How to help others in Tech during a Pandemic…without limits


Today I read a post on LinkedIn about a friend who had lost their job. Most likely due to issues related to the Pandemic and the state of business at the moment, but regardless of the reason, they are out of work. This made me think…how can I help them? In this crazy time we live in, nobody should be without a means to earn a living. Its not just about the money, but also…well, to me, it also helps you as an individual to have a purpose. Now I digress…how can I help them?

The first thing I did was forward their LinkedIn profile to a hiring manager at my company with a personal reference for the future when the market changes. Then I thought about all of the other people out there whether they are recent college grads, mid-level technology professionals or seasoned veterans who are now on the outside looking in…what can be done to help them? I then stumbled upon a featured app in the Apple App Store on my iPhone. Little did I know that this accidental navigation would be as inspiring as it was…

The accidental navigation on my iPhone led to an inspiring encounter for me personally.

This app is called Zimela and was created by Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong. On their website it states “Zimela is a platform that gives control back to the individual, curating career resources (in the form of other’s stories, relevant events and programming, etc.) for others based on their interests and needs. People not only get jobs because of people they know, but also learn that the jobs exist from the same sources. Those people in our lives— the neighbor down the road, friend down the hall, acquaintance of a colleague at work— they have the information that helps direct us to our next steps. Let Zimela be that person for you, connecting you to the right plug.”

This app has countless opportunities within not only technology, but education, environment, government, manufacturing, law, non-profit, and many more areas. Zimela also provides something that is desperately needed right now, opportunities focusing on inclusiveness and diversity for those who apply. As the App Store featured image states, this app can provide Real Representation to those who need it. Zimela can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

So at this point, you might be saying, “Shawn, this is great and all, but what is your point?” My point is that it should not be “really great” that there is an app like Zimela to help find opportunities for those in need with a focus on diversity and inclusiveness. It should just be a given.

I look at our Dynamics Community and see a global family of so many strong and vibrant women, people of color, wonderful “Humans of IT”. When I reflect upon my career, the key “big chances” I was afforded came because of someone who wasn’t an “old white man”. I thank them for taking a chance on this little Hobbit and motivating me to be a better version of myself.

Within the Dynamics 365 community, we advocate the “Power Platform: An App Platform without limits”. If you are a hiring manager right now and have the ability to increase headcount, I ask you to think of your future team composition in the same way…without limits.

If you are someone out there who needs help finding an opportunity in Tech, add me to your network on LinkedIn, or message me on Twitter. If I can introduce you to someone of value or provide some guidance in some way, I will be happy to do so.

Here is an incredibly incomplete gathering of resources to help you help others to find an opportunity through donating your time, or to improve diversity and inclusion in technology, or whichever workplace of which you are fortunate enough to be a part.

  • Hire More Women In Tech
    This site, according to its author, “aims to be (and sometimes fails) to be about hiring people from all marginalized populations in tech. That means: women, non-binary people, LGBTQ, PoC, and other marginalized groups. I’ve focused on women, but this resource is applicable across the board.”
  • 15 Ways to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
  • Black Tech Women
    Black Tech Women was created in March 2017 on the premise that an engaged and supported community is key to retaining and advancing black women in the technology ecosystem. Over the last two years, we’ve grown to a global member base 3000+ professionals driving impact at large technology companies, startups, and venture capital firms.
  • BlackComputeHer
    blackcomputeHER.org is dedicated to supporting computing+tech education and workforce development for black women and girls.   Our aim is to create rich technical programming, lead empirical research, and disseminate information that addresses the lack of inclusive innovation in tech across education and industry.
  • Edlyft
    Edlyft helps students learn the most important things from their CS classes so that they’re equipped for in-demand jobs. Intro computer science classes are really important for setting good foundations for your coding skills (and for your desire to keep learning!)
  • She++
    she++, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, works to empower underrepresented groups in technology by dismantling negative stereotypes surrounding technical careers.  We aim to dispel the misconception that computer science is not a career for women and minorities by rebranding what it means to be a technologist.
  • The Violet Society Fellowship
    The Violet Society is a pre-accelerator for female & non-binary startup founders.
  • Techqueria
    Techqueria is a nonprofit representing the largest community for Latinx in Tech
  • Humans of IT
    Empowering technologists to achieve more by humanizing tech

One thought on “How to help others in Tech during a Pandemic…without limits

  1. Shawn, great post and motivation for those of us in this predicament. I am learning that it is the relationships that matter most and tools that allow us to harness and enhance those will always be essential.

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