Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black achievements, stories, and culture.
At Searchspring, we pay tribute to the incredible contributions of Black leaders in ecommerce and retail. From CEOs who steer progress in our sector, to engineers who build critical online functionality, to up-and-coming names you should know, here are just a few industry innovators to celebrate.
9 Retail Innovators to Celebrate
As CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Roz Brewer is one of just two Black female chief executives currently on the Fortune 500 list. A retail trailblazer, she was CEO of Sam’s Club when the chain first introduced online grocery orders. She has also served as President of Walmart East and was COO of Starbucks. In 2019, she became the first Black director to sit on Amazon’s board.
As a 30-year veteran in the retail industry, Marvin Ellison is the winner of The National Retail Federation’s Visionary Award for 2023. Today, he is the CEO of Lowe’s, and has previously held leadership positions at JC Penney, Target, and Home Depot. In 2020, he led Lowe’s initiative to provide $25 million in grants to help minority-owned businesses stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jessica Anuna is the founder and CEO of Klasha, a financial technology company that offers cross-border payment solutions for African consumers. Using virtual cards, users can shop from global consumer brands and get doorstep delivery to African addresses. A former ecommerce consultant for Shopify, Jessica made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for her achievements in making ecommerce more accessible.
Love-Leigh Trimiew, Layla Nielsen, and Natalie Robinson
Love-Leigh Trimiew, Layla Nielsen, and Natalie Robinson are the founders of HellaBlack.com, a community-curated online marketplace for Black-owned brands. HellaBlack empowers Black entrepreneurs with educational resources and donates 2% of every purchase to support Black communities.
A software engineer with a 20-year career in tech, ecommerce, and digital marketing, Roy Banks is considered a pioneer in digital payments. He joined one of the first ecommerce payment gateways, authorize.net, in the late 90s, and has since led a series of payment technology companies to deliver secure, real-time online payments for shoppers.
Former CEO of TaskRabbit and ex-Google executive, Stacy Brown-Philpot is a tech industry powerhouse. She serves on the board of directors for a number of well known brands and tech companies, including Nordstrom and HP. In one of her most recent appointments, she joined the board of StockX, a culture-driven marketplace for sneakers, apparel, electronics, and more.
Alan Emtage is a computer scientist who invented the internet’s very first search engine, known as ARCHIE. His work has had a momentous impact on how we interact with technology in our daily lives. Alan chose not to patent ARCHIE out of a desire to make the internet easier to use in the early 90s. His technology forms the basis of the site search solutions we use in online retail to this day.
Accelerate Your Business Growth
At Searchspring, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their goals and fulfill their potential. We offer discounted access to ecommerce technology for certified minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs). Searchspring is also part of Yotpo Grow, a year-long program to accelerate the growth of small, Black-owned ecommerce brands.