Meet Tonya Shipman – Tonya holds a Masters Degree in Information Technology and works in Client Management for a Healthcare company. In her own words – “I.T. chose me because I had the ability to think outside the box. Her story is below..
Why I chose I.T.?
It was actually not my decision at all. To begin, I grew up as a military brat. Both my mom and dad were in the Army and chose that life instead of college. Many black folks during that time did. It was a way to make the most of your life and do something positive for our country. As a child growing up, I attended 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 2 high schools. Because of my constant moves, I often felt invisible since people in my world often would move as their parents were assigned new jobs which would cause them to leave. My parents, especially my dad would always tell me how important, beautiful and smart I was.
As a child I felt like a huge burden because of the countless changes I often hated. Because of my parents long hours, I spent a lot of time with childcare providers who were cruel. I come to realize that there are many broken people in the world. I know this because I also experienced the kindness and patience by a few who made me feel like one of their children. What this taught me is that people often choose to be who they are and you can’t assume that all people are bad. As I got older, I spent a lot of time with my extended family. I was able to build relationships with my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and many others that have help shape me into the woman I am today. Being exposed to so much, I determined that I would always have control over my life. I also realized that I had to always be aware of my surroundings because of the many different people that would enter and leave my life. I learn that the one constant was me. I had to make sure that I made the most of who I wanted to be.
Since I was a kid, I wanted to study law. I attended the University of South Carolina and majored in History with a minor in Secondary Education. I minored in education because I always wanted every child that I came into contact with to know how important they are. I wanted kids to always feel empowered all while instilling courage and confidence.
Soon after graduation I got pregnant and decided I needed money quick. I got a job in a call center that supported phone systems. During that time, they needed management staff. I was selected. I soon moved to a manufacturing company because they needed someone who specialized in CRM (customer relationship management). This was my very first opportunity to move into Information Technology. Soon after I started developing, supporting and deploying JD Edwards an ERP system. I was the only black female who traveled for the company training, installing and testing the CRM application. I eventually landed a job in the HealthCare industry where I assisted with the building of servers and installing applications. Today I am in client management in the same industry where my technical experience allows me to make better decisions for my clients.
“I.T. chose me because I had the ability to think outside the box.”
I’ve always believed that taking chances and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is when you are at your absolute best. I don’t have a undergrad degree in I.T., but I did get my Masters in Information Technology Management. This gave my a very high level understanding of how technology works. I believe I could, I did. Life is all about choices. Realize this, you have 18 years until your an adult. For some of you, a couple of more years in your current experience before adulthood. You have a lifetime after that to be great, make awesome choices, be who you want to be, teach people how to treat you and be happy. Don’t let 18 years define your future, but instead build on it and be great. Am I everything I want to be today, not quite, but I am well on my way. I am extremely happy and love my life. I am working on myself everyday and am glad to say that I’ve removed that idea that I was ever a burden and set myself free.
I.T. is complex and life is complex, I’ve found my balance through it all.
Today I am a wife to my bestfriend, a mother of 3 and a friend to many! Keep moving forward no matter what.