In honor of Black History Month, we're doing a series highlighting our employees' experiences and sharing what Black History Month means to them. Check out our previous Employee Spotlight of Katrice Gerald.
Kevin Foster leads the product launch process, which includes the dissemination of the Notarize message to internal and external audiences.
Before Notarize, Kevin spent significant time in various marketing roles across several technology leaders. Most recently, he was Vice President, Internet of Things (IoT) at PTC. Kevin has a B.S. in Engineering & Policy and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Black History Month is a great opportunity to shine a light on the many unknown or overlooked achievements that the Black culture has given to industry, civic engagement, entertainment and more. But this recognition shouldn't be limited to one month a year where everyone honors our history and culture with quotes on social media. For us, Black History Month is every month, and that should be recognized.
The role of Blacks in technology hasn't been fully realized. Over the past 15 years, I have all too often been the most senior Black in the companies that I have worked for. I've had few Black executive leaders that I could turn to for guidance on how to navigate being a minority in tech. While I have been fortunate to have executives of other races who would provide me with insights, they sometimes couldn't understand the nuance of being "the only" in the room.
We need more representation in management roles. It has become my mission to do all that I can to expand the number of Blacks in leadership positions in technology companies. My goal is that if my 11 or 13-year-old sons (or any child of color) dreams of becoming a leader in technology, there are many senior people of color that they can look to as mentors and model themselves after.
There are several initiatives (both immediate and long term) that tech companies can take to achieve more equality (especially when it comes to leadership).Tech companies should be a driver in bridging the digital divide by giving back to the community via access to technology and opportunities to learn. This places them at the forefront of narrowing this divide so that the future of their workforce can be more diverse. Diversity recruiting is another, which means hiring candidates using a process that's free from biases. Numerous studies show that companies with more diverse leadership perform better financially. Mentors and mentoring programs are critical as well. It's so important for early career professionals to have leaders that can be a source of inspiration and a support system — whether that’s in tech or elsewhere. That mentorship then turns into a sponsorship relationship where senior leaders can help position these talented candidates for promotions and stretch assignments.