Armani Black is a Technology Consultant in Houston, TX. Although she’s now a Texan, Armani’s story started on the East Side of Saint Paul, MN. Determined to earn her own money, Armani was looking for a job during her sophomore year of high school. She found Urban Roots (formerly Community Design Center of Minnesota) where she not only got paid, but she learned how to garden while benefiting her community. Armani spent two years growing and working with Urban Roots and then moved to an IT internship experience with Genesys Works during her senior year.
At Genesys Works, Armani was taught tangible skills she still uses today. She was placed in a technology support internship at BlueCross BlueShield in Eagan, MN. This paid internship provided excellent professional development for Armani, however, transportation to and from Eagan every day presented her with a barrier. So, BlueCross BlueShield paid Armani and her fellow interns to take taxi back and forth to the office every day. Armani was able to use these taxis until she had saved enough to buy a car of her own, and then she was paid to drive her peers instead of using a taxi service. Armani’s internship provided a wide range of experiences. In addition to technology support, she shadowed employees and gained professional development and career exploration skills that proved immensely valuable.
Next, Armani pursued an undergrad degree at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, followed by an MBA at Johns Hopkins University. Both of those programs provided Armani with full-ride scholarships. Armani’s internships, college scholarships, and current role have all been well deserved. However, Armani is adamant in acknowledging that she is no more special than anyone else from her neighborhood, she simply sought the right opportunities and had jobs throughout high school that kept her moving forward on a career skills pathway.
In her current role, Armani uses technology to tailor public health messaging for covid and flu vaccinations. She uses technology, specifically algorithms, to identify the best messaging systems to educate people on the importance of vaccinations. In doing so Armani gets to use problem solving skills, marketing skills, and build a strong knowledge of public health.
Armani feels very picky about choosing mentors, namely, seeking out mentors who she can identify with or whom she has shared experiences with. Reflecting on her educational and career development journey, Armani feels that many of the mentors assigned to her were not as valuable to her development as they could have been. s She has learned from this though and is eager to serve in a mentorship role herself one day, that is more professionally and culturally relevant to young and talented BIPOC professionals Though she didn’t have many mentors who fit that description, Armani remains close with Nancy Jacobs (founder of the Sundance Family Foundation) and her high school teachers. Armani hopes to create a scholarship at her high school for other students to be able to afford college, and one day hopes to be a college professor herself. As a professor, Armani would have the chance to increase the diversity of university professors. She would like to teach inclusive marketing and healthcare, while also connecting her students with her peers in the field.