Although I obtained a master’s in health administration, I was encouraged to participate in business school competitions because of my passion for staking out positions and articulating my thoughts. So, I joined new product contests, completed SWOTs and marketing analyses, and then went on-stage to present what my team and I had come up with. In those moments, I felt present, understood and appreciated in a way I hadn’t before, and I knew I wanted to do something outside of healthcare administration. Managing medical staff, being the key recordkeeper, and overseeing the financial health of a hospital department just wasn’t in the cards for me.
So, some may wonder what brought me into tech. First, there’s always so much to know – and keep knowing in tech, as advances and innovations occur every day. Second, a friend of mine, understanding I wanted to do something outside of working in healthcare, had a daring (but fateful) proposition – move from North Carolina to Atlanta, Ga. [and live with them. I had no job when I arrived Monday, but on Tuesday of the same week, I obtained a role as a Cloud Business Development Representative at a technology consultancy. I knew, from that day on, I was where I was meant to be.
At the consultancy, I learned a lot about our tech clients – their offerings, their value propositions, their visions and missions. Qlik stood out above a very crowded pack. The company’s reputation as an organization that promotes data for good, that has a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and that leads within the data analytics and data integration space had me sold. I told myself I was going to work there and be a representative for black voices in tech. I applied to an opening, was quickly hired as a Customer Success Manager and now feel empowered each day I come to work.
Why does this matter? Well, for me and as is well understood, people of color are, statistically, underrepresented in tech. However, Qlik, through its Black Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) has made great strides in ensuring underprivileged and black children – the generation of the future – have a chance at making their way into the world of tech – and not just making it when they do, but thriving, innovating and being beacons for others. In Philadelphia, our Black Alliance ERG has donated and provided mentorship to public schools, helping students learn about data analytics so that that they be inspired from the very beginning to seeing themselves as leaders in technology. These community engagement activities are just one way Qlik is helping seed the next generation of black technologists, providing them with tools and showing them they, too, can succeed – as I have.
And, it matters perhaps this month, more than any other, as Black History Month is a time to commune with our successes, seek back into the past to resurrect our lost traditions, as well as rebuild and reclaim our histories. So, for me, this month is not about looking over grim findings or reliving trauma, but recognizing how – despite the deprivations and depredations of slavery, the Jim Crow era, the past Civil Rights and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movements – we’ve been able to come through, generation upon generation, to reach ever upward. We have songs that are both plaintive and rejoicing – and we can sing both.
In closing, I’m reminded of a Maya Angelou quote: “If you are going down a road and don’t like what’s in front of you, and look behind you and don’t like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path!” In joining Qlik, I was able to create that new path for myself. There’s nothing wrong in switching lanes in life, changing gears or even going down a road where no one has been. Sure, there are risks. But the greatest risk of all is to not taking any risks. So be bold, be you, be happy.
To find out more about careers at Qlik, I invite you to explore our page.