The kick-off fundraiser for Reshma Saujani was held at Le Poisson Rouge last night, where New York elites like Ajay Banga, President of MasterCard, Hulu co-founder Beth Comstock, and Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square joined to support the Democratic candidate in her run for Public Advocate of New York City.
Saujani’s platform consists of the usual Democratic fanfare, including the encouragement of support for small business owners and empowering women to take leadership roles at work.
Unusual, however, is her passion for technology and knowledge of the demands of an increasingly digital world. Saujani founded Girls Who Code, an intensive computer programming training program for young girls, in an effort to close the technology gender gap.
Jack Dorsey, who entered to the fun. anthem “We Are Young,” perhaps overshadowed Saujani with his impeccable charm and public popularity. “I am a man of few characters so I’ll speak briefly,” he said, before describing his close relationship and trust in Saujani’s ability. “We need more strong women leaders in this country,” he explained. “We need more leaders who know how to use technology…and this is Reshma,” he said to roaring cheers and hollers.
By the time Dorsey invited Saujani to the stage, the crowd was plenty fired up, if not a little too excited for a politician’s speech strangely situated at that hip West Village music venue. But Saujani calmly assured the audience, “we don’t need another politician. We need a change advocate.”
When asked how NYU might play a role in organizations like Girls Who Code, Saujani replied, “Understanding and having knowledge of computer science is really critical… a lot of these clubs have to be volunteer-driven, so we’re recruiting folks from schools like NYU to help.”