Business resource groups: A positive impact

How our Blacks in Tech BRG propelled one woman’s journey to belonging at Capital One

When I think of the BIT summit [and Blacks in Tech BRG as a whole], I think of a group of Black technologists coming together to take charge of their careers, open their minds, give to the community and inspire others to do the same.-Shannon Green–Senior Director, Technology

It is often said you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with–so you should surround yourself with the people who have the most potential to help you grow. Thanks to Capital One's Blacks in Tech (BIT) Business Resource Group, I’ve found more than five. As a member and ally of the BIT community, I now have access to 1200+ leaders in tech inspiring me to “level up” in my career.

First, some context: at Capital One, Business Resource Groups (BRGs) were created to help support our growing diverse population and include over 100 chapters across our nationwide people centers. Each group offers a range of activities, networking opportunities, special events and learning programs–all in an effort to help develop and support all associates and help them succeed in their careers at Capital One.

As a woman with the long-term goal of breaking into the technology space, Blacks in Tech has been an invaluable resource to making that jump. It’s helped me not only see the possibilities for what a future career in tech could look like for me, but also provided me a sense of belonging at work.

Helping see the possibilities for a career in tech

Blacks in Tech has opened my eyes to themes within the tech space that relate to my career background outside of tech. As a result, it’s helped me to more easily make a connection between where I’ve been, where I want to go, and how to get there. Through my involvement with the BRG I’ve attended panels and events led by engineers, technical writers, web developers, and product managers who are working to build products and digital experiences like Capital One Shopping to help make banking better for our customers. 

On an individual level, I've had the opportunity to connect one on one with other BIT members to learn more about their fields–which is something I never would have been exposed to without participating in the BRG. Thanks to this opportunity, I have a new understanding of roles within the tech space that are of interest to me, and I’ve even gotten some tips on how to get started in upskilling for a future role, such as through taking courses on Udemy or Coursera.

It feels like my career experiences are all coming full circle, while also taking actual steps to make my dreams a reality!

The BIT BRG gives me a community that I trust, that tells me what I need to hear, that cheers for me when I'm good, and picks me up when I need a lift. It's family.-Shannon Green–Senior Director, Technology

Finding my “work family” and a sense of belonging through representation

Not only is feeling connected to one’s work important, but so is a sense of belonging in the actual workplace - which can be experienced through day to day interactions as well as through one’s leaders.

Four years after joining Capital One, I discovered our Blacks in Tech group and the various events and panels it would host. I immediately signed up and started attending, and each session gave me the same warm fuzzy feeling inside. That warm fuzzy feeling told me that I belonged here at Capital One — and within Blacks in Tech. 

The connections I made through Blacks in Tech were something I had never really experienced at work before; it made me excited to come to work, and even more excited to participate in a group bigger than myself and give back to our community. I had a set of peers to relate to and leaders to look up to.

This feeling of belongingness is evident even among the highest leadership levels within Blacks in Tech. During Capital One’s annual Blacks in Tech Summit, we heard from senior tech leaders like Maureen Jules Perez–leaders who actually look like me–and have similar experiences. When I heard Maureen speak, it was the first time I heard a leader tell my story,  a different story than what you might typically hear. Before that talk, I didn’t see how my story could fit into a corporate space and wanted to hide that part of myself. But hearing Maureen’s truth and learning about her career as an executive championing diversity and technology for good has helped me better understand the importance and value of bringing my full self to work. It unlocked a new perspective on what’s possible for me–and I learned that what I used to view as setbacks, were really my “superpowers.”

The BIT org[anization] enhances my work with Capital One by way of [a] larger purpose. My role is something I have worked on over time to get to a high level. The answers aren't as clear in the area that BIT seeks to address, but without those answers no one is able to be great and perform their role at the highest levels. BIT's work is in service to all, not just the particular scope of a single role.-Shelton Smith–Director, Technology

What’s next?

So what’s next for me in my journey? I’m still putting the pieces together, but with the help of my experience in Blacks in Tech, I feel like I have a good foundation. I’ve already started taking advantage of the developmental learning resources Capital One offers as well as free courses through LinkedIn Learning. I’ve completed courses about AWS Cloud Computing for Non-engineers and have already begun studying for my AWS Cloud Practitioner certification. Small but significant steps!

With Blacks in Tech, I feel like I’ve found an extended work family. Its members and programming inspire me to reach my full potential. As I look to transition in my career, having this support system and role models to look up to has opened my eyes up to all the possibilities out there. After all, they did it — and with this support system, so can I.

Vee Denis, US Card - Specialty Operations

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