TEKsystems employees share how their career journeys have shaped them personally and professionally.
Feb. 20, 2023 | By TEKsystems
At TEKsystems, we’re committed to nurturing an inclusive workplace culture and welcoming diversity into every aspect of our business. To celebrate Black History Month, we asked employees from our company’s African Diaspora Employee Network (ADEN) to share their perspectives.
When I pivoted to TEKsystems after a successful 11-year career in another field, community and professional growth were among my top priorities. I initially struggled to find community outside of my field office at TEKsystems, but ADEN (African Diaspora Employee Network) helped me to gain a greater sense of belonging. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many people I likely wouldn’t have met otherwise. ADEN has also provided a safe space to be vulnerable and receive valuable feedback from people with similar yet diverse backgrounds.
The ADEN meetings are always inclusive and uplifting, breathing life into our values and sense of purpose. I have never been a part of such an active and lively culture in my professional career. Networking with like-minded professionals has motivated me to continue raising the bar of excellence to represent this amazing group of individuals. Despite the scattered locations of our members, I’ve built strong friendships—nurturing my personal growth and inspiring me to expand my comfort zone.
When I reflect on the contributions of Black people in tech, I’m grateful for the trailblazers who paved the way for me to pursue my dreams, but we’re not done yet. The Black community has the potential to seize a huge amount of opportunity in IT, which is both exciting and overwhelming.
Universities have been conferring fewer STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees to Black students year over year despite increasing enrollment in these programs. We need to push for change here, regardless of how daunting.
I’m energized to step up as a catalyst, and I find joy in my ability to identify and facilitate opportunities for Black IT professionals and drive systemic change.
Life has taught me that your biggest regrets are the chances you don’t take. It’s also evident that when pursuing goals, it’s crucial to be mindful of cultivating both personal and professional growth.
I’ve worn many hats over the years in a variety of industries, but my experience at TEKsystems stands out in how it supports a healthy work/life balance. I’ve been able to pursue challenges and be rewarded for my achievements while managing to be present for important family moments.
In the early years of my career, I worked at companies that were less diverse than TEKsystems. There were times I felt I had to “cover” my identity to fit in those environments, and I would have benefited from a group like ADEN.
The creation of ADEN showed me that TEKsystems is following through on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and I was excited to be a part of the company’s cultural shift. Being an active ADEN member gives me the opportunity to broaden my internal network and provide and receive mentorship.
I take tremendous pride in the contributions of Black inventors, mathematicians and computer scientists of the past 60 years. The contributions of Black IT innovators such as Annie Easley, Mark Dean, Roy Clay and many others almost can’t be overstated. Since pop culture tends to idolize celebrity IT CEOs, I think it is especially important to recognize these trailblazers during Black History Month.
Learning about Black IT innovators reminds me that we are creating “Black History” every day. Today’s achievements will be in tomorrow’s history books.
My TEKsystems journey has given me the opportunity to work with several amazing leaders who truly invested in me and my goals. They constantly remind me of my strengths and potential in times when doubt and negative thoughts have tried to creep in. Practicing self-reflection and healing from inner trauma have been central in my personal and professional development.
Joining ADEN has been invaluable because I feel a greater sense of purpose when I can engage with my community. ADEN has given me exposure to leaders who look like me and have similar experiences that I lean on for support, encouragement and perspective.
Having the opportunity to help create a space for this community has been so rewarding and continues to teach me more about myself and others.
Broadening my network has helped me establish solid relationships with like-minded individuals who encourage me and hold me accountable, but to also be kind and patient with myself. They have reminded me to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone—to never stop learning.
Serving as the lead for ADEN aligned me with a phenomenal mentor, Tanishia Hakim (director of inclusion and diversity and employee experience), who has helped to reshape my thinking and hone my leadership skills. ADEN also connected me to Franklin Reed (executive director of global inclusion and diversity), who has opened the door to so many opportunities for my voice to be heard.
I’ve endeavored to pass on what I’ve learned by serving as a mentor. I strive to inspire others toward excellence and to be proud of every accomplishment and milestone.
My ADEN “village” surrounding me gives me the confidence to surpass any adversity and achieve continued success.