Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work?
I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Philly (Philadelphia, PA). My mother has always had a career in the healthcare industry, while my father, now retired, was an insurance salesman.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what did you do after graduating?
I went to Temple University (Go Owls!) for both undergrad and grad school. I studied English w/ a minor in French and African American Studies, and my grad work was in Digital Innovation in Marketing.
What inspired you to get into the tech industry?
I’m a millennial, so a lot of my adult life has been shaped by the innovative spirit of tech like social media and cord-cutting platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, etc. To see how these companies reshaped how we communicated, socialized, and moved around in the world has always fascinated me, and that led me to pursue my grad program.
What has your career path looked like in tech and the various positions you’ve held before joining Unqork?
I entered into the Unqork family as a QA Analyst. Since then, I’ve become a QA manager with my own team, leading the Public Enterprise vertical.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as QA Manager at Unqork?
As QA Manager, primarily it’s my responsibility to make sure my team has what they need to identify and obviate risks for our projects before going into production. Trusting my team and their calls, I support their decisions on how to handle their workload. I also translate our work into digestible reports for those outside of our department.
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?
Having a support system that includes mentors, managers who advocate for me, who say my name in impactful rooms, and connecting with other Black and Brown women in the industry has been really helpful.
What types of programs and initiatives does Unqork have that support diversity, equity, and inclusion?
There are the DEI initiatives and plenty of ERG groups that actively support these causes. Each group has a significant budget provided by Unqork to execute interesting and valuable initiatives that serve the Unqork community as well as local impacted communities where Unqorkers are members. For example, the Chocolatety group has held several virtual game nights, hosted guest speakers during monthly meetings, and even had an in-person happy hour for those in the NYC area recently.) Additionally, leaders in the ERGS are compensated for the time and each group has an executive sponsor, ensuring accountability from top-down and vice versa. All departments have really been dedicated to executing and taking their respective DEI pillars seriously.
What advice would you give to other Black professionals who are interested in joining the tech industry?
Be yourself! Tech is about innovation, original thought, and standing out from the old guard and antiquated solutions. Nothing is more welcomed in this space than creative solutions for long standing problems. Black and brown voices have been muted in traditional spaces, so tech is where we can bring our authenticity to provide a much needed different perspective.
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?
Looking in different spaces outside of the traditional pipeline (Ivy Leagues, Wall Street alumni, etc) has to be constant. Looking around the room and making sure it is actually diverse should be a consistent practice. Advocating for Black and brown professionals in spaces that can positively impact their career must be done each time the opportunity arises. Ultimately it’s about deconstructing the unconscious habits of only acknowledging the peers that look like you. Change is uncomfortable but that is where the magic happens.