On June 3, more than 5,000 people from 86 countries will come together in San Jose for Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Among them will be Erika Hairston, a first-time attendee, and David Niemeijer, who will be marking his 17th consecutive visit.

Hairston, a 23-year-old Yale grad working in San Francisco, just launched her first app, Zimela, to promote diversity in tech. Niemeijer, a 50-year-old father of two in Amsterdam, is CEO of AssistiveWare, a company he founded 20 years ago that designs communication aids for people with disabilities.

Though they are at two different points in their journeys, Hairston’s and Niemeijer’s paths have much in common.

Both were inspired by someone they love to imagine solutions, and then started working on making them real. Both began as companies of one, coding in their spare time wherever and whenever they could. And both are connecting and empowering communities, using technology to help people find their voice and each other.



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