You ever walk into an event and immediately feel like you’re at a family reunion? That’s how I felt on Tuesday walking into the tech tea party at Blue1647. Trust and believe when I say everyone left there feeling inspired and motivated after this candid tea session.
The 3 panelists who delivered the piping hot tea were: Star Cunningham (CEO & founder of 4D), Dima Elissa (CEO & Founder), and Dineo Seakamela (Branding Director of Black Tech Mecca and Oja Express); and they held NOTHING back that night. They shared all their advice, knowledge, and experiences of being an African-American women in the tech industry. Now I could sit and quote these amazing women all day, but to save time I will highlight 5 main points these women taught me the other night.
- “Women set the table, but don’t take a place at the table.” -Dineo Seakamela
So true! Women do so much for other people and sometimes this results in us neglecting ourselves. How dare we?! That has to end! It’s our time ladies… Time to pursue our goals and our wants whole-heartedly and to make things happen. Today is the day to start making things happen for YOU, not anyone else.
2. “Never let ’em see you sweat… Emotional resilience wins the day.” -Dima Elissa
So many people will try to intimidate you or put pressure on you waiting to watch you burst! Don’t let the haters win by giving into their negativity. Give them a taste of their own medicine by having them watch you succeed and be the fighter that you know you are.
3. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” -Dineo Seakamela
Men always take risks. Their forever jumping into without hesitation but women, we often calculate every little step. Women need to start following me in this aspect. Stop waiting for the “right time” or trying to analyze all the steps (even the future ones).You are ready! You are ready RIGHT NOW! And don’t you ever forget it.
4. “I thought I knew everything but I didn’t have a voice at the table. Seek your voice and share it!” -Dima Elissa
Always, ALWAYS share your knowledge. It might be scary being the only person who looks like you in a room but you got there for a reason so DO NOT hold back. Remember you’re worthy and your words are worth hearing. Even if your voice shakes make sure you share what comes to mind because you never know, it might be the next big thing.
5. “You ALL have the power to help yourself and someone else — all you have to do is DO IT.” -Star Cunningham
We’re in a time where women in tech are a real thing (and we are here to stay). We need to help each other (and ourselves). Be it by being a mentor and sharing our resources with others or being your own biggest fan. One thing that stuck with me is when Star mentioned that she wrote a $250,000 check for herself for her company. If that isn’t supporting yourself I don’t know what is!
Now I know you all probably wish you were at this event to hear the tea live. Well good news is you can watch the whole event here or check out #1919TechTeaParty. Take a look and let me know if you enjoyed the “tea” much as I did!
Leave me a note in the comments with your response to the tea or some great advice you’ve gotten recently!