Welcome again to another episode of Engineer Your Success! Today, our special guest
Dr. Malika Grayson.
Dr. Malika is a Program Manager where she leads technology investment and long-term strategic value creation to help enable teams to achieve above-plan growth through their projects. Over the past few years, Grayson has had industry experiences in systems engineering, software development, R&D portfolio management, IT management, and strategy. Grayson earned her Batchelor’s in Physics from Adelphi University and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.
Grayson also founded STEMinist Empowered LLC, which focuses on empowering Women of Color who pursue graduate degrees through application consultancy and graduate program mentorship. A global speaker and bestselling author, Grayson has given dozens of workshops and keynotes and is the recipient of many honors including the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award, National Society of Black Engineers – Mike Shin Award for Distinguished Member of the Year, Adelphi University’s Top 10 Alumni Under 10 and BEYA STEM’s Modern Day Technology Leader.
She was named one of Trinidad and Tobago’s 40 Under 40 Youth Influencers by the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs based on her work in STEM. She also authored the best-selling book Hooded: A Black Girl’s Guide to the Ph.D. and has been featured in several publications. Grayson’s keynotes and workshops are based on her experiences in academia and industry, with titles such as Networking for Mentoring, Canceling Imposter Syndrome, Navigating the Impossible, and Success through Resilience – ABCs to STEM Success.
Grayson’s passion for increasing the number of women through the STEM pipeline motivated her to create ASPIRE STEM, which provides financial assistance to young women from high school and secondary school who aspire to pursue STEM at the university level. She also belongs to external organizations including the DiscoverE Board of Directors, the STEMNoire Planning Council, and Cornell University’s Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations.
Let’s know more about Dr. Malika with no further ado Let’s dive in!
[00:31 – 09:23] Opening Segment
- Who is Dr. Malika Grayson?
- She is a Physicist by trade and a Mechanical Engineer
- She is also a Managing Software Engineer, a Program Manager by day, and an Author by night.
- She’s originally from Trinidad and Tobago and is a Trinity girl at heart.
- She went to the US to pursue her physics degree at Del University and then went on to get her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on wind energy at Ithaca University.
- Now she’s a manager of software engineering at Northrop Gring Corporation, where
- she’s focused on managing a portfolio of projects that help the company move forward.
- Dr. Malika shares her experience in transitioning from being a Physicist to becoming a Program Manager.
- She shared that being an engineer it is natural for her to take a look at every detail, but as a project manager its way harder to join in every single technical meeting
- Given her situation, she adds, that it’s important to build an effective team that you can trust.
- As a manager, she learns to step back, trust her team’s process, and focus on solutions to help her team progress.
[09:24 – 16:37 ] Working in your Field, Achieving goals, and Still Being Authentic
- Dr. Malika shares that to maintain her career whether it’s a passion project or in the industry, she learned that you really need to be authentic.
- She started writing and started a blog for Black Girls Guide to Grad School.
- When she was starting she realized she was leading a double life.
- A person that focuses on getting the job done.
- but also a person that wants to impact the world by sharing her story.
- Her manager called her and was interested in her blogs
- Her manager connected her to a person with an HBCU initiative.
- Dr. Malika adds that most people that start in all careers are so afraid that they don’t want to lose their job that they stop doing what they love doing outside work, Whereas In reality, there are managers who work to help you build your bio.
[16:38 – 24:03] Working in your Field, Achieving goals, and Still Being Authentic
- The industry has changed during the pandemic, some people don’t want to be in the office.
- But also some find the office as their escape from home.
- Give your people options in a hybrid approach that makes everybody happy.
[26:04 – 34:19] Black Women in STEM Pursue Success
- The industry is facing challenges due to the post-pandemic workforce.
- A lot of people are trying to use their old playbooks during the pandemic, which is not going to work.
- Companies are having to find a new way to manage their teams, which is difficult.
- There is a need for more black women in STEM fields.
- The road to success is not easy, but it is possible with resilience and flexibility.
[34:20 – 35:48] Closing Segment
- Parting Notes
Learn more about Dr. Malika Grayson by following him on LinkedIn
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“Show up as yourself, have courage and show up authentically it will pay off in the end because you won’t be fighting against yourself – Dr. James Bryant
“ When you’re not being your full self, it’s hard for you to be 100% in any part of your life when you’re trying to be somebody else in different parts of your life.” – Dr. Malika Grayson