By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Caribbean immigrants are everywhere, and no where more than in the US Diaspora, where they are making their mark on every sector, despite being largely dismissed and ignored as a “Caribbean” bloc. Regional tech ecosystem, Tech Beach Retreat, recently released a list of nine Caribbean Americans making their mark in spaces ranging from finance to social media. Here are the 9 as previously featured on Loop Caribbean.
1: Kome Emuh
Kome Emuh, whose roots extend to Trinidad and Tobago through her parents, is the COO of Global Markets Operations Engineering at Goldman Sachs.
Emuh was born in the UK but is now based in the US where she manages a US$120M investment portfolio at Goldman. For Caribbean nationals setting their sights on the technology industry, Emuh advises: “Ensure you are well versed in changing policy and regulation on new and emerging technology. Pre-empting regulatory headwinds will demonstrate that you are thinking long term about how policy can impact the business [and its] revenue — this is the value add.”
2: Marlon Nichols
Marlon Nichols is the co-founder and managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital. Born in Jamaica before migrating to the US, Nichols accelerates and promotes early-stage entrepreneurs and companies on the verge of their breakthrough moment. He advises those interested in pursuing a similar path to: “Just do it. Work on challenges that truly resonate with you and build relationships along the way. The worst thing we can do is look back and think ‘what if’,’ so bet on yourself and pursue your dreams.”
3: Cavel Khan
Cavel Khan is the chief revenue officer at Tumblr. The Jamaican national and advertising-industry-wave-maker, joined the microblogging and social networking website over a year ago. He leads the team responsible for the sales, operations and marketing efforts focused on increasing revenue opportunities.
Recently inducted into the 2020 American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement, Khan says he takes particular pride in being able to serve as an example for younger Jamaicans with aspirations of joining the global tech workforce.
“My goal is to lay an easier path for folks who are not yet in this industry, to be able to enter the industry and thrive,” Khan was quoted as saying. “My advice is simple, do the work to find the opportunities that exist in the marketplace…Find companies who are leading the charge on distributed work and connect with them.”
4: Nicholas CM Fuller
Nicholas CM Fuller is a director of Hybrid Cloud and AI research at IBM. The Trinidad and Tobago-born immigrant leads IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) research agenda, focusing on using AI to improve the developer experience, enhance application security risk posture and increase application availability.
His favourite part of the job? Developing ideas all the way from concept to solutions that “solve specific business problems” and impact the market.
Fuller encourages Caribbean nationals who are passionate about tech to pursue their dreams: “If science and technology ignites a passion in your inner being, listen to it, follow it, and don’t let various obstacles, perceived or real, hinder your interests and pursuits.”
5: Stephanie Alexis Smellie
Stephanie Alexis Smellie is the head of creator partnerships at Spotify. The Bermuda-born immigrant of Jamaican parentage, works with platforms and brands to enrich the audio streaming service’s offerings to its artistes.
Smellie says she was driven by her fascination with how “innovation and digital media has shifted culture, changed the way we interact and unlocked new opportunities for monetization.”
She reminds those working toward careers in the tech industry that: “there is room for so many other roles, from sales to marketing and HR, that may fit your skillset.”
“You don’t have to shoot for the biggest tech companies in the industry. It may mean working for a start-up or a lesser-known platform. However, getting the experience [of] working in a fast-moving innovative environment will set you up for success,” she added.
6. Subira Willock
Subira Willock is the business success and thought leadership marketing manager at Facebook.
The Trinidad and Tobago-born immigrant helps brands master the power of Facebook as the social network’s Business Success and Thought Leadership Marketing Manager. Willock and her team produce content that helps businesses of all sizes better understand how to leverage the platform to connect with their customers and grow their business.
Willock was pushed to join the tech industry by a desire to positively impact her favourite apps and services, like Instagram and Whatsapp. Now, she gets to work directly with these apps.
She advises Caribbean nationals aspiring toward a career in technology, to “be intentional about what you choose to study and the jobs you take to build your career, because those choices contribute to the story you tell to unlock the doors of big tech.”
7. Cassandra E. Campbell
Cassandra E. Campbell is a program manager at Facebook. Born in the US to Jamaican parents, Campbell serves as a part of the Ads and Business Products Organisation team, developing programmes that show small and medium-sized businesses how the platform’s products work so they can best leverage each feature.
Campbell believes the potential exists for any qualified and committed Caribbean national to succeed in the global tech industry, providing they believe in themselves, take the time to become an expert in their respective niches, and never give up. “You may not get it the first time around but if you pursue the goal consistently, you’re bound to win!,” she stated.
8. Lisa Godwin
Lisa Goodwin is a creative technologist at the New York Times. Born in the US with roots in the Dominican Republic, Godwin says she was always interested in technology, setting her path at an early age by programming video games.
Encouraged by her Dominican parents to follow that path and pursue a career in computer science, she has emerged as a major contributor to the industry, working as a creative technologist at The New York Times, where she develops digital properties for monetisable growth.
Godwin, who is also the Founder/CEO of You Are Tech, assures those aspiring towards a career in the tech industry: “There is room for everyone within the tech ecosystem,” she was quoted as saying. “Coding is not necessary, there are endless possibilities within tech to explore. Discover your passion and leverage that within the industry.”
9. Michael Montano
Michael Montano is head of engineering at Twitter. Born in Canada, with his father hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Montano now works with his team “across the technology stack to build, maintain, scale and improve Twitter’s service.”
Montano advises Caribbean nationals pursuing a career in technology: “The tech ecosystem is changing rapidly, accelerated by the global pandemic. Global tech companies are recognizing that talent is distributed around the world, as are customers, and are looking to hire and grow from all over the world. Those who bring a combination of technical skill and unique perspective from the region will be huge assets to companies looking to serve more customers.”