Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to visit my website.
My name is Elen Awalom and I work in the technology industry, currently as the COO of an early stage tech startup called WeRide. WeRide is a social networking platform for social changemakers backed by Google.org. I transitioned into the tech sector seven years ago after teaching myself to code. Prior to this shift, I worked in the health & wellness industry, both in healthcare management and as the co-founder of a holistic wellness & creative consulting business. I am also a serial technology entrepreneur, public speaker and Cryptocurrency investor.
In the Spring of 2013, I relocated to San Francisco (again!) to attend courses in full stack web development as part of General Assembly's second cohort. Later that Summer, as I continued immersing myself in the world of Ruby on Rails, I began working on a health tech startup, AfriHealth, combining my passion for healthcare and technology. That Fall, I was recognized as a DigitalUndivided FOCUS100 fellow and I attended the two day conference for honorees. There I was able to hone in on my startup and decided to pivot to Curatoric. Curatoric was a platform developed to purchase the artwork of Black creatives from the African continent and Diaspora. While I continued to work on Curatoric, I also began informally organizing around issues pertaining to underrepresented women of color in STEM. Later, I would go on to found The Ola Initiative.
Over the course of the three years that I launched and scaled the organization, I was able to serve hundreds of Black, Latina and/or Indigenous women who work in STEM through an online community and events in San Francisco, Oakland, Washington, DC and New York City. I attracted support from a range of technology companies and start-ups including GitHub, Google, Slack, Square and Kapor Capital.
I also had the honor of speaking at a wide range of events including the Congressional Black Caucus' Annual Conference and the World Bank. Additionally, I've spoken on a range of podcasts and radio stations including 89.3 FM and lectured at esteemed institutions like UC Berkeley.
In 2017, as I wrapped up my work on The Ola Initiative and as a technology diversity & inclusion consultant, I began immersing myself in the world of blockchain. Through online courses such as Blockchain at Berkeley and a 2 day Blockchain immersive in-person bootcamp through Distributed Ledger Technologies Education, I started to gain a grasp of the fundamentals of Blockchain. To strengthen my understanding of Blockchain and cryptocurrency, I organized a group of women leaders in the Blockchain space to take the Blockchain at Berkeley course together and engage in weekly discussions dissecting the material. Additionally, I host informal networking events for Black women in Blockchain in the DC area. I also serve as the Director for Women of Color in BlockChain as well as a regional director for Team Block Society.
Currently I'm in the early stages of developing a mental health community platform on the Blockchain (Ethereum, in particular). My experiences as a member of the entrepreneurial communities in two major cities made me aware of the prevalence of mental health conditions and the profound stigma surrounding this reality.
In my free time, I enjoy yoga, exercise, swimming, and art galleries + museums. Although I'm a fervent adherent of intermittent fasting and the paleo lifestyle, nothing brings me more joy than pizza and pasta! I serve on the board of Heidi Williams' organization (formerly of Square, now at YC Company Tequitable) Women Entering and Staying in STEM (WEST). I'm also a passionate mental health advocate--I volunteer for a range of organizations and host events to advance awareness and facilitate community-building in my native Washington, DC metropolitan area.