Karimah

Tell us about your journey into tech?
My journey into tech has been a love story. Falling in love with technology from an early age with ICT being my favourite subject at school I was in awe of the possibilities and endless opportunity provided by technology. I never quite knew what I wanted to do but I knew it had to do with computing. I, therefore, went to college to study a BTEC for General IT Practitioners. Having explored elements such as programming and computer architecture I stumbled across computer forensics and automatically knew that this was the path for me. It engaged my technical side but also my curiosity. After studying I joined the eDiscovery industry which is based on and highly reliant on technology and have now seen myself almost a decade later working in a software company specialising in a tool that I have used throughout my career.

How do you feel you have made a difference in what you do?
I feel that I have made a difference by showing that an ordinary girl who didn’t follow the teacher’s advice of going to Sixth Form has still been able to be successful.

I’ve shone the light on the eDiscovery industry to my community through platforms such as this and have promoted diversity within the industry and in all companies that I have worked in.

I’ve been very deliberate in sharing my story to inspire others who want to get into technology and have recently launched a series for other Black Women in tech to share their stories.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?
My two biggest achievements have made me the woman I am today and will always be pivotal moments that I look back on if ever experiencing self-doubt.

The first being my recognition as one of the Top 100 BAME leaders in tech listed in the Financial Times in 2018. This was such a big achievement for me because it was not only recognition of the work I was doing to promote diversity in my industry – sharing my journey, sitting on the inaugural board of directors for Women in eDiscovery – but also recognition of the work I was doing to promote and celebrate black excellence through the Powerlist Black Excellence Awards and the EY Black History Month Ball. Whilst these activities were done all through passion, being recognized for the work is a reminder that everything you do makes a difference.

The second achievement is a personal one in which I embarked on a 200km trek through the Sahara desert. Not only was this a test of my fitness and stamina but also an opportunity for me to spend time to truly get to know myself and from this experience I came away knowing that I am enough!

How do you think people can go about making a difference, in regards to spreading awareness of Black Women in tech?
It is the role of us successful female Black technologists to spread the word and make the world know that we exist. We need to do this by sharing our stories, our experiences and our learnings. Supporting each other and those who are still finding their way as mentors, coaches and confidants.

What do you believe are the most effective ways to engage other ethnicities and genders to embrace diversity?
There are copious amounts of evidence showing the benefits of diversity, however many argue that “there just isn’t diverse talent out there“. I, therefore, believe that the most effective way to encourage and almost make it impossible for others not to embrace this diversity is by continuing to excel at all that we do and showcasing our talents and achievements. Black girl magic is not just a phrase it is a fact!

What is the best advice you ever received?
I’ve had so many gems shared with me throughout my life but the advice that I’m currently living by is “you can only win or learn”.

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