Kiara posing in a chairI’m a proud Black woman originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My humble beginnings were rooted in a single-parent household where my mother, with her unshakeable determination, raised two daughters on a modest income. Her unwavering commitment to hard work and education as the stepping-stones to progress, deeply influenced me and my sister, setting us on a path to strive for more.

Fueled by this resilient spirit, I set my sights on higher education. My focus wasn’t only on academic excellence but financial wellness too. Aiming to change my trajectory, I stepped into the professional arena, securing an internship at GE Appliances while enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Louisville. This experience helped me prioritize long-term goals over short-term pleasures. And it opened up opportunities to discover my professional interests and preferences while still in school.

In 2014, I graduated from the University of Louisville with my BA in Psychology and a minor in Communication. After a three-year stint in the corporate world, my career aspirations crystallized: A role in sales within a company that valued culture and diversity and invested in personal growth and development. This led me to join AT&T’s Business Sales Leadership Development Program in May of 2015.

Since joining AT&T, my professional journey has been filled with diverse experiences, growth, and a profound sense of purpose. Over the past eight years, I have honed my skills in roles from direct sales, sales operations to project management. Today, I am proud to serve as an Associate Director of Tech Consulting. I am also the National Director of Volunteerism and Membership for the Project Management Network, and Chair for Believe Dallas. This commitment to giving back is deeply rooted in my upbringing and fuels my passion to make a difference.

Kiara and coworkerAs a Black woman carving out a path in the corporate world, I have faced unique challenges, including racism, underrepresentation, and stereotypes. It requires a delicate balance of maintaining authenticity while navigating an environment that often seeks conformity. This road I’m on, while filled with hurdles, is not mine alone. I am fortunate to have crossed paths with inspiring Black women leaders who have become my mentors at AT&T. Their teachings have guided me in learning to let my work speak for itself, mastering the art of networking, steering my own career development, and stepping into my first management role. Their wisdom and support have been invaluable in navigating the complexities of corporate America while always staying true to myself.

The generosity of leaders I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with has had a profound impact on my career progression. These trusted advisors have gone beyond the call of duty to help me build a resilient network, offering coaching, mentorship, constructive criticism and an environment where I feel safe to ask questions and share ideas.

To the next generation, my advice is this: don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Be proactive, set goals, and surround yourself with a supportive community. Seek mentorship, learn from others’ mistakes, and learn as much as you can about a job and company before committing. And, if you’re not a minority, consider how you can be an ally and contribute to positive change.

Here’s to a future where everyone, regardless of their race or gender, can achieve their dreams.

Carve out your path at AT&T