The last year has been a rocky rollercoaster that fed off the visceral sensation of fear itself. Finishing up my junior year at Howard University, I had just accepted my internship to work at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and was preparing to attend Field Training for my future career as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. But, my life changed in a blink of an eye when the pandemic dug its fingernails in. Luckily, one of my peers pushed me to join an organization called INROADS, a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the absence of people of color in corporate America. They prepared me in my search to find a purposeful internship in my field of study. After a month of learning and mentoring in INROADS, they connected me with an internship opportunity at a technology company called Sprinklr
While researching Sprinklr to understand their values as they relate to my own, I became fascinated with their core beliefs: The Sprinklr Way. The first interaction I had with Sprinklr employees was an introduction to Kristina Henry, Mieshon Bland, and the work of the Black employees resource group known as The Collective. While going through the interview process I felt nothing but “good vibes.” Once I interviewed with Asha Aravindakshan, Murali Swaminathan, and Matt Tedder on the IT team, I saw that Sprinklr’s operating principles were not only being met, but were exactly what I was looking for. Within 72 hours, I was a part of a remote cohort of INROADS VIP interns at Sprinklr.
|People never forget how you make them feel
Sprinklr is always quoting Maya Angelou’s “people never forget how you make them feel”? Is that true? Since July 2020, I’ve been able to meet and learn from a meaningful number of employees.
From my work family in The Collective, I was able to hear their stories about being Black in corporate America and was able to recognize how important it is that a company values who I am and serves as a true ally to my humanity.
I even gained a magnificent mentor who focused on helping me understand my passions, so I could intertwine them with my professional skills in my day-to-day — shoutout to Jen Valdez in the Sales Business Value Group. But, The Collective wasn’t only about pouring into us professionally, they amplified our personal development by having Learn2Grow and Snack & Learn Sessions with different departments.The VIP Interns and The Collective have given me a breath of fresh air and more confidence in myself as a leader. The Collective made it possible for all VIP interns to talk to senior executives like Ragy Thomas, Carlos Dominguez, and Diane Adams in intimate panels and discussions, and to present to Vivek Kundra and Grad Conn. Being able to access the people that make executive decisions for Sprinklr was exhilarating.
In addition, I’ve adored my professional network. Some amazing connections include: my team, Anna Johnson, Ryan Mathew, Adam Biskobing, and Israel Thomas, who helped me with my passion for cybersecurity (also my minor at college). Now, I have a better understanding of governance, risk, compliance, and pen testing to better prepare me for real world opportunities in this field. Christy Ethridge advised me on work/life balance; Tony Vargas and Joe Charnitski allowed me to star with them on the internal daily TV show (maybe this video will spark my acting career!); Cassandra Rose, Laura Lopez, and Marcelina Mata gave me the opportunity to keep my graphic design skills sharp; and Sowmya Gayathri contributed to one of my most complex builds and has shown me nothing but love.
Above all, I have been blessed to have a manager who listens to, mentors, and pushes me to be better than when I started at Sprinklr. Asha made my internship experience worthwhile and unforgettable from the beginning. I came in with my own plan to gain new skills and strengthen
my existing technical skill set, yet she never failed to make the extra move to guide
me to where I should be.
But like… What did you do here?
I’ve been able to work with our company’s recruiting application intensely to create step-by-step guides for recruiters creating two different types of job requisitions. Logistically, this process was key to employee productivity because a simple “walk thru” applied to this process created a 43% time reduction in creating each job requisition, saving recruiters 2.5 hours for every 1,000 requisitions. When you think about it, I’m helping the next 5,000 people joining Sprinklr have a smoother onboarding experience before they even join the company.
After our recruiting application, I was able to create WalkMe content in our benefits portal, knowledge management system, learning management system, customer relationship management tool, and our own instance of Sprinklr. Within my first four weeks, I built more than 50 smart tips and six processes using WalkMe! Perhaps I’ll be featured on Sprinklrite Steffaney Zohrabyan’s “Digital Adopter” series as a special guest! By working at Sprinklr, I am aware of how I can tie in my values into my work, access resources to intensify my hard skills, practice with the technical Sprinklr interfaces, love my job as I learned to better myself and my personal mission, and gain visibility within a company to lead a team one day.
What’s after Sprinklr and graduation from the #1 HBCU?
When I contemplate the future, I can only envision the woman I want to become and how I plan to get there. In my last semester in school, I plan to intensify my skills in Cybersecurity by participating in more case study competitions and hackathons, and obtain at least one security certification to make myself more competitive for my future employer. After graduation this spring in May 2021, I plan to continue deepening my expertise in cybersecurity with a career in the field. I want to make technology more accessible to people who look like me. Being a Black woman in technology is important to me because this field wasn’t inclusive for years and I envision passing the torch to the young women after me, while furthering my learning in this field.
While at Howard, I founded my own non-profit and lifestyle brand called BAYD, an acronym for Be All You Desire (a play on my own name), to help young millennials learn to trust their authentic self using their past tribulations as motivation to become all that they desire. This past fall, I fundraised to provide students with relief computers through the pandemic, and in the future I want to bring funding and restoration to inner city schools and minority students. Where I come from in Syracuse, NY, inner city students do not have access to advanced technical courses, so I want to restore hope in future generations.
Although 2020 was a rocky year, the one thing that was steady for me was Sprinklr. I will miss my Sprinklr family a lot, but I am forever thankful that everyone I have met had a substantial effect on me.
Signing off for now,
D’Zyre Jones is a graduating senior, computer information systems major, with a double minor in cybersecurity and graphic design, from the ILLUSTRIOUS (now Presidential) Howard University. You can follow D’Zyre on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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