Tech Spotlight: Maurice Wilkins

The Abernathy Tech Spotlight series highlights black professionals working in tech, from freelance developers to non-technical founders. Complete this form to submit your profile.

What is your current role and where do you work?
Head of Outreach at Outco Inc., a job search and interview prep accelerator for software engineers. We support the growth of underrepresented communities in tech. My primary responsibility is to recruit clients to join our four-week program while thinking strategically about diversifying talent access.

How did you get into tech?
Before tech I was working in education, and a mentee of mine introduced me to the CEO of ZeeMee, Juan Jaysingh, because he saw alignment with our personal missions. After a year of conversations, I was hired as the Director of Outreach working with minority serving institutions focused on providing access to underrepresented talent, and taking on media appearances to build the company brand. ZeeMee is an EdTech platform focused on allowing students to tell their stories throughout the college admissions process.

What’s your favorite technology to work with and why?
My cellphone! I don’t go anywhere without it. Beyond the basic function of organizing my life, cellphones serve as a medium to reduce the barrier of entry for technology. Many of my students do not have computers at home but almost every single one of them own cell phones. If intentional, mobile app developers and tech companies have the chance to shape the lives of people from “under-resourced” communities in a positive way.

What project are you most proud to have worked on and why?
Outco(lor), an extension of Outco, is a diversity and inclusion platform specifically designed to provide people of color with job search connections, career services, and a community to share understandings of navigating life in the tech industry. Be on the lookout for some cool developments in the coming weeks!

We are doing our part to connect POC talent to opportunities they are qualified for to debunk the claim “lack of Diversity & Inclusion is a pipeline issue” made by many tech industry leaders.

Shoot me an email if you are ready to build:

What do you see as the most interesting technology on the horizon?
Virtual reality. If used for the right reasons, I see VR providing opportunities for students without “privilege” to experience life beyond their current situation. Imagine a world where students can attend college tours, travel around the world, and receive job shadowing or training without ever leaving their living rooms.

If you weren’t working in tech, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t working in tech I’d be back in education! What I miss is the constant gratification of seeing progress and earning feedback for work that makes an impact on the lives of people I serve. More specifically, I am interested in continuing to create spaces for young black and brown talent to flourish.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your tech career?
Relationships matter—leaning on people that care about you can take you a long way. Especially in spaces where black and brown representation is few and far between. The relationships I’ve fostered attribute to much of my success. Nearly every opportunity I have been afforded is somehow tied to a relationship I have built.

What can companies do to create more inclusive environments?
Ensure that their leadership team encompasses black & brown people, and women. Form strategic task forces to critically explore issues affecting marginalized communities. Have more than ping pong tables as a point of recreation and engagement in the office. Ask a person of color how they feel today and actually be present. Spend time in environments outside of your comfort zone, and learn.

What keeps you busy when you’re not being a technologist?
Trying to change the world! We need to make sure black & brown people come up, and continue to put each other on. Our families needs to eat!

The Abernathy Tech Spotlight series highlights black professionals working in tech, from freelance developers to non-technical founders. Complete this form to submit your profile.