Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in a very (very) small rural town in central Florida. Although I have an older brother and sister, I was raised as an only child. I became the first American in the family when my mom immigrated from Haiti four days before I was born. She didn’t know an ounce of English but after a great deal of tribulations, she later became a highly respected nurse. Till this day, she stands as my source of inspiration for how to navigate this mad life.
As a kid, I was painfully shy and timid, but my head was always in a fictional book or sheets of music. I was a band nerd and played the flute for about 8-9 years. Music became the first love of my life, and that love for music later transformed into my love for dancing tango, which I still do to this day.
Where did you go to college, and what did you study? What has your career path looked like in tech, and what positions have you held before joining Pluralsight?
I went to the University of Florida and received my bachelor’s degree in Digital Arts & Sciences. A year later, I received my master’s degree in Project Management from the University of Southern California.
After graduating, I worked as a project manager and continued to pivot directions within my career in hopes of finding my “home”. I later completed a 4-month bootcamp at Flatiron School in Cybersecurity, and that (oddly enough) sparked my interest in product management.
What inspired you to get into the tech industry?
I grew up in a time when the digital revolution was rampant, so technology was always something that fascinated me. Intuitively, I knew that if I didn’t catch the big tech wave, I’d be left out at sea in an ancient paradigm. The evolution of technology was transforming everything in my day-to-day life, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that evolution.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Product Manager at Pluralsight?
As a product manager for Pluralsight Flow, I am the mouthpiece for our customers to my internal team. I try to drill down on customer pain-points, and collaborate with a product designer and developers to provide simple solutions to complex problems. I strive to ensure that my team is providing continuous value for our customers (and Pluralsight) by making data-informed decisions and prioritizing rigorously.
What has attributed to your success thus far, and what types of obstacles have you had to overcome along the way as a Black professional?
I attribute my continuous journey towards success to sacrifice, intuition, and grit.
As my mom navigated a new life in the States, we had very rocky circumstances and limited resources. But one thing she always told me was, “Mama, never say you can’t do something. Go get what you want.” And from a young age, I knew what I wanted and what life I wanted to live. So my mom’s sacrifices coupled with my intuition propelled me through the obstacles I would later face.
As a black professional, I had to overcome many moments of belittlement from others … and myself. When you have perfectionist tendencies, it can be easy to fall into the traps of self-criticism or belief in the stereotypes/assumptions placed in front of you because of your race. But through those moments of fear and weakness, grit and strength loudly emerge.
What advice would you give to other Black professionals who are interested in joining the tech industry?
“Go get what you want.” Tech isn't designated for only a particular gender or race. You can find your home in this ever-evolving tech world regardless of your personality type or skill set. Accept and dedicate yourself to the continuous education of this industry, and you will thrive.
While general awareness of the problem of diversity in the tech industry is a step forward, to make a lasting change, real actions need to be taken. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what companies or employees can do to step up and make a difference?
First and foremost, I think it all starts with the awareness and acknowledgement of the lack of diversity.
Then, I would suggest meeting people of diverse backgrounds where they are. For example, setting up a company booth at a conference that targets diverse backgrounds, recruiting at HBCUs, mentor/mentee programs for seniors in high school/college, etc. There are people all over this country and all over this world that are hungry to apply themselves.
Lastly, I would propose celebrating the beauty of diverse cultures and backgrounds. There is power and greatness that comes with diversity.