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Diversity at The Dude: Norma Kaunda

Hayli Mayo
  • Jan 08, 2021
  • 3 minutes

Welcome to our first 2021 edition of Diversity at The Dude! With this series, we aim to amplify diverse voices within our company by sharing personal stories, experiences and perspectives, while championing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

This month, meet Norma Kaunda, Account Manager for Healthcare.

Norma headshot

Q: Give us a little background on who you are and your journey to The Dude.

After I was born in Zambia, my family came to the United States when I was three months old. We started in Florida and moved to PA when I was going to Kindergarten, I later attended Philadelphia University, receiving a bachelor's degree in Fashion/Apparel Design in 2011. Following graduation, I started my retail career, moving up the ladder until I reached the glass ceiling.

In 2018, my family and I decided to move down to North Carolina to escape the Pittsburgh winters. In June 2019, I joined the healthcare sales team at Dude Solutions. I love the relationships and trust that sales builds; the Dude culture is unmatched, and I have enjoyed the wild ride ever since.

Q: You are very involved at The Dude – talk a little about that.

I currently serve as a chairwoman of Hues of Dude for the fundraising side. Hues of Dude is big on educating and empowering, which you can see from the initiatives we have done so far in 2020. One aspect of our efforts that resonates with me is our drive to bridge the gap by creating awareness of career opportunities and specifically the wealth of opportunities in tech. It has been an incredible honor to be part of Hues of Dude’s inaugural year, and I am excited to see where we go from here.

Q: What are your hopes for Hues of Dude initiatives?

I hope to see Hues of Dude grow in many areas, including partnering with schools to network and discuss careers in the tech field. This past year, we partnered with Kramden Institute in a laptop fundraiser for families who could not afford computers for COVID-19 remote learning. By partnering with lower-income schools and programs like this, we can use this door to present career paths, partner with STEM programs and work to incite big goals and dreams.

Q: Allyship is a large part of the Dude Solutions culture. What are some ways we can all be allies?

Allyship to me is speaking up when others aren’t around. We all can speak differently when in certain company where miscommunications and stereotypes may go unnoticed. By interrupting these schools of thought, we can incite the biggest catalyst of allyship to introduce different backgrounds and tear down stereotypes.

Through our speaker series and personal development challenges, doing your own research, working to make an inclusive world for all and so much more, you can become a better ally.

Q: Do you have any words of advice for those entering the tech field?

Network, network, network! Connecting with people outside of your circle is crucial to broadening your mindset and thought process while opening doors and elevating knowledge.

You never know what you can learn or what opportunities can be presented to you by expanding your network.

In regard to diversity and inclusion in the tech field, foster an environment of authenticity. Take a real look inward at where you are on this journey of inclusivity and equality and take actionable steps to succeed across the board.

Interested in reading more Diversity at The Dude? Check out our interviews with Billy Terhune and Faheem Amod.

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