My career path was definitely not a traditional journey. My mom selected my career by enrolling me into a program called Business Office Technology at Atlanta Technical College. I knew nothing about technology but grew fond of it when I started my internship at City of Atlanta, IT department in 1999. The city of Atlanta was not as advanced in technology during that time, and it was exciting being a part of the city transitioning into a new era of technology during the Y2K. I knew this was the industry I wanted to pursue because technology was evolving, and there were so many areas of opportunity I could explore.
PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS AND DRIVE
My passion is people development and to pay it forward by giving others opportunities in this field and inspiring more young girls to pursue a career in STEM Technology. I want to share my journey and let other young girls know that it is okay to BE YOURSELF. It is okay to NOT take the traditional route when thinking about your future or career. Just stay in the GAME because everybody’s journey will look different, which is what will make it unique and worthwhile.
I’ve been in technology for over 20 years, and it has not been an easy road. I took the scenic route, which is why I’m very passionate about where I am today in this industry. Although I’ve been blessed to have both men and women leadership to inspire and motivate me to excel and further my career in the technology arena, there is still a gender gap when it comes to Women In Technology, therefore it is my responsibility to continue to encourage, inspire and motivate young girls to explore the technology world.
MENTORS AND INFLUENCERS
As I stated, I’ve been blessed to have both men and women leadership to inspire and motivate me to excel and further my career in the technology arena. There are two women who I would consider most influential – Tye Hayes (former CTO, city of Atlanta) and Brittaney Carter (CTO, city of Atlanta). Both women have poured wisdom and guidance during their tenure at the city of Atlanta that has illuminated my mind, allowing me to feel empowered to make decisions and take risks. Under their leadership and guidance, I’ve been able to transform my challenging areas into strengths. I’ve excelled in my profession, I’m a part of a girls mentorship organization where I lead technology initiatives. These two women constantly provides guidance through mentoring and continues to push me to strive for greatness.
Mentorship is an important aspect in the development of oneself as it provides clarity when looking to reach your highest potential in order to progress in life, whether it is personal or professional.
I believe it is important and beneficial to have influential people that are genuine, open, and willing to share their journey and bring different solutions and perspectives that translate toward bringing out your true value and potential along with keeping you motivated and focused in different ways.
ADMIRED LEADERS AND TRAILBLAZERS
I admire ANY woman or women leaders who are genuine, consistently inspiring, motivating and brave enough to strive to break the glass ceilings every day. I call them our frontline women leaders because they are paving the way for other women who are still navigating and striving to reach their highest peak.
However, If I had to chose – it would be Alicia Garza, she is young, brave, vocal and help cofound a movement during the toughest time in our country. I admire her commitment and bravery and she is a Woman!
LEADING THE NEXT GENERATION
My advice to girls and women pursuing technology is to be YOU. Be Confident. Embrace what makes you different because what you bring to the table is invaluable. Another advice offering would be that It’s okay to not understand or know everything in technology – use that has an opportunity to learn or research.
Get a mentor and build your network, collaborate with like-minded and non like-minded individuals because it is important to have different perspectives and aspects around you. Last but definitely not least, Pay it forward – help develop others along the way.
ADVANCING GENDER PARITY
Because IT is a male dominant field, some people overlook women and defer to men first for IT advice or support. Because of this, I believe some women lack self confidence or suffer from feelings of inferiority. I experienced this when I first transitioned into a senior leadership role. We as women need to make an extreme effort in speaking up for ourselves respectfully, demonstrating confidence, maintaining our proficiency and position in IT and letting our performance speak for us as well.
Although we can’t change how others view us, this will allow women to achieve upward mobility.