Black in Tech is a new series that we launched this past June. It shares the inspirational stories of Black professionals in the tech industry at all levels of responsibility and across all job functions.
It is one of the ways we are trying to support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, as we hope these profiles will provide some guidance and advice for other Black professionals to pursue opportunities in the tech industry.
Below is a link to each profile along with a quote around what has attributed to each person's success thus far.
“Resilience, self-awareness, diligence, self-discipline, and pride have all contributed to my success. I am one who welcomes constructive criticism and is fortunate enough to have found spaces where there are mentors who genuinely seek ways to help and guide me through.”
“Work ethic, relentlessness, coachability, and never doubting my ability to be successful. I’m always eager to learn, and I understand that failure is okay; it’s about how you overcome hurdles or obstacles that make you successful.”
"Do not fear failure or rejection - it is a part of the process. It is best to focus on your strengths and use them to your best advantage. Remember that you do not owe anyone anything - make decisions that are best for YOU! This is very important as you continue to develop in your career.”
“Learn, learn, learn, and do not be afraid to go down the road less traveled. Be good at what you do. Understand your strengths and play to them. As for those things you are not as good at, use them as opportunities for continued growth and development. Be open, inquisitive, humble, engage with integrity and be on your game.”
“This is advice for all Black professionals in tech or any industry. Find an unoccupied lane and become a subject matter expert. That can be project management, Excel, or even public speaking. By becoming an SME, you will stand out amongst your peers in a positive light and become indispensable.”
“If you’re interested in tech, I’d say just do it and start learning. It’s a fast-paced industry with immense opportunity and your perspective is desperately needed. There are so many resources available to learn new skills independently, regardless of your role. A lot of people tend to think of tech as primarily software engineers and data scientists, but there are roles available for pretty much every background. You just have to look for them.”
“A strong work ethic, an eagerness to learn, and a good support system have been essential to my success. The combination of these items have helped me through every facet of life from school to sports, so applying them to the business world came naturally. I’ve also been able to understand that every failure is a lesson.”
“Constantly trying to figure out if I'm being undervalued because of my race, gender or demeanor or if I'm actually not bringing enough to the table is exhausting but necessary. Society has stereotypes on what success looks and sounds like, but they’re not based on a diverse reality. Which is why I’ve never let someone’s opinion of me be a deciding factor in my life.”
“Perhaps my success is rooted in my perseverance. I consider success a continuous path. As a Black woman in the tech space, I have experienced both micro and macro aggressions - from the typical doubt of credibility that comes with working in the corporate space to encountering the double standards of expectations from leadership, or managers using diminishing or demoralizing tactics in group settings."
“Don’t be afraid to be the first… for me, that was being the only black female in a mostly white, male R&D team. If you don’t see someone in the hiring team or on the exec team who looks like you, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be valued as part of their team. You most certainly will face cultural challenges, and possibly stereotyping, but you’ll also have an opportunity to make change.”
“Companies have the biggest opportunity to make a difference in this space. If companies treat diversity objectives the way they treat annual goals and objectives, they’ll have a much better chance of creating lasting change. Companies should not treat diversity as only a “nice to have,” but a necessity.”
“As employees, what we can do is to partner with management and create safe spaces to have open and honest discussions. We want to be able to educate one another to create a better work environment together. Training around unconscious bias, racism, sexism, and empathy are important in today’s climate. Understanding each other’s unique perspectives together help us forge stronger connections, and create a better organizational ecosystem.”
“We need intentionality and genuineness! There is only so much a company can do. Without real people who are personally invested and willing to genuinely change the status quo, then it will all be passive diversity messaging. It is not enough to just have a diversity quota or pledge as camouflage; companies need to actively take actionable steps that are timely, sustainable, and impactful.”
“I’ll attribute a lot of my success to a powerful support system and good work ethic. Even as a kid, my parents always pushed me to work extra hard. I still remember them saying “you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth.” So I developed this drive to always be learning, growing and teaching.”