I AM NOT Supposed To Be Here

Social Responsibility

Yolanda M Davis

“The career test indicates that you should focus on being a Counselor….”

As my school counselor reviewed the results of my career aptitude test I tuned out. Despite earning a spot in the Engineering program at the University of Maryland and being number 4 in my class, his statement to me was my first indicator that there was some thing or some system in play that really wanted me to look elsewhere. I never questioned its existence and at the time I didn’t care about it. My passion and drive to surpass all expectations of who I should be was something that I had done all of my life. Over the last 20 years working in a variety of fields within tech I have learned that it was these types of moments experienced by many women and people of color that caused them to change course and leave behind a career in technology or to avoid it altogether. I began to ask myself…how did I manage to get here? And most importantly how can I encourage others that they can and should be here too?

If you are a parent my hope is this talk will encourage you to invest in the passions of your children even if they fall outside your perspective of who they should be. If you are a student my goal is to provide the wisdom that I had to stumble through and learn along the way. And if you are women working in technology I am looking to encourage you in your confidence; to push you to take advantage of critical opportunities; and to remind you that you ARE right where you are supposed to be.

Overall my hope is that my journey will inspire your journey.