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HomeNEWSBLACK GIRL MAGICLexi B is a Modern Day Freedom Fighter and Storyteller

Lexi B is a Modern Day Freedom Fighter and Storyteller

Lexi B is truly a force to watch. Her energy truly left me speechless during our interview. She has spoken at numerous events and led countless workshops on equity and inclusion topics for large companies. She uses her speaking and social media platforms to empower and inspire her diverse audience, and encourage them to lead with intentional equity, empathy and authenticity. Her signature keynotes and workshops are credited with helping companies generate authentic and engaging dialogue that elevates diverse perspectives and promotes equitable work environments.

 

 

 

She was the 2020 WomenTech Network “Speaker of The Year” winner and one of Silicon Valley’s most candid and prominent voices. In April 2017, Lexi B founded Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech. Today, it is one of the largest virtual communities of its kind to exist, boasting a membership of over 10,000 professional women from over 72 countries in tech and tech-adjacent careers. This international society has been nationally and locally recognized by Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, Slack, Black Enterprise, Rolling Out, Phenomenally, The Ladders, Built-In and more. The Stanford graduate and St. Louis, MO native believes, “people deserve to live the life that caters to their strengths and passions. By truly understanding what they need and offer, everyone can implement tools to realize their path and thrive.”

 

 

What was the spark that led you to create Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech? 

SC: BWiT was initially created to find Black women that could support me in navigating my own career journey. I distinctly remember sitting in a meeting at my company and having a hard conversation with a leader. It was clear that I was not being heard and that my opinions about the topic were not considered in a final decision that influenced the program that I led.  I knew that I had to handle the situation strategically and delicately because I did not want to be perceived as aggressive. Black women have always been the people that I go to for wisdom, guidance and understanding. When I was looking for someone to help me navigate this particular situation at work, I wanted to find a Black woman leader who could really understand all of the complex layers and guide me to a solution that empowered me. I never thought that a small brunch would have transformed into a 10,000+ members organization that uplifts Black women all over the world. 

How did it feel when you received the news you were selected as the Women In Tech Speaker of the Year?

It was phenomenal and completely unexpected.  I remember that my presentation was having technical issues during the conference, therefore I presented my whole workshop without slides. When I finished presenting, I was very concerned that it did not go well because of my lack of visuals.  Receiving that honor was such a privilege and also a reminder that I am walking in my purpose of [using] storytelling as a tool for freedom fighting. 

How does it feel to change so many lives with your dream?

I grew up in a household that prioritized God, family, and community, and I was taught to always bring your people along with you in your professional journey. My parents always think Black in their professions in medicine and education. Even before I founded Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, I always advocated for Black women. It is the best feeling knowing that I get to spend my time working with Black women to create a world that values us, pays us fairly and stops putting barriers in place to dim our magic. I don’t think of SC: BWiT as a dream. I think of it as gratitude to the Black women ancestors that came before me and made me who I am today. Because of them, I am, and because of the women in this community, I am. 

What advice would you give to someone who is unsure about pursuing their dreams?

I understand why pursuing your dreams is so daunting.  Dreams can be terrifying because we have been conditioned to think that only a certain group of people are allowed to live in their own unique definition of liberation. Dreams are also difficult.  It takes hard work, failure, mistakes, grit and confidence to stand in your truth and pursue something that other people think is not possible. You need to find people that remind you of your brilliance and of your value.  You also need to let some people go that do not support your dreams. Your dreams are sacred and you should treat them as such. Not everyone is allowed to know your dreams. Not everyone is allowed inside your sanctuary of your thoughts, ideas and opinions about your next steps.  That does not mean that those people should be shunned from your life, but there should be boundaries placed around your journey to liberation. Find people that will support you in action towards your goal.

How have your life experiences played a part in your journey?

My whole journey is 100% based on my life experiences and to be honest I did not start liberating myself from this cycle of “do what everyone tells you to do” until six years ago.  After graduating from my undergraduate programs, I started working in a job that I was not passionate about. I worked really hard to learn my job because I thought that becoming better at my function would lead to some euphoric moment of passion. The more advanced I got in my career and my skills, the more unhappy I was. I literally was like a robot, walk the dog, go to work, sit in meetings, come home, eat something, shower, bed, do it all over again.

One Christmas, my mom looked at me and said “it is as if someone just kidnapped your light.” I spent the next two years actively trying to find my light and I realized that my passion and my happiness is when I am challenging the corporate system to treat people like humans. I light up when I create curriculums for presentations around career branding, equitable management practices and how to treat colleagues like humans. I am also re-fueled when I am fellowshipping with Black women. When I pieced all of these things together, I realized that whatever I do in the corporate world, it must have these components in order for me to thrive. But I also have stayed diligent in sharpening my skills in the office as well because I am aware the better I am at my job, the more freedom I have to challenge authority. 

How do you want your lectures to be received? What impact are you looking to make?

Every time I am on a stage – virtual or in-person- I want people to leave lovingly uncomfortable. Discomfort is beautiful because it is growth.  Many people walk into my workshops, keynotes and lectures and assume they know everything. They think that what I am going to say are the same cliches: “diversity is important,” “treat people the way you want to be treated,” “privilege is powerful.” They realize very quickly that I am presenting a very different dialogue— one that is truly about understanding who you are. 

I strongly believe that until you understand who you are and why you behave the way you do, you will not be able to help other people. Also, people assume that because they have been promoted to a manager role, they deserve to be there and that they already know how to be a great manager.  In reality, most managers have never been trained on how to build relationships with their direct reports, have critical conversations or treat people the way they want to be treated.  If you leave one of my safe spaces lovingly uncomfortable then that means you will continue to challenge and question your behavior moving forward. And that is a wonderful thing! 

What can we expect from you in the future?

My future will always be filled with authenticity, Blackness and freedom fighting.  I no longer do things that make me feel like I am not moving towards liberation in some capacity.  I hope to resume safely presenting and storytelling on stage by 2023 because that is my favorite part of my career. Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech has so many amazing updates coming this year, and I am so excited to witness our evolution and transformation in the coming months. Most importantly, I am excited to continue to support Black women thriving and watching us receive the pay equity and promotions that we deserve. 

 

Learn more about Lexi B by visiting: Lexib.com

 

 

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