108: RECAP: HUE Tech Summit: The Power Within

 Carrie Birge is a former museum professional turned tech worker who spends her free time exploring the great state of Indiana, volunteering, enjoying the outdoors, and raising two mediocre cats. She is a featured columnist in the #1 ranked fan-run hockey paper in the NHL and an avid karaoke singer. In retrospect, she's probably more of an Amy March than a Jo March.

Michele Heyward is founder and CEO of PositiveHire, a recruiting software company engineered to bridge the gap between enterprises and women of color. Michele’s vision is to not only help women of color find inclusive workplaces, but to prepare enterprises to receive them, and help those enterprises recruit them. This approach makes PositiveHirethe premiere recruiting platform for women of color professionals.

Michele has a B.S. degree in civil engineering and M.S. degree in industrial management, both from Clemson University.  A South Carolina native, Michele enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and making connections and engaging with others on social media.

At HUE Tech Summit, you can look around the room and see women ahead of you in their career, women who were with you in their career and women who were going to follow in your footsteps. The women ahead of you and you hope that you could keep going, they gave you energy that there was opportunity for you to grow in the tech industry. The women behind you gave you the fortitude not to give up. The women behind you gave you the will to keep pushing so it will be a little less strenuous for them.

We met for one day in one place and became one voice, that voice was Hue Tech Summit. That voice was women of color. That voice was women of color in Tech. Hear that voice. Build its power. Doesn’t it sound beautiful?

HUE Tech Summit was about the power within women of color. It was about owning who we are. From our varying shades of melanin skin tones to the various textures of our hair to body shape, we had the POWER WITHIN to drive the future of tech.

The place where my technical background was not doubted. My technical background was not questioned. My technical background was valued.

We discussed our career goals and struggles. We talked about our successes and self-doubts. We talked and connected. It was about saying you may be alone in your workplace, but you’re not alone. It was about believing in each other.

As I looked around the room, I smiled. I laughed. And I thought to myself, look at all the other purple unicorns in this room. The world would have you believe we don’t exist. The world would have you believe there was a pipeline issue. The issue isn’t with us as it is with the workplace. I was home, in my Wakanda.

HUE Tech Summit was not just a gathering of women of color. It wasn’t about talking about the lack of diversity and inclusion in corporate America. It wasn’t about feeling powerless in your workspace. HUE Tech Summit was about supporting the POWER WITHIN each other.