Re.engineer Magazine - Summer 2021

T R E N D I N G L E A D E R S

LET'S CHOP IT UP!

Q: You’ve had an amazing career thus far, stretching from Tech to Fashion to Marketing. What was the defining moment that inspired you to become an advocate for increasing more diverse representation in STEM? Naomi: My journey in STEM began at 6 years old when I built my first computer. My parents saw how fascinated I was about technology and enrolled me in several women in engineering workshops/camps throughout high school. My faves were the LEAD Computer Science Institutes at UC Berkeley and UVA where I spent a month at the college campuses. During these trips, I had the opportunity to visit various tech company offices. One thing for certain about the tech industry is that their work environments really take care of you. For example, Google has free food every 150 feet, a bowling alley, massage rooms, and you can even bring your dog to work! Although these perks were enough to make anyone want to work for these companies, I was really caught off guard about one thing. Diversity. As I toured Silicon Valley, I noticed there were very few employees that looked like me. I started to feel isolated and intimidated. I did a little research and discovered the alarming statistics around representation of women and minorities in tech. Silicon valley tech companies have employed an average of only 5% of black, hispanic, and indigenous talent. From this point on, I was determined to help improve the numbers. Q: At Re.engineer, we believe in challenging the status quo. How are you applying your entrepreneurial passion to addressing needs around the world? Naomi: In order to make the industry more equitable, products must be intentionally created for all users that they serve, and not just some. This means that talent from all backgrounds are needed in those rooms making their voices heard. The issue is, many tech learning programs aren’t made with

IN ORDER TO M A KE THE INDUSTRY MORE EQUIT A BLE , PRODUCTS MUST BE INTENTION A LLY CRE A TED FOR A LL USERS TH A T IT SERVES , A ND NOT JUST SOME .

underrepresented students in mind. In fact, ⅓ of minority students leave STEM majors. Diversity in STEM begins with inclusivity in education. Q: What is the most difficult decision you've had to make to pursue your destiny? Naomi: I started a web design company in college and it evolved into a Boss Business Market, a digital marketing agency that has served leaders and brands globally. I did not

work for anyone after college so that I could pursue entrepreneurship, so I made a huge sacrifice financially. My life would have looked very different with the stability of corporate income. If I were to go back, I probably still would not have traded the opportunity to have freedom and creativity because I accomplished so much through my own experiences and made an effort to learn the skills needed to grow my business exponentially.

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