Yolanda Washington

Program Manager
“I, of course, was the only woman in that role.”
Yolanda Washington is a Bronx native who knows how to make things happen and quickly adapt to new situations. Now based in Virginia, Yolanda’s years of experience and know-how help drive the work forward at Talent Pipeline and the federal government.

What was a defining moment in your career?

The moment I had realized the value of my work in tech was when I completed my first major project of consolidating 9 data centers in 4 across the US for a major telecommunications company supporting the financial services industry. I had stepped into the role with no knowledge of data centers but was armed with a solid background in project management and the ability to be a quick study. I, of course, was the only woman in that role at the company. At this point in my career, I was comfortable in this space—I didn’t actually have a choice.

What was your biggest lesson from that project?

I realized that I had a skill set to offer the tech industry that is essential to the business. It is also such a transferable skill that it is industry agnostic. I knew that my opportunities weren’t bound by previous industry experience but based on successful utilization of my skill sets.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

I think it is continual from the moment I started in this business as a software trainer, being challenged everyday by students who thought I couldn’t possibly be the trainer. But I proved time and again that I performed at expert level on whatever system I taught. Even in recent years as an experienced program manager, I’m still challenged as I lead technical teams as a consultant in the federal government.

What advice do you have for Black women in tech?

The advice I would tell a woman trying to jump into tech is to not be intimidated. Focus on what interests you in the industry and be good at it. Which means study, get certified if need be, and don’t be afraid to stretch your talent and skill sets.