See It to Be It : STEM Education (w/ Dr. Natoshia Anderson)

Amy C. Waninger sits down with Dr. Natoshia Anderson, the CEO and founder of Smart STEM, LLC, to chat about her career journey and more. Check the links in the show notes to connect with her!

Dr. Natoshia Anderson is on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Check out her personal website.

Click here to send Tristan a submission!


SPEAKER 1 0:00

There is no such thing as races. None.

SPEAKER 2 0:04


SPEAKER 1 0:04

It’s just a human race scientifically. Anthropologically, racism is a construct a social construct, and it has benefits. It has, money can be made off of it in, people who don’t like themselves can feel better. Because of it, it can describe certain kinds of behaviour that are wrong or misleading. So it has a social function, racism. But race can only be defined as a human being. If the racist white person, I don’t mean the person who is examining his consciousness and so on, doesn’t understand that he or she is also a race. It’s also constructed, it’s also made, and it also has some kind of service ability. But when you take it away, I take your race away. And there you are all strung out. And all you got is your little cell. And what is that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? I still strong, still smart. You still like yourself, if you can only be tall, because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is, white people have a very, very serious problem. And they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it. You don’t think you will ever change and write books that incorporate white, white lives into them substantially? In a substantial way, you can’t understand how powerfully racist that question is any as you could never ask a white author when you’re going to write about black whether he did or not, or she didn’t. Even the inquiry comes from a position of being in the center and being used to being in the center used to being in the center.

SPEAKER 3 2:30

What’s going on y’all this is Zack we live in corporate. And if you can’t tell, I am exhausted. Still, while weak, I think like many of us, I to continue to be unsurprised, yet disappointed and depressed at the reality that is white supremacy in this country, and compounded by that. White folk’s inability to hold themselves accountable when it comes to their own white supremacist behaviour. But I think what this situation reminded me of is that white supremacy is integral to the societal structures within America. That’s why so many people were able to walk in the Capitol and threaten the lives of elected officials. That’s why people lost their lives, because they were allowed to run rampant in our nation’s capital. People continue to say we know what would have happened if it was black lives matter. And what’s that’s true. We know, we know. And it’s exhausting. I believe that this event will be a turning point for Believe it or not a lot of black and brown folks at work. Because as much as we can point to the horrors of that day, the insurrection and the treasonous behaviours of Trump supporters, many of us know that that same level of privilege and power is exuded by white folks at work all the time. The reality is, is that White people in the workplace are empowered to do so much more. And get away with so much more and get many more chances and be given the benefit of the doubt, to be extended the benefit of the doubt in ways that black and brown people just simply can’t imagine. The points of scrutiny and accountability aren’t the same. What good looks like is not the same. And that reality is so defeating. I don’t know. What needs to happen? For white folks, to hold white folks accountable for white supremacy, for white supremacist behaviours. I don’t. I don’t, because we can talk about what people are going to do after the fact. It doesn’t change the fact that this happened. And it was a coordinated attempt. It’s the audaciousness of it. That is appalling. And I don’t know, like as I sit here, not with like three points of feedback for executives. I sit here without long eloquent words. I sit here, trying to keep it a bean which, which, because that’s what we do real talk in a corporate world. But I do know that this cannot continue. And so when I talk about this being a turning point, for black and brown folks at work, what I mean is I do believe, and I hope that this galvanizes people, black and brown folks and aspirational allies, to seek justice at their jobs, to seek the righting wrongs, to speak truth to power and to leverage their frustrations for liberation. To advocate for one another. And to just do what’s right. We’re not better than this. This is who we are. Not me. And not we as in black and brown people but y’all white people. America as a whole. This is who y’all are. Right? I have nothing else to say. But I wanted to come on here and say something. Because the moment demanded it. I’m really excited. With that being said, for us to share this latest episode of C to B. Make sure y’all check this out. The next thing you’re going to hear is going to be the tapping with trust and No. And then we’re going to go to ABC monitor. From there, we’ll get let y’all go take care yourselves. Be safe. Catch you later.

SPEAKER 4 8:15

Happy New Year living corporate. I hope you all had a safe, healthy and relaxing holiday season. This year we’ll mark two years since I started providing tips under the living corporate brand is crazy how time flies. Each week, I’ve developed tips on topics I think are useful or essential for us to discuss ranging from resumes and cover letters to networking in LinkedIn. I’ve heard from many of you that these tips have been helpful. And for that I’m so glad, but I wanted to see if we can step it up a notch. I started this show to try and help professionals navigate their careers through short form tips. However, each of our career journeys are different and sometimes general advice may not be the best fit for your particular situation. This leads me to receiving text emails and DMS asking for more tailor suggestions. That got me to thinking this year I want to switch things up a bit. I want you all to get as much value out of the information provided as possible. What better way to do that than to take submissions from you all. This is going to be a simple process, you’ll just need to visit forward slash tapin Tristan that’s You’ll also find the link in the show notes. Once there you’ll be asked to provide your name your email in case we need clarification, job title, industry and your question. You’ll also be asked if you want your name to be used or if you want me to use a pseudonym to keep your identity as confidential as possible. I will review the submissions and choose one to address on the show each week. So what type of things am I looking for? Maybe you have a unique situation and you’re not sure how to address it. Your resume cover letter on LinkedIn. Maybe you have a situation at work you aren’t sure how to handle. Or maybe you’re trying to transition your career and you’re not sure where to start. Those are just some of the things I envision you all sending in. But please don’t limit yourself to only those. As long as it’s within the career realm. I’ll take the submission. Now, be mindful, I like to keep these episodes short. Please try to keep your submission short. Otherwise, we may need to modify it or choose a different one. I hope this will provide an avenue for us to engage more and discuss the topics you all want to discuss. Now, this will only work if you all actually submit your questions, issues, concerns or advice you think may be helpful for others. So make sure to visit the forward slash tap interesting. And we’re going to get started ASAP. Thanks for tapping in with me today. I look forward to hearing from you all soon. This show was brought to you by chestnut lay field. Resume consulting, check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at lay field. Resume or connect with me Tristan lay field on LinkedIn.

SPEAKER 5 11:08

Natoshia Anderson, I am so glad to have you on the show today. How are you?

SPEAKER 6 11:13

I am great. And I am I am equally as Glad to be here.

SPEAKER 5 11:20

You are so radiant. And I just love your energy every time you know we’re on something together, we’re in the same thread on social media, which is where we interact the most I think it’s just your energy is just so infectious. And I just love it. And then knowing that you are a woman in STEM, and you’re trying to build, you know, this whole talent pipeline and, and really build welcoming environments for young women of color in particular and prepare them for the world of work in STEM. This is the perfect, perfect guest for see it to be at y’all. Because you’re living this every day. So tell us a little bit about your company smart stem and what you do.

SPEAKER 6 12:07

Okay, so smart stem, it’s a stem consultant business. And underneath that, because that’s sort of this broad kind of okay, murky thing, what it what exactly does she do? So we can, we can break that down into two main focuses, and maybe three. So follow me. The first part is mentorship for young professional women, minority women in STEM, so I do one on one coaching. Because that environment, that world that they’re entering into, is one that has not been prepared for them. And so I don’t want them to walk in and some of them have are already there. But they they’re having trouble navigating that space. So my job is to make sure that they are equipped with the right tools, the right attitude, the right tools, they already have the skills. So it’s not a matter of technical skills, it’s a matter of how to fit into the culture not even fit in, but how to navigate the culture because that’s the thing, and how to deal with environments, in a personal relationships with the men in the office, how to not compete with other women in this space. So if there’s one woman there, you know, the idea that is that they can’t be too. And don’t let them both be minority, then they’re sort of pitted against each other. So anyway, so those are some of the things that we talk about in group settings and one on one sessions. And then on the other side of that, while we’re teaching the young women how to walk and navigate in this case, we’re dealing with the backside of it because we have to change the culture like that’s the we have to change the culture and the environment. So I work with corporations on talking through diversity and inclusion issues around racial and gendered diversity and inclusion issues. So like, how do we change the issue? How do we change the environment and the culture if we’re not having those conversations on the back end with corporations? So we’re talking about unconscious bias, how to recognize those things, how to change the environment, we know, it’s not going to be an easy thing. I mean, I think I read something the other day where it says it takes about two and a half, three years for a culture to actually change. So that means you have to be starting now. But you’re not going to see results for another three years. So how do you do that? And stay the course and know that it’s working. So what are your diversity efforts, and it can’t just be this picture thing. I’m going to hire black ladies say she’s the director of diversity and inclusion, but we’re not going to do anything. So we try to help them put some on to that diversity inclusion thing. Some I also work with schools to help shore up their idea of what diversity and inclusion means in terms of their curriculum, what they’re doing with their students, making sure that minority students and in particular minority girls are getting the same opportunities that any other kid would get. And then providing some of those opportunities helping them design them or Come up coming up with those activities myself, and then help ensure that they are able to implement them at school. So that’s it. And then, then that’s it.

SPEAKER 5 15:09

That’s like, I’m out here changing the whole world. But that’s all I’m doing.

SPEAKER 6 15:14

Well did recently. So the third kind of piece that sort of came, I feel like this, this portion has been sort of a guard duty is that I recently wrote a book called ABC engineering, and it’s a children’s book and by children’s book, really, literally mean birth to five. So it teaches kids their ABCs using engineering terms, and the E book is available right now. And if you had told me, at any point in my life, that I wouldn’t be writing a children’s book, I would have given you the blank stare, like, I don’t understand the words you’re saying. But I am. I am a believer that when you when it comes to you, and things are given to you in this way that you don’t say no. So I believe this is a god moment. And so I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity to put this book into as many hands as possible. We know kids, everybody’s learning their ABCs. And I think that it’s a really cute book, if I do say so myself, and have more books to come. So that’s, that’s a new thing I’m doing.

SPEAKER 5 16:31

I love it. I love it. And, you know, tell me a little bit about your professional background before you started your company. Because I think it’s important for people to understand, right? You don’t just like wake up one day and say, with no experience, right? With no real world experience, most of us don’t anyway, with no real world experience, say, Oh, I’m going to go, I’m going to create a company to solve these huge problems and industry that I’m passionate about for no particular reason. Right? So this came from somewhere. So it’s about that.

SPEAKER 6 17:01

It’s okay. So I always tell people that I was that kid. I was that kid. I was the kid that that would break up my toys and try to reimagine them as other things. Like my Barbie dolls. Were not just my Barbie dolls. My mom bought us because I’m a twin. So I have a twin sister who is the total opposite of me. But so I was always the one getting us in trouble. And she was always the one getting us out of trouble. And so and we still live by this by that mantra. So I’m the troublemaker. She’s the peacemaker. And so that was that was me growing up, I was the one breaking up lamps to figure out how they worked. I was the one who we would get, like a one of the early remote control cars. And I think it may have worked, like one day before I was like, I want to see what’s on the inside. Like, I want to see how what makes it go what, what’s this motor about? Right? How does the battery were in? So that was me, it was always me. So it surprised absolutely no one when I said that I wanted to be an engineer, when I really figured out what engineering was. And that actually wasn’t until junior year in high school, I thought I was going to be an architect. Because I really love to draw and I was good at it sounds like I’m going to go build and design houses had no really real idea about what that was. And then I joined a program called inroads in that is what they do, they basically expose minority students to, they just give us lots of opportunity to engage in fields like this, you know, Business Finance, STEM related ones. And, and I chose Of course, still, I thought again, thought I was going to be an architect. And but they introduced me to engineering and I was like, wait a minute. Okay, so maybe it’s not architecture, maybe it’s this thing. So mechanical engineering was my choice. I wouldn’t tell anyone to choose your college major by, you know, a PowerPoint presentation where you get to know, just, you know, generic definition of engineering, but that’s how I chose mine. It worked out well for me, I wouldn’t tell you to do that. But then when I actually got into those classes, when I got into Georgia Tech, as a mechanical engineering major, I started doing those classes. And I was like, Okay, this I understand this, I understand how to like how to design something, how the pieces fit together to make a cargo make, to make this thing do what I want it to do, like that made perfect sense. In my mind. Physics was my favourite subject in high school, it continued to be my favourite subject in college along with my manufacturing classes. It just made sense. It made sense to me like mechanical engineering, so and it’s so broad, it’s the most.

SPEAKER 5 19:52

It’s the thing you couldn’t not do.

SPEAKER 6 19:54

It was the thing could not do and it’s the broadest of all of the engineering. So there’s it runs the A swath of other gamuts. So send manufacturing, it’s like there’s a little bit of coding, there’s some science in it. It’s like all of it. So that’s what I did it, I just sort of, I found the thing that I was supposed to be doing at that point in my life. Now, if you had told me that I would be an entrepreneur at this point in my life, again, I would have looked at you with a blank stare, like what I don’t understand what you’re saying. This is by far the hardest thing I’ve done. I mean, I’ve done I’ve been a teacher. I’ve taught at the college level engineering courses, some computer aided design courses, 3d animations. And I’ve been I’ve been I’ve been a director at a college where I was in charge of STEM stuff, and stem offerings for the minority students at the college making sure that they got scholarship and internship opportunities, then I’m morphed into, I say more, and morphed into a dean where I was in charge of, I want to say 10, different programs. Some of them weren’t even stem, but they couldn’t figure out where to place them. So they gave them to me. So I always say I was the Dean of the of the misfit children. But we made it work. So we did everything from engineering, engineering, technology, 3d printing, to like television, film, videography, and early childhood education, like all of those were in the same school. And I felt like, you know, again, one of those opportunities, where it’s like, Okay, how do how do these things work together. And so what it, what became very clear to me was trying to pair up the early childhood, faculty and staff with television and film, helping them understand some engineering, technology, terminology, and how those things work together actually did work. They were so different, the faculty, and the students were so different and see the breakdown of the stereotypes between them. So it was almost like, there were things that were happening inside our school where the faculty members actually really talk to each other, which I thought was so interesting, because they were, again, all these misconceptions about what an engineering person looks like, and how they talk and what they believe. And the same thing about early childhood. Like, they’re all feely and touchy. And they just love the little children and that there’s nothing tactical, or, or pieces of leadership in in in that arena. And I’m like, No, they, they don’t walk into a classroom with little kids. And just like, just do what you want, you know, that’s not what happens. They have to be leaders in that classroom. And they have to know their stuff, because they’re dealing with people every day, you just don’t roll in there and be like, I don’t know we’re doing today. So it’s sort of helped us break down those walls where we could learn how to work together. And so I’ve used those lessons, as I’ve walked into entrepreneurship. And I always have to back up and say, what I’m doing now with things I’ve always done, just, I just wasn’t getting paid for them. And so when I made the decision to walk away from the college, after being there for 13 years, there wasn’t a person that I told this idea to like, yeah, I want to go and do this. There was not a person that was surprised that said, oh, girl, no, and everybody’s like, right, you should have done this. Five years ago, you should have done this eight years ago, you should you Right. And so I was like, Oh, I mean, it’s surprising, it was surprising, but at the same time was like, Okay, well, I guess that’s confirmation that I’m walking in a space where I’m supposed to be, and I’m doing the things that I know to do, and how I know to do them. So I’m sure that there are many other people who are doing things that are similar, and they do them in their own way based on their own experiences. And so I’m just doing the same.

SPEAKER 5 23:58

So it occurs to me that your colleagues have been watching you re engineer and take apart and see how the inner workings of engineering work. And now you’re re-engineering engineering. Yes, right. Instead of re-engineering the remote control car, you’re looking at, like the guts of this whole ecosystem? And what are the pieces and components that make it move? And how do we, you know, it’s, you’re doing the same thing, just with an abstract concept, rather than, you know?

SPEAKER 6 24:31

And it’s much harder,

SPEAKER 5 24:33

For sure. I’m sure it is. But thank goodness we have you know, we have folks like you who can you know, who can come at it from that perspective, right and look at it systemically and look at all the different pieces that fit together and see the big picture and see all the little you know, all the little levers right on the inside that can really make a difference in the performance of this industry. And, you know the career trajectories of young people the earning potential of minorities in STEM, right? Because this is huge, this is a huge way to get people very comfortably and very sustainably in the middle class. Yes, and keep them there. And, you know, there are fewer and fewer opportunities all the time to get people into the middle class who aren’t there already.

SPEAKER 6 25:22

True. And so here’s the thing about why this work is so important to me is one, of course, based on my experience, I’d never want someone to experience the things that I experienced, I can tell you that a pretty decent engineer, I mean, I could, like, you know, there are, there are whole buildings that are still standing with systems that are designed in them, and there’s still no problems, right. So as a pretty decent engineer. So that wasn’t the reason that I left, it wasn’t that I don’t feel like I can do this, I don’t have the skill. It was the constant every day struggle of existing in a world that was not prepared for me and made no room for me. And so it was you always have to be on you have to be on. So there is almost it was to me, it felt like people wanted you to fail. And so every time you succeeded, or you want, it was a fluke thing, it wasn’t just because you were good at what you were doing. And I don’t want that for anyone. We have that. And we have as much right, the intelligence, the smarts, the skill level, the all of the things that anybody else does, what we need is to be able to get in rooms, have a seat at the table, make decisions, both big and small, that everyone else does, and then get paid for him, you know, so that we can make a difference in our community can we can move from wherever we are, you know, where we currently are, to where we want to be, and then make other decisions, right how I’m always about service. So for me, it’s the give back. And the opportunities. So I couldn’t do a job that I didn’t feel like it was in service or servitude to something or someone or a multitude of people. So even when I was in engineering, I was it was always like, Wait, do we have a woman’s group that I could help support that we could start? Were the other minorities, right? And it wasn’t a matter of in every almost I’m trying to think through right now in my mind. Out of a 10 year career, I think I worked for three firms, three, three or four firms. And in that firm, there was only one firm where I had experiences with other minority engineers, and architects. Anybody else that I dealt with any other firms that were minority had other roles. So they weren’t in the technical field, there wasn’t that there was no minorities at all. But they weren’t. They weren’t the engineers, and they weren’t the architects, they weren’t the technical drawers and draftsman and CAD people or 3d, whatever. They weren’t in those roles. So I’m in rooms where I’m the first one only. And today, we’re still having first and only is 2020 people, why are we still having first? And then how do you deal with that? So again, that so all those things sort of help us? When you want to move financial brackets, you’re going to have to move into the spaces where they’re probably not going to be prepared for you. Yeah. And so how do you do that?

SPEAKER 5 28:48

And at the same time, you’re facing all of these personal headwinds, right, because you’re looking at, you know, I mean, I know from my own experience, just being a white woman in tech, because there was an it for a number of years, right. And I would go in and, you know, I got told like, oh, you’re really analytical for a girl. Right? And it was these ridiculous comments. Like when I was in college, and I was, I was a waitress. And it would tell people, you know, cuz in college town, everybody wants to know what your major right? And I’d have these couple of families coming, oh, you know, you’re in college, what your major? And if I said computer science, two things happen. They recommended without knowing me, right. So we had gotten to the point in our relationship where I’d taken their drink order. And it was that I can, you know, tell the difference between like Coke and Diet Coke, right? And they would say, oh, you know, you should consider education or nursing. I’m like, if you knew me, you would know that the last person you want to see at your bedside if you’re sick is this face, right? I have no empathy. I am not interested in how well you’re feeling like I just want to go like myself and like, that is not right. And nothing to do with me, but it had everything to do with their perceptions. And the other thing that would happen is would get really crappy today. Because I didn’t fit what they thought I should be doing. So I learned very quickly when somebody said, Oh, you know, you’re in school, what’s your major Childhood Education early? And then they gave me because they thought, right that I was like, not going to buck the system and not doing something they didn’t like. And like, and I think about that, and then like all of the imposter syndrome that I had to deal with going into these classes, right, because I’m looking around and I’m, and all the examples that they use in computer science are like, you know, so if you’re talking about like, databases, right, they go straight to the example they use is always baseball statistics, right? About baseball statistics, talk to me about something I care about. And they don’t have it, right, they cannot pretend that there’s some other example they could use. And so it’s just like, you’re constantly like convincing yourself that you are allowed to be there that you should be there that you’re in the right place. And they will get all these other people telling you the same thing that’s like, well, damn it. No, you don’t understand. I’ve been taking my dolls apart since I was four brains get right. Give me a…

SPEAKER 6 31:04

Trying to figure out how this work. Is this so that your example is exactly right. And then so then put race or ethnicity in the mix? Right?

SPEAKER 5 31:15


SPEAKER 6 31:17

Okay, so it is so you weren’t supposed to be there. I definitely was not supposed to be there. So I was there on a quota system? And because I was smart enough, or that, you know, I could measure up No, no, no, no, well, we know, we have to let in a certain number of minority students. So you must be one of those. And, you know, I really wanted to tell them, like, I graduated in my class, and you know, I was this close to being that, you know, blah, blah, blah, all this other stuff, like, how did you get here? Right? So, but of course, this is somewhat of like, why should I have to do that, like, we all ended up in the same spot? If we’re all at Georgia Tech? They don’t, you know, it’s like, I don’t think they make those mistakes like that, right?

SPEAKER 5 31:59

They got a reputation to uphold, they’re not going to let you in. Just coz hope for the best.

SPEAKER 6 32:06

No, no, that’s not how any of this work. This is not how this works.

SPEAKER 5 32:11

And yeah, it’s so hard to convince people of that right to say, look, we’re not, you know, one of the things that I talk about all the time is we don’t lower the bar. For diverse talent, we have to raise the bar to be inclusive of diverse talent. And that’s the thing that I think people don’t understand. Right, when they’re sitting there comfortable, is what they’re looking for is not always the best person for the job. They’re looking for the best person that doesn’t make them uncomfortable. Yeah, yeah. And the priorities are exactly right. That’s the priority, who makes me comfortable that I can hire.

SPEAKER 6 32:45

But you know, what’s so funny about that? I think, I mean, as I sit here, like, that hits me in a place where I’m like, yeah, that that’s true. But the funnier thing that and maybe it’s a little bit ironic is that for a minority person, all we want to do is come in and do the job, there isn’t we don’t come in and you know, talking about, you know, like power or whatever, right. That’s not how we roll.

SPEAKER 5 33:10

Although you should totally be able to do that. Let’s be clear.

SPEAKER 6 33:14

And let’s be clear, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t be, but I have always been of the opinion. And as I grow older, that has become more, I’ve been more demonstrative about it. And if I’m in the space, if I’m in the room, then I’m supposed to be there. And I’m going to show up in all my glory. So you’re either going to accept that or you’re not, that’s really not my problem. And that’s actually what I teach the women in my coaching classes, and in my, I call them my professional seminars, because I don’t necessarily think I think of myself as a coach. I’m just like, I know, this stuff works, because it worked for me and some of my friends who are still working in this space. So there’s a shirt out there that says Be you, they’ll adjust. And I live by that. I live by them, and I will so if you if you’re walking in a space, you walk in and space and you and you feel like you can’t be authentically yourself. That’s not the space for you. And until such time as we can change the environment on the other side, you have to protect and guard yourself in ways that protect mental physical and emotional well-being. So I’m about that. But as a minority person walking into a space, we don’t walk in there, like, you know, I’m going to break everything and change it all. Like we literally say, say we walk in like, I know I can do this job and I’m going to give my 100% to it, like anybody else is so the idea that we would come in that like we’re going to, you know, blow your stuff up is really false. We walk in, like, I know, I’m skilled and ready and want to do this job. And all I’m asking for is an opportunity like really like anybody elsewhere, that’s literally it. So if you would treat us the way you would treat everyone else, we would really appreciate it. And when you when you make a mistake, or we make a mistake, if you could kindly, you know, tell us, but treat us like you would treat everybody else. We would kindly appreciate it.

SPEAKER 5 35:25

Nobody should demand perfection from anyone they hire. And especially not anyone that you’re making it more difficult for them to do their job every day. It is so hard for me to get my head around how this even happened in the first place. I mean, I see it right. And I, but it is so hard for me to understand how people can be that way. I want to pick up on something you said. Right? You said, Okay, so if I walk into a room, meaning you walk into a room, and it’s an it’s a hostile environment, you know, walk yourself right on out, right? What do you say to people that can’t find an environment? That’s accepting of them? That’s, you know, because there is so much. I mean, there’s just so much bullshit there, right? And if you go from place to place, and you keep walking in going, these are not my people. Right? This is not the place for me. At what point do you just say, I need a pay check? Like it’s a sucky conversation to have. But that’s a lot of people’s reality.

SPEAKER 6 36:22

Well, and there’s truth there. So, you know, because the world isn’t perfect. No, workplace is perfect. Even the best workplaces have issues? And that’s a tough question. So I would quit, keep trying. And here’s the thing, I’m not going to tell you to, you know, just up and leave quit tomorrow. No plan. I’m a plan, girl. I’m a plan girl. So you get there, you’re like, this is not like it. Okay, just off the resume. Let’s see what we have. Let’s see what this cover letter is. Let me have my contact to see who I can hook you up with, that could lead you to the next potential job opportunity, like never do the work so that you don’t have to stay in this in this situation. You know, if you know that this is this is not it. This is not the environment, you’re not going to be able to grow here, you’re not going to be here. These people don’t want to see you win, right? Okay, you’ve established that, what are you doing? So it’s, again, some people can’t afford to leave, some people can’t but they leave anyway. But I would tell you to have a plan. And then if it comes down to it, create your own, like, make your own environment, there’s so much contract work out here. So if you’re an engineer or technologist, or you know you’re in it, it or science or whatever it is you’re doing in the STEM space, there is so much contract work out here, that it could be that you become your own boss, and that you don’t, so you’re not recording to anyone or you’re doing projects that pay you well. And if that’s the way or the route, you’re going to, I would tell you to treat yourself really well in terms of how you price yourself, and what things you will and won’t do. Be specific. Because if you don’t, and your contract person is not specific, there will be these expectations that may not get said but you will be held accountable for. So make everything very specific when you do that.

SPEAKER 5 38:33

That is so true. I want to bounce something off of you. Because I’ve been kind of puzzling this around in my brain for a while. It seems like to me companies’ value results, and spectacular performance when they’ve hired you from the outside as a contract resource or as a consultant. But when you’re inside, and you’re exceptional, you were punished for it. Have you seen that to be true in your work?

SPEAKER 6 38:59

I’ve seen it unfortunately I have. So I don’t know that? I would say punished for it. I would say you are not. It’s almost like an expectation or right as opposed to a reward. So like if you’re exceptional and you perform above average, the majority of the time people like right, you know, if you work there, you’ve signed the contract you they own you now, right pretty much. If you’re a contractor and you go above and beyond, they’re like, oh, he’s the greatest thing since sliced bag. They’re giving him the day and they’re extending the contract and they’re doing all those things. So when you’re in the inside, it’s almost like people are like, yeah, we expect for you to work harder for us, as opposed to a contractor who they know can walk away. So the mind-set to me is backwards. You know, it should be that you value the employees that valued you enough to say yes to the offer you made and then they continue tenuously over perform, those are the star players, you want to keep you it’s like, you know, the quarterback on the on the football team, right? The highest paid. They’re the one that gets all of the recognition and so on and so forth. Right? That’s the same thing for you. So if you’re signing on the dotted line, you said, Yeah, I want to play for this team. And you perform, and you get us to the Super Bowl. Buddy, at the end of the day, when there gets to be contract renegotiation, or I say, I want to go to a contract, or I want to go for this, I want this fun these funds to do this thing. I’m going to say yes to that. Because I have a body of work that says, hey, I take my and go home, and I went,

SPEAKER 5 40:47

Boom, we could end it right there. We just laid it all out. I want to know Natoshia being the first and or only in all these different environments that you were in. And I know that you work with a lot of people who are in the same spot now, even years later. Where do you go for community? Where do you send people for community? Because it’s hard to spend a third of your life in an isolating place? Right? So how do you help people? Or where do you point people in STEM? Who want a better sense of community?

SPEAKER 6 41:20

So this is the million dollar question I get a whole lot like this is the one question I that when young ladies come to me and Beth, this is the first question all the time. And it’s not a simple answer. So the difficult part is that the numbers are so low. For minority women in STEM, the numbers are ridiculously and tragically low. So there are not a lot of us to network with. So that’s the first thing. Second thing is that I really do need women, minority women specifically, to know that a we have to be allies, white women and minority women, we have to be allies in this space, there are no two ways about it, we won’t win this fight without each other, we cannot compete, we must be allies. And until we really understand that, we there will still be this knocking that happening with the two. And then there’ll be this there, there’s a honestly, there’s a level of mistrust between the two that’s existed for quite a while. It’ll probably be here past you and I, but it exists. And so I think we have work to do there. I would tell a young woman who asked that question a, I would first reach out to your organizations, so nesby, National Society of Black Engineers, that’s one, but some of the other ones are. So if you’re a chemical engineer, American Society of chemical engineers, and I’m sure there’s a lot of other ones I know the association or American Society of Mechanical Engineers asked me they have different divisions that you can be a member of. The other thing I would tell you to do is join some women’s networking groups or affinity groups, if you will, they don’t necessarily have to always be in STEM. But women understand business, we understand walking into environment and being the only woman in this space. So there is some camaraderie that can happen there. And someone could give you give you good advice, because large parts of this is about perceived perceptions and communication, that for some reason, we can’t seem to get out of our own way about so I wouldn’t tell you to go there first. And then really hone in on your girlfriend, your girl tribe, that’s what I call them, those girls that rock with you, whether they are in STEM or not. Because sometimes you don’t want to necessarily talk about what happened at work today. You just want to have a drink and talk about, you know, the Simpsons or something. So all of those things are really important for you keeping yourself safe, and not just you know, physically safe, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally safe. Those are good first steps. And then, you know, again, like I said before, sometimes you can you can find just by asking, start a Facebook group. And I assure you, I’m in several right now, where it’s like black sisters in tech. Okay. I think there are 3500 women in this group. It just started at the beginning of 2020. No joke.

SPEAKER 5 44:35

There is no such a need for community that your needs. So Natoshia, thank you so much. You have given us so much to think about and so much to aspire to. Right because there are so many people who are who are considering jobs and stem right. There’s somebody right now listening to this, who is when I took all my toys apart when I was a kid, and I had no idea that I could go to Georgia Tech and be an electric Coal engineer, mechanical engineer or chemical engineer, right? Like, there’s just so much opportunity out there when we know about it. And I want to thank you so much not just for being on the show, so that our audience can, you know, can kind of tap into that. But for all the work that you’re doing, you know, saving the world of STEM, getting girls and young women interested in this work, bringing, you know, black and brown people into this field, and also on the flip side, making the field welcoming and inclusive of this talent, because here’s the thing, engineers solve problems. Yes. And we got no shortage of problems in this world. Why would we want to keep anyone out?

SPEAKER 6 45:41

True, true? Well, again, thank you for having me on the show. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation so much. It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to a talk about what you do and what you love, but to really go in depth about it. So thank you for the opportunity.

SPEAKER 5 45:57

It is my pleasure you come back anytime.

SPEAKER 7 46:03

Living corporate is a podcast, we’ve incorporated LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Burns. Additional music production by Anton Franklin from musical elevation. Post production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion. Email us at living corporate You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and living dash Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.

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