WASHINGTON - Aaron Saunders has made it his life’s work to help those who are looking to boost their business and get ahead using digital technology. As President and CEO of D.C.-based company Clearly Innovative, Saunders is making history in the area of innovation.
Saunders’ company works to develop digital products that provide solutions. His interest in solving problems and figuring out how things work came at an early age. He says he was 6 years old when he stuck something in an electrical outlet because he was curious about how it worked. Needless to say, that sparked a passion in Saunders to explore the world around him.
A proud military brat, Saunders says his parents sent him to a boarding school that focused on technology after they noticed a natural curiosity in him. On his first day, Saunders says he immediately noticed no one else who was there looked like him.
"I look back now and I can remember feeling like I just wanted out," Saunders said.
Instead, he stayed and excelled. Saunders was one of two winners who designed a computer program. Often times, he says he would have to take the computer home with him in order to practice.
“My dad would have to take the whole computer home with us,” Saunders remembered.
As a result, Saunders says he was far from being cool, but he stayed the course.
As an adult, Saunders created the Around The Way app, which helps people find black-owned businesses in their neighborhoods. Most recently, he was selected by the National Museum of African-American History and Culture to develop software and apps to enhance the experience for the museum’s visitors.
Saunders says his biggest accomplishment of all, though, is a no brainer: it’s the recent success of his own daughter. It took him awhile, but he finally convinced her to follow in his footsteps. Now, she’s working on app development and projects that make a real difference in the world.
Above all, Saunders says it is his family that comes first in his life, followed by giving back to the community— something he encourages more African-American men to do.
During Black History Month, FOX 5 DC salutes Aaron Saunders, who is making history through innovation— one click at a time.