Shimira Williams, an authentic change agent, builds digital citizens through play and productivity. Williams integrates digital media literacy, tools, and learning materials to harness the power of technology, extending learning opportunities and retooling business operations in early learning environments. Her vision for technology seeks to improve people’s ability to communicate and collaborate and to allow people to focus on the human to human connection.
Shimira co-founded C.C. Busy, a startup that uses digital assistants to give the power of voice to family child care homes. Her portfolio also includes The WOOSH Interactive Table and The Beauty of S.T.E.M. A Pittsburgh native, her work at the intersection early childhood and technology is grounded in her experiences as the owner/operator of TEKStart, a licensed home-based group child care facility; a database analyst in the financial sector; and Chief Financial Officer for a development firm. Shimira has also held fellowships with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children's Media at Saint Vincent College.
For C.C. Busy, Shimira has created the professional development course "Introduction to Digital Assistants" for early childhood care and education providers. The course aims to familiarize providers with this exciting new technology, both as an educational resource and business tool. She's also developing a day-long training to help Pennsylvania providers use technology to increase the quality of the care in their family child care homes, helping providers to increase the amount they can charge for care. Shimira will use her experience in the field to guide the development of the voice-activated apps.
Greg Quinlan’s co-founding of C.C. Busy culminates a professional pivot that span his personal and professional interests. Greg’s breadth of skills and interests were seeded as a young adult when he pursued a double major in Physics and Theater at Reed College. Professionally, he was well established as a nonprofit executive in Pittsburgh, having led City Theatre through the Great Recession as Managing Director, and stabilized the anti-poverty agency Focus On Renewal after the departure of a long-time leader. As a volunteer for his neighborhood and community, Greg has served as Treasurer, South Side Local Development Company; Advisory Team Member and Communications Chair, Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, and Board Member, South Side Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXV.
His interest in technology was rekindled when he served as Account Manager for ThoughtForm, helping to deliver websites and other communication design projects to Fortune 500 companies. When his family relocated, Greg saw a great opportunity to pivot away from nonprofit leadership and into software development. At Shimira's recommendation, Greg obtained a Full Stack Development Nanodegree from the online educator Udacity and then pursued freelance projects as his family moved returned to Pittsburgh. When he shared a digital assistant project on social media, Shimira identified the potential of the tech for her field. Together they started collaborating on C.C. Busy.
Greg will develop the apps and guide the strategy and fundraising for C.C. Busy. Greg now develops the app in Python and AngularJS as an Amazon Alexa Skill. The two plan future development with Actions on Google, which was the first to offer Spanish to third-party developers.