I often feel that if I were a different color or a different gender, my life would be completely different, given the professional talents I've been told I have.
Soon after I graduated I became an IT project manager at Electronic Data Systems, which Hewlett-Packard(HPQ) later acquired. I became a leader of projects like the Windows 7 deployment at General Motors and I later moved to General Electric(GE) to gain more leadership experience.
Unfortunately, I've sometimes felt like the bulk of African-American people I saw at my jobs were janitors and security guards. Meanwhile, women don't seem to be the project-delivery managers; instead they're running the training. Sometimes I feel like, is this even possible? Will I be a CIO someday, like I want to be? It's hard to think so when you don't have many role models proving it's possible.
I don't feel comfortable with my colleagues, because it feels like an old boys club. They're talking sports and hitting the golf course, which is where they're making connections and having real conversations. I would love to take part, but I don't relate to them in that regard -- and I think that hurts me. I don't want to pretend to be something I'm not, like, "Hey, guys, catch the game last night?"
Sometimes I want to give up in tech because I fear I will never, ever sit in a conference room with six people who look like me. Sometimes I think perhaps I will be one of very few to blaze this trail. I am very optimistic for the future, and I think we'll see more African-American leaders eventually.