WE’RE HIRING! VIEW A COMPLETE LIST OF POSITIONS ON OUR CAREERS PAGE

Host and sales engineer Tobi and Developer Nikki are talking about The Black Tech Experience, the state of diversity in tech, their developer journeys, and overcoming imposter syndrome.

Watch episodes of Labs Live and Subscribe on YouTube.

About Labs Live

Labs Live is a stream hosted by Detroit Labs’ very own Dan Ward and Tobi Adebisi, where they bring on guests from the Labs team and our clients to talk about the latest in technology, software design and development, and whatever else comes to mind. Labs Live streams live on LinkedIn and YouTube each month.

Transcript:

Dan:

Okay. All right. You probably can’t hear that, but Dave said “Let’s roll.” All right. Welcome back to Labs Live. Today we’re streaming on YouTube and LinkedIn, similar to how we did two weeks ago, which was really awesome. We got a lot of really great engagement on both of them, where we announced the new apprenticeship class, which was fantastic. Today, I’m joined by Nikki Evelyn.

Nikki:

Hello there.

Dan:

And we’re going to be talking about the black tech experience, and this is going to be cool because Tobi is going to be taking over as the host.

Tobi:

Exciting.

Dan:

So that’s a first. Tobi’s really excited. You can’t tell, but he is really pumped. And I’m going to be paying attention to LinkedIn stream here. So if you have questions for Nikki or Tobi, go ahead and ask them in here. I’ll do my best to see them, bring them up. And then with that, I turn it over to Tobi, and I’ll still be here.

Nikki:

Yeah.

Dan:

So moral support for you, buddy. All right.

Tobi:

Thank you. So thanks again for joining us, Nikki.

Nikki:

Thank you for having me. This is awesome.

Tobi:

It’s exciting. I’ve been thinking about this since we scheduled it a few weeks ago. So before we actually jump into the conversation about the black experience in tech, let’s set the context first.

Nikki:

Sure.

Tobi:

So what is a percentage of blacks in the tech industry?

Nikki:

So as I was prepping for my Labs Live debut and doing a little bit of research, the most recent stat that I was able to find was that black and brown developers make up 10% of software developers nationally. And so we’re not really even talking about other roles or anything like that, we’re talking about specifically for developers. And I really want to highlight the fact that that is black and brown, so that’s a combination. I wasn’t able to find anything for black developers only specifically. And then when you think about locally, I couldn’t even find a local percentage of black developers. And so I was like that in itself is a problem. There’s no research or anything out there that talks about one of the blackest cities and the percentage of blacks that they have in the tech industry. And especially in a city like Detroit, that’s experiencing such a tech resurgence. You would think that that information was readily available but-

Tobi:

It isn’t.

Nikki:

It isn’t, but I’m very interested in coming up with the diversity report.

Tobi:

So what is that?

Nikki:

So one of the organizations that I’m volunteering with, the Detroit Black Tech, shout out to everybody from Detroit Black Tech watching right now. So we’re really interested in doing just that, figuring out what the makeup of blacks in tech is in the city of Detroit. And so we really want to partner with someone and tap and interview companies and figure out what those numbers are and figure out where we are. Where we land and then if it’s too low, then we should definitely be working, doing that work to increase that.

Tobi:

Have to bring that up.

Nikki:

Yeah, yeah.

Tobi:

So how did you get into tech?

Nikki:

So the way that I got into tech, I am from Chicago as we all know. Shout out to Chicago.

Tobi:

Chi-Town.

Nikki:

Yeah. Chicago raised me but Detroit has given me the career of my dreams. So I love the city of Detroit just the same. But like I said, I’m from Chicago and so before I left Chicago, I was working in higher education. And then I did a super, super short stay in politics.

Tobi:

Oh.

Nikki:

And then my husband got a job offer here. He had gone through a coding boot camp to be an iOS developer. And so he got an offer in Detroit and he’s like, “Let’s move to Detroit.” And I’m like, “Wow, Detroit. I don’t know anybody there. We don’t have any family or friends there.” But we ended up moving here and once I got here, I wasn’t really tied to going back to work in higher education or politics. So I was like, this is a great time for me to figure out what else I want to do or what other possibilities there are. And so he always encouraged me. He was like, “Why don’t you learn how to code?”

Tobi:

What?

Nikki:

And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” I was like, “Learn how to code?” That’s never something that I’ve thought about. And so I took a girl development class and then I was like okay, this is pretty cool. Landed in a Grand Circus bootcamp. And I was like, “All right, I’m liking it.” And then after that I heard about the Detroit Labs Apprenticeship. And so I was fortunate enough to be accepted and celebrating five years this month.

Tobi:

Wow. That was just last week, right?

Nikki:

Yeah. Well actually, it’s coming up. I think tomorrow, the 22nd.

Tobi:

Congratulations.

Nikki:

Thank you, thank you.

Tobi:

Wow, I think I remember when you went in the program, I think I remember that.

Nikki:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Shout out to all the gamers. I got to give a shout out there.

Tobi:

Time flies so fast.

Nikki:

Yeah. I can’t believe it’s been five years. I’m fast.

Tobi:

Yeah, it’s amazing. So you just said about the apprenticeship, what about that program stood out to you?

Nikki:

It was just a very different program. At the time, everything that I was faced with was like, “Hey, you can learn how to code on your own. Or you can take a class here or take class there, or you can pay thousands of dollars to learn how to code.” And I had already gotten a master’s degree that I wasn’t using. And so I was like, “I don’t want to spend any more money on school or a school like activity,” I was not interested. And so I was really excited about that opportunity first and foremost, the fact that I wasn’t going to have to pay to learn.

And then just as I learned more about the apprenticeship, I love the well rounded approach of it. It wasn’t just like, “We’re going to teach you how to code and send you on your way. It’s like, we’re going to give you the soft skills. We’re going to give you the experience that you would get if you worked on a team fully.” And so I thought that was really unique and it was something that I hadn’t heard of. And so I was really excited about that.

Tobi:

That’s awesome. And I think, just talking about blacks and techs as well, I really loved the program because … although I think we don’t select in those criteria, but the holistic goal, and even the applicant pool, and how to get applications from all walks of life. Basically, I think the team does a great job.

Nikki:

Oh, absolutely. And just the fact that like, even for me, if you take my experience, there’s no other way for me personally, that I would have become a software developer. I wasn’t going back to school to get a CS degree, there was no other way. It was going to be either that or try to do it on my own. And the time between me trying to do it on my own and actually landing a job would have been … it’s difficult. It’s very difficult.

Tobi:

So for someone who didn’t have the traditional CS route, how’s your experience been like?

Nikki:

The experience has been challenging at times. Detroit Labs is a great company and super, super supportive, but still the experience when I worked in corporate for a while was really challenging. There are times where I felt the tech industry didn’t have space for me. You know what I mean? It’s like, “Okay. I am not only a black woman, I learned to code later in life. My general interests are different than a lot of the other people that are developers.” And so it just didn’t feel like there was space for me. And then there wasn’t a lot for me to relate to. So that was challenging and it made me feel like a huge sense of imposter syndrome. There are a lot of times where I questioned myself, “Am I supposed to be here? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Did I just send myself on the wrong path or waste my time,” wherever the case may be. And so those feelings are super challenging at times.

Tobi:

Does that still happen today? Is that-

Nikki:

Absolutely, sometimes it does. I don’t think that it’s the thing that’s going to stop happening. I think it’s a thing that I’ve shifted my mindset to learn how to deal with it differently. So it’s like, I recognize that I’m just in my head and getting in my own way. And I know now how to turn that off.

Tobi:

Got you. I know even for me I have the traditional CS background, and it’s interesting you shared about imposter syndrome because in two ways, I feel that a little bit in that just like, do I belong here? And stuff like that. But also is this … I don’t know if you’ve experienced this as well … it’s like, you feel this pressure to prove that you’re not stupid. It’s like you feel this pressure to deliver and prove that like, “Oh yes, I belong here.” But like, “Why do I have to do that?” With people that already know you, there’s that comfort in like, “Oh, they know I know my stuff.” But people that don’t know you it’s like, you have to do too much.

Nikki:

Yeah. I think that comes with being black in general. You always are told you got to work twice as hard and do more. And so I think that goes across industries, right?

Tobi:

That’s right.

Nikki:

I feel like a lot of people feel that way and so I think … I don’t know. For me personally, I think it’s even more highlighted in the tech industry because there aren’t very many developers of color or other people of color that work in tech.

Tobi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). You’ve shared some of your experience so far. And do you find commonalities between your experience and the experience of other blacks in tech as well?

Nikki:

Oh, absolutely. So when I first moved here and changed careers and all of that, one year I found the Detroit Black Tech group. And so they were hosting this photo shoot, which is really, really cool. It was at the Charles Wright Museum. And so basically, it was like one Martin Luther King Day. They hired a photographer and got all these people together and they’re like, “We want to highlight blacks in tech and Detroit.” And they were like, “Come out, you’ll get a free headshot.” At that particular photo shoot, people were able to get their makeup done for free.

Tobi:

That was nice.

Nikki:

It was really well done and super well executed. And so I go to this event and I’m like, “Okay, I need a new headshot. Let me go and get my picture taken.” And when I got there, I was so surprised because I met all of these amazing people that even though I didn’t work with them, they were out there. They existed, there were other blacks in tech in the city and just hearing their stories. And since then I’ve been involved in the group and just seeing so many commonalities between our stories and our journeys, it’s been a great journey to be able to communicate … or not communicate, to get together with people.

Tobi:

And share?

Nikki:

Yeah. And share, and help each other grow, and just have a different community to lean on. So it’s been great.

Tobi:

Yeah. It’s that community, which is a perfect segue to the next question I was going to ask you, it’s very powerful. And you’re very active in the black tech community, obviously, even from sharing about black and tech. What organizations, besides the ones you’ve mentioned of course, are you actively a part of?

Nikki:

Yeah, so definitely Detroit Black Tech is probably the one that I’m most involved in right now, but also I volunteer for TEALS, which is a Microsoft program that allows software developers to go and TA for … some of them do teach, I believe for computer science classes in high schools. Well, my class, I go to the first hour of my classes at 8:00 and I go twice a week. And so work with the students and as they’re learning it’s amazing because I’m getting to watch these students who are getting their introduction. Some of them are getting their introduction into computer science and learning how to code for the first time.

And so it’s really exciting for me to be able to be there and share my experience and let them know like, “Hey, don’t worry. If I was able to learn this, you will be able to learn it too. I learned a lot later.” Then I wasn’t 17 or 18 when I started learning, so I was like, “You can definitely do this.” And so it’s really awesome to be able to see those kids have their aha moment when they get something working or whatever. So that’s a great program that I love. People, everybody look up the TEALS program and then I also do Black Girls Code. So when I was working onsite for Detroit Labs, I was part of the team that actually launched the Detroit chapter of Black Girls Code a few years ago. And so I still try to volunteer as much as I can with them because I love their mission and all of what they’re doing as well.

Tobi:

In your own terms, why did you get involved and why do you continue? We can tell a little bit from how passionate you are about this whole process of being involved in the community. For you, what is that driving force in being a part and giving back in a way?

Nikki:

Yeah, for me, I guess when I was younger, when I was a kid way back when we were going to say how long ago … but when I was younger, being a software developer wasn’t something that I even knew that I could be. You know what I mean?

Tobi:

Sure. I didn’t know that. Yeah.

Nikki:

It was always like be a doctor, be a lawyer, or whatever the case might be. And so I was just like, “That’s crazy that I had never even knew that that was opportunity.” And then I just want to make sure that the generation behind me that they don’t have that same thing. I don’t want anybody else behind me to have that same story of like, “I didn’t know what was possible.”

Tobi:

This existed. Yeah.

Nikki:

Yeah. I want to make sure that they’re all exposed and they know what the possibilities are in the tech industry for them. And so that’s my leading passion for volunteering with children and things like that. And just share my story as well, because if I don’t share my story, who else is going to share their story. And if other people aren’t sharing their story, then it’s like, “We don’t know these things are happening.” And so I think it was just very powerful to say, “This is how I got into the tech industry. Didn’t have to get a computer science degree and I was able to change my career. So you should know about this.” And just the fact that tech is evolving, it’s not going anywhere, black and brown people need to be a part of all the things that are being built and all the technologies that are coming.

Tobi:

That is very valid. And I like that you mentioned that when you were younger, this is not something you saw. I usually share with my friends is like, it’s not a dream I could have probably dreamed because I just didn’t know about it. I was getting ready to go to med school. And then I was like, “Oh, I say backup for premed. Why not just do computer science?” And then I took computer science and that’s the end of the story. So having those kids see someone like yourself who is living the life, living the dream, as I was saying, it’s an encouragement, which is super powerful.

Nikki:

Thank you, thank you.

Tobi:

And so followup to that is, how do you see building that community and fostering community? How do you see that playing a part in the black tech experience going forward?

Nikki:

I think for me, it’s well, I love my job and I love being here or whatever the case may be. I think that it provides an energy that I don’t get all the time. Being able to go to that community it’s like people in that community relate to me 100%. They know my struggles, they know all sorts of things. And so just having that outlet, I think is super, super important. And then when you talk about diversity in tech and the work that goes into trying to change this industry, there’s so much emotional labor that comes with that. And sometimes you need to be able to let your hair down and relax and be like, “Okay, everybody understands me and understands what I’m going through, and what I’m fighting for, and why I’m fighting for this thing.”

And so I think that’s been super important to get together and also try to solution and figure out, what are the ways that we can have an impact on first, the city that we’re currently in and then on a national level and growing, growing real. And then, like I said before, mentoring the generations behind us like, what can we do to make sure that their experiences or their journeys are a little bit easier than ours?

Tobi:

That is so great. Because even as you said, just having that community where you can just chill out, just relax and not stress over. Or sometimes, of course, the realities that you can’t ignore, but just having people to bounce off stories and experiences is incredibly powerful. But of course, every community comes with its own challenges. What are some challenges that you faced so far?

Nikki:

Wanting to do so much, so little time like everybody. It’s a volunteer thing, we’re doing that work because we’re passionate about it and we want to see change. It’s not something that we’re getting paid for or anything like that. And so I think that there’s a lot of things that we want to accomplish as a black tech group that we won’t be able to get all of it done, but it’s like, we’re trying to do our part. So it’s just making sure that we can accommodate a wide spectrum of developers. So the developer that’s just curious and wants to learn about tech, but hasn’t had the opportunity to really dabble to the seasoned developers because there are a seasoned black developers that are out there.

So just making sure that our programming fits that full spectrum and making sure that we cover everybody. And then just making sure they’re making the time. The time is just really hard because there is even my ideas, I’m not even talking about the ideas of everybody else that’s involved. I have so many things that I want to execute on, but it’s like, you can’t do all of them. And so just being very selective on the things that you go after and thinking about putting on events that are going to benefit the community the most. And so just trying to narrow that down.

Tobi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So are there enough volunteers?

Nikki:

Yeah. We have a pretty strong community. As far as there being enough volunteers, I think that things rotate, right?

Tobi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki:

For Hacking With The Homies, the biweekly sessions that we do, those have been going for a year this month. So we celebrated a year, but it’s been a lot of time, and a lot of labor, and shout out to everybody that came together and put that together and that has been maintaining it. And it’s just like, it’s a lot, but we want to just make sure the quality of it is still good and things are going strong with that. And so it takes all hands on deck for that to be successful. So, yeah.

Tobi:

That’s great. That’s also a perfect segue to Hacking With The Homies conference that’s coming up?

Nikki:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tobi:

You want to tell us more about that?

Nikki:

Sure. So the Hacking With The Homies developer conference is the first developer conference with 100% percent focused on brown and black and brown software developers. So we’re super excited all of the speakers are black and we have representation from women and men equally. All of the speakers have a three slide limit, which is super exciting because they’re not going to just lecture and talk to you for a full day. And after these three slide limit, they are also required to have live code. And so they’re going to have a lot of code walkthrough. And all of the attendees are going to get to leave with access to those GitHub repos.

Tobi:

That is amazing.

Nikki:

Yeah. And we wanted to focus the shout out to Mack Hendricks who came up with this whole idea. And when he first mentioned it to me, I was like, “You are tripping. You want to do the whole conference.” I was like, “All right, but I’m on board. I used to be an event planner and it’s like, I can’t keep my hands off of things like that.” So I was like, “Yeah, of course, I’ll help with this.” But the other thing that I was saying was that, like I said, everybody’s going to leave with the GitHub repo. And so I think it’s just going to … Oh, that’s what I was going say. I went on my own tangent there.

So the other thing that I was going to say is that the technologies that we’re focusing on, we didn’t want to do just like, “Oh, come and learn how to build a website or whatever the case might be.” We wanted to talk about some things that people may not be super familiar with, but want a little bit more information about which is why the whole GitHub repo and access to the repo is going to be super important. So we’re getting some people set up and exposed to the technologies that they haven’t dabbled with just yet. So that’s super exciting.

Tobi:

When is this conference?

Nikki:

The conference is on Saturday, February 29th and it’s going to be at the Madison Auditorium.

Tobi:

Nice. I love that auditorium, by the way.

Nikki:

Yeah, it’s great.

Tobi:

We went for a conference there, I think last fall. It was so good.

Nikki:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Tobi:

Yeah, it was good.

Dan:

We have some questions. Are you all willing to answer a couple of them?

Tobi:

Oh yeah.

Nikki:

All right, all right.

Dan:

I kept three so far, so if you have more questions by all means, I’m paying attention.

Tobi:

Nikki’s ready.

Nikki:

Ready, ready.

Dan:

So I copied them down. What do you think it takes to get more people of color into tech?

Nikki:

I think that it still goes back to the exposure because I think that a lot of people see tech as this super difficult industry to get into when you have to be super good at math and you have to have all these requirements to get into. And I think just getting them to be willing to be exposed to the possibilities and dabble even like, “Hey, let’s sit you down and build a thing or here are the other possibilities.” Because when we talk about tech, we’re not only talking about being a developer, there are so many possibilities in the tech industry. And so just making sure that they understand what some of those possibilities are.

Dan:

Awesome. And then how have you made a space for yourself in the tech industry and then any advice for people of color in the tech industry?

Nikki:

How I’ve made space for myself? I think that, like I mentioned earlier, especially when I was going through the apprenticeship, I was really like my biggest blocker. I was just like, “Oh, I can’t do this.” One day I’m like, “Hey, I saw that thing.” And then I go home and I’m like, “Well, what was I thinking? What am I doing?” And so I think for me, it was just like I said before, getting out of my own way and learning how to manage the times in my mind, wonders to imposter syndrome and things like that.

And just understanding that I don’t have to be the stereotypical developer. I don’t have to play video games. I don’t have to do all of those things that people expect me to do. I can still be who I am and still be a developer and then also foster communities and things like that. And so I think that making space was just recognizing the fact that I don’t have to be a certain way to be in tech. I can still be me. And so I think that a lot of people need to realize that. So that’s how I’ve made space for myself, I feel.

Tobi:

That’s so powerful.

Nikki:

And I don’t remember what the second part of the question was, sorry.

Dan:

Yeah. Let’s see. Any advice for people of color in the tech industry.

Nikki:

Okay. Coming from me, it’s definitely going to be like, get involved with the community. Wherever you are, get involved with your local black tech scene. Get involved and give back. Those are the big two things that I would say. I feel like are almost the duty of a black person in tech. I feel like you have to give back and you have to share your experience, pave the way for others. Not too much pressure. The other thing I would say is just making sure that you’re not afraid to ask questions. That was another thing that I was afraid of early on in my career as well. It was just like, “Oh, I don’t want to sound stupid or I don’t want to come off the wrong way.” So it’s like, “Look, be unapologetically yourself, ask questions. If you don’t understand something, be comfortable with verbalizing that and admitting that because you’re not going to grow if you don’t that thing.”

Dan:

Awesome. All right. I got two more here.

Nikki:

All right.

Dan:

Based on your experience, what have been the main elements that allowed the development of this community in the tech sector?

Nikki:

The elements? I would definitely say the need, so that’s the first thing. Is like, there’s somebody that came together and recognize we have a need in this space. And so the people that started Detroit Black Tech, some of them are long time techies until they’re like … if you look around, like I said, once again, we’re in Detroit, one of the blackest cities and it’s like, but when you go to work, that’s not reflected. Why is that? You know what I mean? And so recognizing that need and then asking some of those hard questions,

Dan:

All right. Actually now two more and more keep coming in. Fantastic.

Nikki:

All right.

Dan:

How do you deal with brogrammers? I’ve never heard that term, I like the term. To be specific, it’s just the term.

Nikki:

Yeah, the term. Yeah, I’ve heard it before. I think for me, it goes back to just knowing who I am and being who I am. I don’t have to conform to this whole brogrammer thing or like what they like or do what they do. And as far as interactions, I think across any industry, I prefer direct feedback. If there’s a problem, let me know, talk to me about it. And so I’m going to do the same. And so I think just reciprocating that respect and just communicating with people, I think that that can break down any barrier.

Dan:

Yeah.

Tobi:

And just to amplify that a little bit, I think key, at least in my experience, and it just having that assurance in who you are as a black person, as the person that you are is you bring something else to the table that somebody else doesn’t and not allowing the stereotypical, like tech experience to overshadow. You don’t have to really conform to like certain things. You may eventually pick some things up here and there, but you don’t have to, you can just be yourself and hopefully people who you walk with, get to accept you that way as well.

Dan:

So it’s interesting. I think this is somewhat of a similar question based off your answers, what does being an ally to black tech look like?

Nikki:

I think it’s support. I think that’s one of the biggest thing, supporting those efforts. I cannot say enough how blessed I feel to work for a company like Detroit Labs, because literally they’ve been A, helped me get into the tech industry and have been super supportive of not only just the efforts that I’m doing, but also my growth. And so I think that being an ally it’s not always going to be about you, but just supporting somebody and contributing to their growth in ways that however you can, if that’s mentoring or doing whatever the case may be.

Tobi:

Yeah. And just asking, as an ally, sometimes maybe even taking the extra effort to be intentional about like, “Oh, do you want to do this thing? Or do you want to give them that opportunity to allow the person who is black and tech or minority to have the opportunities they would not have had?” Or they might not think like, “Oh, maybe I could do that.” But if, as an ally you say, “Oh, have you thought about considering yourself for that?” They’re like, “Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t think of that before.”

Nikki:

And then I will also add to that, managing your interactions. If you’re an ally and maybe you may not understand the experience of a black person in tech. But it’s like, you have to shift your mindset and manage your interactions with certain people to try to get some understanding of what they’re going through and where they’re coming from, that you can deal with them a bit better. Because I think that when people don’t do that, that’s when you get microaggressions and things like that. It’s like, you really have to have a shift happen as well. All of the work to make diversity and tech work or be successful can’t happen alone. It can’t just be people of color doing that work.

Tobi:

Yeah.

Dan:

Okay. Somebody would like you to repeat the event, information, date, place, time contact.

Nikki:

I’ll surely say.

Dan:

We’ll also make sure that we post that on all of our social channels as well.

Nikki:

Of course. So the event is going to be on Saturday, February 29. So we’re just over a week away. It’s at the Madison Auditorium. I don’t know if that person is familiar with the Madison, but Dan’s here, will post all of that information. It starts at 9:00 AM and tickets are definitely on sale. So kaboom, get tickets.

Tobi:

Nice.

Dan:

Awesome. Yeah. We’ll make sure all the appropriate details, links, and all that’s available. Another question, what resources did you use to help you along the way, YouTube, an app or was it just the apprenticeship?

Nikki:

Oh no. So the apprenticeship definitely helped me get that grounding. I think it depends on how somebody learns, but for me I’m really big on hands on. I can read a book all day. I can do all these things, but I really need to dig in and try it for myself. So for me, it was a lot of tutorials, a lot of YouTube, Udemy, all the things like that, that allowed me to get my hands dirty and try and experiment things.

Dan:

Yeah.

Tobi:

And very valid point is, it really depends on the person. I’m the exact opposite of Nikki. I read a lot more and I’m not a hands on sometimes. The first time I write this code or solve maybe a math problem is the very first time I’m actually doing it ever. But I’ve read about it for maybe weeks and weeks and weeks. So I’m more like read. So when I’m trying stuff out, I don’t get stopped because I get frustrated when I get stuck and I don’t know why I’m stuck. So it really depends like finding that best way you learn, whether it’d be reading, or YouTube, or did things to just be consistent in whichever method you choose.

Dan:

All right. I think that’s the last question, unless any others come in before I finish this sentence here.

Tobi:

One more question for Nikki, actually.

Nikki:

Oh okay. Wow.

Dan:

You have one more? Oh, by the way, you all are getting a lot of hi Nikki and hi Tobi’s.

Nikki:

Oh hi, hi.

Tobi:

Hi, hi.

Dan:

And you’re in the chat rooms on both LinkedIn and YouTube, a lot of hi’s.

Tobi:

So of all the things you’ve probably shared a lot today, as one takeaway from this interview today as a black person in tech, what is one piece of advice you want us to live for it? And then for allies who are watching, what is one piece of advice for them too?

Nikki:

Oh, wow, this is really good.

Tobi:

Definitely, yeah.

Nikki:

So I think one piece of advice for blacks in tech, I would definitely say if you are currently black and in tech, make sure, like I said before, that you are giving back to your community, make sure that you are just making things a little bit easier for everybody that’s coming behind you. You know what I mean? Give them the opportunity to know your experience, share your experience. Don’t hold that in, share that so that people know what’s possible. And then for allies, I go back to the support piece. Making sure that you’re being supportive and that you’re also within yourself doing the work to make this a safe … comfortable place for diversity in tech for people of diverse backgrounds.

Tobi:

Thank you so much.

Nikki:

All right. Thank you for having me. This is great.

Dan:

All right. Nikki, thank you for joining. Tobi, thank you for hosting.

Tobi:

You’re welcome.

Dan:

You did really well.

Nikki:

Literally good. Yeah.

Dan:

Maybe I don’t need to be on the show anymore. It’s just the Tobi show from now on. I think you get more hi’s than I do and that’s fantastic.

Tobi:

Oh hi, Dan.

Dan:

Oh, that felt good. Thanks. Anyways, don’t forget, it’s every other Thursday at 3:00. All of this stuff ends up being recorded and available on YouTube after, also on LinkedIn, I think it becomes a post and then you can click on it and hit play. And now you can actually see all of the interactions and comments and reactions on there as well.

Nikki:

Awesome.

Dan:

I think that’s it, right?

Tobi:

Yeah.

Dan:

Thank you to everyone behind the scenes and we will talk to you in about two weeks, except for LinkedIn, we might be on every single week, but not Labs Live. It might be something else. It could just be Tobi talking. We’ll see. 

 

Business + Engineering, chess master, and sports fan.