Executive Director at Afribbean Tech Collective
Congratulations to Afua Boateng, one of our 2020 Pass It On Award Winners.
Afua didn’t always see herself pursuing a career in tech. She initially planned to study Geography or Earth Science and gravitated towards Computer Science because of her strong background in physics, chemistry, and advanced math. She admits, “It was not clear to me what a major in Computer Science was. I’m going to be a senior this fall and it is quite clear to me that this was definitely the best decision I made.”
Of course it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Afua shares how she was truly able to excel after getting a handle on the imposter syndrome, that too often creeps up on many of us.
In my first two years of college, though I was always helping other women, I did not think I’d make it in a career in tech. The imposter syndrome became manageable only when I started living despite the fear. I did this by taking on projects that I did not think I had the skill set for, taking the time to build those skills and actually getting the work done.
As a Scholar at GHC19, Afua not only solidified her tech pursuits, she tapped into a shared passion to bring other women along with her.
As we tried to get into the opening keynote, starting a conversation with the person standing behind me opened my eyes to the fact that African and Caribbean women share similar struggles due to our shared history, our cultural similarities and our parallel socio-economic landscape. We got an idea and created the Afribbean Tech Collective with a vision to create spaces for African and Caribbean women to leverage technology as a tool to engage with their cultures, art, and the world around them while pursuing creative and tech-based careers.
She is incredibly proud of the work she and others do to support African women in tech. Afua credits Yielding Accomplished African Women, as the first organization that gave her the chance to create real opportunities for engagement with African women who were interested in pursuing tech careers. Being part of a supportive community gave her the energy to launch her own podcast, The Code in My Fro, which provides a platform to talk about tech and lifestyle topics with African and Caribbean women, building communities and creating opportunities for each other.
Her advice for other women in tech is both encouraging and uplifting.
A career in technology requires constant learning and openness to the unknown. Be shameless in your pursuit and thirst for knowledge, success and greatness. Greatness does not have any kind of blueprint, so stay true to your values, focus on yourself, and be your own biggest competitor. It’s not going to be easy, but always remember that other women have gone before you and succeeded. Do your best and always remember to pay it forward, as others have done for you. You got this!
Congrats again to Afua and all our 2020 Pass-it-On Award winners!