Oxfam, Greenpeace, the ACLU, MomsRising--nonprofits and grassroot groups big and small have tapped Cheryl Contee to apply tech solutions to the activist arena. For example, Contee and her team at Fission Strategy have helped Reform Immigration for America to build a mobile action network of over 150,000 people. They've found that potential march and rally participants are six times more responsive to text messages than emails. For a March 21 March for America event in D.C., that meant nearly 200,000 people attended the immigration-reform rally. "It's proven to be a hugely important publicity method for us," says Contee.
The Fission Strategy founder also pens the top-ranked African-American politics blog, Jack and Jill Politics, which she launched in 2006. "There weren't a lot of strong African-American women blogging in the political sphere when we first came out and I'm happy to see that there are now thousands, in part because African-Americans are among the most active users of mobile Internet," Contee says. "Women need to see that there are many different ways to find your niche in technology; you don't need to be a computer programmer to do so."