Being Black and Woman in Tech... I am here.
Up until about a year ago when I began working part-time at GoDaddy, I had never experienced an “employee centered work culture” that I kept hearing other people talk about. People were telling me that some companies actually embrace their employees, their cultures, and find creative ways to boost moral, productivity and advancement within the workplace. I worked for 10 years in the banking industry and I had never experienced this type of work culture before. So I decided to take a chance on me and I shot my shot to work at a company that I originally didn’t think I belonged at.
Who was I? I didn’t have a formal educational background in computer science. I didn’t even have a bachelors degree. Although I do have college experience, I was a few classes shy of graduating and didn’t complete my degree before entering the workforce. I thought to myself “they surely won’t hire me.” I didn’t believe that I was even qualified to be in the tech industry. My afro was too big and I have a natural frown. I believed folks would be intimidated by me, even though I’m not intimidating. I told myself all the things that would deem me unworthy to be apart of this company. Even though I was trying my hand at jumping into an industry where the population of Black Women are very few. I began to realize a few things. I was letting insecurities from previous experiences of others disapproval of my culture and natural expression stop me from progressing. Yes I am Black. Yes I am a woman. Yes my afro is big and beautiful. Yes I am a college dropout. BUT I am also so much more. I have begun to accept that these are just a few things that make up my story. I am fully capable of paving a path of success for myself in an industry that actually needs me...an industry that needs my voice, my history, my experiences and my ability to relate/translate to end users and consumers who are just like me. I have begun to shift my thoughts to how I can positively impact the industry just as I am.
I am here now.
I am here to learn, to educate, and inspire change in an industry in need of more diverse voices. Diverse voices advance technology for all communities.
The “employee centered work culture” at GoDaddy inspires me to be great. Groups like GoDaddy Black in Technology #GDBIT give me a sense of belonging. When I attended my first employee mixer before my first day of training, I spotted a another Black Woman. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see another Black woman there. I figured I would be the only one in my training class who looked like me. But there she was and honestly I was happy to see her smiling face. She walked right over to me introduced herself and said “I’m here for you.” She’s wasn’t in training; she was there to tell me about #GDBIT. Kay’s words meant so much to me. I had a “finally” moment. Like finally, I found a place where I can be my full self and not dim down my light or how I embrace my culture or experience. Finally, I found a company that understands the importance embracing/celebrating their employees as human beings, complex and diverse. Finally, I found a company where my voice can be heard.
A month into training, I was pulled aside. I thought I was in trouble, although I hadn’t knowingly done anything wrong lol. I was asked to voice my opinion. Nervously, I responded yes. Despite my fear of being on camera, I spoke. This is the moment I have been waiting for... to be seen in an authentic way and to have my voice heard where it counts.
I am here now.