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Conversations with Alexandria Butler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandria Butler.

Hi Alexandria, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always been an expressive person, taking cues on how to behave and believe from the women I deeply admire in my life. It wasn’t a surprise that I ended up as a very vocal advocate of the growth and development of Black women in the workplace. But, while I haven’t made it to Broadway (yet!), I love to infuse performance and entertain when I’m delivering keynotes because most people are terrified to discuss equity in the workplace. But before I became a fierce, outspoken freedom fighter, I was a young new college graduate just navigating adulting in Silicon Valley. So, after encountering roadblock after roadblock, I intentionally created a group with to connect with other Black women who were experiencing some of the same issues I identified with.

What started as a normal brunch on a serendipitous weekend in April 2017, has now become Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, a 12,000 member safe space to be real, heard, spread Black Girl Magic, uplift, share resources, and celebrate Blackness.

Through this community, I am constantly inspired and uplifted in awe of the sheer brilliance of this bountiful sisterhood—and one of the reasons why I am here today on a mission to achieve workplace equity for all Black women in the world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Similar to many journeys, it has not been smooth and the biggest battle of my career will continue to be fighting for my agency and authenticity in the workplace. I started my career three weeks after college graduation at a tech company. Like most people at that age, I struggled to find my place in this new chapter called “adulting.” I had to re-learn and unlearn behaviors and had to learn how to stand up for myself. I learned to be great at my job while also dealing with the many struggles and complexities of being the only Black woman on my team.

Since then, I have worked at some of the world’s most influential social networking organizations in a strategy and operations capacity. I am fascinated by solving hard problems at work and influencing people to use their strengths to change our society. But I am also aware that because of my race, ethnicity, and gender, I am constantly disrupting spaces when I walk into the room. I am now comfortable with the disruption, but I am always dancing a line between my authentic self and my corporate self. In a perfect world, they would be the same person. But in reality, they are similar, but they are distinctly different. It is a daily fight.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a workplace freedom fighter. With over ten years of experience in the corporate tech world, I’ve seen it all and heard it all related to the advancement of women in technology. My mission is to provide safe, sacred places for people to be seen, heard, paid equitably, and identify and achieve their version of corporate success. Through lectures, workshops, and presentations, I choose to challenge myself and others to realize their true potential, show up for themselves, and demand the very best of themselves and their organizations. Leaders and managers from around the world invite me to share my experiences in career development in hopes that my insight will lend to a better, more equitable company culture for all.

While I am responsible for founding Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, it wouldn’t be successful without the vulnerability and constant push from the women who make up the group. These women, across all tech areas, from junior personnel to the most senior leadership, are what makes me so proud of the Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech brand and membership.

We’re the underground railroad for Black Women in Tech!

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Recognizing my unique privilege and value has paid dividends in advancing my career.

My advice? Choose a mentor who can help you identify your distinctive contributions and provide you with specific and clear actionable feedback that helps you get results.

Also, remember that mentors come in all shapes and sizes. Some mentors are purely for professional conversations. Other mentors become safe spaces that can advise you on holistic life choices. Both are necessary.

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