Lena Winfree Named by FISK UNIVERSITY as Inaugural Data & Technology Fellow for the John Lewis Center for Social Justice
Written by: Alex Curtis | Posted Oct 6, 2022

Posted by: Blacks In Technology – Nashville

The Nashville chapter of the Blacks in Technology Foundation (BIT-Nashville) announces that Lena Winfree, Co-organizer and Vice President has been named the inaugural Technology and Data Science Fellow of the John Lewis Center for Social Justice.

These yearlong fellowships were made possible by the support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and are focused in three specific areas of social justice impact: Arts/Culture, Policy/Activism, and Tech/Data Science. The Tech/Data Science Fellow will advance the tradition of Fisk Alumni W.E.B DuBois to shape the evolving data, science, and tech fields toward ensuring full and equitable access to Black communities, both as consumers and as producers.

Lena Winfree is one of three inaugural fellows of the center, joining Arts and Culture Fellow Michelle Eistrup, and Policy and Activism Fellow Justin Jones. “We could not be more excited about these inaugural Fellows,” said Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen. “We look forward to seeing their work inspire our amazing students and the broader community.”

Lena Winfree, the tech/data science fellow, is the co-founder of Rachel + Winfree Consulting, a data analytics firm that provides data strategy and analytics solutions to small and mid-sized businesses. Ms. Winfree is also the Vice President and co-organizer of the Nashville chapter of the Blacks in Technology Foundation. In this capacity, Ms. Winfree has launched social justice initiatives that increase digital equity and literacy for historically excluded minorities – including a Healthcare Analytics Training Program that taught Healthcare analytics skills to employees of non-profit clinics across the state of Tennessee at no cost to the clinics. This 12-week training provided valuable upskilling to Frontline workers who care for Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations across more than 80 Tennessee clinics. Before this work, Ms. Winfree was instrumental in establishing the Data Science Institute at Meharry Medical College, which created interoperability between the medical school and Metro-General Hospital.


Ms. Winfree also launched LocalTek-Thrive, a technology education initiative that aims to diversify the tech talent pipeline by providing Nashville high school students with opportunities to receive hands-on tech education, college credit, and industry certifications. This initiative currently serves over 150 students in the MNPS school district, with over 90 percent of them being minorities. The LocalTek-Thrive initiative was launched in partnership with Dell Technologies. In this 3-year pilot program, junior and senior students participate in a required course designed and facilitated by LocalTek-Thrive. This course teaches skills such as Excel, SQL, and data analytics, and work skills such as social media management and digital marketing. Senior students prepare to take industry certifications such as the Oracle MySQL database administrator certification, or AWS Cloud certification. Ms. Winfree is an active member of the Nashville tech community, serving on the executive board of Women in Technology Tennessee (WiTT) as well as on the executive board of the Nashville Technology Council.

BIT-Nashville represents one of over 06 chapters of the BIT Foundation. Prospective members can join their local chapter at Foundation.BlacksInTechnology.net. The Blacks In Technology Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit entity of Blacks in Technology, LLC.


For media inquiries contact: Holly Rachel, President and co-organizer, Pres@bitnash.org, 615-314-3495

submitted by: Holly Rachel