June 7th, I spoke on a tech panel to discuss what it means to be New in Tech for TECH-nique's The 2nd Annual All That Tech Conference. The audience consisted girl from 8th-10th grade. I wanted to share more of my thoughts on the questions incase anyone from the conference missed it.

About: TECH-Nique's mission is to create a world where the voices and experiences of underrepresented minorities are welcomed and celebrated in the field of technology and where members of these groups feel empowered not just to be consumers of technology, but also creators and LEADERS in the technology field.

TECH-Nique is creating an ecosystem of support and opportunity  - after graduating from our programs, participants are invited to become part of the TECH-Nique leadership team, serving as near-peer mentors, facilitators, and role models to younger participants as they continue their foray into technology.

Questions and my follow up answers:

Tell me about when you were not interested in tech.  What did you think about it?

For me, there was never a time I was not interested because was born and raise at the height of innovation. My first introduction to tech was video games then having a cellphone.

What were you doing prior to getting into tech?

I was administrative assistant who was passionate about activism.

How did you get into tech?

One day the Zuckerberg's team called me up and asked if I'd like to help build out their start up. I applied and was denied then brought back. I started working for them and realized how much potential I really had. From that experience I went on to interview with other major tech corporations. I was bitten by the bug but I still ended up working in higher education because I enjoy mentoring early career professionals but also doing humanistic research. 

What type of technology are you working with?  

I was working with MedHub, a medical database base that houses various information regarding medical professionals or aspiring ones. My job focused mostly on evaluations of medical students during their clinical rotations. 

Then I went on to learn Canvas and Blackboard. I utilized those learning management systems to understand learning outcomes or develop learning dashboards for medical courses. 

Lastly, I learned how to use Vidcruiter which a web based platform that enriches the virtual interview process. I was the lead over residency interviews therefore, I had to use audio and visual tools to aid in the virtual interview experience for our medical students.

What has been rewarding about your experience in technology?

As a diversity and inclusion specialist who hires STEM teachers at Johns Hopkins University the rewarding part is inspiring the next generation of tech geniuses. It was my hope that, if we are hiring diverse teachers then, the students will value diversity from the beginning instead of trying to tackle it later in their corporate careers. I also enjoy consulting big and small companies about DEI strategies and how to create talent pools and pipelines.

What has been challenging about your experience in technology?

Being the only one in the room is hard because relating to an experience that is foreign to you is tough without the proper guidance. You are the face of a shift in the company but that can also make you target as well. It's like your are sacrificing a lot to be there and you have to get the work done at a level of excellence that only you are held too.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Just do it, as long as it's not harming anyone, don't be afraid to try something. I was lucky my parents bought me a computer in middle school and when I went to college I had a laptop. So I had a website selling greeting cards in middle school and did really well. In high school I sold mix CDs of popular artist I grabbed off Limewire. I had a nicely curated Myspace because that's where I learned html coding. I always knew I would be a Founder of a tech company but I gave it up because I listened to nay sayers. Now, I'm back and it's slowly evolving. I'm building something because I wanted to help people like me. Don't give up.

I want to thank all the amazing professionals at Tech-nique or having me.

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