What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?

It is true that one is affected by the people and stimuli around them. My IT curiosity was ignited by close family who worked in engineering and technology. Ironically, I graduated with a degree in Psychology from Duke University, so I honestly did not think I was headed into a tech career. However, it was truly serendipity that a few years after graduation I was offered a role from a Fuqua alum to take on my first tech challenge.


What is the most challenging part about being a woman in IT?

The most challenging part about being a woman in IT is dispelling the preconceived notions and opinions on how a woman should navigate the male-dominated world of technology.


What is the most rewarding part about being a woman in a leadership role?

I love what I represent for so many people. Though I am an African-American woman, I find that I easily connect with most. The most rewarding part is showing people that someone who looks and identifies as I do can be very successful in IT.


Why is diversity in business important to you?

We are shaping the future with artificial intelligence and technology. It is important that when we shape the future we are inclusive of the people that make up the past, present, and now. Check out the statistics and data of the world’s population. The business and IT world should reflect the new world for which we are building. The new frontier we are building is a kaleidoscope of many colors, nationalities, and creeds.


What advice would you give an aspiring female IT leader?

Be fearless, be confident, don’t subscribe yourself to one role, identify a mentor early, and find a network of people that you can trust. It is also important as an aspiring female IT leader to have a sponsor and to be well-known. Yes, your talents speak for themselves, but you also need to get the vote of the majority. This is something I would want someone to tell myself when I was trying to break into the industry.


Want to tell us anything else?

Follow me on LinkedIn @breehailemariam and Twitter @breejord. Let’s get connected. Also, if you don’t have a strong digital presence online – now is the time to create one.



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Tags: Diversity