4 strategies I learned growing up that prepared me for being a successful Black woman in tech
I grew up in a single-family home in a mostly underprivileged, rural community in southern Louisiana. That short description alone encompasses many challenges and preconceived ideas of what my life could become. I have never let that narrative define me or what I could do.
Many people would say it was a less-than-ideal background, but I only saw and experienced unconditional love and limitless possibilities. Our home was full of joy, spirituality, fellowship, determination, and a strong work ethic to have a life of meaning and purpose.
My grandmother played a big part in taking care of us. She worked the farm, made sure we had homegrown vegetables to eat year-round and took care of the chickens and pigs that fed us. My mother was a math teacher. It was an uncommon job for a woman in that time and place, especially a Black woman. Looking back, even though we didn’t have money, I can’t imagine a better foundation for me. Life was simple. I could focus on important things like education and self-determination.
Early on, I recognized that being a woman meant something different than being a man. I watched and took note as I saw intelligent women holding their tongues or saw men dismissing their opinions for a reason I couldn’t understand. But I was blessed to grow up with strong women leading me. My grandmother would tell us, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” Translation: you’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it.