Tech Spotlight: Stephanie Hasham

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?
I am a User Experience Designer strategist and Product Designer. Currently my favorite thing has been focused on working with Arduino, and wearable circuits. My favorite tools have been my hands so far. The development tools are an ever evolving vessel. The last time I picked up a pen to write a letter, I was little weirded out by the fact that my motor skills and handwriting felt a little shaky.

How did you get into tech?
I started by reverse engineering an old html website in efforts to build one of the first Caribbean online magazines in Curacao, in the dutch Caribbean. I wanted to communicate with my world, somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean ocean, and reach out and share experiences with other people across the Diaspora. I wanted to to communicate as much as possible as far as possible. It was interesting considering not many people were on the internet at the time, but curiosity and desire to communicate helped me overcome that obstacle.

What project are you most proud to have worked on and why?
I am very happy to be working on an interesting IoT mapping and data visualization at my current position. But I am most proud of being able to participate with many amazing professionals around the world. I have played many different roles on projects large and small, and no matter how prestigious or large, the best experiences have always been achieving success and overcoming obstacles with a team of amazing people. They are the ones that make even the most amazing, or terrible, piece of technology tangible. When the funding bottoms out or alternatively reaches amazing success, you are still stuck with the people, the memories, and the experience.

What do you see as the most interesting technology on the horizon?
1. Most interesting: voice recognition. 2. Most terrifying: voice recognition when aligned with artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The ability to combine, AI, Voice and HUD devices are uncharted territory and could increase quality of life for some but also infringe upon what we currently recognize as a right to privacy. So, unless there is gag order button on an Echo you won’t be chatting with Alexa in my apartment until that is settled.

I believe there needs to be more conversation about entrusting a smart device to return accurate information on anything like news, opinions, or feelings without being able to physically view or ascertain the source. Especially as most consumers do not have a true understanding of how much information we feed to the companies that house the data for “machine learning”, we should have this conversation loudly and often with each other as well as within the global community.

If you weren’t working in tech, what would you be doing?
Maybe an artist, a sculptor, and professional windsurfer I am a dreamer… I would still be dreaming and I would still be a little eccentric.

What can companies do to create more inclusive environments?
This is an interesting question, considering many times I have been in environments where women or black women are not the majority at the table. I believe that leadership training is probably where it’s at: kindness, compassion, team building, hiring for the skills people have rather than what they look like. I am proud of my team as our diversity is intentional and I believe that has everything to do with the people who chose me for the job as well as what made me decide to work with them.

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.