Chanel has had extensive experience in STEM ever since she was a child, and is currently a UX researcher at Apple. She is a strong advocate for helping the black community and is the founder of Mentor, Me Chanel: a program created to provide young black professionals with the resources they need to get into the tech space.
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Kimmiko James 0:00
Welcome to the black enterprise network podcast, episode number seven. Oftentimes, when we're going through high school and college, it feels as though we have to be on this set path, we have to have this set 4.0 GPA or better to make it. And honestly, that's just not true whatsoever. And Chanel power breaks that that stigma. Chanel is currently a UX researcher at Apple, and what I consider to be a super mentor, if you're curious about what I mean by that, and you want to check out Chanel's unique journey into the tech industry. And let's get into the episode a
small percentage of black people are currently represented in the tech industry and entrepreneurial spaces. This includes engineers, startup founders, investors, especially those that hold leadership roles. I want to share their story. What first got you interested in science and technology or just them in general? Because I was doing some LinkedIn stalking, as I sure you saw. And I saw that I saw you had all this experience like biomedical engineering, research, writing code, all this stuff. So what what got you interested in that?
Chanel Power 1:19
Oh, yeah, for sure. So I'm originally born and raised from New York City, to a single awesome parent mom, and for her, like, pushing and amplifying education was very, very big in our in our family. And so she put us in everything. And I mean, everything from different camps, sleepaway camps, like camps in, in the city in New York City, to different communities, I mean, different everything, you name it, we were there. And so for me, especially going into school, elementary school, high school, I began to get enamored with science and tech in that regard. Funny story, when I was young, my mom said, like, she basically it was, well, social and backup. So my family's Caribbean. And so, you know, Caribbean culture, we have so many big fat, like, you know, big family events, and all that kind of stuff. And so my mom was like, Okay, so now, like, come in here, tell everyone about you want to do and I must have been about like five years old. And at that time, I was watching, like, you know, back in the day with Clifford the Big Red Dog, and, you know, all those kinds of shows. And there was one show in particular, that was like a cartoon of like, a girl who rode horses, right. And I, you know, was like, Oh, my gosh, I love her. This is amazing show. It's my favorite show. And so she couldn't she was like, Oh, do you want to be and I was like, I don't want to be a cowgirl. She's
like, Ah, so when she realized that, obviously, whatever I've been digesting, that's exactly what has been communicated in my mind as to what I want to be, too, obviously, like growing up in New York City in Queens, Southside Jamaica, Queens, we didn't see a lot of black doctors, a lot of black lawyers, just anything black. And so my mom was like, Okay, cool. This is a representation thing. And so from there, she was like, okay, ya know, you're going to be a doctor, and you're going to go into medicine. And it's funny, that's not what I did. But we're gonna get the story rolling. And so I said, Okay, so the next day, she came with me a briefcase of toys of operation, I mean, all kinds of games, all kinds of reading material. She was serious. It was not a game, honey. And then on top of that, all kinds of black doctors who have made an impression in science in the medicine, one of them being Patricia bath, who was an ophthalmologist, and so she was like, Listen, you are going to be an amazing person. And not saying that, obviously, being a cowgirl is not, but definitely wanted me to make my mark in society doing something along the lines of medicine. And so that's what she's told me. And so from there, I was, okay, well, this is what I'm doing. I'm not, you know, growing up in a black hole, you don't kind of tell them Yes, you know, you don't have an opinion. And that is a lot to say. So you're just most so like, Okay, cool. Mom, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I agree. I'm on the same page as you How can I do this and commit to this without being in trouble? Exactly. I've been there. I've been there. You understand the struggle. So in that moment, I was okay, cool. This is what I want to do. This is what I'm going to do really. And I just took it on, I ran with it. And so from joining all these different clubs, sleepaway camps, I mean, all kinds of things. Not only she did still allow me to enjoy that part of me in terms of like the equestrian writing, I actually went to different kinds of sleepaway camps for that as well and competed in so many different things for English and Western writing. However, she didn't want me to have a real real quote unquote, career. And that being one in medicine, you know, back in the day, like, you know, you made the most money you were most happy if you were one
have three doctors, lawyers or engineers, and from what she thought, you know, so, and again, that goes back to representation. And so for her medicine was mine. So long story short, from that I went ahead and just loved stem, I was always very good at math and science and engineering principles, physics as well in high school. And I was like, you know what this is I think I even though my mom told me that this is what I want it to be, I really liked it. And so I was like, Okay, well, I don't have an issue with this, because I'm really good. Our grades resemble that as well. And I'm just gifted. And so I'm going through that. Also being really passionate about educating when I moved to Maryland, meant Baltimore, specifically, education, that it's a serious thing down here. And when I went to school at UBC, I realized just being a part of nesby Society of Women, engineers, Engineers Without Borders, it was an even bigger issue with representation, and seeing excellence in the classroom. And so for me, I was like, I definitely want to go into STEM educating, and not so much in regards to like, as a career or a major because I actually majored in math and chemistry. But I knew whatever I'm doing in school, I definitely wanted to impact those around me as well. And the younger generation too. So I wanted to stem educating and all that, all that jazz. So, you know, the code writing and all that kind of stuff came again, in terms of my undergraduate education. I mean, I did so many different internships from medical, like wet bench research with cells and biomolecular research and cell culture from now, moving on from cell research and micro bio biological cell research, to utilizing that data and writing code and computational analysis for that, which is really cool, like in MATLAB, and using Python and stuff like that blew my mind what you can really do with code. And that's really where I was initiated into being in that space. And so from there, I went on to doing other internships with mathematical modeling. I mean, you name it probably did, it definitely was in medical science field. And though, as I told you, I was pursuing medicine, and I was within, like, the medical scribe arena, or space, you know what I mean? Just more, more medicine, more exposure, and just yeah, just was born to be a go getter. And it really translated within my career as well.
Kimmiko James 7:28
Oh, my God, I love to hear that. Like, I think the early exposure really, really, really helps. Because for me personally, when I meet other black students that tried tech or engineering, they just don't feel it. They're just not feeling it. And I understand why. Like, I my first few CS class, I was like, Oh my god, I'm spending 40 to 60 hours working on something I don't care about. But what with you, I just I love that your mother pushed you to try out these different things and medicine and technology because like, it is so good to get the exposure early when things don't seem as tech mentally taxing, you know,
Chanel Power 8:11
so honestly, I love that you said that. I'm just gonna pick back on a couple of things that previously when she gave me the exposure and allowed me to try different things. So even though in her mind, she was like, you're going to be a doctor, she didn't really take away again, like I said, like my love for a question writing. I mean, I rode horses for about 10 years. In my childhood, you know, me competed in rodeos and equestrian races, I mean, all of that. boards and stuff. And so allowed me also to get into arts and crafts, you know, I remember going to Ingo hardest, and she's one of the most famous black sculptris and Harlem, and my mom and my grandmother and her were very good friends. And we went down there and honey, I didn't even know I loved art and love sculpting, but I loved building with my hands, you know, and then from there, she would buy us different Legos. And I mean, mine would have to be the girl he said, but my brothers would have like their own set, too. You know what I mean? And then that's how I built and sound my love for engineering and building up spaces. So it's really important to push kids and to give them everything like you know what I mean? Like I know, monetarily, it might not be possible. But if you can find different free things, because there's so many different resources out there. Again, in the black community, that's one of the the caveats of, of just understanding or being able to build like a child from the young age is because of the fact that we don't really have a lot of resources. And for my mom, she literally researched everything that was free, or at least low cost, right that she could afford. And again, being a single mom in New York City, it was hard. She wasn't always there for every recital or every dance practice. I did everything like dancing that to her or even down to my races for your question right link to but I knew that she was going to be there to pick me up and we would enjoy that moment even on the ride back home. So you know this up for all the single moms out They're, we love you, we see you. And thanks for
Kimmiko James 10:03
making this awesome. Yeah, so you just kind of jump into your UX research stuff because it's like that is, at least in my mind, that's like a big separation from a lot of the stem for so. So yeah, you're currently a UX researcher at Apple. And a lot of people might not know what that means. So could you just briefly describe the work you do as a UX researcher on a daily basis? Yeah. So
Chanel Power 10:30
just UX in general is a space for creatives. And so as a creative my, my role is to really make sure that all of the hardware and the software that we're producing is conducive for those users that would possibly use it, right. So we're making sure that it aligns with the mission of the company, accessibility, inclusion, all that kind of stuff. But also making sure that okay, even though again, we are producing all of these hardwares. As you guys know, iPhones, I mean, everything Apple, right, our iPhones, air pods, iPod Touches back in the day, before the iPhone became like the mega size, iPod Touch, iPads, MacBooks, all that kind of stuff, we want to make sure that it really resonates and answers the questions of users before it even becomes a question. And so what we often realize is that like a lot of our users, especially when they taking surveys, they that they just say Apple just gets it. And so being a UX researcher, user experience researcher, it's important for us to think about the story before it becomes a story. It's important for us to foresee the future. And it's almost like, I don't want to make it look spooky. But for us to really sit down and think about user flows. Think about wireframing thinking about how would we conduct a user research study, or also facilitating those sessions, sometimes, in order for us to realize or to get great, great data, and seeing how our users like our software or hardware, we want to see first that you know how to use it. So that also is a really big game changer. And so it's really cool. For me to be a part of that, I guess that arena that motion to see an advocate for those who are using our resources, our products to amplify the world around them.
Kimmiko James 12:15
Yeah, yeah, I literally had this talk the other day, about like, I bought the new Apple Watch, I probably didn't need it. Say, and I'm just like, I don't know how Apple does it. If we just I guess when you guys come in, because it's like, you guys released the same products. But like, people still keep buying it. I still keep buying it. Like I had this 2018 iPad. And then I think there was one that came out. It was either last year this year, and I saw and I was like, Oh my god, I have to have it. I don't know why.
Chanel Power 12:50
It's so weird. How we and honestly, it's really intricate process. And that's how you know that everything that we produce really comes from a human standpoint, right? We're not, we're really are big on inclusive design. And so you see that in the products that we create, because literally, you can walk down the street, you can go into a mall, you're going to see multiple different kinds of people with some kind of Apple device. And that's why it's really important to have diversity on teams to have diversity within a company. And not just racially right, not just ethnicity wise, but also inability, right? We have to have folks who are from the accessibility community to show us and tell us what works and what does not. We have to have allies as well it within those communities who might have grown up with different people who have had issues with with products that tell us like, hey, well, my grandma, you know, died of I don't know, Oklahoma issue, whatever the case may be, but I wish she would have had a, b, c, d, and e because that would have made her life better, and made it more of a quality life while she was on this planet. So it's really important for us to really use that empathy gear to push forward and creating these awesome products. And like you said, Man, I mean, the Apple Watch, drop. And I literally just got my series five, not even a year ago, and I was like maybe I do need to look at my blood oxygen. Now the Lord knows I ain't doing nothing intense. Okay, y'all need to check it.
Kimmiko James 14:19
That's exactly what he said. He's like, I'm probably never gonna use this feature. But you never know. I'm like, Okay. A lot of people don't really consider the accessibility part. So it's just awesome to hear that you're just working in that specifically. So yeah, yeah. Going back on what I said, just out of everything you tried out that was stem based throughout the years of being young to high school, college and even a little bit after it seems. How did you end up wanting to stick with UX research?
Chanel Power 14:52
When I tell you it is nothing that I knew of? I didn't even know this was a thing in my undergrad Yours, a couple of friends of mine, literally the way that I've been found out about UX or hardware research or anything like that was because a couple of my friends of mine, they were mechanical engineers, and all that kind of stuff. And so I was looking for little, like different research opportunities within the campus. And they're like, yeah, I'll just come to this lab, it's easy to get in there. And come to find out, it was actually a UX lab. It was a UX research lab, and accessibility specializing lab too. And that's how I kind of got into, I'm not sure if you realize or probably looked at this, but that's how I got into Toyota as an accessibility UX hardware researcher. And also like, on campus as well, doing those research as well. So long story short, I got in not knowing at all, but I wanted to do this. Again, for me, medicine was the long term goal. I didn't realize that I was really living the dream of someone else besides myself. Not again, not because I didn't love medicine, and not because I didn't love science, but because I was at a space that I was literally in school for six years. And so for me, I was like, I don't been through it all. I failed complete semesters, we've taken classes three times. I mean, y'all, you name it, I've done it. And I was exhausted. And I knew that I was not going to medical school right into right after my career, not because I didn't have like the accolades and all that kind of stuff, because I score pretty high on my MCAT. I just knew I didn't have the mental capacity to do it. And then on top of that, I didn't know if that's really what I wanted to do. So long story short, I was trying to find a job. When I tell you, I was trying to find a job at least six, about for six months. Yeah, after I graduated college, and I was like, man, and all the places I was looking for I was in medicine, and no doors were opening. Crazy. I know, I was like, I know, I'm qualified. I know, I have the skill. I know, I know how to do my work. I had all kinds of recommendations from like, research mentors, and all this kind of stuff from like UConn and all these different like, icon, Auguste places. And so like, for me not to even land an interview like it's this is saying something. And I was beginning to get very, very depressed because obviously, like bills start adding up. I was living off campus at this time, because of the fact I was like, Listen, y'all, I'm about to get this bomb job. I'm about to be living my life. It was a struggle, you hear me? And so afterwards, I was like, man, and I'm a woman of faith and a Christian. And I said, I said, I have to, I have to go back to the basics. And the basics for me was literally getting on my knees and praying and asking God like whatever plan you have, for me, whatever plan that you said that there was for me, that you've written for me before the ages of time, I need to get reassurance on this. And I also need to be realigned in that. And so I literally prayed. And I said, Lord, like, you know, your plans with me said that they're to prosper me, and to give me hope in the future, but right now, I'm not feeling prosperous. My bank account a string and nothing above double digits. As I've got don't feel unharmed, because right now my soul is hurting, you know what I'm saying. And then on top of that, to see a future, I couldn't see, I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I didn't know what space I was supposed to be entering into. I was lost. And so that night, I had a dream that I was working for Apple, I had an apple shirt on, I was walking around the office, I was talking to people. And it blew my mind. I had never had any kind of encounter like that, or any kind of direct message saying like, this is what you're supposed to be. And so I knew that that was exactly what I was saying. And so I said, Okay, one, I don't know anything about tech. But even though that's the case, I'm going to try to figure out who I know, that works at Apple. And so a good friend of mine worked at Apple, she kept it on the hush hush Ain't nobody. Nobody I found out on LinkedIn. So she was like, Listen, and so long story short, she went ahead and say, Well, I see a couple of rows I think you'll be good for for you already have the extensive research and STEM education and facilitation background. Why don't you just apply and so I applied, and a week later, I heard back, and a month and a half later, after five rounds of interviews, I got the job.
Kimmiko James 19:15
That is that is amazing,
Chanel Power 19:17
is catastrophic. You hear me?
Kimmiko James 19:20
That is amazing, because like that's why it's so frustrating that we that we don't have this access to understanding what the tech industry is and the opportunities that are available. I say this in interviews all the time, like it's not quotation marks, easy quotation marks per se. But if you know the roles exist, and you have some experience, you can easily just work at one of these companies.
Chanel Power 19:47
And it's so easy and so for me and that's one of the reasons why I came up with mentor me. So now, it's very important not only for you to identify your strengths, it's also important for you to identify who can culture those strengths or who can help Those friends who can mold you into becoming this mogul, whether it's in software development, whether it's in UX, whether it's in product design, what if it's an even PM, project management or product management, it's important for you to be around and surround yourself again, not only with resources, but with people who can help you. And so in my regard, like I didn't, I knew that I had met all these different people within tech, like just going to all these conferences really going for the free stuff, but you know, talking grace, all kinds of nesby conferences, hello, Society of Women engineer conferences, I'm in the black engineer of the year conference, all kinds of conferences, if you had free career fair, and I knew there would be some free goodies, I love pens, I was in there. So I of course, I took these people's cards, and I connected with them on LinkedIn as well, not realizing full circle that it would come around that but like, wow, this is the space that I'm supposed to be in. So in my head, I had I had a mission and goal. But there was another goal for me set aside and saying, Okay, well, you think you're here for the things. But you're also here to meet all these people who you will, in the future, you're gonna need for them to kind of help you get to the space that you need to be in. And so yeah, girl long story short, honey, I did not know, I didn't even know this existed. I wish I would have went to school, doing like anthropology or sociology, sociology, because I probably would have got up quicker, okay. And it probably would have had less mental health stress. I loved it. And it was something I'm naturally good at. You know, I
Kimmiko James 21:32
mean, just having that I to think about detail and to think about people before myself. So definitely, for sure, for sure. And I guess that's what sucks about it to have just like I had, I'm lucky enough to have had that moment for myself of wanting to do Computer Science and Engineering, but just being worn down. Like it's a lot like you're not just doing the fun coding classes, you're doing physics, you're doing calculus, the things that you don't really, you don't need to be redneck.
Chanel Power 22:05
I would love to hear a little bit more about you and your story like yeah, how did you enter the space? Did you always know that you wanted to go into computer science? No.
Kimmiko James 22:15
I fell into it. I fell into it as a lot of other black students as well. They just fall into it in college usually. Like I literally saw this this dude coding up something in my English class. And I was like, What is that?
Yo, long story short, it was just mentally draining. And then my dad passed away 2017. And I was like, I do not have the mental capacity to do these classes that it feels like a full time job, as I'm sure you've experienced. And I did fill some classes like you did, I had three take them. And I was like, You know what, let's, let's find a happy medium. Because now that I've figured out how the tech industry works, I don't need this CS an engineering major. So now I'm currently majoring in cognitive science. It's just psychology, philosophy, just things revolving around the mind. And I don't like all these stupid hard classes, I'm like, I can still get an internship doing software engineering, or whatever the heck else I want to do four
Chanel Power 23:18
or so a lot of people don't like they, they really don't take or they take for granted these quote unquote, easy majors. Because when I tell you, in tech, especially for UX, they want to know that you had some kind of comparability right, where you can actually like, communicate,
Kimmiko James 23:37
Chanel Power 23:38
That's the word I'm looking for. So yeah, y'all y'all know I was a little tired. But yeah, that you have some kind of similarity or, or some kind of empathy to connect to humans in a far different pace than than normally. Right? So if you have that education, within psychology, understanding how the human mind thinks, you'll understand how to make user flows, because you're like, well, humans, if they have this kind of emotion, and this is the purpose of this app, then we should have these kinds of resources for it. So it's so important. And I didn't even realize me entering in sociology would troubleshoot me into this kind of career, because I just took it because it was a really great break from for math. And then I realized that I had about 18 to 21 credits. I said, Well, you got to put that on my degree. So so for sure. I love I love that. And I love the fact that you identified this early on, you know, I mean, because I identified this literally second to last semester. So that's awesome.
Kimmiko James 24:39
And unfortunately, I had that mindset at one point too, and maybe maybe you did, maybe not but a lot of people that are in STEM and engineering. And it was always a conversation like oh, what's your major? What's your major and then you hear them say they're not stem you just like unconsciously look down upon them. What are you gonna do?
Chanel Power 25:00
But it's crazy because the ones who have these super stem ish quote unquote, majors and careers are the ones that are looking for work now and and the ones who are, or have these different other non STEM careers or majors, it's easier for them to translate it to different roles, especially within tech. Yeah, I
Kimmiko James 25:20
know, I know, people that majored in English that are trying to get into nursing school and stuff and like, it's possible you don't die doing biological science.
Chanel Power 25:31
I wish I know. Do you know how many math classes I've taken how many summers or winters I had to sacrifice to do these classes. If I would have known that my life would have been super easy. Doing sociology, anthropology, or even psychology, honey, I would have been living my life. So definitely don't take on the stress of others, especially within college and university. Women telling you have to do it one way there is no one way to skin a cat. There's different ways that you can go into a building, a building has so many different doors, if it's a back door, the side door, or even the emergency exit, you're going to get in some way somehow. So definitely, don't put too much trust in yourself. It's unnecessary.
Kimmiko James 26:14
Oh, I love that description. Like that's why I love tech. Mostly, It's bittersweet. You know, it's bittersweet, but that is why I love it. Because there are so many different angles you can take to get into it.
Chanel Power 26:27
I graduated with like a 2.6, or something, or like a 2.5. It was nothing exciting. So that's why
even with all of these different accolades, and all these different things like you do not have to have a 4.0, you do not have to have a three and above. As long as they see that you are a real person, tell your story. There's so much power in your story. I told them, I was like, Hey, I'm from New York, I was I transferred to UBC from a small college in New York City. I came here no family, trying to figure things out, trying to understand how to you know, travel and go through transportation. Because in New York, I can hop on a bus train or get a taxi, and I'm there. So that was hard for me to train, you know, to make the transition. Then on top of that, I love my family and I'm a family person. So not being able to go to Thanksgivings, and things like that, because I had so many different projects, and so much homework that I couldn't, I could not turn myself off to enjoy that time because I had work to do. That's what had me, you know, suffering, you know, to me, like with my grades and mentally, I wasn't in a healthy space. And so letting them know that I was real in that regard. Like, Listen, man, some classes I didn't I couldn't get up. I couldn't feel like getting up because I was battling depression. You know what I mean? Like a death this family member was passed away or, or dislike, you know what I mean? So there's so much power in your story. There's so much power in you telling them the why behind your grades, when I tell them that and told them all the things I was doing even on top of that, that was like, Who are you? Like, are you a superhuman? It was it was crazy. So the story was not me defending why my GPA was 2.5, I started I became, wow, you did that with a 2.5. Look how that changed the whole focal point, it changed. So I definitely encourage you all, whoever's listening out here, the GPA does not matter. Do your best. And make sure you're doing really cool things outside of school too, because I'm about to sit up here and tell you to get a 1.0. And you won't get a job at Google. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is to make sure that you are doing your best you're building your brand, you're building your personal brand, yourself, and who you are and who people see you to be. And then your grades for that matter because of the awesome work that you're doing.
Kimmiko James 28:48
Given your extensive involvement and mentorship, tutoring, volunteer work, just what drives you to take on these roles to helping guide people and eventually lead them to their future successes.
Chanel Power 29:01
Yeah. Love this question. Love this, love this love this love this. I came to realize that if I had the mentorship and the diversity of mentors, right, not just medical mentors, but mentors to help me with my, you know, my physical health mentors to help me, you know, be a better person, you know, even down to how do I love my family more or better, or mentors to help me just be more creative and explore myself, I would have been able to be even better be a better version of me. And so mentorship is still very important to me. It's something that I think is very, very key, especially within the tech space because we are hiring people who are creative, who think differently, who think outside of the box, who are our first dreamers, but then they become doers. We're thinking about all these different things and you that is the whole package. It's not just your You know, degrades. It's like how much of a person? Again, I keep saying this, what are you? How real can we get? how vulnerable are you opening to becoming? Because when you get feedback from other people on your team telling you that your work is not the greatest, how do you take that, but how do you take feedback from a manager telling you, you know that you're doing really great in this area, but this is the area that they want to develop you in. So you have to be that kind of person who's open to change, who's open to to kind of becoming a better version of you, but really also open to hearing that feedback. And feedback is a text version of saying constructive criticism. From all of that, I realized that mentorship would have been super impactful to me. So I want to help the next generation and connecting them with similar folks, people who are going to help you within your career, people are going to help you within your personal life, people are going to help you obtain all of your goals. That's one thing that I do definitely, with my mentees now.
Kimmiko James 31:00
Hey, guys, Pardon the Interruption, but I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the book I'm releasing in the coming months, if you're a student looking for an internship or new grad job offer, and you're definitely gonna want to read this book, I walk you through how to create the perfect resume, how to build side projects, both technical and non technical, how to get leadership skills, and just generally speaking, how to stand out amongst 1000s of applicants. The base ebook will be available January 2021. But if you're looking for paperback for kindle versions, that will be released sometime in Fall 2021. So be sure to check out the link at vi T dot L y slash GTO underscore book. Okay, now back to the episode.
Chanel Power 31:46
I don't just say like when they're coming into the program, like, Okay, great, this is the job you want to do, then this is what we're gonna do. Now. I want to know your long term, your short term goals, I want to know like, what are your dream jobs, where your gym companies so that I can get a better perspective on who you are as a person as the full package. So that as you're looking for roles as you are in a role, not only are you in that role, but you're also connecting to people who are helping you publish that book that you said that you've been writing for the last five years, or who's helping you achieve those fitness goals that you've been telling yourself since last year, December, like I'm This is my new year's resolution. So Lord knows I'm speaking to the choir, because I'm speaking to myself, but you have to have people to hold you accountable for are going to help you grow. And when you have more people that helps you grow, that continues to push you to be better, you're gonna look back 234 or five months, even a year, you're gonna like, Who was that person? Because you're completely different. And as humans, we are all evolving into different kinds of people, for the better, you never want to go back, you always want to go forward. So yes, I I love mentorship. tutoring is definitely a passion of mine as well, that goes back to the seven educating and seeing more of us when, by us the black community because of the lack of resources. So I started my own tutoring company, which is really, really cool. And partnered that with a University here in Baltimore, as well as the department of education as well. And we kind of linked we found out that a lot of education students who are trying to become teachers within their first two years they could not become or get into internships because I didn't have the experience. However, we realized that how are you going to have the experience if you never have an opportunity to be exposed and so I came up with show that self approved tutoring, which basically adds a little bit of mentoring with tutoring as well, to help students in Baltimore City achieve academic success. And it was amazing we drove results. Students came in I think, at least like I think they were at like most of them average was like a D, or C in terms of grades. And we brought them up to an average of a B to A average as well for elementary school students and high school students as well, which is really, really cool. We were able to partner them one on one with individuals who are at universities who are of the black diaspora, and then partner them with also students who are of the black diaspora, letting them know that you don't have to lose your swag. You don't have to lose your coolness to be and to operate as a smart, excellent, articulate individual. And so what does that look like put in the work that that is slag you know what I mean, when you're reading those books, when you're learning these new words when you're doing these problems that slagging You know, I'm saying like, that's super cool. And so when you have this space, when you have all of these resources of these people who are pouring into you, and you know, it's no longer you battling, poverty, you battling, you know, your mom's addiction, I mean, these kids are going through so many different things, they were able to flourish because they noticed that they're not just one day stem initiative or STEM program, and you take pictures and you leave, but now, you know, you're an integral part of my life. And a lot of these people who signed up, they knew that this was a long term thing. And so I mean, it's been amazing, super, super impactful. I mean, down to some of these mentors. Purchasing food for them to have for Thanksgiving and go in there and cooking it with them for their family. So it's really important for us to pour into our community man, not just giving them a link or a book or, or a person, but really doing the work, getting your hands dirty, getting in the ring, getting in the mud and helping them build themselves up from the bottom up, man. So I know I said a lot. But all of that is really a part of me, I really love, again, like to be part of me really love kind of driving results within that, and making sure that I'm impacting the lives of those around me as well. Volunteer work, I mean, I've done so much. In my career, I also volunteer with an apple as well as a community champion. Because again, I really believe that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. And so that doesn't mean you know, that we can succeed and kind of leave that success to ourselves. I do believe that is a shared communal experience. And that could just be again, something within the black culture where we believe, like life is a village thing, right? We raise kids as a village. I'm quick tangent, but I have to tell you the story. Gosh, my brother called me yesterday, right? And he was at the park playing basketball. And he's, I call him old single. He's literally like 24, but he's like this. And I'm like, bro, you're such a single and so long story short, he's at the park, right? He's stretching. He's doing all these things and like, coming up coming. And bro. Like, I guess there was some kids there too, who are probably like, in the teens, like, you know what I mean? Like they're playing football or basketball too. And I guess they were being too rowdy. Like, stop. And
Kimmiko James 36:39
Chanel Power 36:41
He's such an old man, y'all. So he turns to the kids turn around, there must have been like 14 or 15. And we go, okay. And I said, Man, you're a stranger. They do not know you. They've never seen your face. They don't even know your name. And you literally just yelled and said, Hey, turn all that noise up. You're not I mean, and they listen, like it was cognitive. So I was telling them I said, The reason why is because in the black culture, raising kids is a communal thing. Like, you know what I mean? If you know people on the black if you know, people at the church, like, if they tell you something, you know that that word is king, like that's it, you know, I'm saying. I was telling my brother about that, which is so funny. And I was like, I can't believe he actually listened to you. And he said, I laugh at myself, like, Man, what I'm turning into old man for sure. But to realizing like, wow, like we, as individuals, we have so much power that we can either shed positively, or really shed negatively. On the next generation. He's like, just me saying that, I realized that now if I was to go over there and talk to him about what does it mean to be a successful black man? You know what I mean, in New York City, he would listen, because he knows now like, obviously, that he cares about him. Right? And, but I saw also outside of that they had some kind of connection to so that was my little tangent, y'all. But I really love the black community so much, man, there's so much culture. There's so much vibrance within us. And I mean, yeah, that's, that's my little spiel.
Kimmiko James 38:08
Well, well, firstly, I would just like just to commend you for all your volunteerism and your mentorship work, because it's not, it's not an easy role to take on to take on someone that doesn't know a lot, and then kind of mentor them and teach them so that they do get to that level. Like you have to be really consistent to mentor someone without getting frustrated, and just guiding them so that they don't give up. So that Firstly, just amazing for that. And secondly, I really just wanted to highlight, I think for me, what stood out was the fact that you said making impact versus just throwing some resources at a group of kids from underrepresented backgrounds and just saying and taking a picture. And that's that, like, as I'm sure we both know, and probably other people listening to a lot of organizations do just that. Have a we did this community event for this group of poor black kids this one time in the year, and then they never, never follow up or anything, for sure. So just wanted to highlight that and just say I really appreciate the work you're doing and making it meaningful impact rather than just trying to get some publicity.
Chanel Power 39:19
Thank you so much. I really, really, really appreciate that. So so very much. I mean, again, like I said, this is this is not like a moment, this is really a movement for me. And it's a lifestyle, you know, and so, especially with mentor me Chanel, it's something that is really important to kind of drag those results for those who are freshly coming into the space. I know that there's also like, you know, high schoolers and things like that, that probably want to join too, and they can feel free to reach out to me. However it really is for those who are in college on pursuit or in pursuit of their career. And yeah, so that's that's mentor me, Chanel. And that's how I've been able to kind of push those results as well. I mean, like you said, I've seen so much with being with the nesby Society of Women Engineers, like just seeing these companies write a check and take a picture to say like, okay, thank you for donating your money. This is how it was used, rather than really just doing it long term. So I appreciate your words so much. I appreciate your sentiments. And so yeah,
Kimmiko James 40:22
and not to backtrack, I wanted to know if you had any mentorship going through all this, because a lot of the knowledge you're sharing, like, it's hard to just get all of that by yourself and then kind of mentor other people. Because for me, most of because I do have some mentees. I'll say some I'll say some that reached out to me. And I don't think I don't think I'd be able to mentor them as well, if I didn't have my manager, Tia or other people that I met at slack or just other mentors from other places. So did you long winded way of saying Did you have any mentorship throughout all of your career?
Chanel Power 41:01
So in my medical career, yes, whole lot of mentorship within my medical career, in my tech career, not so much to be honest. And so for me, I've just been that person who I don't wait for the rules to make sense. I just kind of break them. And I love my own. Yeah, so I just have been pouring into my mentees what I wish somebody would have told me and started from there. And so I know, again, like I mentioned, we should know, we have these panels at like once a month. And I literally showcase people from my network, who are really close, close friends, family members, or people who have freshly met where we just kind of tick it off and we vibe with. And I have them also share like things that they wish they would have known. You know. So in that moment, maybe like I'm utilizing my mentorship circle of other people who are mentors and other colleagues and stuff like that. And utilizing like their gems and kind of cherry picking what I want to kind of push out and flush out to my mentees. But to be honest, man, I just started doing it. And I just realized that I couldn't wait for someone to do it for me, you know, I do have really cool managers and stuff like that as well. But no one at the moment yet that have really aligned with who I am as a person and not saying that everyone has to align fully with who you are. Like I said, there's different mentors for different things. But within the tech space, like really growing my career, I hadn't found anyone just yet, you know, I mean, I think it's more so just been like, how do I become a better person? You know what I mean? Or how do I become like a better sibling, just kind of leaning on the Lord like to help me help others be better, you know, because I really kind of stemmed out of that. I was actually looking for promotion actually within my job. And I realized that I was so much like, I was so tunnel vision to me that I needed to kind of look out. And then when I looked out, I realized that all these different things and hormones were happening. And the Coronavirus hit, and you know, the Black Lives Matter and all this kind of stuff. And I was like Matt, what can I do to help people and then again, like, that's how I mentor me started. So I kind of had to step away from me to give people you know, and when I tell you doors have opened for me crazy, after I kind of stepped out of myself, you know what I'm saying? And like pushed to help people. So
Kimmiko James 43:19
yeah, as I show you, like took a sneak peek of the questions. I said, I just, I just love people starting stuff in 2020. Like it is so inspirational to see especially black founders, just all this craziness going on. But you guys have the mental capacity to make something like make nothing into something and help people that is just amazing to me and in my previous interviews with Dimitri and equal equity impact, and Kenton rolling with Hello groove and just other people just doing all these amazing things, starting things this summer,
Chanel Power 43:55
it's our time to win. Out here with this in the air, okay, I want to see us thrive and when they're not going to give us our 40 acres in a meal that we take it back ourselves, you know, and so this is what it's really all about. And obviously like I love all people I really do, I love every kind of person. I just want to see the black community after all of what we have put into America, I want to see us get some kind of recognition for that greatness, you know, so yeah, here's to our ancestors, man.
Kimmiko James 44:27
So could you just like tell us a little bit about what the metonymy Chanel platform is and how people can get involved with it.
Chanel Power 44:36
So mentor me Chanel is an initiative that began again, like I said, out of a space of just realizing that there is so many so much or needs to be done within our community, not only within corporate America, but especially within tech, right. And again, because of the lack of resources. So again, I sat down and I was just like, how can I help practically you know, For me, I wasn't comfortable with going out and protesting, again amongst all of the Coronavirus, and just the depth and stuff that were happening and plus my grandmother's 92. So I want to make sure that I'm protecting her space as well if I'm going to visit her. And so I said, What is the best thing for me to do, and that was for me to start this program and traditionelle. And so literally, it's me making you all an undeniably competitive candidate, when it comes to applying for your dream role at your dream job. And so I eliminate the awkwardness of building a virtual network, right, and I utilize a superpower of mine, because I know so many people within the industry, I mean, I have over 3000 connections. And so it's really important for me to make sure that I eliminate that time of you having or feeling like you have to become this likeable person for this one particular person, and just allowing you to utilize my likability that they already have with me, right, that rapport that that we've already built, and then have you kind of get those referrals, get into those companies and also build more mentorships. So we have so many different packages from resume reviews, resume writing, I've definitely had some clients who have just said, like, I just need you to fix my resume. And here's the money. So I do that as well, I do resume reviews, resume writing as well. And that just comes with one on one consultation, providing links to savvy, LinkedIn, or not LinkedIn, but resume templates, assisting with the editing composition, or if you really want me to do it yourself, totally fine, as well. And then I also have a recruiter who's a really good friend of mine, from Google, and other companies just kind of look over to make sure that it's competitive. And you know, we have the career advising as well, which is a week long process, really making sure that we're reconstructing your networking approach, understanding like how it is or how you can structure your LinkedIn messages. Now you're emailing to make people want to respond back to you. We also have mock sessions and interviewing, mock center sessions, and just building confidence to aid in cultivating that connection and building rapport as well. And then also, again, because it's all about me building your mentorship pool as well, I recommend you to five different kinds of people who you would kind of build rapport from as well. And they'll be able to continue to shape your, your awesome career. And then lastly, we have the mentorship, mentor me membership lifetime connection. And so that's literally what it is like you pay this one time, cost on its chanel.com. And then you go ahead and you get so many different things outside of the resume review in the career advising, but you also again, get full access to my personal network, over 3000 professionals, and various industries from health tech, FinTech, hardware, tech software, all that kinds of stuff. Or even if you want to go to the NIH manage people all over the place. You also get monthly newsletters from different roles that recruiters have reached out to me personally, for you know, folks that they're trying to find access to free tickets to conferences, because a lot of my Also, my co workers are trying to get these tickets out, and the companies have already paid for them, which is really, really cool. And I want to get those off to you guys as well for free access to professional development webinars, I talked about that a little early on, in regards to the monthly webinars that we have that talks about all things black, in regards to tech and things like
And then you know, a chance to be sponsored as the spotlight mentoring. And then obviously, it's a one time cost as well. So y'all you have access to me for lifetime, a lot of people have it as like just a one time thing like I help you in that kind of leaves you and that's that. But again, because of my values and connection and building rapport and building a network, I do not want that to be the case. So maybe you know, we'll have a really strong six months, and we're connected and you get it, you get your job after six months. And then maybe like you know, you're you're busy, you're into your role. But maybe a year later, you're like, I'm ready to translate or transition, excuse me, hit me up, like we're still connected, you still have all of my contact information, email, phone numbers, Slack, all that kind of stuff. So that is the long winded plug of mentor needs to know it is going to be on. It's chanel.com forward slash mentor, dash me, and then you guys can go ahead and check that out. Or you can guys just go ahead and check out the regular page, which is men's swimming. Oops, sorry, guys. It's actually it's chanel.com. And you can go ahead and follow the prompts as well.
Kimmiko James 49:19
And is this primarily for college students? Or is it like new grads? Or just people that have been in the professional field for a while and are looking for some mentorship or Who's your primary consumer? customer?
Chanel Power 49:33
Yeah, that's a great question. Honestly, all the above I primarily those who are looking to build connections and bid directly into the space so really, at least a college student and above that are looking for at least internships and full time rolls. If you are also in the space already in corporate America looking to translate or transition on the lucky thing translate but transition into a field within tech maybe to a boot camp or something like that. This is definitely the program for you as well. Or if you're a mentor and you kind of just want to collaborate with me because you want to kind of help further the mission, feel free to go ahead and go onto my page as well. It's chanel.com, click on About Me, and then it will take you to a contact page as well
Kimmiko James 50:16
as Super Amazing stuff like you heard it here. First, if you're a mentee looking to get some mentorship, definitely check it out. Or if you're interested in being a mentor, this is also a great way to get involved, especially with everything going on. I think. As Chanel said previously, it's just a good time to get involved and do stuff for your community. So for sure, thanks for sharing and promoting
Chanel Power 50:39
a lot of pleasure. Thank you guys. I look forward to working with you guys soon. And again, like if you take anything away from this podcast, we want you to know that you are worth it, man, take life one day at a time do not have the stress of GPAs and Cosmo that kind of stuff, Dude Perfect way on you. If you have a love for something that is not tech or STEM related. Go ahead and go into it man, you don't have to be a biological degree to consider major or calm sigh or you know an engineer to get into the tech field. You can be whatever you desire. If you love music, go for music. Spotify would love you know, I'm saying Apple Music is here. So, you know, just discover yourself fully on and don't take any preconceived notion of what tech is.
Kimmiko James 51:23
Yeah, thank you for joining me Chanel, just sharing your journey into tech and sharing amazing advice of how to get into the tech industry without stressing yourself out and how to find some quality mentorship. So thank you for coming on the show my
Chanel Power 51:39
you for having me.
Kimmiko James 51:42
If you want to keep up with Chanel and the work she's doing, be sure to check out her website at it's Chanel calm, and from there, you can check out Mitt Romney Chanel. In the next episode, I'll be talking with Ryan Brown, who is the CEO and founder of the black travel box, a brand that satisfies hair and skincare needs for black travelers, so you definitely won't want to miss it. Thank you again for listening to the black enterprise tech podcast and Odie greatly appreciate it if you can leave a review on Apple podcasts or any other platform that has reviews.
Chanel is an experienced Chemist and Mathematician furthering her career as a Software Engineer utilizing quantitative, qualitative, computational, analytical and collaborative skills to enhance the User’s Experience within Technology.
She's the Founder of Mentor Me, Chanel! The program addresses the lack of representation in the tech space. She strives to empower the next generation of Leaders, within the Black Community, to challenge the status quo, break the glass ceiling and to cultivate lasting connections.