Hello ya'll and all. My "Get to Know" feature has me really excited. After all, having an opportunity to talk about everyday difference makers is a lot more satisfying than getting to know what (insert celebrity's name) is doing or who (insert musician's name) is beefing about. And as most bloggers share pieces of themselves, I really enjoy imparting knowledge about those that are making a difference around me.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once quoted that we should "not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." So with that said, I am proud to introduce a trailblazer and true role model...
Allow me to introduce Anjuan Simmons, a business executive who specializes in helping companies synchronize their information technology and business strategies. He is currently a Texas A&M MBA student studying core business subjects such as finance, accounting, management, marketing, and strategy as well as core technology topics. Prior to entering the MBA program, Anjuan worked for ten years at Accenture as a technology consultant where he designed and implemented technical architecture and application integration solutions. He also has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Anjuan lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and their three children. When not working, he likes to engage in reading, photography, international travel, and online social networking.
(Anjuan shares the following message with us)
Black, Male, and in IT, by Anjuan Simmons
I have spent the past few hours thinking about what it means to be an African American man working in the information technology industry. This was caused by hearing an offhand remark said by someone who was a guest on one of my favorite podcasts, Buzz Out Loud. I posted my thoughts to the Buzz Out Loud Forum, and I have to admit to not being surprised that many of the people who replied had no idea what I was talking about. Now, I absolutely do not think that the person who made the comment is a racist. In fact, I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. However, I also realize that she has no idea how what she said could be seen as racially insensitive. This leads me to the conclusion that it is very difficult for Non-Blacks to understand what it is like to be a Black person.
I followed the path that many people who work in Information Technology took. I had an early interest in computers, and I purchased my family’s first computer (a Commodore 64) from a flea market using my allowance when I was in the fifth grade. I was a straight A student and joined Math and Science Clubs. I grew up reading Tolkien, collecting comic books, and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I majored in Electrical Engineering in college. The number of computers and gadgets in my house is limited only by my budget and the tolerance of my wife.
However, I work in an industry with very few African American men. Out of the thirty or so supervisors I have had in a decade of working as an information technology consultant, only one was an African American man. Every now and then I still encounter a client who can’t believe that I am there to represent my company. I have to go out of my way to prove my credentials and competency in those situations. (read more here)
Got a "tech" question, just hit up Anjuan.