- RingCentral’s Kelly Malone, Tasia Bromell and Sam Thompson, created BLiTZ, a safe space for Black women at RingCentral to engage in supportive conversation, share career advice, and network.
As we transition from Black History Month in February to Women’s History Month in March, it’s a timely reminder that Black women in technology are in a unique position as they are essentially double minorities. This reality is what led a handful of enterprising Black women to set up the Black Ladies In Tech Zone (BLiTZ) affinity group.
For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 7), and in the lead-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we sat down with this dynamic group of women, to discuss their work and life experiences in technology and the need for a safe space to communicate and advocate for each other.
What Inspired BLiTZ?
Kelly Malone, Senior Director of Security and Trust, had participated in other groups at RingCentral with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) focus like Black Employees at RingCentral (BE@R), but felt that women’s voices were still a “little quiet” in those settings. She and her co-founders were inspired to “create a safer space to address any issues that specifically affect Black women.” Co-founder Sam Thompson, Sr. Sales Enablement Manager, adds “BLiTZ is also a place where we can help one another and promote one another for additional opportunities within the company—to elevate our visual status, but also our earning and financial status.”
BLiTZ co-founder and DEI Program Coordinator Tasia Bromell wholeheartedly agrees with them. “When you are talking about diversity, a lot of people tend to look at it in different buckets, right? So you will have Black people, maybe you have women, but not a lot of people talk about the intersectionality of being a Black woman. And so I think this space provides an opportunity for us to do that.” Black legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in her 1989 essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” The concept of intersectionality is a description of the way multiple oppressions are experienced. BLiTZ directly addresses intersectionality while fostering an encouraging environment.
Elevating One Another.
The mission of BLiTZ is to promote, celebrate and highlight Black women in technology, provide a space for free expression and advocate for the expansion of equal opportunities. BLiTZ collaborates with other DEI programs at RingCentral to do just that. Along with BE@R and the Black Gold Leadership Team, they recently hosted an inspiring and motivating series featuring Black women speakers. Encouraging and supporting other Black women to pursue technology careers is another way BLiTZ is providing support. BLiTZ members Charity Myers, Product Designer, and Dominique Kelly, Global Enterprise Engineer, recently completed RingCentral’s TransitionN2Tech program and are now full-time employees.
BLiTZ Focus for 2023.
In its inaugural year, BLiTZ is planning activities around 3 key pillars. Firstly, a speaker series to drive education and awareness and provoke discussion. This will kick-off in March with Celia J. Thomas, Global Business Partner at Texas Instruments. Mentoring is the second pillar for 2023. Each of the BLiTZ founders shared remarkable stories of mentors who had influenced and propelled their careers forward. Read Kelly Malone’s story here. The third pillar is career development in which each participant creates an Individual Development Plan (IDP), a detailed map for career advancement. In the future, BLiTZ aspires to sponsor members’ education and certifications. Given that BLiTZ was founded just five months ago, the group has really accelerated its program of activities and we look forward to hearing more success stories from BLiTZ!
Originally published Mar 01, 2023