Ten years ago, Yahaira Moore fled to a domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn, New York, with her newborn child. She was escaping an abusive relationship and had made the decision to drop out of college. The future looked bleak. At the shelter, she was told she had 90 days to get her life back on track before she would essentially be on her own to navigate a city-wide homeless system.
Fast forward to today, Moore is working as an associate managing consultant at World Wide Technology (WWT), a Global Citizen partner that provides digital strategy, innovative technology, and supply chain solutions to public and private organizations.
Moore's entry into the tech world was not traditional. The shelter director gave her a flyer about NPower — a nonprofit supported by WWT that provides free tech training for veterans and young adults from underserved communities.
"NPower saved my life in many ways," she said. "It not only allowed me to gain the technical skills necessary to enter and dive into the industry, but also helped me land an internship and build relationships that changed my life."
Moore enrolled in NPower's Tech Fundamentals program in 2012, during which she gained a foundation in information technology that was critical to kick-starting her career. With her new skills, Moore landed an internship and later a full-time position at Success Academy Charter Schools as a technology administrative assistant. Then, in 2014, she got a job at WWT as an office manager. She would spend the next six years working her way up to her current role as a consultant.
"Even now that I've been at World Wide Technology for seven years, I still stay connected with NPower," Moore said. "My mentors are still available to guide me through my career. They give me constructive criticism on how I can be better, how I can challenge myself, to continue to grow. And they also encourage me to become a mentor and give back."
It's no secret that the tech industry has long-standing issues with diversity and inclusion. Compared to the overall private industry, the high-tech sector employs a larger share of men and white and Asian Americans. Women and Black and Hispanic Americans make up a smaller share of employees in high tech than they do in the overall private industry.
Diversity at the executive level is even starker. White Americans dominate the highest-level jobs in tech, holding 83% of the industry's executive positions. This compares to 2% of Black Americans, 3% of Hispanic Americans, and 11% of Asian Americans who hold executive roles.
The gender gap is equally wide. Of those in high-tech executives category, about 80% are men and 20% are women. This compares to 71% men and 29% women in the overall private sector.
Through supporting organizations like NPower, WWT aims to increase diversity in the workplace and in the wider tech industry. At Global Citizen Live, Matt Horner, WWT's senior vice president of global enterprise sales, announced that the company was committing $3 million toward "inclusion in the digital economy and creating a more diverse and equitable workforce by 2023."
"It's up to all of us to be changemakers — to leave behind a world better than which we found it," he said. "Together, let's make a new world happen."
For Moore, WWT's culture and growth opportunities are the reason she has stayed at the company for the past seven years. In addition to her role as a consultant, Moore is part of a team of WWT employees working to expand NPower's internship programs to their client groups around the world. She also serves as a mentor for current NPower students.
"I try to make myself readily available to give advice and to be someone they can go to," Moore said. "At the time, there weren't many women of color in technology that I could reach out to. So, making myself available in that realm means a lot to me."