals through project-based learning and innovative programs.
A networker by nature, Buckner thrives in environments where she can bond for others in her space – and for those she meets outside of it.
Click on here to learn more about WeCode KC.
Watch the video below, then keep reading to learn more about Bucker and his vision for coding change in Kansas City.
Q: Tell us about yourself!
ANSWER: I was a software developer, I was a project manager, I was a business systems analyst – and I love all things tech. I love trying to insert technology into everything I do and everything others do. …Often I put myself last, but I like to be a connector and be that resourceful person when people ask questions [and someone who] can always connect them with someone else i met. I love networking because it’s not normally something I need, but it’s something I can connect someone else with to love doing it.
Community Builders to Watch winners will be celebrated June 15 at a Startland News reception and networking event, presented in partnership with Cyderes, C2FO, KC BizCare and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Community Builders to Watch profile videos will air on-screen during KC Live! stage at Power & Light’s Live Block, as well as a special concert featuring the Black Creatures.
Click on here for event details.
Q: When did you first realize that your job was to create community in Kansas City?
A: I spoke to someone and they were like, “Do you realize the work you’re doing with these teenagers…a lot of people are going overseas. [for it] and use these developers. You are essentially building an urban shoreline. And it hit me. I was like, “Wow. We’re really onto something. It made me realize that the community needed a program like this.
Q: What is your hope for Kansas City tomorrow?
A: [My] the end goal is for Kansas City to grab programs that create a workforce that isn’t traditional – and consider other ways to hire people, that don’t rely so much on the completion of a four-year degree or 10-20 years of experience. That they start looking at people who maybe start getting their feet wet or just want to be part of an organization [in some way.] We have to find a way [to] make our workforce a little different. It needs to be diverse – and it’s not just about looking at race. But looking at value, equity, belonging and [our] change culture. It is my hope and it is my desire.
Q: How can the community get involved and support your work?
A: You can go to our website and donate, but more importantly, volunteer. Volunteering is so important. I get a lot of people saying, “I’m not a technician” or “I don’t know how to teach people. I am not an expert. The more you teach, the more you learn. It’s a proven fact that volunteering actually boosts your morale – your super brain.
Volunteer. Be a mentor. Help and be part of organizations like WeCode – it’s not enough that it’s WeCode. There are other programs you can participate in and make a difference in Kansas City. In Kansas City, there are a lot of people who love being part of organizations. So step up. Be a volunteer. If you would like to make a donation, we would be delighted. But come show those kids and young adults what Kansas City is really all about.
Q: What do you want your legacy to be?
A: I would like WeCode to be the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of technology. I want to have as many of these clubs in different schools and communities [as possible,] so that children can be exposed to things they are not normally exposed to. … They are surrounded by coaches, they start with [our] pair programming and learning to work with other people and get involved in teams, [and develop] critical thinking skills. I want them to be able to understand different cultures.
Click on here at see the full list of Community Builders to watch — brought to you by Ingenious design.
WHAT WE DO
Engenious Design is a creative engineering firm that creates high-tech medical devices and systems for our customers.
WHO WE ARE
We are designers, makers, engineers who create new things that make the world a better place. Our team includes electrical, embedded software, mechanical and test engineers, industrial designers, project managers, product managers and others.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Our team is guided by these four cultural aspirations:
Relationship: We invest in healthy relationships with our team, customers, suppliers, partners and community
Create: We create new products that improve lives
Produce: We work fast to do what’s important
Improve: We have healthy troubles with the status quo, and we take responsibility for making things better