How This Entrepreneur is Paving the Way for Next-Gen Women in Tech
A mom, a founder, and an entrepreneur who is paving the way for next-gen women in tech. We are always ecstatic about speaking with our peers and industry trailblazers who are pressing the gas on creating impact and discovering solutions that change the way we live.
As a certified business professional in project management, a professional scrum master, and an IT specialist, Tyrhonda has worked with major organizations and agencies namely PricewaterhouseCoopers, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Office of The Prime Minister (of the Bahamas). She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems and led multi-million dollar digitization projects in the Bahamian public sector.
She considers herself a holistic solutions-based leader that works with clients to get results that benefit their organization for years to come.
We got the chance to sit with Tyrhonda and ask her questions about her short-term goals, long-term vision, and what she wants to represent as an entrepreneur and black woman in technology.
It’s our goal to share with you her passion for her local community, and her desire to help the local talent elevate and shine.
So, how did it all start? How did you know you belong in tech?
We asked the first question. After recalling her childhood and teen memories, Tyrhonda replied:
“It started from primary school. I have an uncle, who is only five years older than me and he always was the person who was into gaming and technology. And I was first introduced to the concept of technology and computers through his influence. Of course, him being only five years older than I was, allowed him to provide me with positive influence and because of his influence through computers and technology, I found a fascination about what this thing is, that was a fairly new concept back then, ever since then I’ve always been interested in technology.”
How important is it to you that you represent your community and pave the way for other women, who are still to come into the tech industry?
“Well, you know, the saying goes “representation matters“. And to me, the best representation for other young women and women, in general, is to see another woman in technology. So it’s very important that they – I may not necessarily be that person – but they have some form of representation. Someone that looks like them, that comes from their same community that will allow them to see that it is possible. If I can do it, they can do it too. So I think representation matters and is very important.”
Tell us about one of your short-term goals and a long-term goal.
“I’m really getting into the FinTech space and compliance and regulatory frameworks. So my short-term goal is to complete my certification and to really diversify my technology portfolio, and to get into a more challenging area. My long-term goal is to one day be able in a professional capacity to share my knowledge and experiences with other young people, not just females, but men and women in general. And I would hope to one day become a lecturer at our local college. That’s my long-term goal.”
The next question we asked her was “What is your favorite quote?” to which Tyrhonda misunderstood with “What is your favorite code?” (because of my accent). She was sharing how Python was her favorite code before I had to interrupt her in the middle of her answer (sorry!) to let her know that what we were really asking about is her favorite line that has inspired her. It was quite the LOL moment and it turns out her favorite quote is:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
“I love this quote because a lot of times we get lost in the overall goal, and we get intimidated by what the challenge may be or what our goal is. But once you get started, that’s the first step in order for us to accomplish that. You begin with small steps, like we say in our country: small ax cut down big tree.
So you start off with taking down small chunks. Anything is possible once you believe, first of all, and then you get started. And then once you’re able to get started, you’re able to accomplish those goals that are set forth before you. And do not give up, continue to push, continue to strive. And eventually that goal will be achievable.”
FEM STEM Bahamas, how did it all start? How did you get the idea, or when did you feel that people in your local community need the success that you can provide?
“It started back in 2019. But prior to that, I was involved in a youth organization and there were young women who were interested in engineering and they couldn’t find any organizations or groups to go to that represented them.
And that really started to pique my interest because I know what it feels like when you want to be able to learn about these things, whether it’s technology or any STEM-based area, and not have a place to go to get that resort. So with that youth organization, and also my sister was a biochem major who was struggling to get some guidance and direction, I decided that I’m gonna form an organization that will be able to help other young women get some resources, to help them to make career decisions as it relates to science, technology, engineering, and math. That’s how it got started.”
Are you full-time in tech as an entrepreneur?
“Let me answer it like this, I still have a job or a career in technology and I do part-time work in technology. Most of my part-time work is consulting, from an IT perspective. So, yes I am full-time.”
How do you balance it all? Being a mom, wife, full time tech career along with being a tech entrepreneur, how do you manage to do it all simultaneously?
“That’s a great question. What I try my best to do is to be as organized as possible. And unfortunately, I don’t have a strong social life. So I’m learning now to be able to balance work and home, and then also incorporate a social life.
Understanding the priorities, prioritizing my life, and organizing it in that way helped me to balance it all, especially because I’m a new mom. And so I need to remember that because yes, career is important, but family is even much more important. Learning to balance those two definitely is something that I practice now.”
Can you remember a moment when you thought, sigh… this is not easy?
Tyrhonda smiled and said “Yes, I have those moments quite frequently as a matter of fact. I would say last year, during the pandemic, when we had a lot of projects coming on stream, especially because of the restrictions and people started to realize the importance of technology once COVID came.
And so the demand for technology became great. And, being able to meet that demand in a very short period of time there were moments when I said to myself, is this something that I can be able to do, and do it efficiently? During the pandemic, I definitely experienced those moments.”
Is there anything that you have learned from the pandemic that relates to the tech industry? Is there anything that stood out?
“What I realized, definitely with the tech industry, when it came to the pandemic is how important technology can be in solving problems as it relates not just to communication or completion of tasks, but to solving our health crisis. This was relevant not only in the Bahamas but throughout the world. I learned that it can be a very important tool. If properly used, managed and adopted properly.
The pandemic has taught people who were once apprehensive to the idea of virtual work or virtual learning, people quickly realized that it is possible and it can work once executed properly. So people adopted technology much quicker that way.”
The world experienced its fair share of challenges and setbacks since the pandemic. How do you keep moving forward despite challenges or setbacks?
“That’s a big question. How I keep moving forward is by remembering the overall goal. Remembering what my purpose is and realizing that one day it will be better. I know each day will not be the same.
Eventually, a new day will come, we will have better circumstances, and we’ll see a better road ahead. That is how I keep going. My goals keep me motivated. The purpose and why – why I’m doing what I’m doing is what keeps me motivated, keeps me grounded, keeps me moving and keeps me involved.”
Are there any women in technology who have influenced you or inspired you?
“Locally, there are a number of women that inspire me. One of them is my teammate, she’s actually on one of the projects that I’m working on, her name is Christie Powell. And what inspires me about her is that she is a millennial, she’s youthful, and she builds the actual interoperability platform that our country now uses to basically allow customers to be able to access government services online.
And that is the first time that it’s ever been done in this country. The first time it’s ever been done by a Bahamian. Because she’s a female, to me, that’s inspiring and I am so proud of our local talent to be able to do that.
I am also inspired by my former director Carol Roache. She afforded me the opportunity to be able to work on that project that I spoke about earlier. And while I was thrown into the wolf’s nest, I was able to get that experience because of her faith and trust in my capabilities to do so. So those are two women right now, top of my head, I can say truly have inspired me in technology and inspire me to be the best version of myself.”
Our time with Tyrhonda was winding down and there were still so many more questions we wanted to ask her. It was obvious that this interview could go on for at least another hour, but there were some crucial questions I knew we only had a few more minutes to get in.
What opportunities do you see for women in technology in the Bahamas and the Caribbean?
“In our country, we have a large tourism-based economy and also finance-based. In the financial sector, there are a lot of women in the industry. However, with the new event or advent of cryptocurrency and digital assets, our country is starting to diversify its portfolio. And because we have a lot of women in the financial industry and in the tourism industry, I see an opportunity for them to become more diverse when it comes to technology with the introduction of cryptocurrency and digital assets in our country.
I think there’s a great opportunity for women in the FinTech space, and also inside of the cybersecurity space now that those different digital assets would have to be regulated. And because women are typically more dominant in the financial sector, I think they can begin to see how technology can become a part of their career as well.
So I think that’s how women, not only in the Bahamas but also in the Caribbean, can become more involved and opportunities can exist for them in this space.”
What will you say to other women who are trying to enter the tech industry and make a living out of their profession?
“First of all, find a niche market in technology. Find something that you are passionate about. Once you realize that technology is just a tool to solve a problem. And once you realize that you have this tool and you know what problem you want to solve, you will be in a good position when it comes to a career in technology.
So being skilled, finding the niche market that exists in technology for a problem you would love to solve. And once you find that problem or problems you would like to solve and be skilled in doing it, you will succeed, in my opinion, you will succeed beyond what your expectations are.”
Is there a moment in your career to date that stands out as a transformational moment or a moment that impacted the trajectory of your growth?
“When I first was presented with the current role I have, I was tasked with managing a project that was the first in our country, which is the implementation of an electronic cabinet management system.
I really was doubtful of my capabilities at the beginning because I was new to this career, and then I had never done a project like this before. But once I was able to, obviously with the help of the consultants and other persons who were a part of the team. Once we were able to successfully implement that project, it made me aware that limitations are only in our mind and once we are prepared and we are also willing to work hard that we can accomplish anything.
That particular experience allowed me to gain the experience and the knowledge necessary to be able to complete future projects and also allowed me to gain the confidence to complete other projects that came after that.
So that was one moment in my career that definitely changed my trajectory, even my capabilities and beliefs in myself.”
How do you keep yourself positive when self doubt creeps in?
“I try to keep myself positive in a number of ways. First is remembering the overall reason for why I’m doing what I’m doing. I also really refer to my son a lot. I look at him and I remember that at the end of the day, I am also serving as a representation for him and I try my best to be the person that I would want him to emulate.
So I try to be as positive as possible, keeping him in mind. I also just don’t like to be down. I’m a person who doesn’t like to be negative or to have bad feelings or emotions. I try to do something, whether it’s listening to music or watching something funny to keep me in good spirits.”
Is there an ultimate vision that keeps you inspired?
“My ultimate vision is for our country. Like I said before, we are very tourism-based and while that is great for our economy and it’s making sure that we have a good financial backing or support. The pandemic has taught us that we must diversify our economy.
So my ultimate vision that keeps me going is a country or people that have different skill sets that will be able to facilitate the growth of our economy, not just with tourism, but other STEAM-based skills, including agriculture, and technology. The financial or economic sector that we’ll be able to feed ourselves to be able to grow our talent in-house and to be able to export that talent to the world.
That is my ultimate vision for the country and our people so that we’ll become self-sustainable and to be able to support ourselves outside of tourism.”
What are some of the fundamental things you feel we should be doing right now to pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative future?
“I think the foundation for any innovation or any growth when it comes to any sector or industry in general, is education. And through education, preparing our young people to have an opportunity to be empowered, I feel like that is the way we can pave the way for the future.
For our country, in particular, it starts with the development of a curriculum that will allow them to be able to have the opportunities to be in the technology industry. We are very academic based in our country, so I feel like once we start to diversify our curriculum and our educational system, it will begin to adjust and allow the young people a way forward in order for them to be able to change the pathway and to be able to take advantage of these opportunities that exist.”
In what ways do you see yourself as a pioneer for Black Women in technology?
“That’s a very humbling question because I never really looked at myself as a pioneer; however, in the event that somebody does, I hope it is for youth education or STEAM-based education. In that way, I see myself as a pioneer. I believe that once provided with the right tools and resources that young people can be a part of solving problems. In that way, I hope to be a pioneer that provides a platform for young people to be able to be educated, empowered, and equipped, to solve tech-based problems that exist in this country.”
And with that, we concluded our interview with a final question, “How can readers connect with you?”.
“They can find me on LinkedIn at Tyrhonda Glinton. They can also find me on Instagram @tyrhonda or at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also reach out to me via Instagram or Facebook at FEM STEM Bahamas.”
Unfortunately, our time with Tyrhonda was over. But even in this short session, we learned so much about her story, her goals, and her vision. Her passion for technology, for her country, and for education in STEM-based disciplines are evident and we are confident that there’s so much more Tyrhonda will accomplish as she continues to work towards her goals. We are really humbled and we wish the best of luck to Tyrhonda Glinton for her future endeavors.
To learn more about the work she is doing with the youth, empowering the next-gen women in tech, visit her website FEM STEM Bahamas.
Lovepreet, EBS MCC
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