Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States that celebrates diversity and Black achievement. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
This year, Intelex continues our support of Black History Month by spotlighting four of our Black employees every Monday in February. Hassan Joseph, Jade Shortt, Zee Ndlovu and Tatiana Gomes will discuss their roles at Intelex, the reasons why they entered the tech field, their mentors and what inspires them. Please join us every Monday to celebrate Black History Month and diversity at Intelex.
Our first profile is Hassan Joseph, who has been a Team Lead for our consultants in the services department for four and a half years. He helps them with their day-to-day work, provides coaching and mentoring and handles their performance reviews.
Hassan, what do you like most about working at Intelex?
I like working with the people. Many of the folks we have here are very helpful, kind and empathetic, which I think stems from the culture we have developed at Intelex.
What do you like about working in tech? What are some of your challenges?
I like that technology is always changing and there are always new things that can be done. I haven’t come across any challenges per se, but one that I can see is that with technology changing so much, it means that the learning must be constant to take advantage of opportunities.
Are there challenges to being Black in tech?
There are challenges to being Black in general. I haven’t faced any myself but some of what I have heard and seen is that Black people don’t seem to have a place in tech. I am not sure if it is because of stereotypes or racism, but you look at leadership in many tech companies and you can see that there are very few Black people. That needs to change.
Did you have a mentor and if so what’s the best piece of advice they gave you?
Sadly, I did not have a mentor, all the advice I have gotten is just asking people I meet questions and reading, lots of reading.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into your line of work?
You do not need a degree in computer science to work in tech. There are many jobs in the sector that do not require it. Translate the experience you already have into something that would help you be successful in tech and use that to get your foot in the door. That’s what I did.
Do you have a quote that inspires you?
“Take the best that exists and make it better.” – Henry Royce (Rolls-Royce). I love this quote because that is what we do every day working in technology.
The Theme of Black History Month: Black Health and Wellness
Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement. The theme of this year’s Black History Month, which starts Feb. 1, is “Black Health and Wellness.” We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic in which racism has been labeled a “public health crisis” and there is an ever-growing awareness about the ways in which African Americans have been disproportionately affected by health concerns.
Keeping in mind that this year’s theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness. What, if any, is the correlation between what we do at ILX and this year’s theme?
Intelex has a very noble mission of ending death on the job by 2050 for everyone, which is great. However, the kinds of issues that Black people face on the job are not always related to the kind of work they do. Many of the issues are related to racism in the workplace. Whether that is not getting opportunities to move into better roles or being targeted by their coworkers, I believe those are some of the things that impact Black health and wellness.
The stress of wondering if today is the day your coworkers go too far with their racism or that job you know you are qualified for and would be great at was not offered to you or anyone that looks like you. The stress of working hard and not being able to buy healthy food options because your income is not enough to pay rent, pay bills and take care of your household.
If we want to examine Black health and wellness, we need to look at what about the workplace is impacting that and put solutions in place to resolve it.