Tammy Buckner - Blue KC Gamechanger in March of 2024
Community & CultureSports Partnerships
Apr 2, 2024
7 Minute Read

2024 Blue KC Gamechanger Honoree Tammy Buckner – month of March

Someone Like Her

Tammy Buckner had a good job in a field she loved. She was a successful software engineer, project manager and business analyst. But she still felt alone.

She had good co-workers, but as she looked around, none of them looked like her: a Black female in a white male-dominated industry.

So, when the opportunity arose—okay, she and her entire department were laid off—she decided to start her own business in that same field. She started a minority-owned/woman-owned technology solutions company, specializing in innovative software, application development, DevOps and business systems analysis to improve business processes in 2004. She did it to be a mentor to young people like her.

“I wanted to make sure the next generation of technologists didn’t have to go through the challenges and barriers that I went through,” she said. “There were so many opportunities that I felt that I got passed over because of being a female in a male-dominated industry.”

She operated Equity Digital for 15 years before taking her dream to the next level. She founded WeCode KC, a nonprofit organization that provides training and opportunities in the tech world for youth aged 7 to 26 from the urban core.

“I wanted to attempt to figure out a way to be the best version of myself in that space,” she said. “The best way to do it was to get into the community, start working with youth, schools and different youth organizations in the community and start a program.”

For that reason, Buckner is the first “Blue KC Gamechanger.” Launched during the 2024 season, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the Kansas City Current have teamed up to create this exclusive program highlighting local individuals blazing the trail for all women across the Kansas City area. A Blue KC Gamechanger inspires bold ambition in all his or her work, enriching the community around them and enacting positive change through intentional action.

“We are proud to have Tammy as the inaugural Blue KC Gamechanger at CPKC Stadium,” said KC Current VP of Community Relations, Ben Aken. “We are looking forward to featuring other Gamechangers who are paving the way for women in powerful and impactful ways.”

At first, she thought about doing that under the umbrella of Equity Digital, but she was convinced that it would be more successful as a 501(c)-3. Under a nonprofit, other organizations could offer assistance by funneling funds and volunteers to that organization, something that’s more difficult in a for-profit setting.

Interestingly, WeCode KC and Equity Digitalwork hand-in-hand providing training and real-world experience. The students get the training through WeCode KC and then can use that training at Equity Digital, if that’s the best option.

“It’s teaching them theory and applications, and then giving them real-world experience with a real company,” Buckner said. “Senior-level developers work with our teenagers to do that work. We’ve slowed down on taking bigger projects so that our kids can learn these skills. They’re taking small businesses and nonprofit businesses that need websites and/or mobile app development, so that we can train them. It’s a pipeline.”

Tammy Buckner was honored as the first-ever Blue KC Gamechanger during the March 30th KC Current match. Buckner founded WeCode KC, a nonprofit organization that provides training and opportunities in the tech world for youth.

Besides the technical training, Buckner says WeCode KC provides another invaluable benefit to the young people involved. It teaches them skills that extend far beyond the technology field.

“They are contacting the clients to set up meetings so that they can make sure they’re including the features that our clients want,” she continued. “They’re getting experience in all facets of project development.

“More importantly, they’re getting the skills of speaking in a public setting in front of adults and not being afraid. Even if they decide not to go into technology, these skills are transferable. Wherever they go, they’re going to have good communication skills. They’re learning how to work in a team environment and be collaborative.”

“Tammy’s story is the perfect example of pursuing your dream and refusing to back down because of barriers or other roadblocks standing in the way,” said Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Christina Lively. “Aside from creating a remarkable program, Tammy is an inspiration to dreamers everywhere by showing that hard work, perseverance and determination can help you reach and exceed your goals.”

And because of people like Tammy Buckner, those future teams will have more people who look like those same young people. She’s truly a Blue KC Gamechanger!

For more information on this program, please click here.

Blue KC supports the Kansas City community through impactful sports partnership programs.

Blue KC Gamechanger Program

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