Meet the Coop Members – Kelauni Cook – Black Tech Nation

Meet Kelauni Cook, an #AcademyPGH1 participant turned entrepreneur.  While changing career paths and moving from the Midwest, Kelauni is now a software engineer and tech influencer here in Pittsburgh.

How did you you interested in coding and the technology industry?

In my prior career, I was a full time substitute teacher.  I love my students and enjoyed teaching, but was looking for a career change.  I was looking at specific at Standford University but had been talking to my sister in North Dakota.  One of her mentors at Microsoft asked about me and said “No, drop everything and learn how to code” and give it a try.  That brought me to Pittsburgh to Academy and after its three month program I became a software engineer and still coding!

What have been some of the most enjoyable projects you’ve worked on?

Nearly a year after my Academy experience, I’m starting an initiative called Black Tech Nation.  This project is to help bridge the gap between the technology field and the black community, especially with Pittsburgh being the tech hub in the Rust Belt.  There is an opportunity to use Pittsburgh’s ecosystem to create real change around this subject creating an example for the entire nation.

How does WHPGH’s cooperative structure add value to your company?

Transitioning from Academy Pittsburgh to Work Hard has been fantastic.  I’ve been graciously accepted into the community.  I have my own desk and can work on all my projects and have got to know all the members and resources.  I fell like I have a stack in the community and stack in what goes on for our benefit as a whole.

To get involved and learn more join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter, or contact Kelauni at