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Ep 156 – Ayanna Lott-Pollard, Executive Director at Resilient Coders

podcast May 20, 2023

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In episode 156, Erik and Kerel talk with Ayanna Lott-Pollard, Executive Director at Resilient Coders, whose mission is social justice through economic empowerment through educating black and brown folks from low income communities to become software engineers. Ayanna is West Philadelphia, born and raised, just like her parents, is the oldest of 4 siblings, and graduated from the school of Communications and Theater at Temple University. From there, her career path has been nonlinear to say the least, getting opportunities to work in advertising, healthcare, government, including a stint at the White House, operations and now tech adjacent.

Ayanna talks about how her nonlinear career path came from following her heart, how life has directed her to places, organizations, and opportunities in which she deeply cares for, and why she loves learning and where she has developed her growth mindself. She also goes into the current landscape of technology, AI, automation, the importance of skills and diversity at the table, having a vision for yourself, and more.

“It’s essential that these organizations, these multibillion dollar organizations and some of the smaller ones as well, that they become inclusive. And it’s not just because like I said, it’s an ethical, it’s a moral issue, it’s because we’re creating technologies, we’re creating opportunities, we’re reinventing what this world will look like. And in order for that to be equitable, we need everybody. We need more people at the table.”


1:24: Ayanna Lott-Pollard, Executive Director at Resilient Coders, shares Resilient Coders’ inception, mission, and more details of what the 20 week bootcamp entails

4:34: Just like Will from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Ayanna shares that she was born and raised in West Philadelphia as well as getting into her family history, path to college and nonlinear career path

6:51: Why Ayanna’s career path has been untraditional and how life has directed her to certain places and organizations based on her life experiences

8:08: What drives Ayanna’s passion for continued learning, growing, and education for herself

9:59: Ayanna explains why skills are the new degree requirement, how automation and AI is impacting both workers and employers, and the future of tech jobs

12:23: The ethical and financial importance of decreasing the risk of discriminatory design in tech by putting diverse people in designer roles and have a seat at the table

18:11: What excites Ayanna about the future of technology and the impact Resilient Coders is creating for entire generations

20:13: The importance of Resilient Coders alumni

22:50: What inspires Ayanna to develop teams and be a transformational leader and what purpose means to her

26:02: The best piece of advice Ayanna has ever received

27:27: Ayanna’s current music rotation, including a Philly playlist, gospel, and a wide range of other music

28:26: Erik, Kerel, and Ayanna chat about and share their love for the TV show Bel Air and why it’s really important and its focus on black excellence

30:20 Where you can connect with Ayanna and find more information about Resilient Coders

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