Janet Emerson Bashen
Janet Emerson Bashen
|Alma mater||University of Houston (BS), Harvard University (Women and Power), Tulane Law School (MJ-LEL), The University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work (pursuing Doctorate)|
|Occupation||Software inventor, entrepreneur, business consultant, and social justice advocate|
|Known for||First African American woman to patent a web-based EEO software (LinkLine), now known as Nalikah.|
|Spouse(s)||Ruffus Williams (m. 1979 div. 1988)
George Steven Bashen (m. 1988)
|Children||Blair Alise Bashen, Drew Alec Bashen|
|Parent(s)||James Lucker Emerson Sr. (Father), Ola Mae Emerson (Mother)|
|Relatives||Danny Green (basketball) (Son-In-Law)|
Janet Rita Emerson Bashen (née Emerson; born February 12, 1957) is an American entrepreneur, business consultant, and software inventor who is best known for patenting a web-based EEO software application, LinkLine, to assist with equal employment opportunity investigations and claims tracking. Bashen is regarded as the first African American woman to obtain a web-based software patent. As a result of her work with equal employment opportunity and diversity and inclusion, Bashen is regarded as a social justice advocate.
Raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Bashen attended Alabama A&M a Historical Black College and University but did not graduate, instead, she married her classmate, Ruffus Williams, an aerospace engineer, and moved to Houston, Texas. Emerson enrolled in the University of Houston and graduated with a degree in Legal Studies and Government. Williams and Emerson were divorced in 1988.
She married George Steven Bashen in May 1988. Thereafter, Bashen attended Harvard University and completed the Women and Power Program. Bashen is currently on the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard University. Bashen is also a graduate of Tulane Law School and is currently attending the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, at the University of Southern, California pursuing a Doctorate.
Family and education
Early life and Ancestry
Janet Rita Emerson was born on February 12, 1957, in Mansfield, Ohio to James Lucker Emerson Sr. b. (June 7, 1935) a garbage collector with the city of Huntsville, Alabama, until his retirement. Her mother, Ola Mae Emerson (1937– 2014) a Licensed practice nurse with Huntsville Hospital and the first Black nurse to work in the emergency room of the hospital. Emerson's family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where Emerson went to a segregated elementary school until the fifth grade when she entered Fifth Avenue School, a previously segregated school in Huntsville, Alabama. Emerson comes from a Black mixed-race background.
We must challenge the racial narratives that are often driven by stereotypes and our reluctance to find common ground with someone who does not look like us. Our resolve must be consistent and unyielding. It is essential to reset our vision for the country with policies that create an environment of equal access— Janet Emerson Bashen, Excerpt from a Bashen USC paper
Emerson married George Steven Bashen in 1988. They have a daughter Blair Alise Bashen (born 1989) and a son Drew Alec Bashen. In 2020, Emerson's daughter Blair Bashen got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, three-time NBA basketball champion player Danny Green. In 2021, the two were married in Houston Texas.
After graduating from the University of Houston, Bashen worked for an insurance company handling claims related to Equal Employment Opportunities. Bashen thought if you hire independent investigators to assess such claims, they would be more impartial. Bashen would later receive a $5,000 loan from her mother and in 1994, began her own company, Bashen Corporation, to investigate discrimination claims filed by employees.
As her company grew, Bashen became aware of the need for better ways of storing and accessing the data related to claims. With her cousin, Donnie Moore, a Tufts University computer science graduate, Bashen began developing a software. This was the genesis for the software LinkLine. In January 2006 Bashen was awarded a Patent No. 6,985,922, B1, making Janet Emerson Bashen the first African-American woman to earn a web-based software patent becoming a "part of an elite group of African-American inventors and scientists.
Awards and recognition
- Black Enterprise – HOW JANET BASHEN BECAME A SOFTWARE PIONEER
- Black Inventors' Hall of Fame
- Bloomberg – ‘Next Big Thing’ at Risk as Fewer Women, Minorities Get Patents
- 1998 Janet Emerson Bashen featured on CNN Financial Network
- 2000 Emerging (E-10) Award Winner
- 2000 Houston 100 Winner
- 2000 SJ Bashen testifies to the United States House of Representatives regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA")
- 2003 Houston, TX Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award
- 2004 National Association of Negro Women in Business Crystal Award
- 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009. The case was investigated by Bashen Corporation on behalf of their client Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
- 2010 MIT Recognition at World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal
- 2012 Named in Ebony magazine's Power 100 List of the most influential African-Americans in entertainment, politics, sports, and business
- 2014 Elected to Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard Kennedy School
- 2016 Speaker at The Black Enterprise’s “Women of Power Summit”, in Hollywood, FL
- 2019 Bashen was a panelist at the 4th Annual Black History Month Community Empowerment Mixer in Austin, Texas.
- "Bashen Patent". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "Bashen, Janet Emerson (1957– ) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed". blackpast.org. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
- Dawkins, Farida (March 15, 2018). "[Women's History Month] Meet Janet Emerson Bashen, first black woman to patent a computer software". Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Fourtané, Susan (May 24, 2018). "Black Inventors – The Complete List of Genius Black American (African American) Inventors, Scientists, and Engineers with Their Revolutionary Inventions That Changed the World and Impacted History – Part Two". Interesting Engineering. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Lopez, Jill Painter. "She Said Yes! Danny Green Got Engaged To Longtime Girlfriend". Sports Illustrated LA Lakers News, Analysis and More.
- "H.R. 3408—THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING AMENDMENTS ACT OF 1999". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- Lynn, Samara (February 9, 2016). "How Janet Bashen Became a Software Pioneer". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- "How Janet Emerson Bashen Became a Software Pioneer". February 9, 2016.
- "'Next Big Thing' at Risk as Fewer Women, Minorities Get Patents". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
- "Pinnacle Award". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- #teamEBONY (2016-07-22). "EBONY Reveals 2012 Power 100!". EBONY. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
- "Janet Emerson Bashen, EEO/Diversity Expert, Selected To Speak At The Black Enterprise "Women Of Power Summit" - Press Release - Digital Journal". www.digitaljournal.com.