The Meet the Tech Leader series spotlights amazing women of color tech leaders who are making the tech industry better and are trailblazing the path for more WoC to enter the field.
In this post, we’re shining the spotlight on JoeSandra Odunze. JoeSandra is a marketing director at a leading financial technology company in Orange County, CA. JoeSandra is also the founder of Corporate Minority, a career resource blog. JoeSandra shares what prepared her the most for her career in tech, the three types of mentors she has at all times, and how she tackled the learning industry jargon.
What do your day to day duties like?
My day-to-day duties include working with my team to manage the overall strategy and operations of our marketing department. Our department produces everything from digital marketing, print, account-based marketing, content marketing, and video development. With multiple products, and multiple audiences I work to understand the pain points of our prospects and tell the story of how our solutions help solve those pain points.
What do you love about your career?
There are two things that I love about my career. The first would be the amazing people I get to work with. The cool thing about marketing is you get to interact with basically every department and various types of people. Within my actual department I get to work with the “creatives” and the “strategists” these individuals are completely different and it’s definitely entertaining seeing the debates and the light bulbs flash when an agreement is reached. I also get to work with basically every department, including product, development, executives, clients support, sales and much more. It’s amazing because this allows me to truly see the full picture of what’s going on in the company.
The second thing I love about my career is seeing the actual work come to life. From projects like brand launches, product releases, events marketing and much more. It’s kind of like a puzzle you spend months working on putting the pieces together and in the end it’s just so fulfilling to see it all come together.
What motivated you to pursue a career in tech?
Working in the tech industry was a must for me because technology is just a way of life now. The cool thing about tech is it encompasses so many different industries. You can work in entertainment, financial tech, enterprise, e-commerce, software as a service (SaaS), and so much more. For me working in tech felt less limiting.
What classes or professional opportunities prepared you for your current career?
To get prepared for this position, I first obtained my bachelor’s degree in psychology. Being raised in a family of entrepreneurs I learned at an early age that the key to a successful business is understanding your customers. Getting my degree in psychology helped me gain an understanding of human behavior and motivations. I then went on to obtain my MBA with a focus in management and marketing.
I believe my education was really helpful in getting me to where I am, but at the same time, I definitely did learn a lot on the job. I started off as a marketing coordinator and worked my way up to a marketing director. My career growth was and is still due to maintaining a curious mind. I always take every chance I can get to shadow others and understand what [others] do and how it impacts the bigger picture.
What role does/did mentorship have in your career growth?
So anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge advocate for mentorship. Not only have I been playing the role of a mentor to numerous people for many years, but I make it a requirement to maintain active relationships with my own mentors. I can honestly say that I am where I am because of the guidance and support of my mentors.
I try to keep three types of mentors at all times:
- a professional mentor – someone in a position that I aspire to be in
- a personal mentor – someone that can help guide me through a personal decision that inevitably affects my professional career
- a peer mentor – someone that is in the same industry or profession that I can lean on for advice
What efforts are you undertaking to bring more women of color in the tech industry? Why is this important to you?
I created my career resource blog, Corporate Minority, for this reason exactly. I promised myself that no matter how much I grow in my own personal career, I would never get too busy to lend a hand to others trying to start or grow in their professional careers. I believe that in order to see more minorities in positions of power or even in the tech industry it’s up to us that have got our foot in the door to reach back out and provide the insight or advice that they need in order to get them in as well.
What challenges did you face on your journey into tech, and how did you cope with them?
My initial struggle as I started my career was really understanding the industry jargon. I think that’s something most people face in any job. What I did to overcome was read, read, read. I try to block out the first hour of my morning reading about what’s going on in the industry. This really helps provide context to what I’m doing and the conversations being had around the company.
What advice would you give to other women of color looking to come into tech?
The only limits you have are those that you set upon yourself. The road to success is indeed difficult but once you decide what you want don’t take no for an answer. Work hard, endure and don’t lose focus on your goal.
Learn more about The Corporate Minority at their website and social media outlets:
YouTube: The Corporate Minority