How did your career in tech unleash itself?
I took a fairly traditional route into tech, starting with a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. I then went to work for a medical software business. After spending a number of years at that company I was really keen to gain experience in different sectors and broaden my skills, so I became a contractor. I launched my own business in 2016 (Furnishful.co.uk) when my partner and I recognised the difficulties people have when buying furniture online.
What are your business and lifestyle rituals to stay ahead?
I follow a few practices to help keep me focused and centred. These include meditation and gratitude, as well as general physical activities such as swimming and yoga. I also regularly attend networking events to hear about other people’s journeys. This has enabled me to meet some really inspiring entrepreneurs.
What books/podcasts/network/resources do you recommend for someone trying to achieve better results within their career or entrepreneurial journey?
Lost and Founder – Rand Fishkin
How I Built This with Guy Raz- NPR Recode Decode – Kara Swisher
I think you should try to find your network/tribe – people who are at the stage you want to be at and accomplishing the things you want to accomplish. There are so many events, meetups and groups available who are there to help support (see Eventbrite.co.uk and Meetup.com).
What do you believe are the most effective ways to engage other ethnicities and genders to embrace diversity?
I think it’s about showing the benefits of diversity, for the products and services we build and for the kind of society we want to live in, e.g. In a business context diversity can create better products because of the variety of experience that diverse teams bring. I feel that if people become more aware of this, they will be more likely to embrace diversity.
What actions/decisions did you take that had the biggest impact on your career?
There are three main things:
1. I became a contractor, which gave me experience in many different environments and sectors. This was quite tough at times because you are thrown in at the deep end, but it forces you to learn very quickly and become more confident.
2. Started actively networking – speaking to and learning about other people’s experiences.
3. Increased my self-learning by pushing myself to gain new skills (not just in tech but business, public speaking etc).
What advice do you want to give to black women entrepreneurs or professionals who to achieve more within the tech sector?
1. What do you think black women in tech should start doing?
Build their own products and projects, however small or large. If you’re interested, learn to code (there are various groups that can help with this). If you don’t want to code yourself then really try and understand the process of building and maintaining a tech product.
2. What do you think black women in tech should keep doing?
Keep showing up. Keep creating spaces where we support each other and learn from each other’s successes and failures.
3. What do you think black women in tech should stop doing?
Stop thinking you need to know everything before you start – everybody is learning as they go.
If you could advise your younger self, what would you say?
Embrace your quirkiness and speak up, some people will get you and some people won’t – and that’s fine!