Celebrating the Twilio Developer Searchlight Honorees

November 03, 2022
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2022 Developer Searchlight Hero

As a leader in Twilio’s Developer Network, I’ve seen first-hand that no developer gets to where they are without help. It might be the person who taught you how to code, or who created an environment where you felt safe asking questions. It might be the manager who makes sure you have the resources you need to succeed. Every developer knows who I’m talking about, yet these important people often go unrecognized.

Today, we’re proud to announce the honorees of our inaugural Developer Searchlight, a global search for people making an impact on developers through mentorship, community, or code. We’ll also be celebrating the honorees this week on SIGNAL TV.

Spotlighting the unsung heroes

From Chile, to Bangladesh, to Ghana, we received nominations from developers all over the world who wanted to honor the mentors playing pivotal roles in their careers. We were amazed to see how developers are replicating in-person community building in virtual settings, through forums like educational streams on Twitch, and the examples of peer education and training, especially through school initiatives like student-run coding contests and webinars. The nominations also made clear the community’s widespread commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging.

With the help of our esteemed judges – Eyal Manor, CPO of Twilio; Lybra Clemons, CDO of Twilio; Jody Bailey, CTO of Stack Overflow; and Abadesi Osunsade, CEO of Hustle Crew – we uncovered six inspiring individuals who are dedicated to building a brighter future for developers.

  • Ashwin Kumar Uppala, Coach at Major League Hacking, is driving positive change in the community via hundreds of hackathons a year. Whether it’s debugging students’ code late into the night or working to ensure that every hackathon he’s involved in remains inclusive, Ashwin’s dedication to the developer community is undeniable.
  • Bekah Hawrot Weigel, co-founder and Technical Community Builder at Virtual Coffee, is strengthening developers’ sense of belonging in the community through her biweekly virtual get-togethers. People in Bekah’s network are inspired by her openness about her personal experiences and willingness to learn from any issue.
  • Kunal Kushwaha, DevRel Engineer at CivoCloud, is a dedicated advocate for education, especially for early career developers. A recent student himself, Kunal created a developer community run by students, for students. He is playing an instrumental role in guiding the next generation of developers into the workforce.
  • Marcus Eagan, Staff Product Manager at MongoDB, is a longtime supporter of the open source community and a champion of inclusivity. In addition to troubleshooting technical issues, mentoring community members, and contributing thousands of lines of code, Marcus spearheaded an initiative to remove offensive and inaccurate terminology from the Apache Lucene and Solr projects.
  • Rukmini Reddy, SVP of Engineering at Slack, witnessed her team’s remote work struggles first-hand as a pandemic hire. She brought a human-first zeal to her new role, uniting her remote teams, improving onboarding and training processes, and making every member of the engineering team feel heard, supported and valued.
  • Suchi Deshpande, co-founder at Learnfully, empowers the developers she works with by giving them a sense of autonomy and ownership of their work. She created Learnfully after seeing her two neurodiverse sons struggle in a virtual learning environment, and helps her teams lead with empathy for others.

Uniting the developer community

Twilio’s mission is to unlock the imagination of builders. The Developer Searchlight honorees exemplify the powerful impact of empowering others with passion and enthusiasm. Honoring these impressive individuals is long overdue!

Developers are most successful when they build strong, long-lasting relationships and join communities with values of inclusiveness, diversity, growth, and excellence. Mentors have had a tremendous impact on my own career in so many ways, helping me grow and broadening my view for what’s possible in my career. Developers are at their best when they help each other, and I remain inspired by the countless ways – seen and unseen – that developers support each other.

Andrew Baker is VP of Twilio’s Developer Network team, which works to inspire and empower anyone in the world to build with Twilio.

The Developer Searchlight celebration continues this week at SIGNAL 2022 on SIGNAL TV. Tune into our Developer Keynote and check out this Business Insider article to learn more about these pillars of our community.